start of build... 46 Studebaker truck "roadster"

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Well-known member
Aug 13, 2012
southern MN
... a couple months ago, I started my 1st build project... a 1946 Studebaker M-5 pasture queen... pretty solid body, but the truck belonged to my FIL, who had many cars & trucks, & always restored to original... the motor was hopelessly stuck on this truck when he bought it, & after trying for 6 months, all the old tricks, she went to the pasture, where it sat for the last 20-25 years... until I dragged it up to the driveway...

my goal is an early 60's traditional hot rod roadster build... so I 1st chopped the top off... er... also the doors down to the box level, to be sure how the lines would look, then stripped the truck down to the bare frame ( where I'm at right now ) the cab will have a 6" section removed from the fire wall, through the old top door hinges, to bring everything back into perspective... I've started welding on the frame a bit... added my 1st new piece a front cross member, which will hold the front spring perches... using new shorter springs, may pull 2 or 3 leaves out of the spring pack ( keeping the original I beam axle, but am putting the springs under axle ala Jeep style ) I'm building some bearing spring sliders, to replace the shackles, to give me a bit better control, & will lower the front another inch... next step is right now I'm fabbing my front axle frame bumps, so I can lower the front & still keep some ride quality... I'm looking for about 5-6" clearance at the front roll pan, & about a stock ride height for the rear, giving me a pretty sloped stance... running steelies all around, with 37 Studebaker script dog dishes... front wheels are 15 X 6" , rears are 15 X 10" & will be wearing a set of 325-50-15 Goodyear DOT drag radials... a triangulated 4 link will hold the 55 Thunderbird flanged Dana 44 in place, axle currently wears a 4.09 ring set & an open carrier... which will be changed out & or adjusted after I put a few miles on it... Brakes are all being upgraded to early / mid 60's 12" Cadillac finned drums, & a remote resy dual chamber master... since the original lil 6 was forever stuck, a 1958 Silver Hawk donated Studie 289 & 3 speed overdrive, will provide the motivation... it's said to be in good running condition ( we'll see, hope it runs well enough to shake things out next summer, before I have to rebuild it ), it currently wears a 2 barrel, which will be repolaced by a 4 barrel, & maybe a Paxton super charger down the road... the truck will have a pretty big rake to the stance, so the frame & cab floor will be wedged out to flat, to make driving more comfortable... any pics with the seat ( a 79 Ford passenger van seat ) the seat will be lower, as the Stude in stock form, has the gas tank under the floor, under the seat, & there is a 6" seat riser that will be going bye... I'm going to take some modern pick up box rear fenders ( the ones inside the box ) & make some mini tubs inside the box, the box will also have 12-14" cut from the middle shortening it up nicely... thinking about red cedar flooring in the box, instead of the stock heavy corrogated steel... the dash will pretty much be totally custom, using a 58 Chevy tailight bezel in the center to hold a pair of 6" round speakers with the channels switched, an other 6" round will be in each door... these will be waterproof boat speakers since it'll be a roadster... the passenger side of the dash, will house the passenger JC bar...

that's enough typing for now... can add more details later... a couple pics of the distruction, after a photoshop rendering of what I expect it to look close to ( I've change my mind on a few things since it was done... things like the wheels, etc... )

here are some p


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I am all for roadster pickups, don't think there is anything that compares to them. And this is a very neat and original concept.

Hope you can pull if off. I will be watching our progress. Thanks for posting up.
Picked up the new front springs yesterday ( & one of those new fangled auto darkening welding helmets ) my wife bought me ( from my fabricator buddy ) a used commercial Hobart wire feed... I'm not too bad a welder with a stick welder, but am looking forward to playing with the wire feed... got a couple other projects I can practice with, then will have to get back to work on the frame... I'm going to have my fabricator buddy cut & weld the section out of the front of the cab, but I'll be doing all the rest of the body work...

