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Save The Paint: 1963 Studebaker Wagonaire


Quite a few Wagonaires have graced these pages over the years. Mainly because of that sliding roof that made it possible haul tall items in the back! These Studebaker wagons were novel while still being simple. They were also family-hauling workhorses so finding good ones today can be a challenge. This particular 1963 Wagonaire appears to be a good one though so we think it is worth a mention. The owner started to remove trim in anticipation of a respray, but luckily didn’t get much further than that. Find it here on eBay in Minneapolis, Minnesota with no reserve and bidding currently at $2,702. Thanks for the tip Jim S!


I won’t discuss the merits of that roof in this post because you can read all about it our past features. What I do want to touch on here is the subject of paint. The seller already completed a ton of work on the mechanical systems of the car before turning his attention to the exterior. He removed the roof rack and some of the trim because he was planning on painting the car. Our question is – why? The paint looks fine to us just the way it is. We can’t find any flaws that a little polishing can’t remedy.


Why do so many people fret over the exterior of their classic car more than the condition of things underneath? Many amateurs will even start sanding on a car before getting it running again because they assume that a new paint job should be the first step of the process. Often times paint can still be saved which would in turn save bucket loads of money. That money could then be spent on more important things like brakes and the cooling system. You wouldn’t believe how many projects there are out there that the owner has sanded and rattle canned with grey primer before abandoning. It is a shame really, so I want to spread the gospel of keeping original paint original. Clean it, polish it, and leave it alone!


Hopefully, the next owner of this Studebaker will have the good sense to treat any rust and then reinstall all the chrome bits without pulling out the spray gun. A lot of the dirty work under the hood has already been done so we don’t see any reason why this beauty cannot just be cleaned up and enjoyed. The engine has been gone through and currently runs well. It sounds like the transmission might need some attention and the A/C will need rebuilt if you are in a warm climate. What fun is an old car if there aren’t a few things left to sort out? Just remember, if at all possible, save the paint!


  1. Chris in WNC

    SAVE the PAINT!
    it’s only original ONCE…….

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  2. Brian

    This appears to be a very nice, top-of-the-line Daytona Wagonaire. Of course it’s hard to tell from pictures, but the paint, body and upholstery appear to be very nice, plus factory PS, PB (I don’t think the ad said if they were disks or drum – both have advantages and disadvantages), and A/C (didn’t notice if it was included but the compressor bracket is still there!). At the current price, I’d say it’s a bargain, so it will be interesting to see what it goes for. These used to be the best kept secret in the Studebaker Driver’s Club, but the words getting out and they’re gaining in popularity, so the prices are going up! Get one now while a solid one can still be had for under $10,000 (if you look hard enough!).

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    • paul

      Disc brakes were offered on 1 American car in 1963 the Corvette.

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      • Mark E

        Studebaker, per their advertising, was the first American car manufacturer to offer disc brakes. http://youtu.be/kFl23P30bNA But that aside, they were standard on the ’63 Avanti and an option on all the other models.

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      • paul

        Got me , so disks were offered on the entire Studebaker range?

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      • Brian

        Yep, that was the beauty of buying a new Studebaker back then; you could sit down with your salesman and go down the list of optional equipment and check off only the items you wanted on the new car your ordering. There were no “value packages” or “perferred option packages” back then. In fact, I’ve heard many stories of Studebaker customers ordering really strange engine, transmission, rear axle options. The dealer would send in the order, the factory would deny it and send it back, so either the dealership owner or the customer himself would contact the factory, reiterate their request and explain why they wanted it and the factory would build it, no further questions. Today, its not unheard of to find factory built Lark Regal models with Avanti R1 engines attached to 3 speed on the column transmissions and few, if any other options. On the flip side, I’ve seen 6 cylinder cars with power steering and brakes. Studebaker was glad to make whatever you wanted, even if they felt it wasn’t a good idea, rather than to lose a sale.

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  3. Dolphin Member

    This is so homely and honest, it’s actually beautiful. Take it to the next Show ‘N Shine and I’ll bet there will be more than a few people who will agree

    Five bids to over $2,700 in the first day. Looks like some people already agree.

    Nice to see that the seller cares enough to install a new brake booster for the safety of the new owner. And it’s good to see big, crisp pics from someone who knows how to work a camera, when bad cellphone pics just won’t do.

