Cruising in a 1951 Studebaker “Bullet Nose” Champion
2 Door Sedan
Marshall thought that the old “Bullet Nose” sedan would make a unique street rod.
He asked Charlie what he was going to do with the old beater and Charlie responded “probably nothing.” So Marshall went to look it over. It seemed to be a very tired old car but it still ran and was drivable. ‘Ole Charlie gave Marshall a fairly stiff price considering the car’s condition.
Marshall didn’t want to pay that much and was getting ready to head home when Charlie’s wife came out of the house and said, “If he won’t deal, I will! I want it out of my driveway,” and she told Marshall that if he would paint her 1964 Pontiac GTO that she would give him the Studebaker and throw in a 1935 Ford which had been a Moonshine runner in Hazzard, Ky. back in the day. The old Ford came complete with bullet holes!
Marshall took the GTO and when he returned it to Charlie’s wife with a fresh paint job, she was thrilled. As promised, she handed over two sets of keys for the Studebaker and the Whiskey runner. Charlie’s son, Darren took the ’35 Ford to his shop in Brookville, Ind. and Charlie was able to drive the Studebaker to Brookville where the work would begin. The Ford was just a little too rough and would have required too much time and effort to resurrect so Darren traded it to a man in Terre Haute for a 1965 Chevelle. He did a little work on the Chevelle and traded it for a 1932 Chevy from which he built a beautiful street rod out of and began driving and showing last year.
When Marshall’s wife, Mary Jane, first laid eyes on the Studebaker he asked her what she thought. She responded that it was ugly and named it Ugly Betty!
It was the spring of 2007 before Marshall got started on the build. He removed the body, did some measurements and figured it would fit well on a slightly shortened 1984 Chevy S10 Extended cab frame which would give the Studebake an easy path to modern steering, brakes and suspension as well as a dependable Chevy drive train.
He rebuilt a 1985 Chevy 350 small block and a 350 Turbo transmission that was salvaged from a 1985 Chevy pickup.
During the build Marshall, Darren and Marshall’s other son, Mark added power steering, brakes and windows. Also the old Studebaker was fitted with vintage air conditioning and remote opening doors. Marshall chose chrome 5-spoke 17 inch wheels. The car was painted with seven coats of Sunset Red over two coats of Black Pearl and finished with four coats of Clear Coat.
The finished product is just stunning, especially in bright sunlight.
When Marshall first brought Ugly Betty home to Connersville to show Mary Jane she was amazed at the transformation and changed the cars name to “Miss Betty.” As it turned out, she loved the old Studebaker and drove it all the time!