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

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

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!

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.

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.

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.

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: [email protected].