It's a long road to get the M-5 truck restored.  Much longer than I thought when I started.  But, progress is being made and some things are shaping us nicely.   Here is a review of some of the things that have taken place in the last year.


The truck got stripped to the bones.  After painting the frame, I was finally able to start mounting some pieces as the beginning of re-assembly.  The front and rear axles went to WCD in Northboro, MA, where Bob Munter rebuilt them.  The front got new king pins.  The rear axle was completely stripped, steam cleaned, and new bearings and seals installed.  Bob also set the backlash on the ring and pinion.  Dave Thibeault supplied new springs (made by Triangle) and I put in new front spring hangers, shackles, and rubber bushings all around. 

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My chassis after sandblasting, painting, and installation of springs, brakes, and axles.

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"The brakes you want are right there on the '63 Champ chassis out back of the WCD Garage", said Dave Thibeault.  He forgot to tell me the chassis I wanted to strip was on the bottom of the pile.  Anyone want an X-frame for a C/K car?


Dave T. had advised that the original-style wheel cylinders were no longer available, and the mechanisms were not that great or easy to adjust anyway.  I stripped the backing plates and mechanisms from a '63 Stude Champ truck and mounted them on the M-5 axles without any modifications necessary.  Even NAPA has cylinders, springs, and miscellaneous parts for these brakes, as well as wheel bearings!  If you do this swap, be sure to get the parking brake cable retainer clips off the frame just in front of the axle - the '63 brakes use a different parking brake cable assembly and different fittings than the M-5.  Dave sleeved the master cylinder and rebuilt it.   I made up new lines and put the pieces together.  

The clutch and brake pedals flopped around so much that I had bronze bushings installed and made a new shaft for them to ride on.  I found all the various other NOS parts of the clutch linkage at the Reedsville and York, PA swap meets over the last three years.   Studebaker Farm had an NOS drag link and tie rod ends.

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Baby needs new shoes!  And how!  There were a couple of old 6.00-16 tires in front, a pair of J70-15 snow tires in the rear when I bought the truck.  I assume the 6 in. wide rear wheels came from a '47-'50 Commander or Land Cruiser.  When I was scrounging parts from an old truck chassis that belongs to Dave Thibeault, I found a couple of original style 4.5 inch wide wheels.  I had the wheels sandblasted and painted in Rubyglow Red, the color I have chosen for the truck.  Then they went to the local sign painter, along with a "lazy Susan" spinner and a can of Ivory "One Shot" paint from Eastwood.  He put on the three stripes from dimensions supplied by Buzz Beckman:  1/16th stripe, 1/16th space, 3/16th stripe, 1/16th space, 1/16th stripe.  The center of the wide stripe passes about 1/8th inch in toward the hub from the valve stem hole. 

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I got the local tire shop to order up some 6.50-16 black wall bias ply tires, just like the original style.  These are about 31 inches tall, an inch more than the 6.00-16s.   I bought a set of reproduction hub caps from Dick Quinn and some stainless trim rings.  Boy, do the wheels look sharp now.  At least I have a sense of what the color will be.

Since the bias ply tires will be a real dog to drive, I also got a set of '63-'64 Champ 15 inch truck wheels with 6 inch wide rims.  These are about the same as the '47-'50 Commander wheels (5 lugs on a 5 inch bolt circle), though the newer truck wheels were made for tubeless tires and the hub cap clips snap in instead of being riveted.  I'll get some good radial tires to go driving with, save the bias plies for shows.


As I mentioned, the truck will be painted Rubyglow Red all over.  This was an original color offered on 1946-48 models, though my truck was originally gray, probably Boulevard Gray.  Too dull!  The original code for Rubyglow red is V-AA 7927.  Here is a scan of the paint chip chart from a Sherwin-Williams catalog of the period.  The screen colors do not match the chip, but it is the fault of scanners and computer monitors that they are unable to reproduce real colors accurately.  The chip chart was mounted on new white paper before I scanned it, so the pure white area on the left side within the heavy black border indicates what white ought to be.  The chip chart paper itself had turned yellow over the last 52 years.  I can't swear that the paint chips didn't alter, as well, though they match other chips I have.

I called 1-800-3DUPONT and gave then the code.  They told me I could get a good match with Centari acrylic enamel code L9083A, CC:T, ALT:1.  This also happens to be the Crimson Red B/C paint for a 1989 Suzuki, code 37V.

The interior paint is tougher to match.  There just don't seem to be any paint chips for the interior.  My truck had been painted so many times inside and out that there weren't any big, flat pieces exposed with the original color.   I eventually borrowed an M-5 glove box door from Dennis Dupont in New Hampshire and had that scanned at the local auto paint supply store.  This time the code came up C9258A, ALT:1, a match to a 1992 Ford color, Light Mocha.  I dabbed a bit on the glove box door (sorry, Dennis) and let it dry.  It is just a touch lighter, a very good match to the Studebaker Rodeo Tan shown here, code W-TT 8181.  It's very, very close and does seem to match pretty well with the back sides of the window frames from my truck.   There may have been variations in interior colors from year to year and truck to truck.  Who knows?  Buzz Beckman came up with a PPG Delstar acrylic enamel code of DAR 23013 in the fleet selector paint chip book.  I can't find a local PPG dealer to get a look at a sample.

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Here are two pictures of the interior of an original M-5 truck showing how things ought to be.  This was was found recently by Buzz Beckman in Wisconsin with only 37,000 miles on it.  Had I started with something like this, I'd be done now!

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