Purrs Like A Kitten: 1959 Studebaker Lark Wagon

There’s something cool and fun about a two-door station wagon and in 1959, that’s the only wagon body style that Studebaker offered in the Lark. A four-door wagon would come along in 1960. This 1959 Studebaker Lark Deluxe two-door wagon is being sold in Hopkins, Minnesota and the seller has it posted here on craigslist. They have an asking price of $7,900 listed and they say that it purrs like a kitten.

This sweet little wagon looks a little rougher from this side, at least in the above photo without wheel covers, which is weird because the next photo of the same side has them showing. I wonder if there are four of them? The Lark was made from 1959 until 1964 which seems like it’s not long enough. I mean, it seems like the Studebaker Lark was made for much longer than that, doesn’t it? They should have been if the company wouldn’t have gone belly-up, or by 1966 at which point Studebaker had been out of the US and had been building them in Canada.

I’ve heard folks talk about parents loving two-door wagons because they could “trap” their kids in the back seat without fear of them opening the door and falling out. That makes sense, but they just look cool, too. I can’t tell if that’s bodywork on the lower parts of this car or if it’s just wear and some dings, but it looks a little wavy there. The seller doesn’t mention rust at all.

The interior looks good and I don’t mind blanket seat covers at all. Of course, I’d rather have perfect and original-style seat fabric or vinyl, but there’s nothing wrong with this setup. The dash looks great and this one has a three-speed manual with a column shifter. For a general idea of value, Hagerty is at $7,900 for a #3 good condition car, but with a 20% deduction for a six-cylinder.

Here’s what the rear cargo area looks like, sort of, if you can tell from the photo above. There is no engine photo, unfortunately, but it should be Studebaker’s 170 cubic-inch L-head inline-six with just under 100 horsepower. A sweet little 259 V8 would be fun if a person could find one and slip it in the engine bay. As I mentioned, the seller says that this 170-six-popper purrs like a kitten, hopefully without the ever-present hairballs, and it has had a lot of maintenance done so you can just get in and drive it. It’s had new tires, a new fuel pump, new brakes, and they mention new interior panels. Would you keep this Lark wagon stock, or…

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Comments

  1. Sam Shive

    This would be a cool little grocery getter. NO POWER ANYTHING. Already has 3 pedals and I’m pretty sure you could fit a 289 under the hood, if not a Studebaker I’m sure a Ford will fit. ( NO ls )

    Like 9
  2. Slomoogee

    How often do you see one of these. This is one that I would leave as is. Perfect tow car for small homemade plywood camper.

    Like 10
    • T. Mann

      YES, Teardrop camper

      Like 3
  3. Moondawg00

    Anyone else notice the Dash Gauge Panel is straight out of a Chevy Nova?

    Like 1
    • Blyndgesser

      Looks similar. But the first Nova didn’t roll off the assembly line till 1962.

      Like 14
    • Ferd Berfell

      I have 2 larks and a champ, exact same dash panel as this one.Hmmm.

      Like 1
  4. Will Fox

    In alot of cases to me, the first year of a new design or model is always the best. Clean, uncluttered, and still turns heads today. This `59 Lark is a prime example of that. `59-`60 Larks were simple, nice looking (esp. 2dr. wagons) and considered an economical collector car. Wish I had the dough for this one!

    Like 8
    • Psychofish2

      Truly. 60-61 Lark just small differences made the original a much better design” Grille size, side trim placement, tail lights.
      See also: 65-66 Ambassador. 67-68 Ambassador. 02-03 Saturn L. 95 and 03 Chevrolet Cavalier.
      63 -64 full size Plymouth. 67 – 68 full size Plymouth.
      All the delicate details given ham handed “updates” that spoiled the original designs.

      Like 1
  5. David Scully

    I found one of these in the early ’70s, three-speed 259 for really cheap ($250 IIRC). I put a 4-barrel carb on it, put in a 4:44 equi-lock gear (Studie parts were amazingly plentiful and easily interchangeable back then), and surprised a lot of boulevard later-model cruisers, I’m sorry I sold it, but the cash offer was too good to refuse (about $600, and again IIRC)….

    Like 1
  6. Vince H

    I don’t know why everyone keeps saying Studebaker went belly. They did not just got out of the car business.

    Like 7
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      That’s true, Vince, although they were out of the car business before the 1970s and were basically swallowed up (“merged”) into two or three companies after that and sort of survived for another decade or so, but not making cars. If they would have been able to hang onto the car business those of us who keep saying that wouldn’t say that.

      Like 3
  7. Rj

    I knew this Lark the second I laid my eyes on Her…..search

    SALT 2 SALT
    4594
    RACING

    Like 3
  8. Paul B

    That flathead Champion six is about bulletproof. Too bad Studebaker stroked it down for ’59 & ’60 and dropped the horsepower from 101 to 90. The car was woefully underpowered in our family test drive — which is why my mom and dad picked the 259 V8 and 3-speed manual when they ordered theirs in ’60. That was a peppy car.
    This one should be checked for chassis and body rust, which was a serious problem with all Studebakers from 1953 onward. Lovely car, though, this one, great for around-town.

    Like 3
  9. T. Mann Member

    Chevrolet engines may fit the Lark.

    Chevrolet engines built by Mckinnon under license from General Motors were installed in 1965 and 1966 Studebakers. … In 1965–1966 Studebaker marketed the Chevy-sourced 283 as the Thunderbolt V-8, the same term used to designate 427-powered Ford Fairlanes in 1964

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey

      Just as easy [and likely cheaper] to find a decent Studebaker V8 than a Chevy version that you then have to do a lot of conversion work. The small block Chevy engine doesn’t simply bolt-up in this car. If it was my project, I’d find a ’57 or ’58 Golden Hawk with the supercharged 289 & drop it in.

      Growing up in the late 1960s, I had a neighbor who built a 1960 Lark 2 door sedan with the Golden Hawk engine. He also added a 4-speed from a GT Hawk, and a Twin Traction diff.

      Yes, the Canadian built ’65 and 66 Studebakers used Chevy engines, but there were changes made to the cars to allow this.

      Like 2
      • Bob C.

        I know Checker Motors helped make the adapter kits available to Studebaker so Chevy engines would line up with the Borg Warner transmissions, as they had to do the same thing.

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