Someone Say Rustbucket? 1960 Studebaker Lark

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This post contains graphic images of rust: American Horror Story – Rust Edition. This 1960 Studebaker Lark convertible is offered for sale here on craigslist in Huntsville, Alabama and with an asking price of $1,000.

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Whatever it lacks in rust, it more than makes up for with more rust and missing parts. So why bother to feature it? Because this is Barn Finds, and we just love ’em all. Like a deer in the headlights, we just can’t look away.

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At first, it looks like any other rusty convertible project car, but the seller warns us about what’s coming. This is hardcore carnography here, buddy.

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Rusty rockers, fenders, quarter panel bottoms and more. Not just a little rust, but a lot.

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But looking again at the body, it can’t be so bad, can it? It’s fairly straight, not wrecked, it’s do-able, right?

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We look inside the interior, and it’s rough, which of course we would expect by now. It’s a disaster, but it’s not so bad, really. Is it? But the photo below shows what it looks like with the front seat removed. Our more squeamish and timid viewers might want to turn away and leave the room now. Go ahead and hit your back arrow. Do it now….What? You’re still looking? Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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This is what it looks like with the driver’s seat removed. Oh, the humanity! While many of us gearheads and car lovers are reeling around in shock right now, I’ll just try and make nice by saying this is a nice picture of the guy’s garage floor. The concrete looks smooth and uniform. No oil stains.

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But why would there be? This car hasn’t had a drivetrain in it for decades, so there is nothing to leak down on to the pretty concrete below.

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If you’ve ever been in a bar fight, or in a scuffle over a female, maybe you got punched in the face. Maybe you experienced that very rare and brutal emotion that even though you’ve had your butt kicked, maybe you haven’t had quite enough just yet. And you go back for a little more. Here, take a look inside the trunk.

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Do you feel the blood running down the side of your face? Can you taste it on the corner of your mouth? The trunk is not as bad as the interior, but then, what could be? Maybe now you’ve had enough. Pick yourself up. Come on, you’re ok. Wipe off that blood. The seller wants to be friends with you now. He has agreed to include these extra parts with the sale. Nice fender skirts. Those will look interesting on this body style.

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Now that you’ve had a good look at this rolling automotive fight club, consider that it still has lots of good convertible-only parts to donate to the right car.

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But what we’d really like to see, is a real automotive Superhero intervention, (accompanied with plenty of photos and descriptive write-up of course). Someone who has the stones to man-up, find an inexpensive, solid, sedan donor-car, and start cutting like he really means it. Do a convertible-conversion such as is commonly done with ’59 Cadillacs and other big money cars. Do you think it can be done? Not at a professional restoration shop’s labor rate of course, we all know that. Do you think an amateur with lots of time and patience could handle it? Have you had enough, or are you still looking for trouble?

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Comments

  1. Scotty G

    Wow. Wow.. (wow).. That’s rusty. Bummer.

  2. Birdman

    Looking at this thing, I get the music from Psycho running through my head…..”REE-REE-REE-REE-REE”….followed by a mass of blood curdling screams that I have to believe are all my fellow car people screaming in horror!

  3. David Frank David Member

    Oh deer! At least it’s inside…
    (Love your sense of humor!)

  4. KO

    Awesome write-up Marty! One of my BF favs!

  5. Bob

    As the owner mentioned in his ad, most of the patch panels (floor, door, trunk) are available from Classic Enterprises. So, if you’re good with a welder, it may be doable.

  6. Terry J

    I think that horn ring could be useable. :-) Terry J

  7. Milt

    Hilarious write-up but in all sincerity, this poor studie certainly is deserving of a Christian Burial.

  8. AMC STEVE

    pos pos pos pos pos

  9. charlie Member

    In 1960 a college friend (with money) ordered one with A/C. Studebaker did not want to build it, since no one, then, put A/C in convertibles. Guy was from Texas and insisted, and he got it. Was a great car to drive, new anyway, V8, standard transmission, power steering, easy to park, and in Texas summer temps of 100 degrees, was the place to be.

