Wednesday, December 14, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1964 Studebaker Daytona

I'm totally a sucker for Studebakers, even the ones I don't like that much. Maybe it's the amusing-sounding name, maybe it's the fact they were solid domestic cars not built in Detroit, maybe it's just the fact they have a unique flavor not found in a Ford or a Chevy or a Dodge.

This car presents an interesting question: When is a Lark not a Lark? Some readers may remember the red 1963 Lark Daytona S2 convertible featured during Independents Week back in July. This is a Daytona too, and it's a facelift of the Lark body, but it's not badged as a Lark. And like the red Daytona, it has a V8, but it's not supercharged. How very confusing. Everywhere you look, particularly in the profile, it's not hard to see the Daytona's pedestrian Lark roots. By 1963, the Lark's faux-Mercedes grille and little round taillights were becoming dated and a refresh was in order. The results of that refresh, while perhaps not the most handsome car, gave it a more modern look without outright copying the competition.

As this car belongs to the collector I commonly refer to as Stude Guy, it has been modified to suit his taste. The chrome hood ornament is added, as are the polished American Racing Torq Thrust wheels (A-R rims of various kinds are a customary addition to his cars), custom tailpipes and the Studebaker Drivers Club license plate frame. I was surprised that this car doesn't wear the Frost & French Studebaker dealer plate frames most of his other cars have. Luckily the interior has been left largely stock and looks quite lovely. it seems to be a dark blue leather or vinyl that goes great with the vibrant metallic blue body. I've never been a big fan of the later Studebakers, but this one is growing on me the more I look at it.
I actually met Stude Guy once, very briefly, and since he was busy and had to leave right away I never learned his name. Just from what I've seen, he has an impressive collection of these rare and fascinating cars that get driven on a daily basis, and I can't wait to find and document all of them someday.

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