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:
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...
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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
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
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!
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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