Now THIS is how you build a station wagon the right way! Big 350 V8 power, great bodywork punctuated by an attention-grabbing paint job, room for the whole family inside the bespoke cabin, and a low-down stance all make this 1961 Studebaker Lark Restomod wagon the coolest ride we’ve seen in quite some time. The fact that it’s also surprisingly affordable, was finished only 4202 miles ago, and ready to rock right now is only icing on the cake. Wagons are still hot and when you do them right, everyone sits up and notices. The Lark shape was designed by Raymond Loewy, the same brilliant guy who designed some of the best looking, most dramatic cars of the 1950s and 1960s. It was compact and designed to be practical, but there are plenty of dramatic elements that make it really stand out. Up front you get the traditional Studebaker trapezoidal grille flanked by big round headlights, and the side trim takes a long stroll down the flanks – separating the two dynamic colors on the body while making it look sporty, not frumpy. The taillights are mounted in their own little sculpted pods and the side trim just hooks around out back to give it a very finished look. This no longer looks like an economy car, does it? The two-tone Tangelo Orange and White (the latter of which was borrowed from the 1969 Camaro color chart) paint is far from subtle yet still sophisticated, making the otherwise reasonable Stude practically demand attention, and obviously it was done by pros because it’s beautifully finished. It’s a super-smooth finish that looks miles deep and is very lustrous, especially when our lights stream across all those straight panels, and although it’s no longer perfect (the wagon has been enjoyed for 4202 miles since it was completed after all), any imperfections one might are very minor. Indeed, this is a top driver-quality rig through-and-through, and if I were a betting man, I’d wager this beauty’s trophy-winning days are far from over as well. The chrome bumpers were polished to match the brightwork and seemingly hug the body a little tighter than stock, the body has obviously been lowered, and the side mirrors and badges were shaved, but those seem to be the only deviation; it’s the color and the stance that makes this car look so awesome! The interior got a dramatic makeover as well, starting with a pair of tan leather bench seats, matching door panels, plush Mercedes carpets, and all the creature comforts. Custom door panels complement the exterior styling, and you’ll note the billet hardware that adds the perfect amount of flash inside. A custom Con2R two-tone steering wheel on an Ididit tilt column makes it easy to get comfortable and the original gauges have been replaced by a set of Dakota Digital dials in the dash that keep a close eye n the upgraded engine under the hood. Vintage Air supplied the A/C system in the custom center stack below the dash, and the between the tan pad and the two-tone paint, there’s not a single part of the dash that wasn’t completely reworked to match the theme of the build. An AM/FM/Cassette/AUX stereo head unit was neatly installed and sounds great, an E-STOPP electric parking brake was integrated with a button in the glove box, and all the electronics are good-to-go thanks to a full Ron Francis wiring harness stashed inside the cabin. A chrome shifter on the column manages a TH200-4R 4-speed automatic transmission, making this car easy to drive and it feels quite modern from behind the wheel, and even the billet pedals help improve the driving experience. It’s also practical, as you have a good-sized rear bench seat and plenty of room in the rear cargo area that’s been outfitted to match the rest of the interior. But the big news is the full drivetrain transplant, highlighted by the 350 H.O. V8 crate engine under the hood. It fits so neatly in the Studebaker engine bay that you’d swear it was born there and it still delivers big horsepower on demand. And speaking of that engine bay, it’s a thing of beauty with smoothed and painted inner fenders and firewall and the actual block itself that really pops out with plenty of chrome and orange on the valve covers, air cleaner, polished components, and even the plug wires. There’s an Edelbrock 4-barrel on top of a polished aluminum intake that helps build power, long-tube headers that help it breather, and an HEI ignition that helps it fire right up and run like a dream. It’s backed by a TH200-4R 4-speed automatic transmission spinning a S-10 10-bolt rear end filled with 3.73 gears, so it’ll cruise as well as it did back in the early days of the interstate, and with a pair of Flowmaster mufflers, there’s a fantastic V8 burble while you do it. A Fatman Mustang II-style front suspension features power steering, disk brakes, polished upper and lower stainless-steel A-arms, and RideTech coilover shocks, along with heavy-duty air shocks out back that help stance the stance, and because it’s all been put together the right way this wagon drives like a dream. Color-matched Wheel Vintiques steelies are adorned with shiny beauty rings and center bullet caps, and they come wrapped in 205/65/15 front and 225/60/15 rear whitewall radials that finish off the look perfectly. Documented with restoration photos and build receipts, this awesome restomod wagon is very easy to love. Comfortable, quick, and ready for just about anything, it’s a great way to enjoy a road trip the old-fashioned way. Call today!
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Location: Lithia Springs, Georgia, United States