Cobbled Carrier: 1964 Studebaker Champ

By 1960, Studebaker’s pickups were long overdue for an update. But in typical Studebaker fashion, the budget was slim to get the job done. So, they borrowed from the existing parts bin, the new Lark compact auto, and even Dodge to pull off a light-duty truck that appeared to be “new”. One surviving example is this 1964 Champ ¾-ton with an 8-foot bed, and it has a supercharger to boot. Located in Stow, Massachusetts, this daily workhorse is available here on craigslist for $13,750. Our thanks to T.J. for this interesting tip!

The Champ had a five-year production run from 1960 to 1964. Assemblies ended when Studebaker closed its South Bend, Indiana plant and consolidated surviving operations in Canada. Because money was the scarcest of commodities at the fledgling company, they used the existing truck chassis for the undercarriage of the Champ. In addition to the “narrow” cargo box from before, they struck a deal with Dodge to use their C-Series wide “cargo” boxes. Both were available in regular and extended beds, and it looks as though the seller’s truck has the latter with the Dodge bed.

To create a new cab, they took a Lark 4-door sedan and cut it in half behind the front doors, and modified the rest to fit the truck chassis. So, it looked like a Lark from the front, though higher off the ground. You could get Studebaker’s 289 cubic inch V8 under the hood, but we couldn’t find any reference online that you could order the R2 Paxton supercharger in the trucks. And the seller says this engine also runs on diesel fuel, which seems to defeat the purpose of the supercharger. Can any of our readers substantiate both of these points? Also, the truck has a 5-speed manual transmission, perhaps added later?

Photos of the seller’s truck are few and cover the same vantage points, so it’s hard to determine the overall condition. It’s said to be a regular worker and the pics tend to show that. The body looks okay, and the dark green paint has a sufficient amount of surface rust/patina to be original or maybe one repaint. The Champ was one of the first trucks to offer a sliding rear window and we understand that the 1963-64 editions used fiberglass body panels. If you’re looking for a cool vintage pickup truck, buying a Champ like this would be going down the path less traveled.

Comments

  1. Cadmanls Member

    Nice old truck and it’s still doing what it was built for. Testament to the build quality of these old Bakers. I had a 64 Challenger six and 3 on the tree, was 16 and abused it! It wouldn’t die, rusted but mechanicals stayed together.

    Like 4
  2. Bill W.

    I always thought they used International pickup beds, and this one looks like International taillights, more than Dodge.

    • Rick

      That’s what I’d heard, that International supplied the beds for those trucks.

      Like 1
  3. eurovin Member

    I have the identical truck in dark blue, built three days before the factory closed just before Christmas of 1963.
    It’s definitely a Dodge box, it’s definitely all steel and the 5-speed tranny was an option.

    Like 1
  4. Kim in Lanark

    Fiberglass fenders is a new one on me. That explains why they are not rusted out just forward of the hinges. I recall that started to show after 3 years or so.

    Like 2
  5. William Lanny McNabb

    No fiberglass was used on anything other than the Avanti. I wonder if this guy has the original production order? That tell you anything you want to know about how the vehicle left S. Bend.
    am interested.
    G
    od bless, Lanny

    Like 4
    • Gerald Brown

      I have a 1960 Champ with R1 Avanti engine. Have pair of fiberglass fenders sitting in the shed for it.

      Like 1
  6. William Lanny McNabb

    If the owner would please call me at 423-593-6351 I would greatly appreciate it. I currently own three Studes and am a past board member of the Studebaker Drivers Club. Thanks and God bless, Lanny

    • Cadmanls Member

      Lanny email the owner off craigslist! Don’t know if they are looking at this website.

      Like 1
  7. Robert Bruner

    I have owned both 63 & 64 Champs. No factory fiberglass on body parts ever. There are aftermarket fiberglass panels available. 5 Speed was also avaliable. Engines were 6 cyl., 259 & 289 V8s. Bed was1959 Dodge tooling.

    Like 1
  8. Ron

    The R2 nor any of the R series engines was offered by Studebaker in a truck, and although you could order almost anything, I am not aware that any were built as such. And it runs on diesel? That’s a new one on me, and I’ve heard all kinds of crazy stuff. Still, never say never, especially when it comes to Studebaker. With the low compression ratio required for the supercharger, I just can’t see it running on the stuff.

    It has been well documented that indeed, these are Dodge beds supplied through Budd, though I could not tell you the business details of it. Ford beds were considered, but AFAIK, the Dodge required less effort to adapt.

    Like 1
    • 62Champ

      There are two documented supercharged Champ trucks built by Studebaker. Both had to go to engineering to get all the modifications for it to work. Both were 1/2 tons – one short bed (destination was Southern California and survives to this day) and a long bed (destination Indianapolis, Indiana – construction company owner ordered – probably did not survive the rust belt winters). My Uncle priced one from his local Studebaker dealer and he said the price went up like 150% over stock.

      • William Lanny McNabb

        I think the 1/2 ton one mentioned is black. There were a couple in Az in a warehouse and I spoke to the very nice owner who did not have a plan in mind for their long term. But he made it clear he would not sell them. How sad. What will happen to very significant items of Stude history? But it is a free country. God bless, Lanny

  9. Chuck Simons

    According to one Studebaker Driver forum, they were a discarded design. ‘ You are correct that the wide T-cab beds are identical to those used by Dodge. However, they were not purchased from Dodge — they were purchased from Budd, who had previously made the beds for Dodge. Dodge was going to restyle their beds and had no further use for this design. Stude wanted a slab-sided bed for its new Champ trucks, but couldn’t afford to tool up for an entirely new bed.

    Skip Lackie’

    Like 5
  10. Chuck Simons

    and of course, there’s always the old joke about a card game between the Exners Studebaker. The exners couldn’t let go of Stude and bet the the box. Guess who won

  11. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Stude offered a 5 speed overdrive in pick ups starting in 1956. They offered two different shift patterens of the 5 speed O/D up into the 60’s. I have a few of them……..

    Like 1
  12. Car Nut Tacoma Washington

    Awesome looking Studebaker truck. Assuming parts are available, I would think this would make a great resto project. Given its condition, I’d pay around $10,000 for the truck.

  13. Bakes

    Runs on diesel. Poorly.

    Very cool old truck, absolutely not something you see every day.

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