The Champ: 1962 Studebaker Champ Spaceside

Certainly ranking as one of the most unusual-looking pickups to come from a US manufacturer since even before Tesla’s Cybertruck, this 1962 Studebaker Champ Spaceside pickup looks like a winner. And it’s a fraction of the price as the Cybertruck, in case any of you were cross-shopping a Tesla pickup against a 58-year-old Studebaker pickup. The seller has it listed here on eBay in Champagne, Illinois and they have a buy-it-now price listed of $11,900 or you can make an offer.

It’s hard to not notice the by-Dodge pickup box on the Studebaker Champ pickups. They fit like pretty much every shirt that I have ever tucked into my pants since birth. As in, not very well, sticking out on the sides and just generally looking unkempt, like I was trying my best but just not cutting it. Yes, these trucks are ungainly and goofy as hell, but that’s also the charm of the South Bend Champs. The cab is similarly unusual and from what I remember from the very few days where I paid attention in math class – I mean, why would I ever need math in real life when I was going to be a rock star? – two negatives equal a positive. So, overall, this design is a positive! Prove me wrong.

The 1962 7E-Series Studebaker Champ pickup had a Dodge-sourced pickup box, due to at least in part by the company trying to stay afloat, along with a slightly-modified Lark front end, or cab. The marriage between those two components is the stuff of legend. This appears to be a 6.5-foot Spaceside box as opposed to the longer 8-foot bed. It has a very, very interesting profile.

The seller tells us that this truck spent the first 56 years of its life in Arizona and California, just sneaking over to Illinois a couple of years ago. It looks like it’s in really nice condition, but there are a few areas or rust. It appears to have a fraction of the rust that it would have if it would have been in Illinois since 1962. It has had one repaint, a 4-speed transmission, and the interior looks almost like new because it is almost new.

The engine is a rebuilt 259 cubic-inch V8 which would have had around 180 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The $2,800 engine rebuild happened at some undetermined point and it sounds like there are almost more new parts inside the cab and elsewhere than old parts. This is one nice truck. Are there any Studebaker Champ pickup fans out there?

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Comments

  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    I was never a big fan of Studebaker trucks for many years but I have developed a liking for them in recent years. The M-Series will always be my favorite Studes with the late 30s units right in there as well. Early 50s were good but Studebaker just couldn’t bring it out of the hole after 1960. These boxes were obviously styled for something else but Studebaker’s options were dwindling, and it needed a box. I think overall that they were tough enough; they just couldn’t compete with Detroit. It’s tragic. I sure hope someone takes this home and gives it a good life…

    Like 16
    • Sam61

      Like it…but akin to “65 C10 with a modern Silverado bed.

      Like 4
    • stillrunners Stillrunners Member

      But….if you ever own an original maybe you would understand the difference

      Like 1
  2. Howard A Member

    Where do these “mystery” postings come from? They seem to be added willy-nilly, I don’t remember this. Naturally, me and geo like it, fact is, this is my favorite pickup of all time. I know, with my experience, it’s a hefty claim, but I mean it. I’ve always liked Studebaker, being a “lesser” make, like Rambler, and a Lark pickup, couldn’t get any sweeter. Like what I imagine a Rambler American pickup would be like. Very rare, I rarely saw one in the midwest. A guy in N. Wis. near where I lived, had one, but refused to sell.
    While the seller doesn’t mention anything about the history of this truck, I bet it’s rich. This, according to the lettering, was an officials truck for Lions Dragstrip, a fascinating addition to this trucks history. Think of the cool rail jobs and funny cars this truck pushed with that bumper. For once, well worth it, or,,maybe that rusty Mustang for the same price,,, Fascinating, Captain!!!

    Like 10
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Yeah, some of these posts come up like a thief in the night. I check to see what’s on and the next thing I see, some cool feature just showed up. That’s OK, just keep ‘em coming…

      Like 6
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Gotta agree on the phantom posts. Last week there was an early access post I was interested in. Could never find it again?

        Like 2
  3. Weasel

    It’s so ugly it’s…well…UGLY!

    Like 1
    • stillrunners Stillrunners Member

      And they made the Weasel…a WWII vehicle

      Like 1
  4. Joey Machado

    Lion’s Drag Strip. Don’t remember the truck, but watched many races there from a truck and trailer over the fence on the Alameda side as my Dad’s trucking company was a yard beside the fence.
    Stood on flatbed trailers, sometimes sat on a chair. Free entry, sorta. Miss the sounds.

    Like 9
    • Steve R

      The lettering is phony.

      I really like the truck except for the fake Lions dragstrip signage. It’s a trend that can’t go away soon enough. It takes away from an otherwise cool truck that can stand on its own merits.

      Steve R

      Like 4
    • Howard A Member

      Not sure this is the same truck, maybe someone added the bumper, but this outfit claims it is the real deal.
      https://www.smartmotorguide.com/studebaker-champ-cars-for-sale-in-arizona

      Like 2
    • Chris M.

      Cool story Joe!

