View Full Version : So BP, why isn't it in your garage then??

05-06-2013, 02:26 AM
First off I saw this in a post over 5 years old, so the circumstances may have changed. If you so :oops:. Second I know this can somtimes be a touchy subject, so please if I'm bringing up something you don't want to talk about, I'm sorry. I was browsing the forum the other day and noticed this thread
Where is your FIRST Studebaker?
:) This ought to be a fun survey.

Do you know the whereabouts of your FIRST Studebaker? Maybe you still own it...maybe you know for sure it was parted out :( ...or that it was ultimately restored by someone else :D or???? ;)?

OK, I'll start the sequence. My first Stude was a 1955 Champion Regal Coupe, purchased in 1963 at age 17. 'Sold it in 1972. It was almost used up by subsequent owners but not quite: It resides today, in poor condition, in a barn near Kirklin IN. I know the current owner, but have not seen the car in over 30 years.

Here it is in 1970 with future wife Cari on what was her first date to a Studebaker Club Meeting in Noblesville Indiana's Forest Park:


Anybody else? Braggin's OK for you folks who have carefully cared for your Stude for many years...or even just a few if you're a "newbie." I'll bet there's some good stories out there. (Everyone has permission to pop a cold one and pretend we're standing around in the Omaha parking lot at 11PM.) ;) BP

Last edited by BobPalma; 03-17-2013 at 06:26 PM. Reason: added photo since I figgered out how to do it! So this begs the question if you still know where it is and you still know the owner, why isn't it back home with you? Where it belongs. is it just toofar gone? is the owner not willing to sell? For some reason would you not want it back? Since you (assuming its savable) have restored studes before, and I think have the funds to do so. Wouldn't your first stude be a good canidate? It looks geogous in that photo, and it would be awesome to see you retake that photo now. Int he post you say you haven't seen it in what would now be 36 years? if that's still the case if nothing else maybe it's time to see it again even if it didn't come home with you. Granted everthing I just typed might no longer be relevent, but if it is, how many people you age know where there first car is still, many of them would love even to see it again, even if its not savable, and if you still have that oportunity you shouldn't let it slip by you. I could have made this a giant PM but I'm curious what other people think on this matter too, Once again please don't get offended, these kind of stories have always intrigued me, and I'm curious to see what the full story is. I know sometimes stuff like this can be upsetting, and that's certainly not my goal, moreover just wantedto know what ever happened with you and this car. Danny. D

05-06-2013, 07:05 AM
That's a fair question, Danny, and I don't mind your asking it, or me answering it.

Less than a year after that picture was taken, the car was hit hard in the left rear with me in it on a clear, dry Saturday afternoon in March. The impact, by a 1960 Pontiac Bonneville 4-door hardtop, was so severe that my weight bent the driver seat back at about a 45-degree angle, propelling me part way into the back seat.

I somehow regained enough control to grab the steering wheel and apply the brakes, but not fast enough to avoid running into the back of a newer Pontiac in front of me...not too hard, thankfully.

Ironically, I had my smaller "traveling" tool box with me and it was in the trunk in back of an extra T-96 overdrive transmission. The transmission slammed into the tool box and bent it up a little bit. Since I still have and use that tool box, I am reminded of that wreck every day I see the tool box, even though the wreck happened over 40 years ago!

The little Champion was still driveable after the accident, but just barely as there was frame damage and the LR of the basic body structure was mangled pretty good. 'Never took any pictures of the damage.

The Bonneville that hit me was uninsured and I did not have collision insurance on the Champion; only liability. The kid who hit me (with three buddies in the car; nobody paying attention, he hadn't even applied the brakes), his father had no insurance but ultimately gave me about $400 in $50 payments before he played out. There was no sense "going after him," if you know what I mean; it would have been trying to get blood out of a turnip. I still have occasional back pain stemming from that impact.

My younger brother wanted to "rebuild" the car, such as it was, and bought a 1955 President coupe parts car (this was 1971, remember). He scabbed the car back together about as well as you'd expect a modestly-experienced 22-year-old to do. He drove it a little bit and sold it to some mutual friends; brothers our ages.

The mutual friends, one of them drove the car back and forth to a military assignment in Eastern Virginia (IIRC) for many years and really wore it out. And one point, he took off the butterknife Regal side trim and painted the whole car again; same color yellow.

Another time, he was stopped on the highway out of state and thought to be carrying drugs in the car...and although he wasn't, they tore the interior panels off the car and pulled up the carpet and removed the rear seat, looking for drugs. Everything got put back together, more or less, and he continued driving it until it got so worn, rusty, tired, and generally beat, that he just parked it in the barn where, to the best of my knowledge, it resides to this day.

I and my brother still know the owner, and I still exchange Christmas Cards with the owner's brother. But, quite frankly, the car must be so bad that I could restore two of my 1964 Daytonas for what it would cost to "do" that poor little Champion, and I'll bet the Champion needs a new frame and body tub by now as well!

