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View Full Version : A Good Read: Stu Chapman's My Father the Car



BobPalma
12-20-2012, 08:33 PM
'Finally got around to finishing the remainder of Stu Chapman's Auto-Auto Biography, My Father the Car. (I still don't understand the title, so I figure it must be a Canadian geneology thing Gord or Craig will explain sooner or later.)

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/myfatherthecar_zpse0f5b8ce.jpg

Anyway, this is a great book that is to be recommended for anyone interested in what was going on, especially in the mysterious and often-confusing 1964-1966 period. Stu presents a good deal of insight that could be garnered by no one unless they were really there.

Considering what Stu reports were the events of the last several months of production, he must've got a real chuckle of my proposed scenario in the April 2012 Turning Wheels Co-Operator.

Silly me; like so many fellow Studebaker nuts with their head in the sand, we were operating under the bizarre assumption that Studebaker's Board of Directors was actually interested in the Automobile Business after January 1, 1964. HA! You don't have to read between many of Stu's lines to know "the rest of the story" ...and, boy, is it interesting.

A good read, Stu; thank you for taking the time to record your thoughts and observations for posterity. (If the book is still in print -it is copyright 2009 and I'm sure Stu will post- it would make a dandy delayed Christmas present for any Studebaker devotee. :!: BP

studegary
12-20-2012, 09:06 PM
The book can still be purchased through AOAI or SNM.

I read it cover-to-cover when I first got it (2009, I guess).

rockne10
12-20-2012, 10:11 PM
Bought a copy from Stu at York a few years ago. It's a fascinating read.
I suspect Stu feels the entire automotive industry influenced him as much as a father could. I also suspect he may be playing a bit of humor; making reference to the 1965-66 TV sitcom "My Mother the Car" with Jerry VanDyke.

At about five minutes in to the first episode a '53 coupe cruises right as the '28 Porter cruises left.

http://www.hulu.com/my-mother-the-car


(http://www.hulu.com/my-mother-the-car)

2moredoors
12-20-2012, 10:20 PM
Good read and makes a good Christmas gift.

avantilover
12-21-2012, 02:12 AM
Bob, I think the title refers to the car (Studebaker) and car industry teaching many things to Stu in a way a Father would. Certainly a great read.

BobPalma
12-21-2012, 05:40 AM
Bought a copy from Stu at York a few years ago. It's a fascinating read.
I suspect Stu feels the entire automotive industry influenced him as much as a father could. I also suspect he may be playing a bit of humor; making reference to the 1965-66 TV sitcom "My Mother the Car" with Jerry VanDyke. [/

'Good point. Hadn't thought of that. ;) BP

Stu Chapman
12-21-2012, 07:20 AM
'Good point. Hadn't thought of that. ;) BP



John's comment is absolutely correct. Paragraph 2 of Chapter 1 explains the reasoning for the title. The initial printing in 2009 was sold out by my publisher in January of this year and it was reprinted in March.

Thank you Bob for your great support, and thanks also to the other members who enjoyed it and commented here. As Gary has stated, you can purchase my book from the Studebaker National Museum or the Avanti Owners Association International through their respective websites. If you're in the Daytona area of Florida, the Living Legends of Auto Racing Museum also carries it. Local Hamilton Ontario buyers can obtain it at The Framing Warehouse, 98 John Street North. And my publisher, MT Publishing of Evansville Indiana, would be glad to look after you. I've only 1 copy left in my supply.

The summer of 2013 will mark 50 years of my direct association with Studebaker. I never seem to amaze myself when my memory bank comes alive when someone raises a question about this wonderful car and its tragic demise, particularly when I sometimes forget what I did the other day. I hope I can continue this dialogue with members for many years to come, either through The Forum, Turning Wheels or you can email me at schapman5@cogeco.ca.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Stu Chapman

lschuc
12-21-2012, 08:01 AM
Here is the link to order Stu's book securely from the AOAI:

http://www.aoai.org/shop/product.php?productid=20

http://www.aoai.org/shop/images/P/chapmancover.jpg

jackb
12-21-2012, 10:28 AM
I have a couple of Studebaker books I'd like to sell cheap.....PM me for details.......

Green53
12-21-2012, 01:13 PM
I agree that Stu did a great job on his book. It is very interesting plus I learned several new things about Studebaker.

Denny L

JBOYLE
12-21-2012, 03:08 PM
As a career Public Affairs guy (USAF 1981-2001), I can't imagine a more thankless job than doing PR for a sinking ship.

Stu Chapman
12-21-2012, 03:47 PM
As a career Public Affairs guy (USAF 1981-2001), I can't imagine a more thankless job than doing PR for a sinking ship.

