Custom In The Works: 4.6-Liter Ford Powered 1952 Studebaker Truck

Studebaker came out with some interesting designs and innovations over the years. From their iconic ’53 Starlight Coupe to the long running Avanti, it’s always easy to pick a Studebaker out in the crowd. For some reason however, Studebaker seems to lack the kind of love that we see other classic cars getting, for whatever reason, Studebakers seem to either get restored to stock specs, which is rare to see in itself, or they are just left to rot. Thankfully, that’s not the fate for Steve Harwood’s ’52 Studie truck.

A lot of work has gone into the project already, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Hailing from Sequim, Washington, he’s no stranger to unusual and intriguing builds. You may even recognize his name from when we featured his Ford Falcon a couple years back. He owns Dog House Powdercoating  and is an auto enthusiast to his core.  When Steve sold that Falcon, he couldn’t stand not having a project out in the garage, and that is where his story and the story of this Studebaker come together.

Although it looked pretty nice from the top, the bones were a little weak in there was a lot of rust that needed attention.

“I have had the truck for almost a year,” Steve explained, “and I bought it after I sold the Falcon. I needed something to bang on in the garage.” Steve actually found this on Craigslist a few hours from home and fell in love with its quirky Studebaker style. What caught his eye right away was that he had seen a hotrod Studebaker truck years ago and seeing this brought that memory back to the front of his mind. “20-years ago there was a guy that worked for me at Coca Cola and his dad had a Studebaker truck hotrod,” he explained. “Everyone tells me that Studebaker was so far ahead of their time.” 

Part of what makes the Studebaker such a cool truck is that it came from the factory with some style points that fit with the look of a custom hotrod. Studebaker already did some of the work for him! “It looks like it has a chopped top, but it’s at factory height,” he said. The look to us already resembles the shaved and curved front fenders reminiscent of a George Barris custom build, but that’s just how these trucks came from the factory!

When Steve bought the truck, it was basically bone-stock, “I rode it up and down the road a few times and decided that I couldn’t drive it like this,” Steve detailed. “It needed a full suspension rebuild and it was going to cost as much to rebuild as it would to do something different, then I’d still have a 65-year-old truck that could hardly go 45 miles per hour.” He wasn’t sure where to start or if that was really what he wanted to do when he got some valuable advice from a close friend, Kyle Milham, “All you have to do is knock down that first domino. The rest is easy!” 

The truck was previously owned by Omar the Tent Man. It had a lumber rack and a magnet like this on either door, thats why the doors have the big rust spots in the middle.

Although he is still in the middle stages of the build, there’s a lot of really, really cool stuff going on here. In the end, it’s going to be powered by a 4.6-liter Ford Nodular engine out of a 1993 Lincoln Mark VIII, a 4R70W 4-speed automatic transmission, an 8.8-inch 3.73:1 geared, posi-traction rear end out of a 1997 Ford Explorer. It also features the front crossmember and suspension system borrowed from a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria Police Intercepter.

The original frame has been completely boxed in for more strength.

The interior colors are still up in the air, but he’s thinking dark colors. He wants to be able to get in and out without having to worry that he is going to mess it up and make it look dirty. He is also contemplating a charcoal gray, two-tone exterior color scheme that would lend itself nicely to gray or black interior. We can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s done!

Keep your eyes out for a follow-up article on this one, it’s a really cool build and we’re surely going to check back in with Steve when he has things wrapped up here.

This is an unusual build from top to bottom and with the time and effort that Steve is planning on putting into the car, and how nicely that Falcon turned out, we’re sure this is destined to be something special when all is said and done.

About the author

Kyler Lacey

A 2015 Graduate from Whitworth University, Kyler has always loved cars. He grew up with his dad's '67 Camaro in the garage and started turning wrenches at a young age. At seventeen, he bought his first classic, a '57 Chevy Bel Air four-door, and has since added a '66 Plymouth Valiant and '97 Cadillac Deville to his collection. When he isn't writing for Power Automedia, he's out shooting pictures at car shows, hiking in the forests of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, or working on something in the garage.
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