Compact Cruiser! 1960 Studebaker Lark

This 1960 Studebaker Lark has found its way from North Carolina to the Pacific Northwest, but so far hasn’t found an owner that wants to keep it! The current seller has listed the car here on eBay after purchasing it, driving it for a short period, and then deciding it wasn’t the car for them. Bidding has reached $5,000 at this point and the car is at the seller’s brother’s house in Colville, Washington.

Larks were produced by Studebaker from 1959 until the company stopped making cars in 1966. Remarkably, the Lark was designed around the basic bodyshell of the full-sized 1953–1958 Studebakers, which gave the “compact” car room for up to six full-size passengers. The front and rear overhangs were shortened considerably to do this, which means the Lark has somewhat odd styling compared to its competitors. That may be part of the reason Lark values seem low today. Personally, I find it quite attractive, with the whitewalls setting it off nicely (although the seller states the bias-ply tires cause some wandering on the road; I’m thinking a nice set of radials would help!

Although the underside shows evidence of rattle-can undercoating, it’s also remarkably clean and seemingly free of extensive rust. This might be the rare classic car that could be enjoyed with only a little bit of tinkering (and that set of tires)! Thanks to Larry D. for putting us on to this cool find!

Simplicity itself, the “Champion” flathead inline six-cylinder 170-cubic-inch engine produced 90 horsepower (it was supplemented by a 112 horsepower OHV version of the engine in 1961). Can you imagine a modern car with that kind of space to work on the engine? A past seller (the ad that the current seller purchased the car from is included in the description) mentions possible carburetor issues; I was able to find a new carburetor assembly for less than $400 with a little bit of searching.

There’s not much to say about the interior except that it looks terrific! Obviously recently redone, the red and black upholstery adds some welcome pizzazz to the Lark. I think this would be a delightful little classic that is pretty rare now as well. What do you think, Barn Finds readers?

Comments

  1. Denny N. Member

    Looks nice. Some good pix on the eBay site too. I’ve had at least three early Larks, one 8 cyl with automatic and two or more with the Six and O/D. This one with Six and auto. will be an anemic performer.

    Like 5
  2. Cadmanls Member

    Nice write up but looking at the flathead 6 cylinder engine in pictures and automatic not exactly a powerhouse. Be a great sleeper with some drivetrain upgrades. As it is 75 mph might be a little wishful. Yeah speed limit is 70 but in some areas in Fl that’ll get you run over

    Like 4
    • Johnny

      With a nice little car like this. Who would want to go to Florida? Gators,heat,mosquitos,sink holes, termites and stupid back bills on property –if you buy a home their. Montana sounds alot better

      Like 5
  3. Bob C.

    Yes, that old flatty dated back to the 30s. The automatic certainly doesn’t help, but it still looks nice.

    Like 3
  4. Michelle Rand Staff

    Looks like reserve is met and this will go to a new home in time for summer shows.

    Like 4
  5. Steve Clinton

    What?
    No “I’d stick a 383 V8 in it with a Hurst 4 speed” comments?

    Like 1
  6. Vince H

    Lark name was last used in 64 and only for the Challenger. I would not want a automatic 6 but it does look pretty clean.

    Like 4
  7. DON

    This was perfect as the second car for a family back then, the one the housewife would use for getting groceries , or going to the bank, etc. My mother had a 58 American , and a 67 American , both basically base models 2 doors with just a radio and an automatic .

    Like 2
    • John E. Klintz

      Those were AMC products, Don; AMC built a FAR better car than Studebaker. Interesting comments regarding the current owner; that’s what happened in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s; people bought one Lark, and not another. Hmmmm.

      • DON

        I know, I’m saying these little base compacts were usually the second car in the family ; Lark , American, Falcon ,Chevy II..etc . And I totally agree that AMC was far superior ; we had AMC products at our house for many years .

        Like 3
  8. DON

    I know, I’m saying these little base compacts were usually the second car in the family ; Lark , American, Falcon ,Chevy II..etc . And I totally agree that AMC was far superior ; we had AMC products at our house for many years .

  9. David Scully

    I had a ’59 Lark V8 coupe in the late ’60s – added a 4:27 rear gear and surprised (and deflated) many other ‘stoplight bandits’ doing my boulevard cruise days (daze?) – also ran competitively (mid-16 seconds E.T.s (F Stock class) at Ramona & Carlsbad drags. Neat little car – would not stop worth a damn…

    Like 1
  10. Tom Black

    Just a question because I don’t know squat about Studebaker engines. Did those flat head engines have replaceable rod bearings or did you have to re-babbit them?

    • Kenny

      The Champion 6 in this car certainly did have replaceable bearings. It was, in fact, a terrific engine, built for many years (1939-1960) and was successfully raced for years, especially in midget car series. Searching can find you finned aluminum heads, twin carb manifolds, etc

      Like 1
  11. Ozzie Chrysler Member

    The 4doors were used as highway patrol cars in Victoria (Australia) in the 60’s, probably the V8s.

    Like 1
  12. Tom Black

    Thank You, Kenny for the info about the rod bearings. I guess they were ahead of Chevrolet by quite a bit. The 235 c.i. Chevy didn’t have bearing inserts until 1953, and then it was an option. If you bought the 53 with a Powerglide you got the inserts and pressurized oiling. If you got the 3 speed stick, you got babbited bearings and a splash type lube system.

  13. Tom

    I have a ’60 Lark convertible I bought at classic car auction in 2020. The drive-train had been replaced with a Chevy 350/auto from a 6/stick. Nice car, interior redone, new tires, power top. Condition 2 car but paid a little less than book price as there was not much bidding interest.

  14. trav66

    Nice little Lark! The seller states it may have been restored at some point and it looks it. This would be great to tool around town in, love the body style. Probably gets decent mpg. The bidding has dropped to $3252 since this article was written, someone might get a great deal if the reserve isn’t much more, too far away for me to consider.

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