I still have a few documents from the car. I bought it from the widow of the original owner, Herman Worrell. I was 17 when I bought it in 1963, so it was first titled in my Dad's name, per this 1964 registration:

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/55championdocs1_zps1850ed28.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/55championdocs1_zps1850ed28.jpg.html)

By 1970, I was 24 and we finally got around to transferring the title from my Dad's name to my name, per this transfer application. Of course, this shows a purchase date of 11/17/70, which is simply the day it went from my Dad's name to my name: I had "owned" the car since early summer 1963:

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/55championdocs2_zpsbeb644a1.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/55championdocs2_zpsbeb644a1.jpg.html)

So now you know "the rest of the story," Danny. No bad memories or anything, but no real desire to again own it as I know it is beyond "saving." Too, my 9-car Morton storage building is full of eight collector cars now that I [finally] have the 1964 Daytona Wagonaire, plus my Dakota Quad Cab tow vehicle, so I really would have no place to keep the Champion, either. :) BP

05-06-2013, 01:20 PM
And.......it's the wrong color!!!!!:D

05-06-2013, 01:30 PM
So that explains why you like 55s, Bob. I still can't find my first 55 Commander Coupe (it was rusty and tired), but spent big $ to build the 55K that is now my keeper. I lost the 55C in 1976 when I was leaving the country and owed money. Our losing the first Studebaker stories were similar and long before I knew about SDC and the help you and others provide so freely. Cheers to you.

05-06-2013, 02:35 PM
And.......it's the wrong color!!!!!:D

Not really, Jamie; yellow is my favorite color...on the right size cars so equipped. Yellow is not for large cars, or cars on which a yellow was not originally available. For example, my 1964 Daytona "set" would look downright stupid (IMHO) in any shade of yellow, simply because no yellows were available in 1964 "Larks."

Astra White is probably #4 or #5 on my list of favorite 1964 colors; I didn't set out to collect all Astra White cars. It just sort of happened that the first two I bought (the hardtop and sedan) were Astra White...then it became a reasonable idea to gather the other two for a full set. I'd rather have Bordeaux Red or Strato Blue or ??? :) BP

05-06-2013, 02:44 PM
:oWell Bob, if you change you mind, I have a whole bunch of Studebaker yellow valve cover paint. We could fix your fleet right up!!:o

05-06-2013, 03:10 PM
I see BP, Thank you for the detailed explanation. Sounds like you and that car a good run together:) If you went ot that barn it would probably just make you sad. With that kind of damage not a whole lot of your car would even be left if you restored it. If it was sitting somewhere in driver/easy resto condition, I would say you need to go get. But as it is it would be a moot point. I was just curious first car stories always intrigue me. My brother when he was 17 needed a car to get to work, the person he was renting a room from worked at the church, sitting at the church was a 1979 sedan deville,that had belonged to a bisop who had died. The person he was renting a room from asked them what they wanted for the car, they said he could have it if he got it out of there way. So he hauled it home and gave it to my brother. This was a perfect condition low miles caddy. He at the time was driving a 1979 honda civic riddled with speed parts( no tuning BS a real race built engine) He loved this honda dearly but it ws just too far gone for him to fix. So he washed and waxed, and took imense car of that big old boat. until he was I think 24. During that time he put over 300,000 miles on it, going to concerts, work, roadtrips, vikings games, you name it. And because he took such good care of it, it still looked, and drove great. Well one day a close friend needed to borrow a car to get to work during an ice storm. While on the way to work that freind slid off the road and into the woods, hitting several trees, and totaling his caddy. The friend of course was mortified and extremely sorry. He went to get her the next day, a tow truck pullled har out of the woods, and he pooped the front fenders out enough to drive it home, but the car was shot. So I know how it goes sometimes. My brother's had some sad car stories. I only have one or two, but still I get it.

05-06-2013, 08:25 PM
Lets see a pic of that tool box !

05-07-2013, 07:38 AM
Lets see a pic of that tool box !

Actually, Andy, it didn't fare all that bad...and I did beat it out as best I could.

(Again, the wreck was over 40 years ago, so it has seen some additional abuse since then):

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/DSCF4447_zps0cdb2b33.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/DSCF4447_zps0cdb2b33.jpg.html)

Remember Sears' lower-priced line of tools called David Bradley, (IIRC)? That's a David Bradley tool box I bought new at Sears at age 14....53 years ago!:cool: BP

05-07-2013, 01:15 PM
Bob P. - If you are going to keep the tool box on the spare, I suggest putting something between the rusting metal and the whitewall/tire sidewall.

05-07-2013, 08:30 PM
Bob P. - If you are going to keep the tool box on the spare, I suggest putting something between the rusting metal and the whitewall/tire sidewall.

I just put it up there for the photo, Gary, then back to the trunk floor. :) BP