Guys With Their Rides 17: Bruce and His 1964 Studebaker Challenger R4 Tribute
We enjoy coming across car lovers who dare to be different and their attention to detail pulls together a unique build that completely goes against the grain of what you’ll typically find at your local car show. Our latest “dare to be different” encounter occurred last December 7th at the High Octane South Jersey annual toy drive when Bruce and his sleeper 1964 Studebaker Challenger two door post coupe ended up staged next to our 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. When Bruce pulled up next to us, the throaty exhaust hinted his Stude wasn’t relying on an inline six, so we had to learn more.
We quickly learned from Bruce his Challenger was a recently completed frame-off restoration in which it sounds and show that he spared no expense. For starters, Bruce relied on the expertise of David E. Thibeault, the owner of Studebaker Parts and Services Maynard, Massachusetts to supply the parts needed for the restoration while nearby Studebaker restorer Robert J. Munter at his unassuming WCD Garage located in Northborough, Massachusetts handled the ground up rebuild of this Challenger. We shouldn’t call it a restoration as its more of “what-if” tribute car, but more on that later.
As mentioned earlier, Bruce’s car is a ’64 Studebaker Challenger. By the fall of 1963, it was the beginning of a slow death for Studebaker as on December 9th company management announced the closure of its South Bend, Indiana and the final Lark-type car, a Bordeaux Red 1964 Daytona two-door hardtop rolled off the assembly line on December 20th. Production shifted to the company’s remaining Hamilton, Ontario facility. However, many changes took place once all production shifted to Hamilton, one of which was the consolidation of available models and the Challenger was one of the casualties. By deduction then, Bruce’s ’64 Challenger is likely one of the last South Bend produced Studebakers.
In addition to the 289 cubic inch Studebaker V8 built to R4 specifications, we love how Bruce had his sign maker figure out a way to modify an R-1 Avanti fender badge to read “R-4”, making it a one-of-one. Another great detail is how the builders incorporated an aftermarket tachometer into the dashboard that requires you to take a second look. Finally, while Bruce’s car current wears vintage Halibrand wheels, he’s currently working on having steel wheels painted to match the interior matched with chrome poverty caps. We can’t wait to see his updated Challenger once the spring C&C season. Thanks for sharing Bruce!
Do you have a Studebaker Challenger story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!