PDA

View Full Version : More info found on the "Turtle"



Chris_Dresbach
07-01-2010, 01:46 PM
:) Pet Turtle...
I found some new pics:
http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx323/chris_dresbach/Studebaker%201/scan0004-2.jpg
http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx323/chris_dresbach/Studebaker%201/scan0002-2.jpg
http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx323/chris_dresbach/Studebaker%201/scan0005-2.jpg
http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx323/chris_dresbach/Studebaker%201/scan0001-1.jpg
http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx323/chris_dresbach/Studebaker%201/theprototypecart1.jpg
Now for the news update. At the bottom of one of the photos there is some engineering notes. This one was photographed 10/4/1962 at the proving ground and was design #EX-150733. The one photographed was also the THIRD DHSIGN. That means that there were two prorotypes built before it (i.e. mine) but this was the only one tested. Unfortunately, there are no "early" photos of the turtle being designed/built or blueprints. This turtle that was tested had a hydro static tranny and was powered by a 2 cycle engine.

This is my theory as to why mine was replaced by this Turtle: Mine has horrible steering, so they changed it to what the one in the photo has. Mine is also not self propelled and has no place for an engine. With a load of cargo, my cart would be extremely heavy to manually phush over anything but flat ground. Mine also dosen't have any form of a hull, so it would sink... On the other hand, my cart is close to the same size as this tested turtle. Mine is also light weight and close to the same weight as the Turtle tested. So I figure that my cart must have been design #1, or #2. Ok, what are your thoughts? :)

Jim B PEI
07-01-2010, 02:39 PM
Okay, I thought when I FIRST saw this way back (your prototype) that it was some sort of (engineering) joke, but as time goes on and more surfaces especially these latest Ex pictures, it makes more and more sense. It seems that yours might have been a first attempt to see how soft floating wheels and a central steering link would behave without the distraction of a hull, or an engine--ie pulled through the water tank. The idea LOOKS okay, and with a small engine driving four equal wheels, perhaps with the hydrostatic transmission/pump as mentioned, with balloon tractor-style tires for grip and flotation through water, slurry and mud, it might have worked, especially if some of the possible hydrostatic pressure helped with the steering effort. Somehow, though, the later effort in the pictures doesn't look like it would work all that well. Cockshutt tractors were a menace with the small steering wheels together up front, and its the same reason ATVs have gone from three to four wheels, for stability. I wonder about the usage of #3 then; not as a person+stuff carrying thing, but more of a powered "little red wagon", with someone externally steering it??? No, because then it makes little sense. But with a person aboard, it would have stability issues. If they had kept the central link for moderate four wheel steering, and had four equal tires all powered, it would have been something quite modern in the ATV line. More interesting as it goes on...

railway
07-01-2010, 02:41 PM
Looks as if Studebaker was going back to it roots, Wheelbarrows, only motorize. LOL

8E45E
07-01-2010, 03:03 PM
:) Pet Turtle...
On the other hand, my cart is close to the same size as this tested turtle. Mine is also light weight and close to the same weight as the Turtle tested. So I figure that my cart must have been design #1, or #2. Ok, what are your thoughts? :)

Keep up the good work! To be honest, this is the first I've seen of anything on the Turtle since that reprinted ad in TW in 1979. Did you get those photos from the archives? If so, there must be some essays on file of its development stages that lead up to 'Turtle #3'. It would possibly explain the foam wheels and central U-joint, and would confirm if yours is a development 'mule' for lack of a better term.

Craig

JBOYLE
07-01-2010, 03:19 PM
My guess is that yours might be the first design and used as a proof of concept rig for the chassis and center pivot/hinge layout, so there may not have been a need at that early time to mount an engine. That would come later after they figured out the basic chassis configuration.

Make sense?
I could very well be full of water here...but that's a guess.

At least with the photo with Marines, it's clear that it wasn't designed as a moon buggy...especially with a two cycle engine!
That is IF they were built for the same project.

