View Full Version : Did you Learn to Drive in a Studebaker?

07-27-2009, 09:43 PM
:) Dave "barnlark" Arnold's fun thread about his daughter's first driving adventure in his 1960 convertible likely triggered memories for many who actually learned to drive in a Studebaker.

Sadly, this survey might be skewed toward older members, but we'll hopefully have younger ones chime in.

So, did you learn to drive in a Studebaker? What was it? Who took you out? ...err, well, perhaps I should rephrase that as Who was in the passenger seat?

In 1959, my Dad had been entrusted with the care and feeding of his younger brother Jerry's "new" 1957 289/210/overdrive Silver Hawk, green with white fins, while Jerry was in the Army. We ventured forth to a low-traffic area on an edge-of-town road in Paris IL for the appropriate unlicensed maneuvers.

Anyone else? :DBP

07-27-2009, 09:51 PM
I did, but I cheated.
I sat in it ('61 Hawk plate# 0911) and played for 10 years before I could drive it on the road....
(That explains why all the switches were worn out on it[:p])



07-27-2009, 09:53 PM
1965, in the 50 Champion I still have. My dad took me to the school parking lot and around and around we went. Going, stopping, turning, parking, checking marks to see if I knew where the edge of the car was. After a couple of days of that, he let me drive through an alley behind the cafeteria. Whew! What a thrill, narrow alley and turning at the same time.

'50 Champion, 1 family owner

07-27-2009, 09:58 PM
In 1962 when I was ten years old my Dad had me get behind the wheel of a 1955 President 4 door and had me "drive" down the street to my school and back home again. That was the first time behind the wheel operating a running car!

Grants Pass, Oregon
64 Station Wagon with fixed roof (Canadian Car)

64 Wagonaire sliding roof South Bend car.

63 GT Hawk

51 Champion Starlight Coupe

07-27-2009, 10:03 PM
I bought my son, Michael (Stude Mick) a '61 Lark Cruiser for his 16th birthday that we restored together then I taught him to drive in it. When he got his licence at 18, he used the car as his every day car for about 3 years untill he weakened and bought a Holden Commadore with A/C and power steering. I think that he has a soft spot for the Lark and it will be with us for a long time.

Dave Pink
Victoria, Australia

1913 SA25 Town Car
1916 SF Roadster
1925 ER Tourer
1925 Panel Delivery
1953 Champion Sedan
1957 Golden Hawk
http://www.studebakercarclub.net/dp01.jpg http://www.studebakercarclub.net/dp02.jpg http://www.studebakercarclub.net/dp03.jpg http://www.studebakercarclub.net/dp04.jpg http://www.studebakercarclub.net/dp05.jpg http://www.studebakercarclub.net/dp06.jpg

Studebaker Car Club Of Australia Website

07-27-2009, 10:20 PM
Unfortunately, I didn't learn to drive in a Studebaker. My neighbor taught me to drive in his new, '50 Hudson Pacemaker. Boy, that was a smooth car. I was 16 at the time. When I turned 17, my dad taught me to drive his '50 Nash Ambassador.
However, my first car was a '40 Studebaker business coupe.

'59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop

07-27-2009, 10:23 PM
After mastering the tractor's (2N F**d and WD Allis); I was allowed to drive the 1952 Studebaker pickup in the field. Then on to Dad's 1947 EH Mack and finally our 1951 Black Cherry Commander. I don't remember the exact age that I got to drive them on the highway however it was before I got my driver's license at 16. The key's were always left in the vehicles and we took many opportunities to hone our driving skill's on and off the road. Most kid's today don't have the same opportunities that we did year's ago.


R3 challenger
07-27-2009, 10:35 PM
I lived in Michigan at the time I turned 14. At that time, they allowed one to get a learner's permit at the age of 14. I learned to drive an automatic transmission car in a brand X, but a year later, Uncle Jerry (see Bob's reference above) gave me lessons on driving a stick shift. The lessons were in his one-year-old '57 Silver Hawk 289/OD. The 3.92 axle ratio helped, but my first attempt still resulted in too much rpm and not enough motion from the car. As the engine roared, I still remember asking Jerry "Are we off the ground yet?"


george krem

07-27-2009, 10:37 PM
Back in the mid 70's my Dad and I delivered the Minneapolis Sunday newspaper. It was a rural route that we started at about 1 AM and finished around 7AM. I was lucky enough to learn to drive in a series of 4 door Larks. Some 6's,some V-8's all manual trannies most OD. We averaged around 150 tubes and in several neighboring towns we dropped bundles for the paperboys to make their home deliveries. We also had a few gas stations and a resort where we had vending type machines. My dad was quite possibly the most patient man in the world as I continuously killed the engine while pulling away from mailboxes. At least I never hit one! That might have pushed him over the edge! I have always felt fortunate that I got to spend those 14, 15, 16, & 17 year old driving adventures with my dad who died a few months after I turned 19. My 4 younger brothers surely got cheated in that regard.
The whole experience definitely cemented my Studebaker addiction!

