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George Krem's '64 Studebaker Challenger

The "Plain Brown Wrapper"

Studebaker R3 supercharged 304.5 ci engine rated at 335 HP

At the Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race, as seen in Hemmings

At the 2012 Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race

Purchased new in 1964, this car was selected because it was lightweight with no options. It did not come with carpet - only a rubber floor mat, and it came with only one sun visor and one armrest. The goal was to make the fastest Studebaker possible using all factory parts. Later an R3 engine was purchased from a Studebaker dealer for $725, complete except for the Paxton supercharger.

This car is raced at the Pure Stock Muscle Car Drags, and has posted 12.85 seconds at 111 MPH, running a T-10 4-speed and G70-15 Firestone street tires.

The T-10 has just been replaced with a Powershift automatic. Traction is a real problem and the hope is, with an automatic, better 60' times can be had.

Video and audio clips

Ted Harbit pilots George Krem's '64 Studebaker Challenger down the track at the 2012 Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race

Engine:304.5 ci Studebaker R3
Paxton supercharger
Cast-iron headers
Carter AFB carb
Transmission:Powershift automatic (was a T-10 4-spd)
Rear end:Twin Traction, 4.56 gears
Race weight:3300 lbs
Rear-wheel HP:365HP @ 5830 RPM
Best ET:12.85 seconds at 111 MPH on street tires


Ted Harbit's '51 Studebaker Drag Car
Ted Harbit's '63 Studebaker R2 Super Lark
Ted Harbit's '64 Avanti Drag Car
More Cars of the 1960s
More Studebaker Coverage

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Anonymous on Aug 30, 2008 said:

This car belongs to George Krem who lives in Colorado but the car is kept at our place in central Indiana, to be closer to the PSMCDR held in Michigan each year.

George has graciously let me drive it in the PSMCDR. The car's best time of 12.85 seconds could definitely be better if I felt comfortable enough to drive it as if I stole it but with the value of this unique car I have been extremely careful not to abuse it. Under the right conditions I feel the car could run at least a couple tenths quicker than it has.


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Anonymous on Dec 5, 2020 said:

I was fortunate to have seen the PBW at an International Studebaker Meet held in Waterloo, IA. in 2010? My son had entered his 63 Avanti (for show only) What a remarkable time we had as the Kirchhoff family is well known for the many Stud's my father Art and I had rebuilt over the years. We absolutely loved the Studebakers. I suppose it all began in 1927 when my grandfather John bought his first one. Dad bought his first in 1958, a black 4dr Lark, 259, 4bbl, automatic. Of course in high school at the time, I found to to be very competitive indeed. I owned several 53 Champion Starlite Coupes into which dad & I replaced the 232cuin with the 259 equipped as the Lark was. Sweet rides and as I was in Tech School auto body at the time, I slicked them up to be excellent cars. Over the years, dad & I reworked and rebuilt nearly 40 Stud's of all models and years. He stored and ran many of them as his daily runners and tinkered with them for hours in his retiremnet. It all culminated with the death of my father in 2000, but the memories I have continue on. We visited the museum in South Bend in 2012 and thouroughly enjoyed seeing all the beautiful cars on display. Oh, did I mention, my grandfather began his love affair with Studebaker by purchasing a two seat, canvas topped, carriage back in 1908 and used it every Sunday as his go to church transportation. We just loved our Studebakers and the many innovations they produced. So sad to see them close their doors.

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Anonymous on Sep 2, 2009 said:

awesome! i love these off the wall scrreamers. in a sea of 69 camaros and chevelles galore, this is so refreshing.

sincerely, joegagan

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Anonymous on Dec 31, 2009 said:

I'm looking at a Hot Rod magazine from October 1963. There is a letter from George Krem of Roslelle, IL. He says he worked for Studebaker that summer demonstrating the Avanti. He also had several comments about the Lark. Is George still around? I can send an image of the letter to him if he wants it. Let me know at

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Anonymous on Jan 3, 2010 said:

Yes, George is still around; living in Berthoud Colorado, and still caring for this 1964 Studebaker Lark Challenger, a/k/a "The Plain Brown Wrapper."

I am George's 4-years-younger cousin; he is 67 and I am 63. When he was 22 and I was 18, we together found this 1964 Challenger brand new on the rear sales storage lot of Studebaker Indianapolis in Summer 1964, and, subsequently, I was with him when he bought the car brand new.