Welcome
07-01-2010, 04:13 PM
Chris, keep right on digging …you WILL have it all figured out soon!!!

Here is another hint for you:

At that same time there was a company “pioneering” in small 2, 3 and 4 wheel, self-propelled vehicles the general dimensions of "your Turtle,” and yes, they also incorporated the hydro-static drive in their designs. And what …IF …that company were also right here in SOUTH BEND?!?!

Okay, enough said for now, get to digging!!!

silverhawk
07-01-2010, 10:35 PM
Looking good Chris! Keep it up; I agree that you will find it soon!

Chris_Dresbach
07-01-2010, 10:40 PM
Keep up the good work! To be honest, this is the first I've seen of anything on the Turtle since that reprinted ad in TW in 1979. Did you get those photos from the archives? If so, there must be some essays on file of its development stages that lead up to 'Turtle #3'. It would possibly explain the foam wheels and central U-joint, and would confirm if yours is a development 'mule' for lack of a better term.

Craig

Yes, these photos were in the archives. Appearently, these were also ALL the photos on it. I'm not sure if there is anything written about it or not. I know for sure there was at one time, but a lot of it got destroyed in 1964. Ill send Andy an email.

bams50
07-02-2010, 04:08 AM
Great detective work Chris! You may very well be on the right track. Your updates are interesting; at some point someone will run across them or hear about them and know the real story behind it. Don't give up, or let the naysayers deter you!

Chris_Dresbach
07-02-2010, 11:45 AM
I was talking to a friend of mine in my chapter. Said a former engineer who may have worked on this thing moved to California, then back here to Elkhart Indiana (Just below SB). I will give him a call sometime soon. His name is Larry Moyer. Anybody know him?

4961Studebaker
07-02-2010, 12:17 PM
I think this machine is pretty cool and one of those odd ball projects that's fun to read about as the story unravels.

However the first thought that comes to mind.

Portable tub filled with ice and drinks for a meet/show of leisure.

And most practicle...Cement Kart ....ever see those carts that haul cement to your back yard when the mixer can't drive thorugh a narrow access.
Studebaker was just ahead of it's time once again.

http://www.joebuiltwheelbarrow.com/ (East Troy Wisconsin)
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q14/kkad0711/joebuilt.gif http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q14/kkad0711/studebakerturtle.jpg

Muck Truck
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q14/kkad0711/max.jpg

Chris_Dresbach
07-02-2010, 01:49 PM
Ha! Wow, if only Studebaker knew... All the Turtle would need is a way to dump the bed and they could be sold as farm exuipment! I can't believe how similar that first one is to the Turtle.

4961Studebaker
07-03-2010, 08:28 AM
Ha! Wow, if only Studebaker knew... I can't believe how similar that first one is to the Turtle.

I agree.....

HookedonStudies
07-03-2010, 08:42 AM
Great detective work Chris! You may very well be on the right track. Your updates are interesting; at some point someone will run across them or hear about them and know the real story behind it. Don't give up, or let the naysayers deter you!

Chris, I have to agree with BAMs - where are the naysayers now? Waiting for their crow to be served well done?!?!

DEEPNHOCK
07-03-2010, 08:53 AM
Well....
I still want to see some info to this particular item.
I admire the quest Chris is on, and wish him well.
But I have not seen anything solid from Studebaker about this particular 'vehicle'.
Chris is doing it right.. Share what you know and learn. That's cool.
But care should be taken not to jump to conclusions just because you want them to fit.
If that makes me a naysayer...so be it.
But I have said nothing to deter anyone... In fact, just the opposite.
I would love to see the facts discovered about this 'vehicle'... Moon, or military, or manufacturing...
Detective work can be dull and boring and tedious....of fun.
I vote for the fun part:p
Jeff:cool:






Chris, I have to agree with BAMs - where are the naysayers now? Waiting for their crow to be served well done?!?!