You certainly have that right John. At least I was able to handle PR successfully for our clients for 32 years after we closed down. When we started Chapman Morris Advertising in 1966, our Studebaker connection provided valuable business leads for which I will always be grateful. In fact Studewbaker Corporation became one of our first clients as we handled all the advertising for the sale of its Canadian properties.

Stu Chapman

thunderations
12-21-2012, 04:20 PM
Just ordered my copy. Don't any of you tell me, "The butler did it".

JRoberts
12-21-2012, 04:21 PM
Stu's book is a really great read. I too got my copy from Stu at York. I have read the book a couple of times and it only gets better with the second read.

BobPalma
12-21-2012, 05:32 PM
Just ordered my copy. Don't any of you tell me, "The butler did it".

No, he didn't. It was Byers Burlingame and Associates. :eek: BP

avantilover
12-21-2012, 07:07 PM
As someone who was there at the time Bob, do you think we could have continued production anyway, if financing had been A) available and B) the company had been willing to expand Hamilton say so Trucks and Hawks and Lark types and Avantis could have been redesigned or were we really behind the 8-ball regardless - even had unlimited funds - new factory etc???

BobPalma
12-21-2012, 08:43 PM
As someone who was there at the time Bob, do you think we could have continued production anyway, if financing had been A) available and B) the company had been willing to expand Hamilton say so Trucks and Hawks and Lark types and Avantis could have been redesigned or were we really behind the 8-ball regardless - even had unlimited funds - new factory etc???

Well, John; I wasn't exactly "there" at the time, but I was probably as good a repository for all things Studebaker among people still in their teens ('turned 20 in early 1966).

In retrospect, Studebaker's skids were probably too well-greased by 1953 to remain a serious player in the market after then, much less 1965. Their costs of building a car were just too far out of line by then and they lost the price competitiveness that volume had permitted in the immediate postwar economy. The 1959 Lark was brilliantly conceived and executed when "just enough" board members were still seriously interested in the automobile business.

Momentum is a wonderful thing. It carried Ford Motor Company through with obsolete products into the late 20s, and again until the 1949 Ford was introduced, and it certainly helped Studebaker in the mid-1950s, but just barely.

The other two factors that pulled Studebaker through into the 60s were having a truck line and a good V8 engine. Without those, they would have died with Packard, Nash, Hudson, Willys, Kaiser, and all the others in the 1950s. (Yes, I know Nash survived as American Motors, of course, but not as a brand name.)

As I said earlier, Stu does a wonderful job of delicately balancing Hamilton executives' enthusiasm with what was really going on in Studebaker's corporate boardroom by late 1963, having begun in 1960. (IMHO, of course.)

My heart has always ached for Studebaker people like Stu, Sherwood Egbert, and countless others, who really enjoyed what possibilities they perceived for Studebaker products despite the Board's obnoxiousness, to be quite frank. Some of the things on the drawing board for 1965, like four-link, coil-spring rear suspesnion and the 340 V8, were really "cool" and reflected a sincere interest in being the best they could be on four wheels.

A tip of the old Stetson to them for doing their level best...and better! ;) BP

thunderations
12-21-2012, 08:57 PM
That's OK. At my age, by the time the book gets here and I read it, I'll have forgotten your post. lol
No, he didn't. It was Byers Burlingame and Associates. :eek: BP

avantilover
12-21-2012, 11:39 PM
Thanks Bob, are there articles on the IRS and 340 V8? I have to hand it to Stu and his associates - they made us go out in great style.

BobPalma
12-22-2012, 06:06 AM
Thanks Bob, are there articles on the IRS and 340 V8? I have to hand it to Stu and his associates - they made us go out in great style.

There are probably some articles, John, but I don't know where they are. I'm reporting from actual, original engineering blueprints and proposed part numbers and release dates I've seen in The Studebaker National Museum archives. Fascinating stuff, what they had planned to do for model year 1965 and forward. :cool: BP

avantilover
12-22-2012, 06:54 AM
Cheers Bob, will have to get top SB some day.

Neil
12-22-2012, 01:07 PM
Cheers Bob, will have to get top SB some day.

What is the reference to IRS,I have not heard of it before other than paying taxes.

thunderations
12-22-2012, 01:57 PM
Independant rear suspension?
What is the reference to IRS,I have not heard of it before other than paying taxes.

avantilover
12-22-2012, 03:06 PM
That would be it, shame it never happened.

