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1953 Studebaker Champion

In-Situ Restoration

Ironically, I originally acquired Annabelle (as my '53 Champion is known) as a vehicle to drive while building my '59 Lark Wagon hot rod. Now Annabelle is suffering the ravages of time, use, and an oops on my part. A couple summers ago I was helping a friend recharge the AC on his Saturn. I ran out of time, tossed all the bits, tools and supplies into Annabelle, and headed off to wherever it was I had to go. A day or so passed and Annabelle happened to be sitting out in the mid-summer Arizona heat (which will bake your brain). The full cannister of AC refrigerant that I'd innocently left in the car exploded. Needless to say the ensuing damage not only put a good sized dent in her roof, but the old interior completely disintegrated from the material that blew out all over the car. (And so I have physical proof that the Mythbusters were wrong. An aerosol can left in a car can and will explode from the heat in Arizona.)

Annabelle, short of a few minor issues, runs and drives ok. There's little to no rust on the vehicle. A good weekend's worth of work would have her back in action. Based on this, I've decided to use the car as the first documented In-Situ restoration on the site.

Project Outcomes

This car will remain 85% stock. The vision I have for the car is to change the paint scheme and interior. I'm a big fan of two-tone era Ska music. I'm thinking that a two-tone black and white paint, with a black and white houndstooth interior would look really cool. Plus, then I could wear my pork pie hat and skinny black tie, and look cool while driving her. From a more functional perspective we will be converting the car from a 6-Volt electrical system to a 12-Volt one (a common change) and possibly updating the engine a bit. From a safety perspective the car could really use some seat belts as well as some braking system upgrades (I can tell from personal experience what it's like trying to get a 3700lb Studebaker to stop after the master cylinder has failed, it's not fun!).

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Contents copyright 2008, 2009 - Jody F. Kerr

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