Pat Casey
55 Commander
58 Transtar
62 GT Hawk
66 Cruiser
SDC Member since 1988

Chris Pile
07-27-2009, 10:54 PM
My first driving lessons were in the '58 Ranch Wagon I bought at age 14 from my aunt for $10.
However - my Dad learned to drive in Studebaker farm trucks by 10 or so.
Granddad baled all the hay in the area, and needed help moving trucks, so Dad was drafted.
He drove all over the area, but didn't get licensed until he joined the Navy at 20!

Chris Pile
Editor: The Studebaker Special

07-27-2009, 11:11 PM
Can you picture these two driving that Silver Hawk? Boy, I can. Same big grins! What fond memories they are still living for us all. Thanks, you two. [^]


We had Studebakers in the Arnold family, but those were in Voorheesville, NY. At 15, I was in Altadena, CA and back country roads were nowhere to be seen. My dad's business partner's aging mother had a '61 Tempest, and that was the car my stepsister Betsy and I snuck out and drove all over the side streets north of Mendocino Ave. I had a motorcycle license at 15, but a real car was very different. Took my test in a '68 Volkswagon bus. Wish it had been a Lark. My first date entailed me teaching my girlfriend to drive and she hit a palm tree pulling into her parents driveway. I didn't fess up to my dad to that until last year. :D
I was looking for the Studebaker keys below..[8D]


07-28-2009, 12:57 AM
In 1955 got my license with the 53 Buick, in 58 got my first car a $25.00 1948 Land cruiser had more fun in the land cruise then I ever did in the Buick..

Bob Peterson / C & B Studebakers

Castro Valley, CA


07-28-2009, 01:15 AM
My mother taught me to drive in a '62 Wagon. The car had belonged to my Grandmother and she had left it to my mother when she died six months after buying it. This nearly new car sat in our barn, on blocks, for several years till I needed it. I had to go to school in Red Bluff CA, a trip of thirty-five miles from the Ranch House door. When we moved back to Southern California the next year, the car went back up on blocks in the barn. There it sat till 1974 when Mum sold the Ranch. The barn is gone now and so's the car. I often wonder what happened to it.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/december%2006/HPIM0234.jpg http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/56%20Parkview%20Wagon/56wagonleftfrontclipped-1.jpg
Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith
Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?

07-28-2009, 02:46 AM
MY first experence with a Studebaker was with my brothers 1947 Land Cruiser, i guess i never actually drove it but i did move it back and forth across the front yard with the car in different gears with the starter switch on the floor. I had to be about 12-14 and i remember playing in that maroon Cruiser all the time, untill running the battery down. I guess my older brother and my dad always wondered why it had a dead battery. They sold it and bought him a 50 Plymouth 2 dr Black with fender skirts. In the back yard we had a 31 Cheverolet 2 dr sedan that my dad bought for my brother and i guess he blew the Babbits out of the rods. it sat in the back yard for several years and i remember playing in that car but it wouldnt move, i always wanted that car but my dad sold it one day for $40. I was sure mad it him for taking my Car.
So when i turned 16 i was looking for a car and found a real straight 37 Chevrolet coupe for $15, But my dad wouldn't buy it for me. I walked around town to car lots looking for a car i wanted. I had in my mind i wanted a 48-53 Hudson (Saw a customized one in Calif and fell in love with it). My dad said they had cork clutches and he didn't want one. My neighbor had a 49 Ford Convertible i thought was cool( Primered and lowered). I couldnt have a Ford either cause my dad thought they were to fast. I ended up with a white 51 Pontiac 2 dr straight eight as my first car.


07-28-2009, 05:13 AM
The first time I drove a Studebaker on the road (I used to drive our 58 Hawk in the back yard) was a friend's 51 Commander. He was 16, and I was 14 years old.


In Virginia, you could get a learners permit at 15. My Mother took me to get my permit, with our 58 Hawk, when I was on my birthday at 15. I passed the test, but I failed the eye exam. I was so upset, but then I got glasses, and passed the exam.

Leonard Shepherd


07-28-2009, 05:25 AM
Answering the original question- no. Never drove a Studebaker until I bought my first one, 64 Commander 4dr. 6 auto, in 2004. I was 43. If felt and sounded just like any 4dr. 6 banger Chevelle I'd ever driven. I still have it.

Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
Parish, central NY 13131

07-28-2009, 06:44 AM
In South Bend cars for drivers training were provided to high schools
by Studebaker. I took driver's ed in a Lark.
I have been driving Studebakers since then.

07-28-2009, 07:43 AM
i learned to drive in a 1957 vw mirco bus. my dad took me out one of the many county roads(gravel). found a steep hill stoped in the middle and i took over after about 4 tried i finally made it.we had a 57 studebaker but would not let me drive it because it was an automatic.he believed you learn on a stick you can drive anything. i had a studebaker at the age of 12. a 1957 commander 2-door sedan with 259,2-barrel,3-speed manual.it was green and white bought it from my uncle for $10.00. had it on the road when i was 16. had a j.c.whitney cam,3-speed floor shifter,and a 4-barrel carb with manifold off of a 61 hawk 289. it was a fun car.

2006,f-150,2x4,v-6,5-speed manual,8ft bed, will post stude info when i get it on the road.

