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Thread: Dennis Hommel of California

  1. #1
    Golden Hawk Member Roscomacaw's Avatar
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    Dennis Hommel of California

    A few months back, one Dennis Hommel of Grass Valley, CA (formerly of Menlo Park, CA) passed on. He's survived by 3 sons. I never knew Dennis personally. In fact I'd never heard of him until a fellow SDC'er and me became participants in the liquidation of Dennis' estate.
    After Dennis' passing, his sons set about clearing out properties their late father had accumulated. On some of those properties were physical evidence of a pointed interest in Studebakers. More specifically, the 1953 - 1954 Studebaker C-K offerings.
    Dennis Hommel had obviously gone to great lenghts to establish quite a library of reference and history regarding these specific models. The pursuit of this reference collection led him to have personal correspondence with Bob Bourke, John Bridges, and many others who's names are associated with these works of art. Also amongst this compilation are fabric samples, paint chips, photographs and pages of specifications regarding the early C-K cars.
    Further than that, Dennis established a roster for these cars. Since we have not gone completely through his files, we have yet to lay hands on what there was of this roster. We do have a bunch of note pads that Dennis had printed where the front side features line drawings of C-Ks and the backside of each leaf carries an application to log one's car with the roster. There's no telling, at this point, how many folks had registered their Studes with Dennis but there IS a note on the applications that saysin essence) Mail in the app. along with a self-addressed buisness sized envelope and 2 stamps for a free copy of the "20-page" roster.
    Of course, not having seen any of those "pages" yet, one can only speculate how many C-K cars are to be found logged thereupon. I'll post more on this as we have time to peruse the boxes of related Stude papers and books.
    Dennis Hommel was also actively restoring a 1953 Champion hardtop through the mid-to-late 90s. It can't be said with conviction yet, but it seems that work stopped on this project along about 1999 or so. This project car was one of the aquisitions of my fellow SDCer along with another 53 Champion hardtop that's totally original, unrestored and complete.
    The car Dennis was restoring is on track to be a First Place car if and when it ever gets finished. The other Champion is certainly worthy of a restoration simply because it's survived practically 100% intact and fairly solid. The resto project sports it's original type 170 flathead 6 & 3-spdOD tranny. The difference of the other car is that it's got the Studebaker DG-150 automatic trans.
    As I said before, I never knew Dennis Hommel and I'm not sure I ever would have known of him had I not gotten involved in this aftermath facet of his life. I know not what long-time association Dennis might have had with the world of Studebakers or the 53-54 models in particular. His son's could be no more specific when I pressed them on that point.
    The fate of the 2 cars Dennis had has yet to be decided at this point. Quite a bit of expense had been lavished upon the resto example. The other one has had virtually nothing done to it other than having a door acquired to replace the passengers's door that was severely dented.
    Dennis' fate was a passing of natural causes - at age 59. I've taken time to write this because certainly some folks in SDC-land have had contact with him by and by.
    Having seen some of the things Dennis had interest in other than Studebakers, I feel safe in charaterizing him as an artist. I guess it's only natural that he had fallen under the spell that emanates from the masterpiece of Bourke & Studebaker Co..


    Miscreant at large.
    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

  2. #2
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    I am saddened to read this, but I appreciate your posting of the information, Bob. As you know, my specialty is also the Bob Bourke '53-'54 C/K models. I can only remember meeting Dennis one time, but it may have been more. We did reside on opposite coasts, but had a similar passion. John Bridges, Dennis and I had three way discussions about information in John's books. I don't know if Dennis knew Bob as John and I did, but he was certainly into '53-'54 C/K information. I hope that his work on researching and documenting these models is maintained intact by someone else. It would be a shame to loose this material or have it disbursed. Perhaps it would be good to contact John Bridges. It is particularly difficult to read of these loses of Studebaker people that are younger than I am.

  3. #3
    Golden Hawk Member Dick Steinkamp's Avatar
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    Nicely done, Bob.