BobPalma
12-22-2012, 07:26 PM
That is correct: Independent Rear Suspension, but I was wrong. I meant to say coil-spring rear suspension! :o OP corrected. ;) BP

avantilover
12-22-2012, 08:38 PM
You were half right Bob as I doubt that happened either. I gather the proposed 340 engine remained as just blueprints with the shafting of one and all by our Board of Directors. Still, as you said earlier, Studebakers were too costly to make, so another year or so at SB with these new innovations likely wouldn't have made any difference to the ultimate closure.

avantilover
12-22-2012, 08:42 PM
Is the car on the front cover our last ever Studebaker?

BobPalma
12-22-2012, 09:47 PM
Is the car on the front cover our last ever Studebaker?

Yes, AFAIK. I'm sure Stu will weigh in if it is not! :o BP

Stu Chapman
12-22-2012, 10:18 PM
Yes, AFAIK. I'm sure Stu will weigh in if it is not! :o BP



You are correct Bob. It sure is.
Stu Chapman

avantilover
12-23-2012, 02:12 AM
Thanks Guys, am looking at it now (Book not car alas). Appears to be a computer processed image. Stu standing by it in the museum with a background of Hamilton factory (Vale). Then again it may just be the young Stu at Hamilton in 1966. A good way to go out, lovely vehicle.

plwindish
12-23-2012, 08:46 AM
A coil spring rear end would have certainly modernized the Stude line and made them contemporaries with the big dogs.

Stu Chapman
12-23-2012, 12:52 PM
Thanks Guys, am looking at it now (Book not car alas). Appears to be a computer processed image. Stu standing by it in the museum with a background of Hamilton factory (Vale). Then again it may just be the young Stu at Hamilton in 1966. A good way to go out, lovely vehicle.

Gee John, you are very observant. Let me fill you in on the details of this picture. It is definitely not computer processed except for fading the background which was done by the art director at the publisher. The picture was taken with the actual car and me at the plant entrance many years after Studebaker closed. The last car was actually driven about 18,000 miles before it was given to the City of South Bend by Studebaker in 1969. It then sat in the basement of Gates Chevrolet there for many years until the late Phil Brown and I resurrected it and arranged for a cosmetic cleanup done with many SDC member donations. When finished, it was brought to Hamilton by Phil for a homecoming, at which point this photograph was taken. It was then returned to the Museum for posterity. It did come back to to Canada one more time for the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.
Stu Chapman

BobPalma
12-23-2012, 01:54 PM
Gee John, you are very observant. Stu Chapman

You can't get much past these guys, Stu. :cool: BP

avantilover
12-23-2012, 03:24 PM
I wondered about that - "looks like it's outside the Hamilton Plant. No, couldn't be it's in the museum." Glad some enjoyment was gained by driving the car until it was placed in the museum, lucky really as it could have been totalled in a crash and we wouldn't have it.

Have you ever had a chance to see whether you have duplicate ads of the last few years? I have some but more were produced than are offered by eBay and the like.

Stu Chapman
12-23-2012, 08:52 PM
I wondered about that - "looks like it's outside the Hamilton Plant. No, couldn't be it's in the museum." Glad some enjoyment was gained by driving the car until it was placed in the museum, lucky really as it could have been totalled in a crash and we wouldn't have it.

Have you ever had a chance to see whether you have duplicate ads of the last few years? I have some but more were produced than are offered by eBay and the like.

I have only a few ads in my archives John, unfortunately they are all 'one only' copies. Have you checked with Dick Quinn? He has a pretty extensive collection of all sorts of print memorabilia.
Stu Chapman

avantilover
12-24-2012, 01:41 AM
I did once Stu - he said he had to sort things out, so maybe by the time Studebaker open their new factory I may hear from him (LOL). I got the 1965 one with the pram at the bottom recently and marvelled at the change in the world since then "this will make a lot of sense to your husband when you ask him to get you one" now she'd just buy it and surprise him.

RadioRoy
12-24-2012, 03:39 PM
I'm happy for the link to buy the book. Amazon has one for $225! Yikes!

Stu Chapman
12-24-2012, 03:52 PM
I'm happy for the link to buy the book. Amazon has one for $225! Yikes!

Yikes is right! That's how much Studebaker paid me for a week's work in 1966.
Stu Chapman

avantilover
12-24-2012, 04:27 PM
Who is the owner of the vehicle? The City of South Bend or the Museum?

Stu Chapman
12-24-2012, 04:47 PM
Who is the owner of the vehicle? The City of South Bend or the Museum?

The Studebaker Historical Collection was turned over to the Studebaker National Museum, now the owner of the vehicle. The Museum receives financial support from the City of South Bend.
Stu Chapman