07-28-2009, 08:02 AM
Yes, I did! In the same 63 Hawk we still have!:D
My dad took me out, starting when I was around 13 years old. In fact, he was bold enough to pull over on the PA Turnpike NE Extension, and let me drive(on the Turnpike!) at that age, much to the dismay of my mother. I can't image what would have happened if a State Trooper pulled us over.. jeesh!
He did that a number of times on our trips to Carbondale, PA from Broomall, when I was "under aged".
When it came time to get my license, my dad followed me in the Hawk, while I rode my 1967 125cc Moto Guzzi. Passed both my car and motorcycle tests that day! :D For a 16 year, it was an empowering day, to say the least. Only problem was when the passenger door of the Hawk opened up on a turn during the test. The female Trooper hadn't closed it all the way. Needless to say, she didn't fall out.. Ha! :)


1963 GT Hawk
1960 Metropolitan Convertible
1972 AMC Javelin/ AMX
1958 Cushman Eagle

07-28-2009, 09:48 AM
I learned to drive in a 56 Flight Hawk and got my first license in a 62 GT with 3 speed and overdrive. Both of the cars were my father's, he sold the 56 in mid 62 whwen he bought the GT. Bud

07-28-2009, 10:01 AM
yes.1973 .older brother co-pilot.1959 Lark. It is parked beside my igloo.

07-28-2009, 10:18 AM
Yes, I learned to drive on my father's 56 Golden Hawk. However I don't think I really passed, but the inspector was more interested in knowing about my cousing Renee who took me to the exam.

07-28-2009, 10:32 AM
quote:Originally posted by barnlark

[:X] Awww look at that sweet "guppy faced" lark in the background, isn't it sweet? ;)[:o)][:o)] (Love that quote by the way)

In short I did learn to drive in a Studebaker, actually the one in my signature photo.
Many little memories with this car over a year and a half span of it being my everyday driver.

2-60 air conditioner

Hacked up window lace hampering a cool window roll down at the stop light. Only to get the Grey Poupon jerks (yeah it was around that time)

Some holes in the rear wheel wells that brought a dust cloud inside after a trek down the gravel roads.

Manual steering. (Man that wheel gets to spinning coming out of a turn. [:0] you get the hang of it in no time.

And other memories, That I wouldn't trade.

The car was mine, paid for, and got me where I needed to go, I actually think the manual brakes, manual steering, and lack of power from the 170 made me a better driver.

Following distance increased [8D], Stronger arm [}:)] and no stoplight races :(. OH and those late night cruises with the ladies [:X][:X] with the non stock reclineable seats......., HA HA...Lured you all in, are you kidding, not many ladies wanted to be seen in the yellow taxi! [B)] :D:D

And finally

Execution of a 2 lane road pass took the vision of an eagle, trajectory computation of a NASA scientist, and the braking power of an industrial press [:0] If the move went south. A story for an after dinner parking lot BS session


07-28-2009, 10:44 AM
I'm not sure I qualify as a "younger" member, but I learned to drive in a 1963 Wagonaire at the age of 15 1/2 in Los Angeles in Summer 1980. The Wagon was the only thing dad owned that wasn't stick shift or supercharged. I took my test in January 1981 in that same wagon and passed with a 97. My dad bought me a 1960 Lark Convertible for my 16th birthday and I drove it all through high school and college. I still own the Lark, her name is Lucky, because I was the luckiest girl in the world to get her for my 16th birthday. I live in Ohio now and she doesn't get driven near as often as I would like, but I am hoping in 10 years when my daughter, Kaitlyn turns 16 she might get to do some driving in the Lark. My five year old, Matthew has his eyes set on my 64 Avanti. He's all about cars and has been identifying bullet noses, larks and Avantis since he could say the words at 2. Gotta start 'em early!!!

Michelle (Myer) Chernisky
Heart of Ohio Chapter, SDC
60 Lark Convertible
64 Avanti

07-28-2009, 10:45 AM
At 14 in 1974 I started driving a 1964 wagon, did not think it cool at the time when showing up for school. But what other choice was there, the school bus or the 4010 John Deere tractor that i had been using 2 years prior? I have the wagon now. Is there a cheap runnong 4010 out there?

Chicken Hawk
07-28-2009, 11:14 AM
Did not first drive a Studebaker. In about the middle of WWII I first drove a '40 Willys. We lived on a small farm and used the Willys quite often in the field and that's where I first drove a car.

My first road driven car was in a '50 Stude Champ two door when I was 15 years old.

Next came a '51 Commander four door stick OD. That's when the rest of the high school hot rodders learned it wasn't cool to make fun.


Skinnys Garage
07-28-2009, 11:16 AM
Although technically I had learned in other cars, I had my '59 Lark before I got my car license. The keys were in a 15th birthday card from my Uncle & Aunt in 1980 and I drove it for years. If all goes as planned, 30 years later next spring I'll have it back on the road for more great memories. I don't wish to be 15 again, but I do miss driving my car!

