Inexpensive Classic: 1963 Studebaker Lark

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For all of those six and seven digit classics out there (event the five digit ones on my budget), there are still some <$5,000 classics out there that those of us with lower disposable incomes can afford. We at Barn Finds love this kind of car, which might need some work but can be enjoyed in the meantime. It’s for sale in Talent, Oregon and is listed here on eBay with bidding at $2,350 but the buy it now is only $2,600.

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Overall the exterior of this car looks pretty solid, with some small bubbles at the bottoms of some doors and fenders. It looks like the car has been repainted once but it was a while ago, and given the wear on the roof and trunk lid it looks like an original paint job after this amount of time.

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Here’s a closer look at the p-word on that deck lid. The chrome looks nice at this distance and would be nice for a driver, but while the wheel covers are Studebaker, the seller tells us they are from a later model (but who’s going to know except a real expert?).

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Here’s an example of the small bubbles the seller is talking about. I appreciate the fact that they included close up pictures of the areas like this.

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The real rust is in the floor pans. Luckily, these are readily available here¬†on eBay for less than $70 each. The nice thing about welding in floor pans is that carpet covers up any welding mistakes–ask me how I know that one!

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The seller mentions that the fabric center inserts of the upholstery look better than the outer vinyl borders, and that they may have been replaced previously. One thing I’ve found is that with seats that are constructed as simply as this, sometimes the budget solution of taking the covers off and replacing some vinyl panels is a perfectly acceptable solution for a low-budget driver. I’ve done it several times with great success, and the cost can be <$20 for a yard of vinyl. Hand sewing works quite well, just get an upholstery needle and work from the back. Again, you won’t get show quality results, but perfectly fine for a driver! Of course, there’s always the $15 southwestern blanket solution as well!

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The seller tells us that the transmission has been rebuilt less than 10,000 miles ago (and have proof with a receipt) and that the 259 cubic inch V8 engine runs well with no smoke on start up or driving. There has also been some front end work done in the way of bushings, tie rods and kingpin kits. Overall, I think this is a great low budget classic and I hope it finds a terrific home! Do you agree?

 

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Comments

  1. crazydave

    Looks very nice. Too bad about the floors, but those are fixable. Sunvisors are cheap & easy fix, too. Nice price for a decent car

  2. packrat

    There is a great support group for owners in the Studebaker Drivers Club. I was a member for over twenty five years. The car my dad had when I was growing up was a 1963 Lark Cruiser 4dr (the trim package above this one) in Champagne Gold exterior and black interior. The wheelcovers are like the ones he had on his ’64 and were probably used on the ’65s as well with the chevy engines. The floorboards are *going* to look like that. The V8s had good frames on ’em–Stude was too backwards for unit-body construction (blessedly). The first hobby car I got was one of these with the 170 cu. in. 6 in it and a column shift–half the interior was paper, and the backup light housings were solid, instead of drilled for pigtails, which probably saved them 35 cents at the time (WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?) Great looking little cars, and, like the contemporary Ramblers, and King Midget and Crosley Collectors, it’s kinda hard to be High and Mighty about owning these cars. You will see them restored to the nines, and you will see folks with examples like this, permagrins on their face, cause they’re comfortably familiar to drive, and laid back as you are with your favorite worn-in pair of carpet slippers on your feet. Were it within the same state, I’d go looking at it with an air to discuss price but just in case it had that Lark Sedan thing going on where all the doors click shut quietly and solidly like a bank vault, and it started first time, every time, and idled and shifted for me sweetly, I’d have the full money ready in my pocket –just in case, when I touched that steering wheel, it turned out to be that time machine back to dad.

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  3. Bobsmyuncle

    Wow I got pretty excited there. Great opportunity for someone, I really want to hold out for a manual.

    Got a good laugh from hiding the welds with the carpets.

  4. Rick

    Those are ’62 taiilights

  5. Poppy

    The cowl tag shows this to be a ’63. It has the first-for-’63 full flow engine and Prestolite alternator. It’s also a Y model, which is the longer wheelbase “Cruiser” model. Very roomy back seat with gobs of legroom, as these were often chosen for taxi duty. Studebaker always had some advanced features on their cars to balance out the warmed over body styles and dated chassis design. For example that 10″ black strip on the firewall above the body tag is the end seal of a cabin air filter!

