1964 was a challenging year for Studebaker as the company moved towards the end of production just two years later. All U.S. production for the 1964 model year took place prior to December 20, 1963. Production continued in Hamilton, Ontario thereafter but the 1964 model year is split into the first series and second series, with substantial differences.
For 1964, Studebaker replaced its entry-level “Standard” line of Lark sedans with the new “Challenger” nameplate. The cars retained Lark badging on the rear fenders, but the old naming was on the way out.
A 1964 Challenger was substantially the same as a 1963 Standard. These cars were a bare step up from the minimalist “Taxi” and “Heavy Duty” models, and had no exterior trim pieces and Spartan interiors. The Challenger was available as a two-door sedan, four-door sedan, or four-door six-passenger station wagon.
Production of the 1964 Challenger series amounted to about 6,000 units before production ended at the South Bend, Indiana factory. Of those, about 2,500 were two-door sedans, about 3,000 were four-door sedans, and just about 750 were four-door station wagons.
Engine choices for the Challenger included an inline six-cylinder engine at 169.6 cubic inches and 112 hp, or a 259.2 cubic inch V-8 engine rated at 180 hp with a two-barrel carburetor or 195 hp with a four-barrel carburetor. Buyers could also opt for the normally aspirated 289 cubic inch V-8 engine rated at 210 hp with a two-barrel carburetor or 225 hp with a four-barrel carburetor.
Extremely rare were the Andy Granatelli-developed Paxton supercharged engines at 304.5 cubic inches at 335 hp, and the same engine normally aspirated with dual four-barrel carburetors at 280 hp. It is not recorded that any 1964 Studebaker Challenger left the factory with either of these engines, but they were separately available from the supplier after production ceased.
Transmission options included a standard three-speed column-shifted manual with an optional overdrive unit, or an optional Flightomatic automatic transmission. A special water-cooled heavy duty automatic was available as an option on Taxi and Heavy Duty cars only. V-8-powered cars could also order a floor-mounted four-speed manual transmission. All models could be ordered with “Twin-Traction” limited-slip differential and with front disc brakes.
The available option list for Studebakers in this era was long, and featured many creature comfort and luxury items including a compass, tissue dispenser, and several different radios. Exterior brightwork and power function options were also available.
Collectors should be primarily concerned with condition and with the engine and transmission present in any car. Obviously, V-8 cars are preferable, especially if one of the rarer 289 cubic inch engines is present. Four-speed floor-mounted shifting or a water-cooled, heavy duty automatic transmission are preferable to more basic options. All Challenger and Lark-derived models will be much more affordable than any of the 1,548 Gran Turismo Hawk or 809 Avanti models made for the 1964 model year.
1964 studebaker challenger Info
4dr Station Wagon
8-cyl. 259cid/180hp 2bbl
6-cyl. 170cid/112hp 1bbl
8-cyl. 289cid/210hp 2bbl
8-cyl. 259cid/195hp 4bbl
8-cyl. 289cid/225hp 4bbl
8-cyl. 289cid/240hp 4bbl
8-cyl. 289cid/289hp 4bbl SC
Curb Weight: 2660 lbs.
Length: 190 in.
Wheel Base: 109 in.
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