Bob Roberts has kindly sent a gallery of pictures taken by him whilst the build of a circuit racing Studebaker Lark took place at Eurodragster.com sponsor Robinson Race Cars in Summer 2013.
Many people know that Andy Robinson’s motor sport story began with marshalling at circuit racing. That history together with numerous visits to Goodwood planted the seed of wanting to build an historic saloon car. In fact the project was developed by a consortium of Andy, Luke and Jerry Clayton and they were keen to find something different to the serried ranks of Cortinas and Falcons. This germ of an idea was formed while Andy was racing the Stude’ Pro Mod so naturally Studebaker was the obvious choice as manufacturer and mid 60’s as the era. Eventually a possible car was found in California and checked out by former Custom Car editor Kev Elliott. It was good, in fact so good that Kev planned to buy it if Andy didn’t. And so it was that a 1963 Lark arrived in summer of 2013.
A lot of time was spent trying to confirm a specification which would be legal for historic racing. Although a blown version had been raced in Australia in period the FIA would only accept an unblown engine. This placed a limit on performance as the Studebaker was not as tunable as the equivalent Chevy. Some time was spent optimising the engine before work started on the body/chassis. In a nutshell this was equivalent to a body off restoration with added bits to support a roll cage and stiffen the chassis.
The car was more or less complete in time for the Autosport show in January 2017 where it was displayed on the Aurora Bearings stand. Although the car was mechanically perfect the paint was dull with age. It was decided not to repaint but retain the patina and age Neil Melliard’s sign writing to match. And in turn the “Barn Find” label was attached.
The car was run at numerous track days and got well sorted after a few teething problems with the engine. But of course it still handled like a ‘60’s American car with little of the sharpness and driveability of a European equivalent.
After a while it was decided to start another classic saloon project and the Lark was sold.