      Like 1
  5. WayneC Member

    Studebaker kept the same cab from 1949 thru 59 for the pickup with just grill modifications. Something was needed to bolster sales and Studebaker gave the truck design department a cool $100 for a redesign. Thus, a Lark was cut in half and mounted on the solid but old pickup frame. It turned out to be a comfortable pickup and if one of the big three had come out with this, they would have sold many thousands. But alas, initial sales were strong. The Champ has an inherent problem– rust. I have owned 5 Champs and all had severe rust and going around a corner the door would come open. Not good if a kid was sitting in a seat without a seat belt. I have a long bed Champ now, rusty as it is, it has been and is, a very dependable pickup, and the Studebaker V-8 is bulletproof.

    Like 3
    • stillrunners Stillrunners Member

      Having them – doesn’t mean you know them The early cab was used until 1964 with some rare deisel trucks as well. The cab of the Champ is not a Lark body cut off. You must be the guy that bought the doors off a nice Daytona that was in a yard I visited.

      Like 1
  6. C5 Corvette

    My step-grandfather had 1 of these. It was a lot of fun to ride with him all around New London and Waterford CT back in the 60’s.

    Like 1
  7. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    These trucks have no value. I’ve got a 61 with step side style bed minus engine and trans, couldn’t even get a grand for it. My plan is to put the cab and bed on either a Ford Ranger or Chevy S-10 or Dodge Dakota chassis if I find a good one for a very low price.
    As far as this one goes I wish the seller good luck, because buyers for these are hard to come by.
    God bless America

    Like 1
    • Vince H

      The have more value than you think. Have you ever heard of the Studebaker Drivers Club?

      Like 3
  8. John S.

    Some of the early Champs used the previous “step-side” style bed, which didn’t exactly match the lines of the square Lark. Studebaker then switched to the boxy bed sourced from MoPar. Why? I haven’t a clue… didn’t fit, no style, no flow… looked worse. They made enough poor decisions like that, both in production and corporate mis-management that they faded away. Even the Avanti couldn’t save them. So sad, but I still drive my ’56 Transtar on a daily basis. It’s tough and still does the job!

    Like 5
    • AMFMSW

      Studebaker didn’t have the money to tool up a full-width bed, so the only way to get one was to purchase it from someone else. I agree that it did nothing for the looks of the Champ.

      Like 2
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Dodge went to the new body/cab/ fleet side bed in 1960 – Studebaker bought that bed and used it on Champs from 1960 until 1964 – mystery solved.

      Like 1
  9. TimM

    Does anyone know how available a four barrel intake is for one of these motors??? I mean I’m not trying to make a hot rod out of it but the single barrel carb is something I’d put on the shelf and put a four barrel on it to get it to perform a little better!! Heck maybe a garret turbocharger with the new electric motor to take away the turbo lag!!

    Like 1
    • John S.

      They are available from e-bay, Craigs list and I think Offenhauser. The Studebaker Drivers Club has un-told amounts of genuine Studebaker parts available from members…Try Edelbrock, they used to make them. A nice 500 c.f.m. Edelbrock 4 barrel carb will run quite well on a 259 Studie V-8. I have one on my ’56 Transtar pick-up and it runs like a watch!

      Like 1
      • Steve R

        Edelbrock stops making manifolds when it is no longer profitable to make them in large runs. Offenhauser on the other hand, will make short runs of whatever parts they still have molds for.

        Steve R

        Like 1
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Yes – basically the same 4 barrel intake from the 50’s – with the exception of the early ones are set up for the smaller 4 barrel carbs of the day and they got a little bigger carb size by the 60’s for the Carter 4 barrels. Not that hard to find the stock ones.

      Like 1
    • Poppy

      That’s a 2bbl Stromberg on there. The 2bbl intakes can be machined to convert them for 4bbl fitment. Many SDC vendors sell the modified intakes. Early stock 4bbl WCFB intakes are also readily available with the ’63-’64 ones for the AFB a little harder to find.

      • John S.

        Not worth the effort when “real” ones are so easily found. Do it right so you just do it once!

  10. Vince H

    Intakes for a 4 barrel carb are available from many Studebaker vendors.

    Like 1
  11. Gary Evans

    The early 4 barrel carbs were Carter WCFBs (up to 62 or 63?) and then they were Carter AFBs, which Edelbrock reproduces. I have several of the WCFB manifolds and one for an AFB. I think the 4 barrel manifolds for Studebaker are being reproduced now.
    I loved the “Frost and French” license plate frames on the 62 Champ. I lived in Los Angeles from 1970 to 84 and enjoyed going to Frost and French for parts for my 1956 Transtar which I still have.

    Like 1
  12. Comet

    Great news for me! All this time I thought I was ugly. Turns out… I’m just unusual looking!

    Like 2
  13. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    The last Champ I owned was ordered with the V/8 and 5 speed overdrive transmission. As a half ton it must have been the cruiser back in the day. While I had about three of the C-cab’s – I was after a Champ in the 70’s – why because it was so different with the low cab and maybe it was the factory sliding back glass in the cab !!!!!

    Like 1
  14. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    So, different is your thing. Check out Guy Fietti’ motorized and oversized shopping cart.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  15. Lee Matthews

    The state police in Oregon used Champ pickups in the 60’s

    Like 2
  16. Bob

    Sold for $8250 at Barret Jackson in 2015.

    Like 3
  17. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this Studebaker Champ auction ended with no bids.

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