Watertown, SD

07-28-2009, 11:36 AM
I'm not too sure I remember that story Mike (hotwheels63R2) was talking about.
I do remember the fire we had that one day at the bank, and losing the brakes on the way to school one morning, though. :D those were the days...

We sure had fun putting Betsy back together before she could be driven again. All those parts Mike mentioned, as well as a driveshift had to be installed. Our older brother liked how 'low' and 'reverse' were next to each other on the column, you see... [:0] :( [V]

My earliest drive in a Stude was when we drove around our development in that '63 Wagonaire with Dad at our side- circa 1981. Many pillows were involved!!! ;) [:o)]
That car is now owned by Warren. Tough ol' bird she was~ RIP Goldie...

StudeDave '57 [8D]
Also a 3rd generation Stude driver~
I am 39~ seriously

Nelsen Motorsports
07-28-2009, 12:23 PM
I learned to drive in an 89' Range Rover (our beater vehicle), but hopefully I will get my liscence in my Stude.

Alex Nelsen
1954 Champion Coupe
Lizella, GA

07-28-2009, 02:05 PM
The first vehicle I drove was a Chevy Blazer 4x4. But the first vehicle I drove with a standard transmission was the (now mine) 59 pickup. :) That counts for something, right?

Matthew Burnette
Hazlehurst, GA


07-28-2009, 03:00 PM
Aye, my learners vehicle was also originally a 1985 K5 Blazer. It had the smog emissions 305, and the 3.08? rear end, so it couldn't get out it's own way, which made it okay for a learners vehicle. Then it was an 89 Mercury Grand Marquis, of which I took the test in. After all was said and done and I had the license, on the same day we went to look at a 64 Studebaker Commander, so I could drive back and forth to high school. With an R1 1/2 engine PS, Power Drums, and lap belts, I was learning to drive all over again.


07-28-2009, 04:12 PM
Like 8E farther back up in this post, I first started driving tractors on the farm in Greenfield CA around 1951 or 52. We had a '21 Model T touring car that we carted seed out to the field from the barn that I drove. But the first car on the road was a 53K my father bought new and gave me in 1958 for my 15 birthday since my mother could not drive a stick. Still have it.

07-28-2009, 05:23 PM
The first car I 'drove' was a '63 Chrysler 300. It was parked in my grandmothers driveway and I flipped the parking brake lever (Chrysler pushbutton trans) and started rolling down the drive. I was 5 :D.

The first car I drove with the engine running was my mom's '70 Chevelle station wagon. I did a lot of backing up and parking in the garage. My Driver's Ed car was a '79 Dodge Aspen coupe.

The only three studes that I've even had a ride in are Jeff's yellow CE and Studebaker George's Lark and GT Hawk. All of them left grins.

Tom - Mulberry, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2125.60)

1964 Studebaker Commander 170-1V, 3-speed w/OD (Cost to Date: $623.67)

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/01-01-05TheStartingPoint.jpg http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/07-17-07FrontClipRemoved.jpg http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/08-06-29.jpg

07-28-2009, 05:59 PM
Yes. I learned to drive in a 1963 Lark Daytona Wagonaire, the year
was 1985, I was 15. My first car was a 1960 Hawk, bought at age 15.
My second car was a 1963 Avanti, bought at age 25.


'63 Avanti, zinc plated drilled & slotted 03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, soon: TKO 5-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves, 'R3' 276 cam, Edelbrock AFB Carb, GM HEI distributor, 8.8mm plug wires

07-28-2009, 06:42 PM
I didn't learn to drive in a Stude, the learning was on a tractor and an early 50s Chev pickup through the fields (some might call it work, but to me it was play). I did take my drivers license test in a 49 Champion sedan.


07-28-2009, 06:47 PM
I actually learned to drive on an 8N Ford. I was around 6 years old and pulled a weed burner for my dad--first gear/idle--SLOW. First car I ever drove was my grandads 194? M pickup. He was a little blind, a lot old, and had already dented every square inch of that truck so they figured I couldn't hurt it. I was around 10 or so. Got a farm to market license at 14 (1961) and made many a trip from the farm near Buckeye, AZ, to the grain elevators at 51st Ave and Highway 80 in Phoenix driving an M16 with a grain bed. The truck didn't have a dump bed so you drove on a platform and they would chain the front axle then tilt the truck up to dump it. They wouldn't let me out of the truck, and never tired of trying to terrify me. (They did a time or two, but I never let them know.) Good memories--sure couldn't do that today.

Jeff Jones
Tucson Arizona
1947 M-5

cool 1953
07-28-2009, 06:55 PM
I am 14 an learned to drive in a 1963 cruiser...

clayton-rip chicken hawk!

Colgate Studebaker
07-28-2009, 07:15 PM
I was 14 in 1963 and drove my folks 58 President around the resort in Canada on our fishing trip. The folks never knew (yah right) about it, but I did it for 3 years up there on our trips until I finally got my license at 16 and then drove it legally. About 6 months later they traded it in on a low mileage 63 cruiser. My dad passed away that summer and the cruiser became my car until I joined the Navy. Lots of memories about dragging other guys with the majority in the win column. B.V.