http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by bams50 http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/images/buttons/viewpost-right.png (http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?p=469829#post469829)
Great detective work Chris! You may very well be on the right track. Your updates are interesting; at some point someone will run across them or hear about them and know the real story behind it. Don't give up, or let the naysayers deter you!

bams50
07-03-2010, 09:18 AM
Jeff, your support of youngsters is well-known. Personally I think this is an interesting story to watch unfold. Chris is on the right track: Keep looking, when you find something that might be a clue, share it and think, and keep looking. I believe there's a good chance that enough evidence will eventually surface to definitively prove- or disprove- the prototype theory. Patience, my friend!:)

8E45E
07-03-2010, 09:32 AM
Well....
I still want to see some info to this particular item.
I admire the quest Chris is on, and wish him well.
But I have not seen anything solid from Studebaker about this particular 'vehicle'.
Chris is doing it right.. Share what you know and learn. That's cool.
But care should be taken not to jump to conclusions just because you want them to fit.
If that makes me a naysayer...so be it.
But I have said nothing to deter anyone... In fact, just the opposite.
I would love to see the facts discovered about this 'vehicle'... Moon, or military, or manufacturing...
Detective work can be dull and boring and tedious....of fun.
I vote for the fun part:p
Jeff:cool:

Very well said. This proves there's still LOTS of Studebaker history out there still waiting to be un-earthed. I, too, would love to see if this cart that Chris owns is indeed a Studebaker engineering project. We have to thank Chris for taking the time to do this research, and he has the privelege of being right in South Bend which allows him easy access to the Archives. Along the way in doing so, we get to see some photos of the less-often seen part of the corporation that was out of the public eye; that being the projects of the Applied Research/Defence department. I wouldn't have the patience or time to persue such an assingment myself for what amounts to be a rather simple cart, but one can tell there was some sort of goal the designer(s) of it were trying to achieve with the center U-joint and foam wheels. Me personally? I feel this would not have been an 'after-hours' or project by an employee, given the time and cost it would have taken to fabricate those wheels, and using genuine Studebaker parts to assemble it as management would have had something to say about that. Therefore, I look forward to seeing what more information can be found on this, and is an excellent project for Chris to persue at his age.

Craig

Chris_Dresbach
07-03-2010, 10:29 PM
I'm still waiting for a reply email from the SNM archives to see if there is any written info about the Turtle. I still plan on calling that studebaker engineer this week.

comatus
07-04-2010, 11:13 PM
Maybe this has come up before, but there's a family resemblance to the "Army Mule" light mechanized, um, thing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Military_M274_Truck,_Platform,_Utility_1/2_Ton,_4X4
and maybe even more (with the odd articulation and all) to the Gama Goat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gama_Goat

You know how Bantam more-or-less invented the Jeep, and then was offered the contract to make the trailers for them? The Turtle sure looks like something that could be pulled in train behind a Mule.

Chris_Dresbach
07-04-2010, 11:33 PM
Maybe this has come up before, but there's a family resemblance to the "Army Mule" light mechanized, um, thing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Military_M274_Truck,_Platform,_Utility_1/2_Ton,_4X4
and maybe even more (with the odd articulation and all) to the Gama Goat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gama_Goat

You know how Bantam more-or-less invented the Jeep, and then was offered the contract to make the trailers for them? The Turtle sure looks like something that could be pulled in train behind a Mule.

Both are similar, but different. The "mule" is a lot bigger and has room for an on board driver. It has the same pourpose, just on two different scales and terrain. The "Gama Goat" is also similar, but very different in that it needs to be pulled by a tractor or truck. It is also much bigger and is also made for different terrain.

I don't think the Turtles were ment to be pulled. Design #3 (pictured) shows no place for a hitch of any kind. My cart also does not have a hitch, or a place where one would have been. Mine has handle bars on both ends, but it made to go in one dirrection really. One set of handles is made to be pushed, the other is made to be pulled. I have been "driving" er... pushing the cart around the yard and have found that (like design #3) it steers and operates better being pushed from behind. Another similarty to my cart and the tested Turtle is that my carts rear wheels just free roll. They are there just to keep the cart levil, and make it easier to push... In a way, my cart steers just like the tested turtle, mine just has bigger tires.