the doors are trimmed down to modern height, with the seat on the floor, will have to add some steel to the tops of them, to close the holes... I'm planning on the interiour of the doors for storage... the speaker holes will be up high & close to the new top hinges, the panels already have large opening in the middle, that will just need some shaping & will leave like the bottom 1/2 of each door panel for storage ( maybe rain suits or ??? )

the back of the cab will be firmed up with some 2" square tube, which will be radiused around the corners to the door openings... I'll also do the same at the floor level in the back, with a couple vertical braces between... this will give a nice 2" wide top surface for an arm rest & solid place for seat belt mounts ( just in case I'm feeling a bit crazy )... also thinking about a removeable roll bar, that would stradle a cedar tool / necessities box bolted to the front of the pick up box, with the roll bar laying down & inserted into pull pin mounts on the front of the box... main purpose of the roll bar, would be as a rear support for a bikini top, for shade for MRS MAGNUM... the idea being, I could pull the pins in the front of the box, & lift the small sport bar out, & slip it into 2 shorter bigger diameter pipes welded to the frame rails between the cab, & the box... then there would be a couple tabs at the height of the top welded in 2" tube at the back of the cab, where a couple bolts could be screwed in to hold it solidly into place, then I'd do a Jeep style bikini top for some shade in the summer... I don't think I want the bar in permanently, as it'll effect the lines of the truck I'm trying to build in... the frame rails end up right under each person in the cab, so if the bar is padded, it could work as head rests as well ???

also got my new front wheels yesterday ( they are in the raw, so still need paint ), as well as the adaptors needed to use the old 37 style dog dishes with modern steel smoothies...

my rear tires are being brought up from OK in a week or two, as one of the guys at the Goodyear dealership that had these pretty rare DOT drag radials, is coming up to Brainard to the drags... makes me wait a couple weeks longer, but saves me like $75.00 in shipping, the local tire dealer has the front black wall radials I'll be running, once I get the new wheels painted ( both sets of wheels will be painted in flat brown primer color paint, to match the body panels, which will be in brown primer for a long time I'm sure )... I've got about a mile of gravel between my garage & the paved road, so this truck will never wear a high dollar paint job...

this is what my dog dishes look like... & a couple other pics during disassembly, which was tough, as most was done in upper 90* heat, & almost every bolt had to be cut, it took me a long time to get it down to the bare frame


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I love the grills on those trucks, the art deco design of them looks great

Good luck on your build
It's ok EARTHMAN... it's nothing but a stripped frame right now, & is only sitting on one or two blocks just so I don't have to lay in the dirt to do the frame mods...

as far as the sectioning... I don't think I could see out of the windshield if I didn't lower it, once the seat riser part of the floor is lowered

I call the grill the "Pringles Guy" grill... I'm saving all the stock pieces, as they are perf, but am thinking about building a replacement stand alone grill out of aluminum or stainless, & using 3/8" rod... the tiny bent sheetmetal grill could get damaged by even hitting a small bird, & it's one piece with the roll pan under the center grill sections... if I do that, I'll likely include the Studebaker front name badge that's on the hood, as the hood is going to get flattened quite a bit... it's like 9" tall, & I'd have to take 6" out of it... will also run the bottom flat, rather than dipping down in the middle, so my license plate has room on the roll pan to mount in the center...

as long as I'm talking specifics, most all the bolted together pieces on the front end, & the box lower pieces, etc. ( & there are a lot of them ) will be welded into bigger panels, to cut down on some of the lines, that aren't complementary to the truck


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Thanks for the support guys... got my front frame notches built yesterday... they notch up 7" & are made from 2" X 4" rectangle tube 1/8" thick... next I need to skin one side of the new pieces ( as high as the frame rail are in that position, & notch the top of the "C" of the original frame, so they can be tied together a strong as possible
Sorry about the break in the build ( too many other projects )

anyway got a couple more pics... the new tires & wheels, & cutting in my front frame notches to lower the front end... BTW... I got most of the welding on the notches done, & got the center section cut out today as well...


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Fantastic. I think you are going in a great direction and I will be watching this build with great interest.

And if you want a good laugh join the the Studebaker drivers club forum and post it over there.[ddd[ddd[ddd[ddd
a couple more as I'm detail cleaning up the welds


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