View Full Version : German Studebaker story

02-11-2017, 05:44 AM

02-11-2017, 07:13 AM
Nice story. Thank you.

Chris Pile
02-11-2017, 07:50 AM
Great story!

02-11-2017, 08:09 AM
After being stationed in Germany 43 years ago , I can really relate to that story , Being in a transportation company as a Mechanic it was fun driving around in Chryslers, Amc's Fords and multiple tactical vehicles

02-11-2017, 08:38 AM
I haven't seen the term "left hooker" before. Not in this context, anyway ;)

02-11-2017, 06:16 PM
Nice story,

Here's another - sort of related to the different driving pattern between Germany and Britain.

Caught a hop home to the states from Germany once. Took a Sherpa from Ramstein, AFB to a base in England. Can't recall the name of the British base - Mindenwall, or something like that.

We had a one hour layover, before manifest call for a C5 Galaxy to Dover. It was the middle of the night, I was starving and there weren't any vending machines in the terminal. I asked the airman at the desk where I could get a bite to eat that late. He told me that nothing on base was open that late, but if I walked to the main gate and crossed the street I would find a pub where I could get a slice of frozen microwave-heated pizza. I was that hungry that I took off at a trot for the main gate, 'cuz I didn't know how far it was from the flight line. By and by, I got to the main gate, waved at a couple of Brit MPs manning the shack as I passed through, stepped out to the curb, looked, left, looked right, looked left again and stepped off the curb - only to be greeted by the sound of a very angry horn and the brush of a side-view mirror across my right cheek while the tips of my fingers got drug down the side of a van (Lorry, I guess they call them over there) coming from my right that damned near ran over me. I lunged back, my heels hit the curb and I very abruptly sat down on my posterior, soaking my uniform pants on the wet sidewalk.

A brit MP came running out, "You OK, Mate?" he asked as he helped me up. I muttered something about how I guess I should have looked right, left, right instead of left, right, left and he said, "That's right, Mate. It's probably not a good idea for you to go our strolling and crossing streets here until you get used to the way traffic flows here."

Suddenly, I wasn't hungry anymore, but I sure had to use the latrine because, well, that near brush with death had literally scared the crap out of me. So, I took off at a trot back to the air terminal and used the rest of my time relieving myself and thanking my lucky stars that the van driver's reflexes were good enough to allow him to swerve just enough not to turn me into wallpaper paste.

Two hours later, far out over the Atlantic, they served us box lunches on the C5. By then I'd regained my appetite, though making that six hour flight with damp pants and underwear made it the most uncomfortable hop I'd ever taken.

I'm curious, does anyone know why, after over 100 years of automobiles being around, we still don't have one uniform world-wide traffic method?

02-11-2017, 07:06 PM
Every time I hear a story with a Studebaker in Germany I'm reminded of our chapter member, Doctor Dieter Schildwaechter. He loved his Studebakers. One time I asked him how he was attracted to them. He explained that he was a medical student in immediate postwar Germany and things were tough. He has very little money. He learned that there was to be an auto show in Berlin and he tried to attend. However, he didn't have the price of admission. He came back on the last day and the doors were open as they were breaking down the exhibits. Nobody stopped him so he walked on in. He said he looked at a rotating platform and there was the most beautiful car he had ever seen. It was a 1950 Studebaker Champion Starlight Coupe. He later came to the US and the first thing he did was buy a '50 Champion. He said he drove it for six months before he found out that he needed a license to drive it.
He was an oncologist who practice in both the US and Germany. He was a very robust man, active and healthy. He had a tooth removed and he developed an infection that they couldn't break and it resulted in his death a few years ago.

02-12-2017, 01:07 AM
Good history. I typically don't think of the Champion as having a 3.8 liter engine.

Skip Lackie
02-12-2017, 08:00 AM
I'm curious, does anyone know why, after over 100 years of automobiles being around, we still don't have one uniform world-wide traffic method?

It probably would not have been difficult at the end of WWII, when many countries had damaged infrastructure and fewer operating vehicles. But at this point, the answer is "It would be too hard". Changing over the traffic patterns, interchanges, cloverleafs, and road signage, though expensive, would be straightforward. Driving on the "wrong" side of the road (ie on the left with a LHD vehicle, and vice versa) is dangerous -- so you would be left with nearly all the cars having the steering wheels on the wrong side. I did some driving on the left in Japan and Australia and really didn't have any problems -- sitting on the right side was a constant reminder that I couldn't depend on my instincts. But driving on the left in the Bahamas and a couple of other Caribbean islands was much more dangerous, as the rental cars were all LHD for the convenience of tourists. When confronted by a potential problem, one's natural response is to steer to the right, which is the wrong direction.

The only country to make the switch in modern times was Sweden, which did so in 1967. Sweden had the advantage of having mostly LHD cars, which simplified their problem. But they had to scrap nearly all their (RHD) buses, and the changeover was still very chaotic.

And BTW, which way would be chosen? About 1/3 of the world's population drives on the left and they probably don't want to change.

02-12-2017, 04:59 PM
You find it dangerous driving on American roads from the right seat?

I dunno. I used to have a night-time paper route early in my Army career when I was till making in a month what most blue collar workers made in a week in those days. I did the entire route sitting on the right side, steering with my left arm and manipulating the brake and gas with my left foot. Ran that route for three years around Ft. Devens, MA rain or shine or snow or sleet. I actually got used to it in about an hour. It would have been nice to have had a RHD steering wheel. Of course, I was still driving on the right side of the road, and so wasn't everyone else, even if I was in the right seat, so I guess it's not exactly the same as driving on the left side of the road from the right seat - something I've never experienced.