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Wyatt Cronin's 1961 Studebaker Lark

By Carly Dale | Photos: Chris Thorogood, 29 Feb 2020 Features

Wyatt Cronin's 1961 Studebaker Lark

Eighteen-year-old Wyatt Cronin was enthusiastically wrenching on his ’61 Studebaker Lark’s broken trans when we first spied him at Chopped 2019

The Daylesford local is a serious revhead with a keen interest in old-school cool. Here’s his story thus far.

This article was first published in the February 2020 issue of Street Machine

How’d you come to own a ’61 Stude?

My dad inherited the Studebaker from his mum and in 2012 he gave it to me. The car has been in the family for 47 years, and a lot of that time was sitting in an open-faced shed, so it has good patina. A few years ago – when I was 13 – Dad and I decided to get it going, though the valves had seized in the heads of the 259ci V8. We freed up a couple of them but when we got to the last valve it was bent, so the car just sat in the shed again. Then at the beginning of 2019 I rebuilt a pair of old heads and fired it up for the first time in 47 years!

Read next: Chopped 2019 Top 10

Wyatt Cronin

What happened at Chopped?

Chopped was the first time it had been driven, and the Flight-O-Matic three-speed lost drive after about eight runs. I swapped it for another old trans, which we didn’t think was going to work, but it freed up and came good. That was a bit of a bonus, and it’s still in there now.

Studebaker Lark

How long have you been wrenching?

Since I could walk I’ve been in the shed with Dad, helping with his ’53 and ’64 Studebakers, a ’68 El Camino, Mum’s ’65 Chev C10 pick-up and my ’80 C10 pick-up. It’s a hobby. I like working on older stuff with carbies instead of the late-model stuff.

Wyatt Cronin

Tell us about your squarebody.

My C10 pick-up was from Barstow in California. It’s pretty much all original and the silver has patina. Instead of a six, it now runs a 307ci Chev, and it’s my weekender. I go cruising in it with one of my mates; we just drive around town or go to a car show in Ballarat and Castlemaine, and I take it to some swap meets as well.

Studebaker Lark

What’s next for the Stude?

I plan to get rego on the Studebaker one day. I’ve always wanted to build a gasser, and the original plan was to make the Studebaker into one. But that changed as I decided to have something else to cruise instead. First, I need to fix a few bushes, seals and rust holes; it’ll probably need rewiring and stuff like that. I don’t really have a timeline, though I’d like to have it done by Chopped next year. But I think I’ll be pushing it – I just finished Year 12 so I’m also looking for a job, maybe in carpentry or building. I’ll take the Studebaker back to Chopped even if it’s not registered. Drag racing and burnouts were good fun; I’ve had paddock bombs over the years, but it’s nothing like driving an older car and doing fun stuff in it. Now a few more of my mates are interested too and are building cars for Chopped 2020.

 

Aged around 21 or younger and have a neat ride? Send some pics and info to: Young Guns, Street Machine, Locked Bag 12, Oakleigh, Vic 3166 or email us at: younggun@bauer-media.com.au.

 

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