Blog over de restauratie van mijn '50 Studebaker Commander


3 years, 8 month and 15 days later



Opstelling per eind mei 2011

Opstelling per eind mei 2011

DSCN9282Today I placed the body back on the frame with the invaluable help of Marco. It took me 3 years, 8 month and 15 days but it starts to look like a car again. Still there is a lot of work to be done but this is a major milestone. Since the steering column has to be installed first and the brake and clutch pedal are installed it takes a special move to slide the body over the steering column and pedals. Front end down, rear end up. slightly move the frame backwards a bit and lower the body a bit, frame backwards, body down etc. Then, with the body in place align it with the holes and insert the body bolts with the seals in place between the body and the frame.  Piece of cake but it took us the best of the day.

Winter time

The time of the year to step into the shed, close the door and work for hours of tiny little items. Well that’s what I’ve been doing the last few month. Cleaning the old nuts, bolts and washers. Still there is quite some progress to report.


IMG-20141110-WA0001After the body was blasted and painted in epoxy 20141027_161507I started repairing the thin spots. Door openings and the edge of the trunk were thin and in some spots rusted away so the had to be replaced. The rear doors had a series of small holes where the gravel deflectors had been and on the “bubble”. New pieces had to be formed on the English wheel, welded in place and tinned until the original shape was back. I still have the right rear door to go.

The front door were better and only needed some new parts in the bottom.


20141228_131636When it is really too cold in the garage I resort to my slightly warmer shed and work on the smaller parts. Clean, blast, sand, prime, fill,sand again and, when all is done, paint in the right color. Here one of the fans and a duct of the ventilation system, both is Semi Gloss Black.

I painted the inside of the body, the bottom and the firewall in “Midnight Blue”, an original 1950 Studebaker color than I selected for the exterior. A beautiful dark blue that really makes the chrome stand out. Much better than the original ‘Plaza Grey’, a color that is suitable for coffins and the Eifel Tower

Yesterday I started preparations for the joining of the body and the frame as you can see on the last two pictures.












It’s been too long

OK, it really has been too long but I have an excuse. All of a sudden an other love came into my life. I found a 1941 President and I could not let it go. It took me a year and a bit to get her up and running to my standard but here she is:




I took her to the Le Mans Classic race and back without missing a beat. A wonderful 2000 miles road trip with my sons Bas and Tom

Road trip to Le Mans Classic 2014

All said and done I’m now finally back to work on the 1950 Commander. This summer I already started cleaning, straightening and preparing the fenders and the doors. The fenders are ready and the doors still need some welding. Today the body was blasted and came out pretty well. A few thin spots where I’ll have to weld her but mainly a solid body.






Bas from Automaxx

Bas Schoonhoven from AutoMax

A 1950 exhaust pipe is not readily available in the Netherlands. Fortunately there are places where I can have one custom made. Bas Schoonhoven from AutoMax in Utrecht did a perfect job copying the old pipes.

The new exhaust fitted readily and look good on the  Chassis.




I installed the gearbox and overdrive, connected the clutch mechanism and the propshaft with the universal links. This completes the drive train from the engine to the rear wheels.

DSCN9955Before we can drive away I still need to connect, adjust and test quite a few things to operate the gearbox and especially the overdrive. For the moment however I continued with the brake system. Since this is a simple single-cylinder brake system I would really like this to work properly. So when, while filling the lines, I found a dripping Tee I decided to replace it.

This means back to the internet to see if I can find a fitting Tee.




I did find the tee at Fittings And Adapters and ordered it. Not cheap for a piece of brass.

Back in place



June 7th a year and a half ago I lifted the engine off. Now, completely revised I placed it back on its foundations. A milestone.








While waiting for parts I decided to start with the gearbox. “A nice little job” that I could do at home. The workshop is a bit cold this time of the year. It turned out to be a little more work than I expected. The front bearing needed replacement. Now is finding a new quality bearing not all that easy. Internet is a great help though. In the end I found an SKF bearing of the right dimensions, even with the right groove. All the gears and shafts were still excellent, the seals and gaskets were replaced with brand new ones.

The moment I had all the parts on the workbench I wondered if I’d ever get the gearbox working again. As it looks now, I did.

Deep under the dirt, in the crevices of the cast iron case, I found the original color. To my surprise it was the same color green as the engine. Did they really spray the whole engine to gearbox assembly in one go?


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