Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Wagonaire

Warren, in Sydney, sent me some pictures of his 1963 Studebaker Lark Wagonaire. He has a crash repair business in Summer Hill (or smash repair business as they say in other states) and if he has restored it he has done a wonderful job. Anyway, he wants to sell it and here's a couple of phone numbers - 0417454044 and 02-9797 8296. I really like Studebakers and have fond memories of them running at PI and then Bathurst. When Max Ullrich raced his Compact Fairlane in Group N and it turned out to be the measure of the Mustangs (yes I know he races a Mustang now) his innovation inspired me to pick up a 1966 Lark (late enough to have the Chev engine) to make an Appendix J as well. When I bought it it still had rego on it and it was a really beaut car to drive to work, so much so that the race car idea seemed to go out the window. I ended up being a two-Stude man, buying a chocolate brown automatic version to keep the grey one company. Anyhow, enough of that, here's Warren's unique supercharged Wagonaire........  
The outstanding feature of the Studebaker Wagonaire, not to be confused with the Jeep Wagoneer,  from the same designer, Brooks Stevens, is the roof over the cargo  bay which manually retracts into and then locks into position in the forward section of the roof over the rear passenger seat. Very handy when you need to take your new refrigerator home from Harvey Normans in an upright position or the fruit trees home from the nursery. Marius, my Isabella owning friend up in Laura, had a Lark station wagon buy I don't remember the retracting roof.  Originally the Wagonaire was based on the standard Lark station wagon body, modified from the waistline up, but later and particularly from 1964 when Studebakers were only made in Ontario, Canada, the fixed roof was a delete option.
The other standout feature of Warren's Studebaker is the fitting of the optional Paxton Supercharger, sometimes referred to as a McCulloch Supercharger. They were designed and produced by Robert Paxton McCulloch who also manufactured lawn mower and chain saw engines. Just Cars describes it as the factory fitted Avanti Supercharger which is how Studebaker marketed the supercharger when fitted to Larks. Below is a close-op of the supercharger fitted to another 1963 Stude and also the Avanti badge. Also, the R2 badge which signifies the high performance level of this model. I think I detected the R2 badge in the bottom left hand corner of Warren's car's grille.

1 comment:

degruch said...

Brilliant car! I've been watching it pop on and off eBay the last few months. I've been searching for a late model Wagonaire for years, not these stubby nosed pre-1964 models. Unfortunately, later Aussie models had the roof welded shut, apparently due to constant warranty work (leaks). The fixed roof was available as an options...I can't remember whether Marius' car is fixed or not. I owned two 1965 Cruisers for many years...I miss them a lot. If anyone knows of a good '64 to '66 Wagonaire, please let me know! Cheers, Duane