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  4. RickyM

    Remember having a Matchbox model of this car complete with sliding roof, driver and a dog! The roof always fascinated me as the car was never sold over here in England so I never saw a real one. Love this example! Keep it original in my view.

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  5. Rick

    When I was a kid in the 60s my family had a 62 Lark 4 dr for several years, and I was embarrassed to be seen in it. Then in 1989, I was checking my oil at a Ballard, WA gas station and some old guy walks up and we started talking old cars. Pretty soon he tells me he has an old Stude and offers it to me for $200. So I give him a ride to his place a few block away and there in the garage is his ’66 Commander 2 dr sedan that he bought new from University Studebaker in Seattle, w/ the Skybolt Chev 6 and three-on-the tree o/d, twin traction diff and still had those aftermarket clear plastic covers on the seats you used to see back in the 60s and 70s. Now there was 150K on the clock and the paint had seen better days, but needless to say I took it home, After using it as a daily driver for a few months, it started needing things like complete brakes and a clutch, plus the o/d solenoid went out. So I sold it to a collector for $900, which was lot of money at the time, because you could buy a mint Studes of that vintage for $2K all day long. Don’t wish I still had it, however.

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  6. Brian

    Studebaker offered disk brakes on the Avanti, but was offered on the Lark line as an extra cost option. You can read about them here,


    They were a Bendix design and I understand they were simular to the disks used on Jaguar cars during that time, although I’m not sure if any parts will interchange between the two. Today, they can be difficult, if not expensive, to find parts for and although they were pretty good in their day, modern disk brakes conversion kits will provide good disk braking with parts sourced from common, modern components that are easy to find and inexpensive.

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  7. Mark E

    I agree with Jesse, the paint in the pics looks fine to me. I’d say polish it and enjoy it, especially with the patina obsession that’s sweeping the hobby. It’s really tempting here because not only is it a local car, if I bought it, I’d be able to keep the cool vanity collector’s plate if I go to the DMV with a note from the owner. (I did this before with a vanity plate on a car I bought)

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  8. DT

    wouldnt that car come with a generator?

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  9. Brian

    Actually, ’63 was the first year for Studebakers to have an alternator. It was a small, rather weak (by today’s standards) Prestolite unit. IMHO, I don’t think they were much better than the generators they replaced, but it’s very simple to swap them out for a 70s-80s Delco unit with double the amps…or more if you wish! Since the Delco mounting tabs are just slightly small, all you need is a few washers for spacers. This swap also eliminates the need for an external voltage regulator.

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  10. Rene

    I agree. Original paint is far better than new paint.

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  11. bizfinguy

    I think I need professional help because I think this car is gorgeous.

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  12. Barry Thomas

    Jesse, this looks like your kind of car, a fairly complete and interesting parts hauler. Probably the only one at most cruise nights. Maybe a team support vehicle for the next time you rally the ‘Stang.
    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Yeah, don’t tempt me Barry. I found another one here locally for $1k, but it’s pretty rough. My wife has been pretty understanding up to this point, but this could be the straw…

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      • Brian

        My wife likes my Studebaker, but my dog and I LOVE it!

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  13. Paul B

    You could also get disk brakes in ’63 on Studebaker’s GT Hawk. President Sherwood Egbert, desperately trying to save the company’s auto operations, saw a market and image advantage in Studebaker’s broad array of performance equipment and mandated that these items be available throughout the line. That is where the Super Lark came from, among other Studebaker wonders including 4-speed, supercharged Wagonaires. A year before the GTO appeared and sparked the muscle car craze, Larks were available with supercharger, disk brakes, 4-speed, suspension performance options, and seat belts. There are some very high powered Larks out there, some of them in flashy Daytona trim with bucket seats, but others looking as plain as your old auntie’s little Lark with Skybolt Six and automatic! The ultimate sleepers.

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  14. paul

    Wilbur, yes Ed

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  15. Andrew Minney

    Love it, love it. Leave it as it is, please!!


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  16. Gary

    A friend stumbled across this site and directed me to it. I’m the new owner of this wonderful car! I’ve allready put all of the chrome and parts back on the car and it looks really cool. The engine is great and the brakes were all done. The paint is a long ago respray and needs some work. I’m planing to patina the paint a little and run with that. Just rebuilt the bellcrank steering and it now drives nice with very little slop. Next project is the leaf spring bushings along with the sway bar bushings, it does whallow down the road a little right now. The interiour is just about perfect and I beleive it to be original. I’ll continue to chase the leaks and the fixes that it still needs.

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