Operation Stude Begins

Regular readers may have noticed that its been four months since I last mentioned my Studebaker and her new Cadillac engine. Truth be told, it’s because the whole thing has been a little depressing…Stude’s been sitting all that time. I know, I know…this is the longest the ol’ girl has sat since she first took to the road (even longer than when she was stranded up at Gene Winfield’s place).

The first thought I had when getting the Cadi’ 331 was to put it in ASAP. But as I began planning and figuring out the work, and more importantly the money, that it would take to get the job done, and done how I wanted to do it…I realized that it would be a little ways off. Since Studie has been getting progressively sicker over the past year, I made the decision to repair her current parts and get her back on the road – so that I can save up, search for period-correct Cadi parts, and do the Cadillac conversion correctly over time.


I estimate I’ve logged over 70,000 miles on Stude, without any major engine issues…so it isn’t a surprise that she’s in need of some TLC. Overheating has become a big problem and her engine is simply smothered in oil – I presume the head gasket is the culprit.  Then there’s her shifter. When the initial engine transplant was done over six years ago, I wanted to adapt the original Studebaker column to my more modern 700R4 transmission shifting linkage – and quite honestly it’s always been a little janky (as in you’ve got to have that special touch to get her in gear). It went downhill the few months before parking Stude, with me unsure if I would be able to get her in to/out of park wherever I was driving her, sometimes ending in a maddening struggle between woman and machine.


So finally, last night Operation Stude commenced. The plan is to remove the engine and trans, regasket and evaluate if any other rebuilding work needs to be done, clean and paint the engine, possibly replace the intake manifold, attempt to de-leak the transmission, put in a Lokar cable shifter through the floor, and also (finally) add a working e-brake. A healthy little list of things…but this should be fun! What will be just as much fun is having Stude in good working order when I’m done!


It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a wrench to Stude, too long of awhile. It felt really good to be back working on my car (Davey the Falcon is fun and all but he’s not mine like Stude is mine)! An encouragement to those of you who are beginning wrenchers – pulling an engine used to sound completely overwhelming to me, but now that I’ve been part of more than a few engine pulls I feel confident about what I’m doing. The feeling of having a little experience under my belt is a good one…even though I’ve still got TONS more to learn!

I’ll be updating on this process in tidbits along the way – be sure to subscribe to GreaseGirl if you’re not already! Keep plugging along with me…

Happy Trails,


10 Responses


    Always enjoy seeing the Stude. In fact I’ve seen the Stude more than i’ve seen you this year. Keep up the good work…BO

    • greasegirl

      Bo! Yes…I’ve been quite evasive this year 🙂 I’ll be at Mooneyes with Davey and my Mister as well as GNRS, which will be here before we know it! By the way…I was thinking of you just the other day and a possible venture, we will have to talk!

    • greasegirl

      🙂 I’m glad you can see a slice of my life! I miss you too…email me and let me know what part of TX you’re in, I may be visiting sooner or later!

  2. Tom Portesy

    Hello just joined We spoke awhile back on a forum I own a Bill Frick Studillac If I can help you out with your swap please let me know I enjoy reading about your project Tom

    • Kristin Cline

      Hi Tom, thanks for dropping in and saying hi! Is yours an original Bill Frick? As I’ve been focused on #OperationStude, I really have yet to hard-core start planning out the details. I’ve been chatting with owners who have Cadi-powered hot rods at car shows and gathering info… also thinking about whether I want it to be truly period-correct or whether I want to use more modern transmission. After this current phase of work is done I’ll start doing a bit more due diligence research for the project – but I’m really looking forward to it! You’re not in So Cal are you? I’d love to write/shoot a feature on a real Studillac!

      • Tom Portesy

        Yes It is a real frick studillac (one of four known to exist) When I got it in 74 I didn’t know what a studillac was I was just looking for a 54/54 stude coupe to make a 50’s type hot rod I had /have a nice 54 champ coupe all stock and didn’t want to make it a hot rod. Four many years I dragged my feet because I knew I would piss a lot of people off making the studillac a 50’s rod. Then someone told me life is short you have to do what makes YOU happy, that plus a friend of mine had a studillac and was doing it all stock the way it left Bill’s shop. I have a caddy lasalle stick trans but my friend has the caddy automatic A caddy engine dosen’t wind to high in the RPM’s so I keep the 3:31 rear Your steering box also may have to be moved back about an inch and a half. the motor has to be low so the 49 caddy mounts work well. I live all the way here in N.Y. L.i. not too far from where Bill built the studillac’s It was good to hear from you Lets talk more.

      • Kristin Cline

        Wow, that’s super cool! I will actually be headed to NYC early October… perhaps we could meet up, I’d love to meet you and also do a feature on your car!

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