what do you C1 and C2 guys use for wiper blades?

Hi all,
I don't own a Corvette, but I do have a '55 Studebaker, and have a friend who's seriously into 53-64 Studes. What does this have to do with 'vettes, you ask? Well, all 56-64 Studebaker Hawks use a 12" wiper
blade which I have confirmed to be the same Trico wiper blade that was used on the C1 Corvette, and I'm pretty sure the 15" blades used on the Avantis and 63-66 Larks is the same as an early C2 Corvette.
The problem that I'm trying to solve is that I am a bit of a stickler for some details, and I really hate seeing a nice old car "ruined" with ugly modern wiper blades. The original ones are really nice and low profile and just look right. Even the aftermarket "classic" style blades look big and chunky next to the originals, and the attachments to the wiper arms are often... inelegant. Problem is, if you have a "driver" car, how do you properly maintain your blades? The 12" blades apparently never were meant to be refilled; I've got the repro rubber from Corvette Central on some '56 style wiper blades on my '55 coupe. Expensive solution, but works. (the original '55 blades... haven't found a solution for those yet. The 12" ones work better than the original 11" ones anyway.) The later 15" blades look to be easily refilled, *if* I could find refills in your average FLAPS.
I've got a couple ideas and have actually ordered a couple different types of refills online with which to experiment, but I was wondering if I was trying to reinvent the wheel here and you 'vette guys already had this figured out? If you have a part number that works, or can be easily modded to work, that I can order at my FLAPS, let me know. Otherwise, if I come up with a good solution, I'll be sure to post back here as well as on the Studebaker forums.
Just so you know where I'm at, I've pretty much verified that for the 15" blades, I think that a Trico 43-150 refill should fit in the 15" blades, although the 16" one that they had at my FLAPS did seem to bind a little between the rubber and the claws unlike the originals. However, I found this:
www.tricoproducts.com/Trico2/pdf/43seriesrefills.pdf
look at the longer refills... THOSE look like the stock splines on the original refills. I've ordered a pair of those to play with; I'm thinking that one might be able to pull the rubber out, trim it to fit and then work it into the original spline in your old blade. Maybe even on the 12" blades? That would be great, so I wouldn't have to shell out for the "show correct reproduction" stuff every year or so for what's basically a driver car.
If it works, I'll let you know...
thanks
nate
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On 05/24/2010 10:29 PM, Nate Nagel wrote:

Below is a copy of a post I just made to the Studebaker forums... I am lucky enough to have a good parts store nearby who ordered the refills that I thought would work, and they were there in only one day. (where I talk about 15" blades below, as I posted above, I believe those are the same as used on an early C2 'vette. Where I mention the 12" blades, those are the same as a C1 'vette, or at least close enough that the Corvette repro rubber pieces work in them.)
Does this sound familiar to any of you? You have an old Studebaker, and you'd like to not worry about being caught out in the rain, and/or you just want to have windshield wipers on the car to maintain some semblance of legality. But, you don't like the look of ugly aftermarket wiper blades, so either you kept the original stainless Trico blades which amazingly enough are still on the car, or else you went to York or Reedsville and bought some used wiper blades from one of the parts vendors, figuring you'd put new rubber in them. Unfortunately, finding refills of any kind in a parts store is difficult these days. Here's what works:
If you have a 63-up Lark or Avanti with the 15" wiper blades, and the blades still have the original splines and clips intact, get yourself a set of Trico part no. 43-190, 43-200, or 43-220 refills (you probably will have to order them.) They are long refills but have a spline somewhat similar to the original stainless Trico blades used on our cars. (I was hoping that it would be *so* close that it could be cut down and modified to work in case you had an original blade with non-original spline, but no such luck.) I bought some CarQuest 453-190 refills, which I believe are just a relabel of the Trico 43-190. There was a little dot of glue holding the rubber into the spline, I just broke that with my thumbnail, pulled the rubber out of the spline, and scraped as much as I could off. Then I cut the rubber to length with a razor blade (for a 15" blade, looks like it should be somewhere around 14-5/8" to 14-3/4") removed the original spline from the wiper blade, pulled the rubber into the original spline, and reinstalled. Looks close enough to original from any farther away than a foot or two to fool anyone but a Bloomington Gold show judge (sorry 'vette guys, I had to throw that in there... we don't care about bolt head markings either) and is the easiest solution I've found to keeping your original wiper blades yet.
I suspect but don't have an example handy to test that this will also work for the 12" blades used on all 56-62 cars and 63-64 Hawks. This would be fantastic if it did as those original Trico blades were never intended to be refilled so your only other options are to remove the original splines and use a universal plastic spline refill modified to fit or else pay $20-something plus S&H for show-correct repro rubber inserts from one of the Corvette parts suppliers (what's on my car now, but when those wear out...)
For the 15" blades, a Trico 43-150 will fit and function, but the spline is not as original and it does bind somewhat as the rubber above the spline is a little larger, so I suspect that using the longer refill with the correct profile extrusion with the original spline as I have described above is preferable, assuming that you still have the original spline and clip.
So don't throw out those original wiper blades, shine 'em up and refill them. If you see a parts car with original blades, grab 'em! Please don't let another nice looking Studebaker fall victim to the Ugly Black Wiper Blade syndrome!
good luck
nate
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