View Full Version : The best car to buy is a Studebaker.

02-15-2012, 03:46 PM
There is Studebaker content here. You just have to read it all the way thru.

Ann Smith Marshall is pretty sure her father died happy.
Bradner D. Wheeler lived to 94 and had a full life. He was a pilot in World War I and a track star at the University of Michigan. He enjoyed a long career in the insurance business, and he passed away convinced that an essay he had written was going to be published in The Washington Post.
(John Kelly/THE WASHINGTON POST) - Ann Smith Marshall holds a photo of her father, Bradner Wheeler, in her home in Alexandria, Virginia on February 13, 2012. When he was a boy, Wheeler was befriended by a wealthy relative who taught him how to save money.
Well, it wasn’t. That was back in 1992. When Ann called The Post editor who had accepted Mr. Wheeler’s story to tell him that her father had died, she was politely informed that the paper didn’t publish posthumous items.
“I thought, well, at least my father didn’t know it,” said Ann.
Ann lives in Alexandria and calls herself the country’s “oldest living exercise personality. I think Jane Fonda is the next oldest to me.”
A spry 84, Ann leads workshops and sells videos on her exercise philosophy. She’s a trained dance instructor who counsels slow, continuous stretching.
“I’m very popular with the people who don’t want to go to the gyms,” she told me.
Ann’s mother, Mary Isabella Trigg, was a dancer, too, of the Isadora Duncan mold, with the fluttery movements and flowing scarves. Ann didn’t really go in for that stuff.
“I thought it was fun when I was little,” she said. “When I grew up, I thought it was silly, to tell you the truth. I always felt that I was a leaf blowing out of a tree. I was more interested in the formal ballet.”
But weren’t we talking about Ann’s father?
Bradner Wheeler was born in Nebraska in 1898 and moved to Washington with his family as a baby. Wheeler’s father had a government job, much needed after the family savings was lost to an unscrupulous stock broker. When Wheeler was 13, his family made the acquaintance of a distant relative named William Baker Thompson.
“Mr. Thompson was a wealthy lawyer who lived alone at 1633 S St. NW in a beautiful three-story, red-brick building with a carriage house behind it,” Bradner Wheeler wrote in his essay, which his daughter recently came across and sent to me. “His wife died before I knew him and apparently there had been no children.”
Thompson took a liking to Wheeler and decided to “Horatio Algerize” the young man. Horatio Alger was the 19th-century American author famed for stories of diligent boys bettering themselves through pluck and hard work. Thompson’s servant, a man named Pressly, would call on Wheeler’s Second Street NE home in a carriage pulled by two horses and collect the boy.
“My father had already instructed me in the good habits of earning and saving money, but Thompson set up an accounting system with me,” Wheeler wrote.
The lawyer instructed Wheeler to keep a ledger, entering every cent he earned at such odd jobs as cutting grass and running errands. “Then he would match it, with the aim that I would eventually have an admirable nest egg as a reward for diligence in working and saving.”
Like most teenage boys, Wheeler was fascinated by the automobile. At first Thompson was convinced it was a passing fad, but he eventually decided that he would have to buy one for Pressly to drive. “Knowing my interest in cars, he asked me to find out which was the best car for him to buy,” Wheeler wrote.
He continued: “I first went to the Packard showroom and told the salesman I had a wealthy relative who wanted to buy a car. ‘If I bring him here to buy a Packard, will you give me a commission?’ I asked. The salesman told me to get out of there. The salesman at Pierce Arrow also thought I was wasting his time.
“But when I went to the Studebaker agency, the salesman said, ‘Kid, if you bring a guy in here to buy a car, I’ll give you $35,’ thinking it would never happen, I’m sure. So I reported to Thompson that after thorough research I thought the best car on the market was Studebaker. And that’s what he got. I got my $35 from the salesman, which was a lot of money in those days.
“The next time I showed my ledger to Thompson, he asked how I’d earned the $35 he was matching. When I told him, he laughed, complimenting me on my cleverness. After that, Thompson bought a new Studebaker every year.”
Wheeler only got a commission on that first Studebaker, but the $35 — doubled to $70 — helped him go to college. I think Horatio Alger would have been proud.

02-15-2012, 05:03 PM
Great story....thanks for sharing