We have seen reader Bruce S.’s ’56 Packard Four Hundred project >>HERE<< and we got a preview of his ’64 Studebaker Commander R4 project >>HERE<<. (The story at that link details his objectives with this project.) The R4 is the rarest and hottest of the Avanti engines. Bruce’s Commander is DONE! What he built was a One of NONE ’64 Commander R4. Studebaker didn’t build a Commander powered by it’s Avanti R4 V-8, so Bruce built it himself!
“After 10 years I have finally completed this one-of-none ’64 Commander R4.
It looks in every way, shape and form as though it was built by Studebaker.
Every visible piece, part and assembly is 100% Studebaker, even down to the
date code on the engine. It’s a piece of work, I’ll tell you! I have to keep going out in the garage to look just to make sure I hadn’t been dreaming that it was finished. It has been a journey!”
We were hoping Bruce would be able to provide us with a “Bring-a-Trailer“-style driving video, but he was “camera shy”. 😊
Here’s more of the story from the original post:
“The year was 2008 when, finally, I was able to go to a SDC national meet that was held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was a very well attended event and there were lots of Studebakers including more Lark-bodied cars than I had ever seen in one place. They were all lined up like Studebaker’s in a dealership car lot such that it was nearly sensory overload. Suddenly something strange caught my eye as I walked up to a freshly painted Ermine White 1962 Lark two-door sedan. The strange part was the funny looking black and white round badge with a lazy “S” and the symbol R4 attached to the front grille. Under the bonnet was all Studebaker, a built 304 cubic inch V-8 with an aluminum intake and a pair of Carter AFB four barrel carburetors and the whole business was connected to a Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed and dual exhausts with two and one-half inch tail pipes. Aside from the obvious built-in power, it otherwise looked like grandma’s grocery getter.
All I could think of was that I wanted one and the one I was looking at wasn’t for sale. A whole lot had to happen before I was able to get one and the first step was to find a V-8 donor car. That led me to the Studebaker forum where I was eventually connected with a pleasant gentleman in Nevada who owned a Bordeaux Red with red interior v-eight 1964 Commander two door sedan which I bought, minus the engine. Then I got with Dave Thibeault who proceeded to build an engine with similar characteristics and power components of what Andy Granatelli designated to be installed in the Super Larks.+
“Ajay” provides us with this video clip of a self-parking ’30s Packard:
The inventor of this device lived in Piedmont, CA in the hills above Oakland. He tried again twenty years later with the device installed on a contemporary Cadillac and on a ’53 Packard Cavalier. Why didn’t this catch on? As “Ajay” writes “too much equipment, added weight and expense for the benefit. Learn to drive and park!”