    I am the one that was fortunate enough to come into the possession of Dennis's cars, parts, and documentation. I didn't know Dennis, but he was obviously a real 53-54 enthusiast. He was very detailed oriented and kept careful records. Bob has been "appointed" keeper of these records. They are currently at my house in my "Studebake Room", but will be transfered to Bob as soon as we see each other again. Bob will be an excellent custodian of these materials and we'll all learn more about these beautiful cars through Dennis via Bob.

    -Dick-

  4. #4
    Speedster Member
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    i met dennis several years ago at york. we shared an hour or two talking about 53/54 coupes. a real nice guy. it a shame he couldn't get one of his cars done before his death.

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    I'm new to the forum - therefore my late message. I,too, ran into Dennis at York shortly after I had bot a 54 Champion 4 dr. Dennis and I ended up swapping hub caps - my non-original "tri-star"s that he want for a 53, for the same number of 54-55 type caps. He seemed a great guy. I have a copy of his THICK newsletter with roster members listed.

    STEWDI "153624" Hill

    55 Champion
    47 M-5
    Izzer Buggy
    Junior Wagon

  6. #6
    Speedster Member 56GH's Avatar
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    It's old news, I know, but while recently searching for other information on '53-'54 C/Ks, I ran across this Forum information on the late Dennis Hommel of California. I didn't know until now whatever happened to him. I'm sorry to hear that he passed on at such an early age. He was far younger than I.

    We met in California many years ago while my wife and I were visiting our daughter. He was an avid collector of C/Ks and real gentleman. He showed all around his place for hours and the various C/Ks that he had on his property -- and he even brought us to the body shop where he was having a C/K chassis meticulously restored -- along with a Darrin-bodied Packard. He was doing great job with a newsletter for us C/K owners.

    I was in regular correspondence with him while I owned a 1953 Champion coupe from 1989-1996 and we exchanged information on how to restore the carpeting on '53-'54 C/K models. I researched and found an indoor-outdoor carpet close to the original material that was later copied by other vendors and sold by them to replace the original style. I've attached a copy of the original page from the February 1992 newsletter that Dennis once published that contained so much valuable information for C-K owners and my input on how to install the carpeting.

    Rest in peace, Dennis! Contrary to Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", I say that "the good that men do often lives on in their bones!"

    1953 Carpet Edge Idea.jpg

    53-54 C-K Newsletter Article on Carpets.jpg
    Bill L.
    1962 GT Hawk

  7. #7
    President Member Deaf Mute's Avatar
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    I too had corresponded with him over the years. I do not know it I ever actually met him or not. I think I still have some of his stationary around here somewhere. I believe the stationary was a cream color with brown printing and a line drawing of a 1953 coupe on it.
    Now I have some digging to do.

  8. #8
    Commander Member T442163's Avatar
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    More information for SDC Remembrance Project.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Steinkamp View Post
    Nicely done, Bob.

    I am the one that was fortunate enough to come into the possession of Dennis's cars, parts, and documentation. I didn't know Dennis, but he was obviously a real 53-54 enthusiast. He was very detailed oriented and kept careful records. Bob has been "appointed" keeper of these records. They are currently at my house in my "Studebake Room", but will be transfered to Bob as soon as we see each other again. Bob will be an excellent custodian of these materials and we'll all learn more about these beautiful cars through Dennis via Bob.

    -Dick-
    Dick/or anyone:

    Can you give me any more information on Dennis for the SDC Remembrance Project? I can't find anything online about him other than what is written here? Any pictures, his birth and passing dates, what town he lived in, was he a member of SDC, ASC, AOAI? You can send directly to me at Crisitel[at]oit[dot]rutgers[dot]edu.
    Last edited by T442163; 01-23-2018 at 10:55 PM.

  9. #9
    Speedster Member 56GH's Avatar
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    I still have copies of Dennis' newsletter, "1953/1954 Owners Roster and Related Information", issues #1 and #2 (attached). They show his address and the depth of detail that he was using to preserve information on the cars. There was also a roster of owners in each issue that he had accumulated. His personal stationery was black and white but the same two cars at the upper right of the newsletter were printed in brown on the stationery. After all these years, an original letter that he sent me shows the car images fading. Any personal information might be available from Menlo Park city archives.

    SCAN0001.jpg

    SCAN0002.jpg
    Bill L.
    1962 GT Hawk

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