Chris_Dresbach
07-06-2010, 08:55 AM
Well, I got an email back from Andy Beckman. These photos are the only "proof" of a Turtles existance; in the archives anyway. There are no build essays or reports about it. So far the only things I have found are the engineering marks on the photos, and Craigs copy of the advertisement for it. :(

DEEPNHOCK
07-10-2010, 03:01 PM
So the search for the real inventor of 'the Turtle' continues.......;)

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j54/deepnhock/TurtleBike.jpg

Welcome
07-11-2010, 07:41 AM
Chris, keep right on digging …you WILL have it all figured out soon!!!

Here is another hint for you:

At that same time there was a company “pioneering” in small 2, 3 and 4 wheel, self-propelled vehicles the general dimensions of "your Turtle,” and yes, they also incorporated the hydro-static drive in their designs. And what …IF …that company were also right here in SOUTH BEND?!?!

Okay, enough said for now, get to digging!!!

Chris ...still not got this one figured out yet???

DEEPNHOCK
07-11-2010, 09:18 AM
I agree with you Chris..
I have spent a lot of time rebuilding an M274 with that pilot friend of mine down in Ocala.
It is way bigger than your rig.
You can flip the steering column and 'drive' it from one end with the payload deck completely full.
Jeff:cool:



Both are similar, but different. The "mule" is a lot bigger and has room for an on board driver. It has the same pourpose, just on two different scales and terrain.
<snip>

DEEPNHOCK
07-11-2010, 09:26 AM
Chris,
Here's a lead for you to check out.... Don't know much about it, but.....

http://www.transchool.eustis.army.mil/Museum/Research.htm

Welcome
07-11-2010, 10:10 AM
:) Pet Turtle...
I found some new pics:
http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx323/chris_dresbach/Studebaker%201/scan0005-2.jpg

Chris, here is a little more FYI...

The guy with the business suite, in his trademark stance, (shoulders trussed back, fingers in both suite jacket pockets) is Mervin M. Hauser. Merv headed up Studebaker’s Quality Control Dept. for military vehicles and Avanti production to the end. You probably figured out where this picture was taken ….near the splash/water fording pit at the Studebaker Proving Grounds. I had the opportunity to work under Merv at Kaiser Jeep/AM General from 1965 to his retirement in 1973. Merv passed in 2001.

Milaca
07-11-2010, 10:48 AM
Chris, keep right on digging …you WILL have it all figured out soon!!!

Here is another hint for you:

At that same time there was a company “pioneering” in small 2, 3 and 4 wheel, self-propelled vehicles the general dimensions of "your Turtle,” and yes, they also incorporated the hydro-static drive in their designs. And what …IF …that company were also right here in SOUTH BEND?!?!

Okay, enough said for now, get to digging!!!

Okay Jim, spill the beans! :) Are you speaking of Wheel Horse?

Chris_Dresbach
07-11-2010, 11:00 PM
Awesome! I have good news! Today Ed Reynolds gave me a copy of a letter from Mr. MacMillan (right hand man of Sherwood Egbert). The letter does not go into great detail about making the prototype itself, but rather sneaking it out of the plant! The only tech detail it said was that it was powered by an Onan 8hp 2 cycle gas engine.

Ok, about this letter... I can't just copy the whole thing. Mr. Macmillan and a few other workers had to (silently) sneak the Turtle out of the engineering building in the middle of the night. (there was a strike going on) They took it to the Marycrest (Singer Hammes) building in South Bend and basically hid it for a while. This is extremely abbriviated, but that's what happened and where the letter ends. Now this is not the end of the story however... Somebody from Studebaker had to go back to get the Turtle to take it to the proving ground to be tested. It also said that the Turtle was devolped to try to gain military contracts. It was described as "a simple machine that didn't take too much to research and develop". The actual prototype was built by Gene Hardig in the engineering department. It ends that Mr. MacMillan just "lost sight of the Turtle", so it wasn't just abandoned in the Marycrest building. So far, this is the only written documentation I have found on the Turtle.

