View Full Version : Garage Find - 1915 Studebaker (Edmonton)

01-06-2012, 09:19 PM
(snippet copy - See link for entire story)


Garage find of a lifetime for Studebaker fan

Canadian-built car only one still running

By Dave Halliday, Edmonton JournalJanuary 6, 2012

Car collectors dream of finding a vehicle that has sat undisturbed for decades in a barn or garage.
Few will ever find one, especially a car from the early years of the automobile industry. But it does hap-pen.
In 2010, Pat McKenna bought a 1915 Studebaker that had not been on the road since 1950 and had not run since 1952. The car was sitting in a garage in Hamilton, Ont., when McKenna purchased it.
"The previous owner, Bernie Cow-an, who is now 83, must be credited with preserving the Stude," McKenna said. "He kept it inside and did not take it apart. He filled the motor with oil, put the car on blocks and covered it up. He said he conditioned the leather seats."
McKenna learned of the car through an ad in a Studebaker publication. The car had been advertised for a year, but had not sold, so McKenna asked Cowan to send photos of the vehicle.
"What I saw intrigued me enough to fly out to Hamilton," McKenna said.
In August 2010, the car was shipped to Alberta and the new owner began the task of getting the early Studebaker back on the road. Although the car would require some work, it did not need to be restored.
"The wood is all original and is in great shape, as are the leather seats," McKenna said. "The body was repainted in the 1940s. I plan to leave the car as is and maintain it as required. I feel cars were made to be driven and enjoyed, not locked up behind closed doors."
The first step was to remove the oil pan and oil pump, but McKenna said everything was fine, so he re-installed the pan and pump.
Checking out the bottom end of the engine in these situations is important, since sludge and dirt could damage the engine if the pan is not removed and checked. It's easier to take this step than try to find the parts to rebuild a nearly 100-year-old engine.
Having cleared the first hurdle, McKenna, who owns several other old Studebakers, set about getting the car running. He cleaned the ignition points, installed a frost plug and rigged up a gas can to supply fuel since the tank was dirty.
"After fiddling with the wiring a bit, I had my 10-year-old son Liam push the starter while I was under the hood and she fired right up," McKenna said.
When new tires arrived, McKenna had them installed and took the car for its first drive in almost 60 years.
"I drove it enough to find out what needed to be done to make it road worthy. Over the winter, I serviced the brakes, replaced broken springs, changed the water pump and lubed and adjusted everything as well as doing 100 other things."
The gas tank is in the cowl, requiring the dash and steering column to be removed so the tank can be taken out for cleaning.
"I finished assembling it the morning we trailered it to History Road (at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum) in Wetaskiwin," McKenna said.
McKenna drove the car about 700 miles (1,120 kilometres) last year, using seven tanks of gas.
"I have had it up to 40 miles per hour (60 km/h). It cruised nicely at 35 miles per hour (56 km/h)." McKenna's 1915 Studebaker was built not long after the Studebaker Corp. began putting its own name on gasoline-powered automobiles. Previously, it had distributed EMF cars.
"My car is the only Walkerville, Ont.-built 1915 four-cylinder that is complete and running," said McKenna, adding an Ontario man is trying to build one out of the parts from four cars.
The Studebaker company got its start in 1852, building covered wagons for years before success-fully making the transition to automobiles. But Studebaker would suffer the fate of other independent automobile makers, manufacturing its last car in March 1966 at its Hamilton plant. Studebaker's main factory in South Bend, Ind., closed in late 1963.

01-06-2012, 09:28 PM
Wow, that's crazy, truly a real barn find...would do well in the survivor class! I was in Edmonton 3 days ago, how come I didn't see it driving around? lol Junior.

01-06-2012, 09:48 PM
I know you guys are having record breaking temperatures....even in Edmonton. But he didn't say anything about buying new "snow tires"?????
Good Roads
PS The Vedette Trailer got its new wheels and tires mounted and balance Yesterday.
Stood on its own two wheels today. Its hood (51 Stude) and Sandi's Left front fender for her hawk go in to be sandblasted in the morning.

01-07-2012, 08:14 AM
Sorry, I didn't see the earlier thread post about this car....