07-28-2009, 07:39 PM
Growing up on a farm, I learned to drive tractors first, then farm trucks. I took my drivers test in a 1973 Buick Century Coupe. The first Stude I ever drove was in 1983 when Grandpa bought the 51 Commander I have today. I remember at the time, age 17, that I thought that car was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. Now I wouldn't trade it for anything. Even though I have owned the 51 for five years now, I still refer to it as " Grandpa's car"

66 Commander R1 Clone
51 Commander 4dr

07-28-2009, 07:44 PM
I didn't learn to drive in a Studebaker.[V] Took my test in a '59 Buick Electra Suburban (station wagon).
When my Grandfather died I got his '62 Lark with standard shift.
I returned home from Penn State in my '63 Coronet 440. Then I got in the Lark to head back to school.

Okay...standard shift; I should be able to do this.
160 miles later and all was well.

Yes! It had a hill holder.:)

Brad Johnson
Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
http://s57.photobucket.com/albums/g233/rockne10/Rockne/th_Rocknegauges.jpg'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight

07-28-2009, 07:49 PM
I didn't know tractors counted! Drove those at 7 and 8. [:0]

Bob Langer
07-28-2009, 07:49 PM
My dad and brother taught me how to drive using Studebakers from the dealership. I used my dad's demo for my drivers test.It was a new 1961 Autumn Haze Regal hardtop with a 6 and automatic.

Bob Langer


07-28-2009, 08:04 PM
Didn't learn in a Stude. First car I drove was the family Ford Mainliner 1954 edition. Also got to drive a 62 Ford 500 in driver's ed.
Absolutely no Studes in our family. Dad and grandad had a brief fling with Nashes, but no one had a Stude of any sort. My first was the 60 Lark VI ragtop I rescued from a field in '73.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1963 Cruiser
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President two door

07-28-2009, 08:42 PM
My mom taught me to drive in a 1964 Studebaker Commander.

Cabrina Dieters
Murfreesboro TN

07-28-2009, 08:46 PM
I learned in a 48 Commander at 9 yrs. old when my family lived in Taylor, Tx. There was a small field in front of our house.

07-28-2009, 09:23 PM

My dad drove Studebaker trucks in the war, and came home wanting Studes.

Driven to school in a 50 bulletnose.

Dad drove a 52 sedan, then a 53 Starliner.

Add a few more Studebakers.

I learned to drive at 11 on a 59 lark standard in a field and track through the bush. I was good, my friend hit a few trees and the doors fell off. Dad not too happy.

Taken to band (bass in guitar band) in a 60 lark.

Finally: Took my driving test in my dad's red 63 GT. (purchased new in Nov 62) It was in Canadian International Car Show in 2006. Still have it.

Red 63 GT almost traded in on Gordon Grundy's (Cdn Stude President) gold 63 r2? Avanti. No rear leg room: Mom decided NO!

Mom drives Speedster home from cottage at indicated 130 mph. I am impressed. Speedster turns out to be No 2 showcar (out of 14). I still have it.

Buy my first car at 15 - 1955 Champion Coupe - because it looked like Speedster. I still have it.

I don't want to drive Champion through winter. Buy 64 Commander from brother for $1. (a fair price at the time). Drove it to university.
Still have it, but a little rusty.

Buy a 1955 Commander coupe for the front fenders for 1955 Coupe. Was severely vandalized, but solid. Find other front fenders for the Champion, restore the Commander. (It is on the picture page)

Lots more Studes and Stude adventures, but I'm probably out of time and off topic for now. What was I supposed to talk about??


PS: About 20 years after the Grundy Avanti deal was missed, my dad ended up getting a very nice gold r2 Avanti anyway. I was never allowed to forget the story about the Avanti that got away.

07-28-2009, 09:31 PM
I learned to drive in my Dad's '57 Chevy Sedan Delivery.However my girlfriend Carolyn (7 years older than me)learned to drive in a '58 Packard.There was one at York several years ago and she went bonkers when she saw it!!!!

07-28-2009, 09:41 PM
Learned to drive in my mother's 52' Plymouth Suburban SW,which the folks purchased new in 1952. My first Stude drive was in 1964 in a 63' GT Hawk (R-1,4speed,Disc Brakes).

Dean Croft

CLEM http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x56/Clem64/Clem64Forum1A.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x56/Clem64/CIMG1894sm.jpg DESEE

07-28-2009, 10:36 PM
My older brother learned to drive in my dads 1959 Lark 4 door.

Gary Sanders
Nixa, MO
President Toy Studebaker Collectors Club. Have an interest in Toy Studebakers? Contact me for details.

07-29-2009, 12:05 PM
I learned to drive in my dad's bare bones cream colored 1950 Champion 2 dr with maroon wheels and nothing else. We went pheasant hunting on the Fairfield bench northwest of Great Falls, Montana, and he taught me how to drive the 3 speed with overdrive on the gravel roads. I was disappointed in the looks of the car as it had replaced a 1948 Champion Regal Deluxe 2 dr.

Several years later, as a junior in high school, I bought my first Studebaker, which I still have, a 1948 Champion Regal Deluxe Starlight Coupe with radio and overdrive, Parklane Green with Tulip Yellow wheels striped with green. I took that hunting on the Fairfield bench after school, walking the irrigation ditches to scare up pheasants, which had been driven to the ditches during the day.

