This guide has been created for the 1965 Studebaker Daytona Sports Sedan. Follow this link for information on the later 1966 Studebaker Sports Sedan. The Sports Sedan was Studebaker's only 2-door 'Daytona' model available for the 1965 year, produced alongside the Daytona 4-door sedan and Wagonaire models. The Sports Sedan was produced in relatively low numbers and received a number of unique features compared to other vehicle's in the 1965 range, making it one of the most desirable late model Studebakers.
As the Sports Sedans were introduced after Studebaker's decision to end manufacturing in the US, Sports Sedans were all produced in the Ontario plant in Canada, and made use of a McKinnon 283ci 'Thunderbolt' engine which was built at GM's St Catherines engine plant. Aside from one vehicle, all Sports Sedans for the 1965 year were V8 powered. One car was fitted with Chevrolet's 194ci 6-cylinder motor. This guide outlines a number of features relevant to identifying an authentic vehicle, including exterior, interior and mechanical features, along with details of the relevant engine and body codes.
Number built: 1,627 Daytona Sports Sedans were produced for the 1965 year: (1,626 V8, one 6-cylinder).
Period of Manufacture: September 1964 - June 1965.
It is believed that approximately 12 of the last 1965 Sports Sedans were built as 1965 vehicles, but converted to 1966 models. These vehicles had a new chassis number assigned over the 1965 number on their build sheet, and may have several traces of a 1965 vehicle's specifications. The last 1965 model built is believed to be serial number C-520704, and the owner of this vehicle confirmed that their car was converted to a 1966 model. If you know of or own a car with a similar serial number close to this, please contact us to confirm the specification of your car. Classic Register also maintains an informal register of Sports Sedans here on the site. If you own a Sports Sedan, please sign-up and add your vehicle to the register.
Please note, this guide has been written based on a variety of online sources and enthusiast input. You should not rely on this guide to make any purchasing decision and we make no representation that all information is accurate. You should always seek independent professional advice when looking to purchase a unique car. If you have additional information, photographs or corrections you believe need to be made to this page, please contact us by clicking the button at the top of this page, or comment below. If this guide was useful, please like our Facebook page!
If you are aware of any additional features applicable to the 1965 Sports Sedan, please comment below or contact us.
We have attached images of original color charts from 1965, and provided a number of examples of these colors for the 1965 Sports Sedans (where possible).
|Paint color||Studebaker code||Dulon code||Ditzler code|
|Bermuda Brown (Met)||P-6419||8018-L||22628|
|Executive Blue (Met)||P-6475||8001||13112|
|Horizon Green (Met)||P-6414||8016-L||TBC|
|Laguna Blue (Met)||P-6412||8015-L||13113|
|Midnight Black||P-6410||88 / 44||9000|
Please note, We are missing examples of several 1965 paint colors which may have been available on the Sports Sedan. Please get in contact with us if you have images of these colours on the Sports Sedan (or better examples than the current examples). The colors we have not cited on the 1965 Sports Sedan include Astra White, Bermuda Brown, Horizon Green and Laurentian Green. If anyone has further information on the availability of these colors or a breakdown of the production numbers, please contact us so we can improve this section.
Vinyl roof colors:
Vinyl roof colours were limited to black or white.
Vehicle identification number (VIN):
The Sports Sedans vehicle identification numbers commenced at C510001. It is important to note, however, that VIN numbers of this style were also applied to other 1965 Daytona body styles, as well as 1965 Commander models. Therefore, this number on its own does not necessarily confirm with certainty that the vehicle is a Sports Sedan. Other features as noted throughout this guide should be referenced to confirm authenticity, along with a vehicle's original build sheet, if available.
Location of chassis plate / VIN plate:
The VIN plate on 1965 and 1966 cars was spot welded (not riveted) to the inside post of the driver’s door, between the hinges. See the images for an example.
Body tag details:
The body tags provide information with respect to the year, engine type, and unique body number.
There were two body tags applied:
The body tags were screwed onto the vehicle's firewall just below the heater air-filter (as shown in the images).
