Behind The Barn Find: 1963 Studebaker Truck

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Rather than in the barn, this 1963 Studebaker Champ pickup has been kept behind the barn. That’s a little unfortunate for the condition of the sheet metal, but it does look like there’s enough panels left to work with. It’s located in Forest City, North Carolina, and is listed for sale here on craigslist for only $1,250.

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I’m guessing this picture is a bit more true to the hue of the truck, but unfortunately these two shots are the only pictures we have to look over. It really is sad that folks try to sell what might be pretty decent project vehicles but can’t be bothered to take ten minutes to take some decent pictures. This seems especially true for craigslist ads, but eBay and even Hemmings and other expensive forms of advertising are susceptible to the same issues.

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As you can see from this period brochure cover, Studebaker was aiming the 1963 Champ at the low end of the market, touting that it was the lowest priced pickup in America. With “Go More–Cost Less” as a slogan (not exactly catchy, huh?) the age of the basic package was showing. By this point, the chassis and cargo box had been around since 1949 basically unchanged. However, by creative engineering, Studebaker was able to use the front of a Lark 4-door sedan and only create one new stamping (the rear of the cab) to completely update the look of the truck. I can see it now: “Hey, let’s take a cutting torch to this Lark and see what we can do!”

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As you can see from this shot of a ’63 Champ in beautiful shape, the body lines don’t quite match up, but they are darned close. The one in Forest City sports a 170 cubic inch six-cylinder engine and a three-speed transmission, although the seller states it doesn’t run and the tires are flat. The 1963’s were close to the end of Studebaker pickups, with the Champ only lasting one more model year. Do you think this “in back of the barn” find might be worth investigating and saving?

 

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Comments

  1. JW

    Nothing to say good or bad about the featured truck BUT looking at it and the pic of the new one the bed fit to the cab just looks not well designed, IMO it looks like they took a box from another truck and put on this one. JMHO so take it or leave it !!!

    • Jeff DeWitt

      Because Studebaker took the box from another truck (Dodge) and used it.

  2. Red Riley

    They did exactly that. The fleetside beds were sourced from Dodge and didn’t fit the Champ cabs at all. If you can find a Champ with the step side bed they look much better.

  3. Red Riley

    Does that bed look familiar?

  4. Bill Pressler

    Other than width, the looks of the old Dodge bed actually match the Studebaker cab IMHO–crease, shape of wheel opening, etc. Other than a two-tone cab as shown on the Dodge above, the cab had no crease line. The Champ came standard with a full-width back window, a sliding window was exclusive to the Champ as was a five-speed trans, and in character, it seems more modern to me today than Big Three pickups. MHO only, of course, The massive grille seems to pre-date that concept in later trucks too. It’s more of a mid-size truck look, although Studebaker advertised that its payload was greater than other trucks as since it was ‘rated’ the same GVW, and the truck itself weighed less, you could put more in it.

    Although the old-style Stude bed is double-walled, I like the long, wide bed best on Champs–with the deluxe cab and whitewalls, like the green truck in the photo above.

  5. Howard A Member

    Well.it certainly was a neat truck at one time. I’d think you’d have to fabricate all your own parts, as these weren’t very popular to begin with. I just can’t understand why Studebakers weren’t more popular, across the board. Everything they made were good, honest vehicles. I always thought this truck was Studebakers answer to the El Camino or Ranchero. Putting a box on a car body was nothing new for Studebaker, and the 30’s Coupe Express was one of the most beautiful pickups ever, I think. Of course it’s worth saving. I just hope you have a metal shop nearby.
    I agree with Red, the stepside looks much better, although, I can’t recall ever seeing one.

    • Jeff DeWitt

      They are around, as a matter of fact I have one!

    • Ed P

      Hi Howard; After 1954 Studebaker was on financial life support and in danger of collapsing any day. The motoring public was aware of their precarious finances and stayed away in droves. Nobody wanted potential orphan cars. Otherwise, I agree, Studebaker made some very nice looking cars. Put a Chevy nameplate on them and sales would have gone up.

  6. Vince Habel

    Howard

    Parts are easy to get for these. I would pass on this one,

    • Jeff DeWitt

      I think I would too, except maybe as a parts truck, and it’s a late Champ, I’d need an early one.

  7. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Doesn’t a new Toyota truck grill look like an old Champ ?

  8. David Rands

    I have a 1963 Champ with 289v8 4sp and it is a rare rust free step side. What could my Champ be worth if I wanted to sell it? Dave

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