That was the first of a whole lot of Studebakers. The ones I sold were a 1950 Champion 2 dr, a 1957 Packard Clipper sedan, and a 1964 Daytona Wagonaire. The ones I kept are the 1948 Champion, my Sky Hawk, 63 and 64 Avantis, R2 & R1, 64 Cruiser with Daytona trim, and 46 M-5. All licensed & running in Anaconda, Montana. All of these cars have been in California, some driven there, and now all back home.

Jack Weber, 008915W LIFE

07-29-2009, 01:55 PM
Unfortunately, I never learned to drive in a Studebaker, but I did get to sit on my dad's lap when I was 5 and turn that GIANT steering wheel in my mom's '50 Champion when were at the lake one time at very low speeds. However, my first car was a '64 Daytona 4 door sedan. The car I took my test in was a Ford Fairlane.


07-29-2009, 08:49 PM
I learned to drive in a 60 Lark I bought for $85 in 1966. A friend drove it to a few blocks from my house, and I just started driving it (the clutch was slipping bad, so that helped). My first auto repair was installing a clutch in the Lark. I parked it a few blocks from the house because I wasn't allowed to have a car. Until it was hit one dark and rainy night and the cops showed up at my house to report it. Then I got to park in front of the house.

07-29-2009, 11:27 PM
I learned in Dad's '62 GT (besides the high school driver training '66 Plymouth Fury I).

During the summer of '66, we put an equalizing trailer hitch on the Hawk and pulled a 16 foot travel trailer all over Northern Ontario. It was then that I learned to back up with a trailer, too. BTW, the Hawk got 17 MPG (Imperial - about 14 MPG US) pulling the trailer.

Roger "153624" Hill

55 Champion
47 M-5
Izzer Buggy
Junior Wagon

57 Classic
07-30-2009, 12:31 PM
I learned to drive in 1954 in the family's '51 Commander Starlite. It was a stick with OD and Tulip Cream. A great car that was bought as a Demonstrator from Al Mergen's Studebaker in St. Paul MN. That was our third Stude and we would have five more before they went out of business.
All those years in a Stude got me hooked.
Brian Millette

07-30-2009, 12:47 PM
I learned to drive in a 1955 President, the one that is in my shop now. It was my Mom's car and she would go to work with my Aunt in my Aunts car (a Vauxhall[:0]) and I would drive the car around and around and around in the neighbors yard (nobody lived there yet)... just doin' donuts!! Boy was that fun.... I guess I was 13 or 14....3 speed with overdrive....Took my drivers test in the same one....Lot of other "first's" in that old 55'!![}:)][:I]

1955 President one owner
Moncks Corner, SC

07-30-2009, 10:07 PM
I was fortunate enough to take my Pa Drivers Test in a 66 DAYTONA that was my moms daily driver @ the time. I turned 16 in January of 1970, and in those days you could take the eye test & send for your permit 30 days before your birthday. I think it was about 7-10 days after I turned 16 that I got my 18 yr old neighbor to ride up with me to the State Police Barracks, and I had no problem with the test. The main reason for that is that the trooper was more interested in "the Stude" then he was in my driving abilities,and the best part of the whole story is I still have the car!

07-31-2009, 06:21 PM
For me, the answer would be 'yes' and 'no' :)
I got my license in 1976 and my first car was a '61 Lark 2-dr sedan with the 6 and AT.
My Dad had purchased it brand new, it was still in pretty good condition. But I actually learned to drive and took my driver's test in our family car, a 1972 Chev Townsman station wagon. But then, I suppose I was still 'learning' after I got my license!
Speaking of that wagon, it was a 3-seat, 8 passenger, all 3 seats facing forward. My friends and I would pack into it and go to the Drive-in movies. We thought it was great that we could drink beer while watching the show!

Jim B

08-01-2009, 02:23 PM
I didn't learn in a Studebaker but both my daughters did. 62 GT and a 64 Daytona hardtop.
Denny L


Madd Doodler
08-03-2009, 02:06 PM
The first car I ever drove was a 1955 Ford while sitting on my Dad's lap. The first car I learned to drive though on my own was a rusty 1962 Lark that my Dad gave me in 1969. I was 9 years old and drove it around the field beside our house for hours... Dad would bring home two five gallons of gas for me and my older brother each day. He was driving a '63 Rambler wagon. It was a great way to learn to drive and I haven't been without a Studebaker since.

Steve Grant
a.k.a. the Madd Doodler
Kinzua Region Chapter
1881 Grain Wagon
1951 Champion Starlight
1959 Lark 2 dr sdn
1963 Daytona 2 dr htp
Over 500 Studebaker toys

08-03-2009, 03:35 PM
Unfortunetly, the first car I drove myself was a p.o.c honda civic, and have done alot of driving in the families '91 plymouth van, and the drivers ed car was a honda fit. But I think I have more hours in a single car, in my lark. Way more fun to drive, and I am actually more comforable in it.