  10. RON

    The first question is why would you want too? I have been into Studes nearly 30 years, have had several of these and have one just like it, excuse me, one that once looked somewhat like it, 80% done in my shop now. with out inspecting it further, about the only thing on this thing that would be worth the time to go get it more than 5 miles away is the frame if it is not rusted into. That is only if you are going to do what you asked. Build a clone. It has been done many times. Have a friend in my Chapter of SDC here where I live and he has a beautiful 62 supercharged R-2 Lark convertible done this way. He startedwith one like this, bought a westernsame year 2dr hardtop removed the body, prepped the frame from the rusted convert body put the soldid 3dr hdtp body on the convert frame, skin the top off the 2dr htp, do the same with the upper windshield frame fron the cowl up and put it on the hdtp body. You use the top bows mechanism and all convertible interior parts including the rear quarter windows and regulators and many many hours of patient time and voila, you have a new convert. You have the correct vin, numbers on the frame and matching engine drivetrain from the factory if the original car was correct. The beautiful thing is, SDC has the factory build sheet on file for about any Stude ever built and when and how it left the factory and destination when built on file for your purchase for a very nominal cost from The SDC Museum in South Bend. Think I am promoting SDC, you bet. One of the best Marque Clubs you will ever belong to from any angle you go from Comradare to parts and support.. It maintains a International membership that is only rivaled by a couple of the Big 3. That said, back to this car. While they are not on every corner they are not so rare as to need to start with a car this bad. I sold a 61 just recently to a parts dealer in Texas for 500.00 that had it’s drive train still intact good doors perfect tinted glass and a solid frame with power steering. Of course the nice top bows are a good commodity for conversions and there are a few concept cars of convertibles made using these components to build one off customs from the Famous 53-55 Lowey coupe. The 60 Lark like this was the first convertibles that Studebaker made since 1952. They were built 60-64 with the basic body tub being uch the sameall 4 years with modifications in style over the years. The other use from this car is use of the frame for restoring an Avanti of 63-64 for which were fiberglass bodies as a sought after car of Studebaker Racing fame. They were built on this frame and when Stude went out of business in the US the tooling was bught by 2 former dealers in Southbend and production resumed in 66 using GM running gear and were continued to be produced by 3 or 4 different ownerships through the early 90’s and actually there was another attempt at reviving them into the 2000’s with an attempt of building a similar one based off I think a Camaro last. The Avanti II as it was called in the first ownership remained on this same frae with modifications to the suspension through. 1982 The little larks are fun cars to drive and were ffered I base 6 cy 259 v/8 and 289 v/8 over the life. The last year the convertible was offered was 64 model year. The last Studebakers mfg were 65 and few 66 made in the Ontario pant and had GM based 199 ohv 6 cy or 283 v/8.Over the 4 years of the convertible, ther were mid differences even though they looked muchthe same they did not totallyinterchange. 60 and 61 look early exactly the same but 61 had many body parts different ad pretty much is a 1 year car. 62-63 looked much alike but had different windshields etc. and 64 again dfferences. I knw in response you will hear from street rod builders that most all of certain years are the same and yes a skilled craftsman can do most anything. But there are things that are t simple bolt on changes. I guess there is always something that can be used frm anything but this car would be limited at 1000 bucks with scrap at 6 cents lb you be the judge

    • packrat

      Ron’s got the answer: Pull all the convertible specific parts, help from the very wonderful SDC, find a sunburnt two door carcass out of high desert country, play mix n’ match. Any drivetrain parts that are rebuildable cores are a bonus. That’s all it’s worth, but many have started with just such a ‘parts kit’.

  11. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings Ron,

    Ron…….thanks for the tip on the SDC. Will put it on our list for next year.

    I’m a Jaguar guy but love the Studebakers, especially the old flathead sixes!

  12. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Possibly my favorite post ever! Had to call my wife over to read it and she’s still laughing! And, of course, I have a plasma cutter and a nice welding outfit. Great writing, Marty! But I’d still look for a more solid example!

  13. erikj

    Spokane wash. craigslist had a listing for one of these, driving convert.$1900 w/parts car and it had lite rust. always wanted to go look at it. should have.

  14. AlphaRoaming

    This is how they’re supposed to be taken care of! My ’63 with 70k miles. My grandpa bought it new.

  15. St. Ramone de V8

    We often complain about sellers leaving cars in the mud and weeds or simply dragging them up on a trailer for pics. Points to this seller for cleaning up what’s left of this poor thing, and being up front about the horror of the rust. Great post, Marty! That was fun.

  16. p

    Great write up.

  17. p

    Ran when parked.

  18. Ed P

    Rusty cars like this can make a big fortune go away quickly. Buy it for parts if you need them.

  19. Blaine

    That is minor compared to cars from my area. There is one like that in a yard a couple hours from me and that one has no floor or tops of front fenders

  20. Will

    I would pound in some sheet metal to cover the floors. Drop in the cheapest drive train I could find and make a fair weather rat rod. Ugly as hell and slow but with tons of personality. Maybe put some “Rust-eze bumper ointment” stickers on it And a personalized plate that says “Rusty”

  21. Paul B

    Last Garage on the Left — Part Six! Too hilarious, especially the asking price. But then again, just think Porsche 356 …
    This was once a top-line Lark with all the trimmings including deluxe grill, the fancy interior with padded dash and horn ring; twin traction, and V8. It was an expensive car. And what we see here is one of the many reasons for Studebaker’s downfall: bad quality steel to keep costs down, combined with inadequate rustproofing from the 1953 models forward. Studebaker was caught in the vise of high labor costs and low volume, and this particular reaction to that situation was suicidal. I grew up patching my dad’s ’60 Lark wagon on weekends. Great mechanicals, around which the body quickly disintegrated. Two-year-old Larks up north, on the coasts and in the Rust Belt could be seen back then as rolling billboards advertising why people should buy other brands. It was devastating. I still love Studes, but this one tells the tragic story all too well. This is a parts car, for giveaway or maybe $200.

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