He and I together uncrated and installed the R3 engine less than a year later at my father and our mutual Uncle's Ford/Mercury dealership in Ottawa Illinois.

It has been our privilege to watch Ted Harbit wring more speed out of this car at the annual Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race than either George or I could do if we had 100 years to practice!

Bob Palma
Technical Editor
Turning Wheels
(The international monthly magazine of The Studebaker Drivers Club.)

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Anonymous on Oct 22, 2012 said:

1964 Callenger 6 - my dad gave it to me when it swallowed a valve, fixed that and drove it a for while, told him i wanted supercar. dealer got me 58 packard to strip and 4 speed to install. Homace superlark. My friends were astonished.

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Anonymous on Mar 14, 2015 said:

My Army Buddy and I went to Chicago (from Ft Campbell, KY) and bought George's 1964 blue Challenger in 1973. I still have the Bill of Sale. George had 2 Avanti's and a R3 engine on a stand in the garage.


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Anonymous on Jan 3, 2010 said:

It sure has been fun to watch national champion Ted Harbit drive my car at the Pure Stock Drags. I figure that with only 14,000 miles on it, a quarter mile at a time can't run up the mileage too fast. The very best the car has ever done in the quarter is 12.71 sec. at 111.64 mph. This occurred at Muncie Drag Strip in cool evening air and in Pure Stock trim with street tires, full exhaust and the original ForgeTrue pistons. Thanks for the ride, Ted.

George Krem

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Anonymous on Jan 4, 2010 said:

cool! nice car!

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Anonymous on Jan 7, 2010 said:

My son Ryne Sanders rode in this car with Ted at the Pure Stock Drags in Stanton in 2004 when he was 12 (back when passengers were permitted during qualifications) and Ted did a 12.85 @ 110mph which at the time was the car's fastest ever. Ryne and I are Studebaker fans for life thanks to Bob Palma, Ted and the whole Studebaker crew! Paul Sanders

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Anonymous on Feb 26, 2010 said:

I recently aquired a 64' Studebaker Challenger, but it is in a sorry state, I am starting the restoration this summer and I was wondering if anyone could recommend a reliable place to get original or quality re-make parts, please e-mail me at, Thank you very much Chris Campbell, Gibbons, Alberta, Canada

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ghpcnm on Sep 25, 2012 said:

That is one cool 'Baker...THUMBS UP !!!

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Anonymous on Mar 3, 2014 said:

My buddy Paul's son started a replica of this car but lost interest. I have to sell this car.It has a like new California rust free frame supplied by Robert Peterson and a nearly rust free brown 2dr.Challenger body. I am too old to finish the car and wish to sell it to a young Stude fan that will finish it. I can supply many parts to someone that is serious and young enough to finish it. Robert Kapteyn

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Anonymous on Sep 19, 2014 said:

im INTERESTED !!!!! please send me some info, and some pictures.

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Anonymous on Jun 27, 2014 said:

My grandpa used to have almost 10 Studebakers before he passed away years ago. They all went to auction. At 34 I only WISH I could have one of them now to build! Awesome to see it chewing up competition! GREAT CAR :)

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Anonymous on Jun 27, 2014 said:

Latest et for the Wrapper is 12.61 at the 2013 PSMCDR. Would like to better that this year.


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Anonymous on Aug 8, 2014 said:

dont be surprised with Studebakers performance here in New Zealand we had a 1963 r1 lark automatic .. avanti r1 factory set up..we got 142 mph best.. diff was a 3.07 ratio . the horse powers of the r engines dyno out more than they say

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Anonymous on Dec 13, 2015 said:

That is very good for a 63 r1 super lark with a 3 speed powershift auto and diff ratio of 3.07 the tyer size must be 6/70x15s 28inch diameter to do a top speed of 142mph at 5231rpm if I'm correct. with the tyer size of 6/70x15s or the car has 6/50x15s 26 1/2 inch diameter, with that tyer size it would rev more at 5527rpm with the same speed.

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Anonymous on Oct 13, 2016 said:

I have a 65 daytona with 383 sbc fast fuel injection 195 trickflow heads 10.6 compress 548 lift cam 423 at rear wheels 6600 rpm

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