Tom and Marge Price purchased the Studebaker from Mike Haslam in 1983 as a rolling chassis without an engine or transmission as shown in this photo right after towing it home. Tom along with his sons Tim and Tracy would start working on the car making some necessary changes to the interior so Tom could drive it comfortably.
Working out of their garage (l-r) Tim, Tracy and Tom Price getting the car race ready. They have cleaned up the engine compartment and installed a new guage and switch panel. When Sandy Haslam drove the car the gas and brake pedals were reversed and Tom put the clutch and gas pedals back in their normal positions, adding a hand lever to actuate the brake master cylinder mounted on a horizontal panel about chest height to the right of the seat. In addition to changing the interior, fire bottles and safety belts the Prices also completly re wired the Studebaker.
The Earl Wade 358ci small block Chevy was built and installed in the Studebaker in March 1985. Tom Price and Earl Wade were very good friends, having grown up together. Earl was a noted engine builder and master at finding horsepower. Note how sanitary the engine compartment was and the tricked out cap for the fuel tank. The first run of the Studebaker was on May 5th 1985 at the El Mirage Dry Lake meet season opener. The run was a disappointing 128.553 due to problems with the Chevy based Turbo 400 clutch glide.
Photo of the Studebaker at the May 1985 El Mirage meet. The car was running a very tall tire on the rear and the rear wheel wells had been radiused for clearance as the photo shows. The first two meets were plaged with tranny problems. The clutch glide was causing the car to spin when shifting. A Muncie 4 speed replaced the Glide after the June meet which improved the shifting problem, however the engine started experiencing ignition problems with the Schafer Magneto in August 1985 and the Price's changed to a Vertex Magneto in November 1985.
This photo was taken at one of the El Mirage Lake meets in 1986 in line waiting to unload for technical inspection. Studebaker Joe's No. 722 and his son's No. 790 pulled up right next to the No. 800 Studebaker and a photo opportunity presented itself. In May of 1986 the car ran a very respectable 166.389 mph, the switch to the four speed transmission and the Vertex mag. were changes in the right direction. The June 1986 Lakes meet found the car running very loose and it could only muster a run of 152.801 mph and at the followng meet in July they broke the quick change rear end. August 1986 the Price's installed a new quick change rear end and added more camber to the front axle to improve handling. To see the next page (Click here)