Dylan Wills

'61 lark deluxe 4 door wagon

12-19-2009, 04:24 PM
Us old farm boys can't remember the first time we "drove", or getting lessons. Tractors and truck were just there, and you drove them. But I took my drivers test in 1958 in Mom's 51 Stude coupe.

San antonio TX. 53 Champion Coupe, to be brought back from the dead.
"Of course it will fit, I have a torch"

12-19-2009, 04:39 PM
I will be learning. In a '40 Champion.:)

Chris Dresbach

12-19-2009, 04:53 PM
Unfortunately, I didn't learn on a Studebaker. I learned to drive on 3 different cars: My neighbor taught me on his new '50 Hudson Pacemaker, my dad taught me on his '50 Nash Ambassador (I took my test on that car), and the most driving was on a '54 Ford Customline at my high school during my senior year. It was our driver education car.

'59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop
Long Island Studebaker Club

12-19-2009, 06:32 PM
I learned to drive in our 51 champ when I was 9yrs old back in 57 on the farm after the hay was taken off the fields.When I was 15 and close to getting my permit,Dad would let me drive our 59 wagon home from our fishing trips if we were 5 miles or less from home. Took my drivers test in my brothers 57 stick shift commander.


12-20-2009, 10:03 AM
The first car I drove was my Sister's 61 Lark Cruiser. The second was my Dad's 63 Champ PU. Then I cut my teeth on a 64 Daytona.
And it all went downhill from there!


12-20-2009, 10:18 AM
Yes.. my Dad taught me how to drive and I still have the car.... The 55' President:D .. We used to sit in his lap and steer when we were old enough to see over the steering wheel (while sitting in his lap) Every time we went hunting or fishing and we were on those Ft.Benning dirt roads and back roads my brothers and I would argue over "who gets to steer"..[:p]

1955 President one owner
Moncks Corner, SC

12-20-2009, 02:53 PM
I learned to drive in a 1969 Dodge Dart 4 door with a 225 cid slant six and a 3 speed on the tree. Here's a close replica photo of the car (it was blue).
It had rubber floor covering, vinyl bench seats, AM radio and Dad had the dealer add aftermarket under the dash AC unit. I think the cost from the dealer with add on AC was approximately $2500. My brother and I both learned to drive in this car and we drove it pretty hard. The slant six was IMHO about as close as you can come to a bullet proof motor.

My first car I actually owned (in college) was given to me by my grandmother it was a 1961 Lark VI Regal 4 door sedan with automatic transmission. It was painted Ermine white with a light green cloth interior.

<div align="left">John</div id="left">

<div align="left">'63 Avanti, R1, Auto, AC, PW (under restoration)</div id="left">

12-20-2009, 03:31 PM
I learned "street" driving in the 55 Champion 4-door, 6 cyl. straight shift. Like one of the other posts, I had some truck and tractor time in fields, then took my drivers test in the family truckster- - a 59 or 60 Lark wagon, V8, automatic. Both are long gone, but only because they were used up. Can't remember which year the Lark was, just that it was black and had a red interior. The 55 Champ was black and white. Dad had 4 Studes, then changed to a Chevy wagon, then went Toyota. Studebaker was gone by the time the Lark was ready to go. Miss 'em, and I have sold all 3 of mine till we get moved, then gona' start over. Thinking a 53 coupe or a 49-up pickup- - -again. John

12-20-2009, 04:08 PM
My old brother was borrowing my Grandfather's Studebaker. His 68 Chevelle was in the shop. While my older brother was sleeping (worked nights), I took the keys and took the 65 Commander sedan out for a spin. After day two of practice, I thought I was doing pretty well driving it so I went over to the DMV (about 7 miles away in Omaha) and got the book, studied it in the lobby, took the written and driving tests, passed both. At the end of the two test the inspector gave me the slip of paper to get my license and asked me where my guardian was.....I told him that I came by myself. He smiled and said "lucky you passed., I really enjoyed that ride and that car, good luck".

57 & 58 Packards and Larks

Jessie J.
12-20-2009, 04:18 PM
Guess I'd have to ask, What qualifies as 'driving'?
My first time behind the steering wheel of a moving vehicle, was at about 7 years old, sitting on my dad's lap and steering an old '51 Fluid-Drive DeSoto down a empty country road.
The other teenagers in the family always had a variety of old clunkers that I was put behind the wheel of while they were being towed or needed push starting.
So my first experience 'all alone' in a moving vehicle consisted of steering and braking a pink & blue '54 Ford that we towing off to the wrecking yard several miles away. That we all had survived this adventure, qualified me to step up to the job of firing up our '36 Ford pickup, while my more 'experienced' cousin did the pushing. Once it was started I was supposed to pull over and let him drive back to the farm.
That was the plan, but every time he got behind the wheel it would either quit or he would stall it, finally in frustration, I was instructed to just drive it back to the farm the next time I got it fired up. Well the family tale goes, that I took that old pickup around the corner by the graveyard up on two wheels. I don't know, knew I didn't want to stall it again, 'cause my cousin was already well peeved, so I just cranked on that wheel and hung on for dear life!
The first of our Studebaker's that I was ever allowed to drive was dad's new Bordeaux red '64 Commander, and I have had a love affair with the '64 Lark-types every since, have owned half a dozen Daytona HTs, and still have three.