  6. packrat

    Yes, those _are_ ’62 taillights, and I have no idea why the ’62 (one year) taillights were so much more prolific than the ’63 (one year) taillights. The local parts dealer had a triwall full of ’62 lenses, and they were about twenty dollars apiece brand new, versus 45.00 for the ’63s (twenty years ago) I still have a set of ’62 lenses somewhere that I bought for show lenses on my ’63 lark. This and the ’64 wheelcovers are both standard swap-outs because of their relative inexpensiveness.

  7. Vince Habel

    Studebaker went to the full flow oil filter on the mid 62 cars.

  8. Rick

    The other obvious clue that its a ’63 are the door frames with the thin post and chrome, ’62 had the earlier style one piece stamped sheetmetal doors (dating back to ’56?) that were much thicker around the window, and the whole door was body color.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Rick —

      Most people don’t realize the main reason for the redesign of the upper window frame area; The factory reduced the height of the window area so the car’s overall height was lower. This also included a redesign of the windshield too. It’s a 63 for sure, I had an almost identical car, same color, but my car had factory A/C. Also had a 62 Daytona convertible, red w/black interior, again with factory A/C, but 6-cylinder motor. Drove these cars as everyday vehicles up into the early 1990s, great reliable vehicles, easy to repair & fairly cheap parts.

  9. Tony Geloso

    These kind of cars are out there because I bought a ’68 Falcon Futura 4 door, with the 200 cu in motor and 3 spd auto tranny. The interior had been redone, that means the seats, kick panels and headliner. It had been painted a few years ago and there is blistering on some of the bottom door seams and in other areas. The bumpers were re-chromed. Motor is stock. There are original hubcaps and chrome trim rings. The biggest negative was that there wasn’t any heat because the original heat/air conditioning set up had ‘shit the bed.’ So, I’ve replaced the box w/ an non a/c unit and am in the process of hooking the unit up and getting it functioning. All glass is functional. Oh, of all the things not to have, there were no sun visors. Those will be on the way in a week or so. Dash was untouched, and there was no AM radio, just the slot for it on the dash, but a CD unit is there [non functional at the moment] situated on the tunnel hump. The milage on the odometer was 57.882 when I drove it back from Milford Connecticut to Albany, NY w/o a hitch. And the price was $1,800. Now comes the fun of updating some of the mechanicals, like, getting rid of the points and condensor, put in a radiator overflow tank. Eventually put headers on, and change the carb to a two barrel. I’d get you a pic, but a a friggin’ knutz w/ a digital camera. Before I found it I’d looked and found that there were too many other units that were too damn expensive. At least for my pocketbook, so this one is a find as far as I’m concerned. Comments/questions …..

  10. Joe Muzy

    If it was a 2 door I’d be snapping this one up. The color is Rose Mist a one year color. The replacement parts are readily available.

  11. 68firebird

    My best buddy had one of these in the ’80s. Actually bought it from a little old lady who rarely drove it. I think it was $200 or so. It was a tank! Later someone bought it and rolled it. Never understood how they managed that. The car would shake rattle and role if you pushed it passed 60!

  12. Paul B

    Very nice. I would love it. But not underpriced at $2600, because you would spend a lot of money going through it, fixing the floors, speedo and all that stuff. Then you might want to paint it, which is another couple thousand or more. Or just not bother with paint. I could put up with the automatic with the V8, especially a recently rebuilt automatic. A good old Lark. Aside from the rust problems Stude never fixed, the Lark was the king of the compacts in my opinion. Adult room, adult ride, a real car.

  13. stillrunners

    Taillights are 62 and 63 base taillights – the Cruiser/Regals got the sunburst taillight and that small trim on the rear doors is 1962 Daytona/Regal trim….all in all good buy….especially if it’s had some suspension work.

  14. stillrunners

    Oh – that Y8 on the cowl tag should be for the Cruiser which came with a 289 and factory disk brakes for 63….but I was wrong on the side trim. The Regal which was in the middle in 62 was now bottom for 63 and the custom with this trim for 63 was in the middle now and the Regal was the base and the sunburst taillights were on all – was looking over the sale brochure than did a little cross referencing. Most of the inside trim screams Cruiser. Sill a good buy….

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