1960 Studebaker Lark 6 259 cu. inch V8 from North America

Summary:

Surprisingly roomy and fun, little nostalgia sedan

Faults:

Very little. From the time I acquired it to the time I reluctantly let her go, it ran very well.

I replaced a battery, and had my mechanic install an oil filter (it was optional in 1960!) and adjust the serpentine belt.

Other than than, nothing.

General Comments:

What a delight!

I unexpectedly had this car drop into my lap when my brother gave it to me, figuring it wouldn't fit into his current life. It had been lovingly, if amateurishly, restored.

The car was from western Washington, and had never seen a salty winter. The body and underbody were rock solid. The re-paint was amateur grade, but presentable.

The previous owner had dropped a Hawk V-8 into it with the correct rear end. He added Turner disc brakes, and the car honestly braked very well -- never scary.

The Lark had an amazing amount of room for a compact sedan.

Babying it, I got about 20 mpg. The overdrive was a blast on the freeway, and it did well up to 65 mph. I wasn't inclined to push a 50-year-old car further than that.

The ONLY reason I let it go was because I didn't have the space or money in my life for a toy car, and I couldn't see letting the salty Michigan winters destroy such a wonderful little cruiser. I will miss it all my life.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd March, 2012

1959 Studebaker Lark 6 Regal Hardtop Coupe Inline 6 from North America

Summary:

Will never sell it

Faults:

I have had a number of things fixed over the last 3 years. Replacing the fuel pump (now), replaced water pump, fixed the radiator and gas tank, brake pads need replacing on a regular basis, and I just rebuilt a brake cylinder. The defroster doesn't work. After many years I replaced the automatic transmission fluid, but may not have had to. But I spend less than $600 a year on the car, not including gas or oil.

That said, I live in LA and the weather is perfect for the car. I wouldn't drive the car in the winter in a cold climate. Rain is also not its friend.

General Comments:

I have a LARK VI Regal “Hardtop Convertible” Coupe and use it for my everyday car. Like an earlier poster, when it is running well, you can hardly hear the engine at a stoplight. Great car, will run forever. One of only 7,075 produced, first model year was 1959. 169.6 cui inline 6, 90hp, good fuel economy, 20+ mpg highway.

This is my only car, I rent a car when I need to go a long distance. Compared to car payments, it's a great solution.

There is a certain comfort level driving the car ergonomically that I can't describe. It makes me happy to drive it, but with manual steering, it is not a quick car or a car you drive to get somewhere fast.

This breakthrough mid-century compact was designed by Duncan McRae & Bob Doehler and was years ahead of its time. Almost everyday I get complements on it. Hoping to get it repainted and new upholstery soon.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th December, 2009

1962 Studebaker Lark 6 2.8 from Israel

Summary:

I loved it

Faults:

I had some problems with the clutch bearing. Nothing a new bearing couldn't solve.

General Comments:

It was a 4 door sedan, painted light grey, 3 shifts with overdrive gearbox, and I was the 3rd owner.

Believe me, that car was just fantastic, with room for six people, very quiet and easy to repair.

Oh God, why did I sell it???

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 18th September, 2006

1959 Studebaker Lark 6 169 cid from North America

Summary:

This is my efficient head turning work car

Faults:

Vacuum line to the windshield wiper developed a leak. A $0.50 fix for a new hose.

General Comments:

I bought this car for $200. It was in a garage and had not been licensed since 1984. The tires were badly dry rotted.

I cleaned the points, jumped it from my other car and it started! With 17 year old gas! It was burning a little oil, so I tore down the engine and did a ring job. I reseated the valves, and since I had it apart I also put in new rod and main bearings.

The engine is so quiet, at traffic lights, I sometimes think the engine has died. I added seat belts for safety. I drive it at about 65 MPH 30 miles to work Monday through Friday and get about 22 miles per gallon. The car has a 3 speed with overdrive (.7 to 1 ratio) and a 3.54 rear axle gear ratio. I get lots of thumbs up on the car including one Texas DPS officer. Now if I only had a 1953 Coupe!!

Long live Studebaker!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd September, 2004

2nd Sep 2004, 17:02

I had two questions - is that engine an inline six cylinder?

And after it had sat so long, did you have to do anything special to the transmission? Change the fluid or anything?

23rd Sep 2004, 21:53

Yes, the Studebaker sixes were all inline. I don't know if the author of the post change the lube in the transmission, but it would have been a good idea... however those gearboxes were tough.

I had a 57 Stude with the same engine and transmission. The thing had sat for years before I got it and I never touched the transmission. It shifted fine and the overdrive worked just like it was supposed too... now if I could get the OD working on my 60 Champ!

Jeff DeWitt.

30th May 2006, 08:44

I owned a 1960 Lark while in high school and college from 1965 to 1969. It was a solid and well built car and incredibly simple to work on. The fuel mileage was good and it was a tough, dependable little car.

4th Nov 2007, 10:59

Hi, thanks for posting your story. I have a 1959 Studebaker Lark 6 that sat for years and like yours started after a simple jump. Tuned it up and runs great. The rear brake light has gone out, I was wondering do you know how I should fix this? Is it a simple fuse or something mechanical I should be looking at? Thanks.

20th Nov 2007, 16:49

Fixing a rear brake light on a Studebaker Lark is pretty basic: if the bulb is good and the fuse is not blown, then the problem is either in the wiring or in the switch. Those old Larks probably had a hydraulic switch screwed into the side of the master cylinder instead of a mechanical switch on the brake pedal, iirc. If replacing the switch does not fix it, then you will have to track down the wiring problem. Check for a bad ground first and then work your way back from there to the brake light switch.

22nd Feb 2008, 08:27

I have a 59 Lark VI, I am having trouble locating front fenders for replacement parts. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

27th Feb 2008, 10:59

Re the above comment looking for a Lark fender: if you are not a member of the Studebaker Drivers Club (studebakerdriversclub.com), then you should join. Over 12,000 members and invaluable source of parts and info. Not sure if Lark fenders are being reproduced or not, but they should certainly be able to advise you of possible sources.

My first car was a '59 Lark VI. Good luck on your search.