12-20-2009, 04:24 PM
I first drove my Dads early 50's 1/2 ton Studebaker pick up, around our yard we had 4-5 acres. filling holes with topsoil, out of the bed, getting ready to plant grass, I took my driver test in our 66 volkswagon we had Studebakers of differant types all thru our life and my high school years. My Dad's only new Studebaker was a 62 daytona lark convertible, Indy Pace car that year. my neighbor hood friends families here in north east Ohio, most Dad's worked at Ford and Chrysler factories nearby, but I remember inviting all of them over to see the start of the 62 Indy 500, on ABC delayed tape tv and watch the Lark pace the race just like the one out in our driveway... I bought my first car a 55 president 2 dr hardtop. Black over Red for $125.00 and drove it two to three years.


12-20-2009, 05:39 PM
The drivers ed car was a 75 Chevrolet Impala, but my practice car was the 1964 Commander that was an extra car. Dad bought it from his Mother and she bought it new at Wolfe's Studebaker in Corydon, IN.

6 cyl, column shift 3 speed, base car. I drove it for a couple of years, but that was not a cool car in 1976, so I painted it and parked it when I bought a 67 Impala SS.

I have the car now and it is the one in my signature.

David King

1964 Studebaker Commander
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham (615)
1966 Pontiac GTO convertible

12-20-2009, 06:27 PM
Nice looking car, David.

'50 Champion, 1 family owner

12-20-2009, 07:17 PM
As a matter of fact I did learn to drive in a '40 Champion 4 door. Mostly with my mother's help. The car had been my sisters when she was in college and had been sitting long enough for the battery to be dead. I talked my mom into towing it around the block to start it on compression. That doesn't work well when overdrive is engaged.

Drove that car for several years. It had a nasty habit of the headlights going out at inconvenient times. Bad circuit breaker I now suppose.

Don Wilson
53 Commander Hardtop
64 Champ 1/2 ton
Centralia, WA

12-20-2009, 07:24 PM
I was 15 in 1978 and bought a 1963 GT Hawk. I learned to drive in it and I took my driver's test in it. I had to parallel park during the test and I missed the curb by over a yard. The guy from the license branch opened his door, saw I was off by a mile, shut his door and asked me "Is that the original mileage on this thing?". I truely believe I wouldn't have passed my driver's test if I wasn't in that Studebaker! I bought my third car in 1981, a '64 Daytona convertible. Still own that one. Sold the Hawk though.

12-20-2009, 07:53 PM
My late father worked at Studebaker in Hamilton. At 16, I learned to drive on a '59 Lark. It was a six, no power anything, standard shift. At the time, I would have given anything to drive any car but a Studebaker. http://i1011.photobucket.com/albums/af237/Studiegirl/SusanandChristinesummer59.jpg
In this picture I am on the right and I think this was taken in the summer of '59. I never did tell my parents how many I crammed into that little Lark to go for rides. Times have changed and currently, we have a '64 Avanti R1 and a '62 Daytona Hardtop.

12-20-2009, 09:58 PM
Happy to say - "yes"!

Started out on dad's lap at age 11 just steering our '57 Silver Hawk down the country lane to our house on the St. Lawrence River outside Kingston, Ontario. Graduated to drive it down the same lane coming home from church some Sundays.

The '57 was traded on a new '62 GT Hawk and when I turned 16, took my license test using it (passed first try, of course) and spent many happy teen-age hours behind the wheel. Still have dreams about that car!

Roger "153624" Hill

55 Champion
47 M-5
Izzer Buggy
Junior Wagon

12-20-2009, 10:40 PM
In late 1966 at the age of 15 1/2 I learned to drive in our 1960 Hawk in which I had rebuilt and modified the engine. I had spent a number of years racing go-karts and riding motorcycles as well as moving the car around in our long driveway.

My mother took me out to a deserted industrial park area. I remember stalling the car once, then laying about 50 feet of rubber.

About 2 days later I drove from Chula Vista (San Diego area)to the Laguna mountains about 60+ miles east. At that time the road was Highway 80 a rather twisty road. This has been replaced by Interstate 8.

David L

12-21-2009, 08:02 AM
My Dad drove Studes since the late '40's. In 1965, when I came-of-age to learn to drive, we owned a '62 Lark Daytona convertible, 289, 4-speed. My Dad taught me to drive in that car, and gave it to me once I got my license. I won a lot of street races with it through high school & college!! Car is long gone, but the engine is still alive - powering my '61 Champ 3/4-ton. I'm proud to say I've been driving Studes from the beginning to the present day - thanks to my Dad!

--Paul Gothard

12-21-2009, 08:04 AM
I learned to drive in a 51 Hudson Hornet, in 1953,
at the age of nine. For years I thought it was a
49, and not until recently did I discover it was a
51. I took my drivers test in a 57 Plymouth sport
Fury, in 1960, and later that year, came my first
Studebaker. A 1953 Champion coupe.

Tex E. Grier