What’s on Your List?

Grease Girl with her 1955 Studebaker Champion

I’ve found that everybody has their own unique approach to building and working-on their car projects. You’ve got factors like money, who’s doing the work, skill level, space to work in, time, end-result, and of course personal organizational style (or lack thereof!)

My 1955 Studebaker Champion is a work-in-progress. Since she’s my daily driver my top goal is to keep her on the road so I’ve got regular maintenance to keep done and of course unexpected events come up too! But that doesn’t rule out my desire to get her into better shape as time goes by.

So with it being the holiday season, I figured this would be a good time to step back and identify what I’d like to get done and what my priorities are for Stude. So I’m not sure whether this is a Christmas wish list or my 2010 New Year’s Resolutions… but here it is! Maybe you’d like to make your own for your project car!

  1. Get a new exhaust system on. The pipes that went on my car were originally shaped for a different model Studebaker. This means I’ve got an ugly exhaust system taking a good 6” under my car’s profile – yuck! It’s also taken a good beating on the asphalt because of that, which has resulted in both mufflers been torn open! Take that and worn out Hooker headers and you’ve got crazy noise and a less-than-healthy exhaust system.
  2. Work on suspension components. I don’t think I’ll be able to afford airbags for my car this year, but there’s some less-costly stuff to get done to my suspension. First of all I can get my rear leaf-springs re-arched which shouldn’t cost much. I also just noticed that my shock-absorbers are shot which is making steering a challenge at times. Combine that with still-original shocks on the front-end (which I think recently lowered a little) and there’s some serious improvements to be made with a minimal amount of work and money.
  3. Add seatbelts. Yep, I’ve been danger-girl driving Stude around LA freeways with no belts. My previous job working on an ambulance taught me that lap-belts alone are sometimes worse than no belts at all…so I just kept them off. But I’ve decided it’s time to do a little something about safety and I’ve found a company that makes custom-colored shoulder belts for classic cars.
  4. Seal her off! Most people probably never think about the rubber trim in their cars. But when you own a car 50+ years old it means the original rubber is dry, cracked, and all worn out. Why does this matter? One word: rain. Rubber helps keep things aligned and quiet too, but what will really bother ya is when water starts dripping down the doors and windows when it rains. I’veGrease Girl studebaker project hot rod home built replaced a little of the rubber on the Stude, but the door and back windows need to be done, then I can stop mopping up the accumulated water under my rear-seats after a downpour!
  5. Better my brakes. It’s LA…I drive in a lot of traffic! Stude’s still on original drum brakes, and sometimes I think I add brake-fluid a little too often. If my brakes failed to stop me as good as I needed, I would be one extremely sad girl – I don’t even like thinking about that! So one of my top priorities this year is upgrading to a disc brake system. I’ve got some research to do before putting significant money and time into this super-important part of my car.

Of course I could continue adding to this wish list (bodywork or paint wasn’t even mentioned!), but I think this is a good place for me to start at this year. So be expecting to learn about the above things as I do this coming year! And may 2010 be filled with car adventures and learning of your own!

Happy Trails to one and to all!