Needs Completing: 1963 Studebaker Lark Daytona

To see an old classic like this 1963 Lark Daytona sitting neglected and unloved, you would be forgiven for thinking that you would be facing a mountain of work before the car was ever going to fire a shot in anger again. With this Lark though, this is not the case. A lot of the hard work has been done, and while there might still be plenty yet to do, this is a car that is ready to be driven and enjoyed while the restoration process is ongoing. Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, you will find the Lark listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is currently sitting at $3,700 in a No Reserve auction, although when you see how much work has already been performed, you might come to the conclusion that it has the potential to be a very good buy.

What a difference a bit of time and money can make because while the Lark is far from perfect, it is now head and shoulders above the car that we saw in the first photo. There is still a bit to do before a fresh layer of paint is applied to the car, but areas like the trunk have already been partially restored, although there is still one spot of rust in there that will require attention. There is some minor rust in the floors, but these areas look like they might be able to be patched rather than replaced. There is also rust in the rockers, but once again, they don’t look like they are too bad. The rest of the car appears to be straight, while the external chrome and trim look good. A lot of items such as light lenses and external trim has been replaced with NOS parts, and I would love to see the car once a fresh coat of the original Ermine White has been applied to it.

The interior of the Lark is a pretty sad and sorry sight, but at least it can be used as it is. The rear seat looks reasonable, but the rest of the trim will need replacing. The dash is particularly bad, but the good news is that there is a complete replacement dash that will come with the car. It looks to be in great condition and represents a pretty good starting point for an interior restoration.

Opening the hood on the Lark is enough to knock your eyes out. That looks pretty nice to me, and there has been a lot of time, money, and effort poured into whipping the Lark back into sound mechanical shape. There is still a bit to do, but not only has the owner given you a head-start, but he is also supplying a lot of parts to complete the process. The Lark features a a 259ci V8 engine, an automatic transmission, a 3.40 twin-traction rear end, power steering, and air conditioning. The 259 has been given a full set of new gaskets, and now also sports a shiny new Edelbrock carburetor. The dual exhaust is new, while the Lark has also undergone a disc brake conversion, with a new brake booster, master cylinder, and Wilwood adjustable proportioning valve. The radiator, heater, and fuel lines have also been replaced, while there is a new electric fuel pump, an MSD ignition, a shiny new set of American Racing wheels, and fresh Bridgestone tires. The only real mechanical fault that the owner identifies is a leak from the front of the transmission, while there are plenty of additional items that are included with the car.

It must be a real wrench for the owner of this Lark Daytona. He has poured a lot of time and money into the car, he is just seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, and the prospect of relocating has placed him in a position where he must now part with the car. However, his loss will be someone else’s gain, as a lot of the hard work has already been done. I hope that someone grabs this Lark and really does it justice in completing the restoration to a really high standard.

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Comments

  1. Wayne

    Uncle Smitty’s mother in law ( who lived down the street from my grandmother) had one of these with the same options. ( tan/faded gold?) His job was to always take her car out on the highway and blow it out as it would get so carboned up that “smooth running” was not in it’s vocabulary. I would ride along as the car was an enjoyable ride. Once I obtained my license the job fell to me when ever I was in the area. It worked out that it received a “good run” about every 6 months instead of only once a year. When Mrs. Parkhurst passed away the car had about 35,000 miles on the odo. I believe her grandson took possession of it when she died and took the car to Paducah with him. It was a very nice driving car. And when ever I see one of these for sale I am tempted to purchase one.

    2
  2. 71FXSuperGlide

    Despite the obvious issues, someone is poised to get a deal on this. Cool cars, and you don’t see many.

    And I didn’t know Studebaker produced a 259.

    • Kenny

      The 259 is a terrific engine. Free-revving, economical, and just plain bullet-proof. I have one in my ’59 Hawk, and I’m always surprised by it’s performance. Plus– come engine rebuild time, a different crankshaft and pistons gives you a 289. No other changes required to achieve this.
      Also– a company called Southeast Studebaker in Knoxville offers complete and correct interiors for Studebakers. They are factory-new quality.

      3
    • fleet butterfield

      That same block started out as a 232c.i. in 1950. Then came the 259, & 289. These blocks are very durable and I think can bored out .090. The power curve is a higher rpm of 3k to 4k. I once did 60+ mph in first gear, which is a granny gear, on an auto trans, and it still had more to give. These are tuff engines.

      1
  3. DETROIT LAND YACHT

    Gorgeous niche collectible.
    The convertible version (which I prefer) in the real knockout.

    https://billstudepage.homestead.com/files/jpalmer63.jpg

  4. Will Fox

    Me, I’d rather have the blue `59 Lark 2dr. wagon sitting behind it in the first photo.

    2
  5. Rube Goldberg

    Seems odd someone would go to that much effort, engine detailing, body and such, which looks very nice and not do a thing to the interior.

    2
    • Stillrunners

      Yep…nice..been trying to sell it for a long time.

  6. Bruce
  7. Johnmloghry

    Ended $3700.
    God bless America

    1
  8. Del

    Is the 259 motor made by Studebaker ?

    • Stillrunners

      Yes….they started the cubic inches at 232 in 1951 I’m pretty sure and punched it out to 289 then the rare 304 motors for 1963 and 64 the last Baker motors.

  9. LR

    Someone got a smoking hot deal…!!

  10. WayneC Member

    It’s amazing what Studebaker did to this engine which became available in 1951. Then they shortened the stroke with bigger valves in 55-56 to 224cid. Then came the 259 and 289. These engines can be bored to 90 over and above but in the later blocks some suffered with core shift and some had problems in cyl #7 & 8. I built a 289 about 20 years ago and bored it .147 over using .030 over 200cid Ford 6 pistons. This coupled with a Crane cam and some head modification came close to running like a 63 Daytona R-2 supercharged Lark that I also had at the time. Horsepower can be phenomenal on these engines and the factory ratings were low in 63-64. The rare R-3 that many know about that runs at the Pure Stock drags is rated by the factory at 335 hp and the R-3 that is raced was dynoed around 440 go. Not bad for a so called antique design.

    1
  11. Bill Pressler

    I owned a white ’63 Lark Daytona hardtop like this one, but with factory Avanti R1 engine and factory Skytop sunroof, for 23 years. I loved the car. The ’64’s tend to get more love, but there is something appealing to my eyes about the most Benz-like looks of any Stude–that’s the ’63. Also, the packaging reminds me of late ’70’s GM–the interior is surprisingly large for a car of that external size.

  12. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    The “before” picture shows a lot of South Bend iron. Almost everything BUT this Daytona looks more desirable. Someone got a deal on this car, and I understand only painting the front clip. But how about an interior spruce up using a local upholsterer to make things civilized inside?

  13. DRV

    A new Studebaker international club member got it!
    Congratulations!

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