View Full Version : Cedar Rapids Int'l Meet News Articles - 7/13

07-14-2009, 02:02 AM


Studebakers roll into C.R.
Jul 13, 2009
-- Oldsmobile owners and Pontiac partisans, take heart: There is an automotive afterlife. Forty-two years after the last Studebaker car rolled off an assembly line, the 45th annual international meet of the Studebaker Drivers Club is bringing close to 1,000 fans of the orphaned marque to Cedar Rapids for a week of restoration seminars, swap meets and displays.

"What's really neat is, in a smaller town like this you can make an impact," organizer Dennis Day said. "When you go to some of the big cities, you're all off in a little area by yourself." Day, 74, of Cedar Rapids, said the statewide Hawkeye Chapter of the drivers' club won this year's event in 2004. Iowa's central location helped carry the question, but Cedar Rapids' manageable size and traffic also helped, according to Day, a retired Rockwell Collins engineer who owns two Studebakers.

Day said local residents' best chance to sample the proceedings is Thursday's contours display and judging, when hundreds of Studebakers will be on display at Hawkeye Downs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free; admission to the vendors' area is $5.

By late Sunday, the parking lot at the Clarion Hotel & Convention Center, 525 33rd Ave. SW, was filling with living, breathing Studebakers, from the 1930s Dictator through the cutting edge Avanti sports coupe of 1962 to 1964. Day said more than 500 pre-registrations are on hand, most for more than one person. Up to 400 cars are expected, many driven to Cedar Rapids from across the country.

Lacking the capital of the big manufacturers after World War II to develop completely new cars, Studebaker retained famed design ers to cloak its underpinnings in dramatic style. That penny-pinching compromise led in part to Studebaker's strong following today -- people looking for something different but affordable.

"They didn't make significant changes to their cars," said Day.

"They didn't have the money to do it, which makes it easier for us today, because it's easier to find parts." "The cars have traditionally been very affordable," said Ed Reyn olds of Greenfield, Ind., whose company, Studebaker International, has been a major parts supplier for the past 20 years. "The parts are plentiful, and relatively inexpensive." "It's a little bit of the underdog," said Bob Palma of Brownsburg, Ind., technical editor of the club's monthly Turning Wheels magazine. "Also, they're easy to work on, parts aren't that hard to come by.

And you drive it to a car show, you're probably going to be the only (Studebaker) there."

-- Contact the writer: (319) 3985819 or steve.gravelle@ gazcomm.com

07-14-2009, 09:02 AM
That's a great article. I'm only sorry that I couldn't make it to Cedar Rapids this year. Oh well, probably in Arizona next year.


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