Ok, what are your thoughts? :)

Chris_Dresbach
07-11-2010, 11:02 PM
So the search for the real inventor of 'the Turtle' continues.......;)

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j54/deepnhock/TurtleBike.jpg

Ok, I have to know.... What is that?! A floating bike?

Chris_Dresbach
07-11-2010, 11:03 PM
Chris ...still not got this one figured out yet???

Wheel horse? That's the only one that comes to my mind.. The Turtle may have had a wheel horse hydro tranny, but the letter I found says it was powered by an Onan. The mystery go on...

8E45E
07-12-2010, 08:04 PM
Chris, here is a little more FYI...

The guy with the business suite, in his trademark stance, (shoulders trussed back, fingers in both suite jacket pockets) is Mervin M. Hauser. Merv headed up Studebaker’s Quality Control Dept. for military vehicles and Avanti production to the end. You probably figured out where this picture was taken ….near the splash/water fording pit at the Studebaker Proving Grounds. I had the opportunity to work under Merv at Kaiser Jeep/AM General from 1965 to his retirement in 1973. Merv passed in 2001.

Did you by chace work with Richard Vaughn who was also an Avanti Quality Control employee? He is on the right of the one standing in this photo.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4139/4788068127_70972e7648_b.jpg

He gave an excellent presentation in Glendale on the problems of working with fiberglass vs. working with steel at the Studebaker plant. Of course, it never entered anyone's mind to ask if he was involved in any of the Defence Division's projects.

Craig

Welcome
07-12-2010, 09:20 PM
Did you by chace work with Richard Vaughn who was also an Avanti Quality Control employee? He is on the right of the one standing in this photo.<<<>>> He gave an excellent presentation in Glendale on the problems of working with fiberglass vs. working with steel at the Studebaker plant. Of course, it never entered anyone's mind to ask if he was involved in any of the Defence Division's projects.
Craig

Sorry, I do not recognize the gentleman you refer to at the table, but then a lot of us don't look the same as we did 45+ years ago!;)

If Richard V. was one of the "Lucky 600" who walked out of Studebaker and into to Kaiser-Jeep in the 1964-65 timeframe, there is a very good chance I had worked with him in one capacity or another over the years.

Chris_Dresbach
07-12-2010, 11:51 PM
Was it Wheel Horse??

Welcome
07-13-2010, 06:19 AM
Was it Wheel Horse??
Have you read this book?

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth; The Wheel Horse Story
by Michael A. Martino Jr.

And Chris, another question for you…

Would you be interested in meeting a bunch of former Studebaker Salaried Employees tomorrow (Wednesday) for breakfast? Two of them already said they’d look over your photos, etc. and offer any info they may have.

Chris_Dresbach
07-13-2010, 12:24 PM
Have you read this book?

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth; The Wheel Horse Story
by Michael A. Martino Jr.

And Chris, another question for you…

Would you be interested in meeting a bunch of former Studebaker Salaried Employees tomorrow (Wednesday) for breakfast? Two of them already said they’d look over your photos, etc. and offer any info they may have.

Man that's short notice... What time and where? I would love to go, but I'm also leaving for the Winnamac tractor show tomorrow and won't be back until Sunday.

Welcome
07-13-2010, 02:57 PM
Man that's short notice... What time and where? I would love to go, but I'm also leaving for the Winnamac tractor show tomorrow and won't be back until Sunday.

Maybe that's because some call us "short timers"???;)

PM sent with details of retiree's breakfast meeting...