Original order / build sheets (production order):
The most accurate way to confirm a vehicle's authenticity and original specifications is to order an original build sheet from the Studebaker National museum. You will need to provide the vehicle's serial number and model to order one of these, and the sheet will confirm all the relevant serial numbers as the car was built, the trim level, paint color, options from the factory, key codes, etc. This link will take you to the order form on the Studebaker National Museum website.
The 283CI engine fitted to the Sports Sedan will have a serial number of 805,420,001 or higher.
The serial number is located on the top front passenger side of the engine block. You will see a flat area, with the serial number punched in. The number is displayed with the "80" spaced slightly apart from the remaining serial number digits.
As the McKinnon engine plant also produced engines for other GM brands from this plant, the batches of engines allocated to Studebaker were not all consecutive, and therefore large 'gaps' in serial number data exist between one car to the next. Further, unlike other GM 283 engines, the McKinnon blocks used in Studebakers did not have a foundry code preceding the engine serial number. For example, the St Catherines McKinnon plant would usually have "K" applied prior to the serial number, but such plant ID codes appear to be absent on the Studebaker engines we have viewed. We have relied on a small sample of engine numbers to make this conclusion, so if readers have any further information, please contact us.
As noted in the preceding section, an original production order sheet will be necessary to confirm that the vehicle retains its original engine. See section 7 of this guide for further details with respect to the 283 McKinnon engines.
Engine Block casting numbers:
The 283 McKinnon block will have a factory casting number located on a ledge at the rear of the block on the driver's side. The ledge area forms the flange between the block and transmission housing. This casting number should be 3849852, which according to Chevrolet records, identifies the block as a 1964-1968 Small block 283CI, 195 - 220 HP (2bbl and 4bbl models). This casting code was applied to Chevrolet engines from other USA based engine foundries, and therefore may not necessarily confirm the engine was produced at the McKinnon foundry.
Cylinder head casting marks and numbers:
Engine cylinder head casting number should be “3795896”. This number corresponds with 60cc heads, and can be found on the side of the head, between the valve springs, under the valve covers. These heads were distributed to Studebaker with the 283 block, and also had “Canada” cast into the head. Images of these markings have been provided where possible.
The 283 V8 engine has been the subject of extensive debate among Studebaker enthusiasts, and many rumours exist with respect to its source and precise specification.
It is generally agreed that the Sports Sedan engine was manufactured by GM subsidiary McKinnon Industries, in St Catherines, Ontario. The same plant is believed to have supplied 283 engines used in Canadian built Pontiacs and other GM vehicles. Many people over the years have suggested that these McKinnon V8 engines were unique when compared to other 283 engines built in other GM plants throughout the USA. It is often suggested that the McKinnon engines had forged steel crankshafts and conrods, cylinder heads designed for a 4-barrel carburettor, heavy duty timing chains, valve rotators, high nickel content engine blocks/heads and thicker cylinder walls. There is also a rumour that not all 283 engines fitted to Studebakers came from the McKinnon plant, and that some would have been sourced from other US foundries if supply was insufficient. In dissent, others have argued that these specifications are incorrect, or that all 283 engines of this period had features such as forged steel crankshafts (among other items), and therefore the engines are no different to other GM equivalents.
Despite significant debate on this topic and much hearsay evidence from both sides of the fence, we have not seen any direct comparison done between the part numbers and specification within a McKinnon engine, versus other 283 engines produced by other GM plants during the same era. As such, we cannot make any solid conclusion with respect to this engine being unique. A pull-down comparison of each engine would be necessary to put these arguments to rest once and for all.
As in the previous sections of this guide, several owners of these McKinnon engines have confirmed Studebaker’s 283 engine serial numbers and casting codes on the head and engine block. In the absence of an original build sheet, the additional characteristics listed below are also applicable to the 283CI engines used in Studebakers:
This section has been created to allow original advertisements / documentation to be displayed for the 1965 Studebaker Sports Sedan.
If you have any original documentation you could provide us with, please contact us so we can improve this page. We are interested in any early advertisements, service books or general information such as original articles.
Please note that these images have been provided for historical record purposes only, and Classic Register holds no rights to the original images.
The following sources, among input from many owners and enthusiasts, have contributed to the creation of this page. If you have any further information you believe can be added, please let us know by contacting us or commenting below.
Foster, P. (2008). Studebaker, MBI publishing.