Chris_Dresbach
07-28-2010, 10:55 AM
Yesterday I talked with a gentleman who worked in Studebakers design and styling department from 1953-'58. I described my "Turtle" to him in as best detail as I possible could. Since he quit in 1958 and was not part of the Defence Division, he had nothing to do with the development of the Turtle. BUT, whith what I could describe it sounds authentic. (Described as a "Turtle skeletion) (btw: I didn't mention any of the photos and the letter I gound until after this...) So this Turtle is half confirmed. ;) lol

Chris_Dresbach
07-29-2010, 11:08 AM
..........Edited out, wrong info..........

Chris_Dresbach
08-19-2010, 10:14 PM
Today I got a copy of the June 1979 issue of Turning Wheels from Larry Yanoshik. Thanks Larry! It includes the only (that I know if) ad for the Turtle from the defense division. After looking at the pic of the Turtle, I noticed something kinda funny... The "photo" that goes with the ad is actually a drawing made in 1962, BEFORE 1963 when the Turtle(s) were actually made. In the drawing, the REAR tires are made to be the same size as the front and treaded! Why is this important??? Because in the engineering photos above, they switched the rear wheels to non treaded coaster wheels in the back. This could also indicate that the Turtle was originally going to be a 4X4. Now, this is important to mine because mine has wheels that are the same size all the way around too, like the one drawn up in 1962.

COULD THIS MEAN ANYTHING?!?!?!? Heck, I dunno, but Ill take is as evidence! ;)

Chris_Dresbach
08-20-2010, 09:50 AM
Today I got a copy of the June 1979 issue of Turning Wheels from Larry Yanoshik. Thanks Larry! It includes the only (that I know if) ad for the Turtle from the defense division. After looking at the pic of the Turtle, I noticed something kinda funny... The "photo" that goes with the ad is actually a drawing made in 1962, BEFORE 1963 when the Turtle(s) were actually made. In the drawing, the REAR tires are made to be the same size as the front and treaded! Why is this important??? Because in the engineering photos above, they switched the rear wheels to non treaded coaster wheels in the back. This could also indicate that the Turtle was originally going to be a 4X4. Now, this is important to mine because mine has wheels that are the same size all the way around too, like the one drawn up in 1962.

COULD THIS MEAN ANYTHING?!?!?!? Heck, I dunno, but Ill take is as evidence! ;)

I think I could also possibly add more to this. If the Turtle was originally supposed to be a 4X4, it would be a pain to steer and would have to steer in the middle like mine does. But with the coaster wheels, they would get clogged with mud. I think this could possibly be a big part of why it was never produced in either form. I also got to thinking about how mine could float. If it had hulls formed around the "baskets" around the wheels, it would float, be four wheel drive, and still steer. The only problem with that design is that it would weaken the cargo hold. On the third Turtle prototype, they eliminated the center steering and added coaster wheels at the back which greately streathened the cargo hold because now the entire weight of the cargo could rest on the entire suspension. The strongest part of the cargo hold on mine is the front. The problem with the third design is now the rear of the Turtle has coaster wheels that can get clogged with mud, start to make a plow, and get stuck.
Let the weird shade of gray represent two hulls on mine:
http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx323/chris_dresbach/Studebaker%201/theprototypecart1-2.jpg
The blue a flood line...
http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx323/chris_dresbach/Studebaker%201/theprototypecart1-2-1.jpg
And brown mud...
http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx323/chris_dresbach/Studebaker%201/scan0002-2-3.jpg

Horrible art work by myself... ;)

Ok, any thoughts??????

Chris_Dresbach
08-20-2010, 09:54 AM
http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx323/chris_dresbach/prototypes/scan0030-1-1-1.jpg

Chris_Dresbach
10-25-2010, 04:07 PM
Even more info found.
It turns out that the first Turtle was indeed supposed to be FOUR WHEEL DRIVE and I found written proof of that! It says that it was supposed to be a 4X4 in the advertisement that appeared in Turning Wheels. This could be important because of how mine has four large tires all the way around that would suggest four wheel drive. I wonder if Studebaker changed this on the third design because it would require a double hull (like mine has/would have). Still not serial number proof that my Turtle is a Turtle, but could be a clue... :)