View Full Version : Any "accidental" Studebaker purchase stories out there?

12-08-2013, 10:20 AM
My post in another thread about a Studebaker I once "accidentally" purchased (perhaps "accident" isn't really the best word to use when talking about cars) got me to wondering whether anyone else had bought a Studebaker that they really hadn't intended on purchasing. Here's part of my original post:

I once had a '55 Champion two door sedan in the late '90s. It was an accidental purchase. A guy I worked with told me about the car which was parked in front of a house about 30 miles north of where I lived. So I went to look at it. It was owned by a young fellow who had inherited it from a relative. He was into muscle cars and wanted some cash to tinker with whatever muscle car he was working on at the time. I wasn't really all that interested so I gave him a low ball offer which he immediately jumped on! Be careful what you wish for.

12-08-2013, 10:27 AM
(perhaps "accident" isn't really the best word to use when talking about cars)

I think you mean "Studebakers that found YOU"; not the other way around. Yes, there was one in the wrecking yard that found me a number of years ago. It was in their 'car corral' where it was up for sale complete. If no one bought it after a couple of weeks, it would have gone into yard for parts.


12-08-2013, 02:06 PM
I found my first Studebaker that way. In a small town with my girl friend's father. I was looking for a Ford and saw a bunch of them behind the local repair shop. We stopped in, because "dad" knew everyone in the town. The Fords were either too rough or unavailable, but as I turned around I saw the most unique car I had ever seen - a 50 Champion bullet-nose was smiling at me and begging me to take it home.

The shop owned the car and was doing a ring job on it. We negotiated a very attractive sale price and it was to be mine. As the ring job progressed and I went back to the city, I got the call that the clutch had gone out. It was still mine for the agreed upon price, but with a bad clutch.

It turned out to be a broken pin in the linkage right by the bell housing. I had that fixed in a few hours and drove it around the farm for the first time just around Christmas. What a thrill!

I had lots of fun and adventures in that car, selling it to a friend when I left Minnesota, and have had Studebakers ever since.

12-08-2013, 02:16 PM
I had been married for a couple of years and had been to my grandparents-in-law's house a number of times to visit, but it wasn't until my wife's Grandfather dies that I ventured into the garage. It was then that I saw my 1961 Studebaker Hawk. To say I was floored would be an understatement. I had never even heard of Studebaker, much less seen one (that I know of anyway). When I asked grandma about it she said she wasn't going to drive it anymore now that Grandfather was gone and that she was planning on selling it. I convinced her to sell it to me and the rest is history.

My only other classic car was an old Pontiac Ventura that I owned for a few years back in the early 90's. The Studebaker is much better :D. Besides if the Pontiac and my hawk were side by side at a car show, the Pontiac would have to be on fire to get more attention.... And I like that!

12-08-2013, 02:16 PM
My father grew up with the kids of the local Studebaker Dealership. When a certain "53 Commander was delivered to the dealer they used it as a demo. A few years later one of the sons wanted to hot rod it so they installed the President 289 and FOM. My Dad had fun racing the car around town and showing some other hotrodders whats up. Years passed and life went on and he lost touch with his old friends. After some 25 years he got a call from his old buddy out of the blue. He said "Hey Billy do you remember that old Stude we hot-rodded back in the day?" "Well the old dealer property is still in the family and the car is still inside, it's yours if you want to buy it since the property is being sold". I was 15 at the time and my Dad thought it would be a great father-son project. Soon after the car was in our driveway. My signature picture was taken on that day. To this day it is still the best father-son project I could ever ask for.

12-08-2013, 03:34 PM
My friend Mike is into 47-52 Studebakers. He's not interested in anything else.
Mike once had a co-worker who owned a Trailer Park. Someone had moved away and abandoned a Studebaker in the Trailer Park.
Co-worker told Mike that he had to get rid of the car. Make an offer and haul it away.Mike went to see it and found a 65 Daytona Sport Sedan with half the paint stripped. It was nothing Mike wanted so he called me about it. Didn't sound like anything I wanted so I passed on it.

A few days later,Mike calls back wanting me to make an offer so the guy would quit bugging him.
I had a few parts cars so I made an offer of $25. just to get rid of the guy.
Next day Mike called back and said I owned a 65 Daytona! This was late 80's.

Thinking I had bought a parts car, My son James and I went to get it. Other than surface rust where the paint had been stripped, the car looked pretty good,but the engine was stuck.
We got the engine freed up and did a quick paint job. I offered it to my middle daughter. She turned it down. I offered it to my youngest daughter. She turned it down.So I sold it to her boyfriend and she had to ride in it anyhow!

Daughter#3 broke up with boyfriend and he quit driving the car,Put it on blocks and put the tires off it on his truck.
James couldn't stand to see it abandoned again so he traded his Dodge 4X4 for it and drove it for 4 years untill the trans went out. He traded it to club member R.D.Kent who put a Chevy trans in it and traded it back to me.

Fast forward 20 years... Husband of daughter #3 wanted a Studebaker to restore. I told him to look my collection over and see if there was anything he liked.

He chose the 65 Daytona! He is a Chevy man anyway so I gave it to him.

12-08-2013, 04:19 PM
This has happened to me twice. The first time happened right in my home town. There was a large funeral procession taking place and the Police had diverted traffic to a side street. It was an area that I didn't pass through often and all of a sudden I see what I thought was a '55 Speedster body shell on someone's front lawn, up on saw horses with a for sale sign! I thought it was a Speedster because it had the up and over wide stainless moulding ahead of the back window. At the time, I owned a Speedster so I knew I had to come back and check her out. Upon return, I discovered it was really a black 1957 Golden Hawk! I inquired about the shell and the owner said he had the rest of the car in his basement, completely taken apart. The story was he had purchased it already taken apart and he was now moving and couldn't take it with him. A deal was struck and I became the owner of a 1957 Golden Hawk without really intending to buy one! It really was a complete car with the numbers matching supercharged engine engine(also taken apart) and automatic transmission. The only major missing pieces were the charcoal interior rear trim panels and the Studebaker crest on the trunk lid. It was probably going to be sold off piecemeal or scrapped as his move date approached.
The second time it happened involved a 1960 Lark convertible. When we would visit my Uncle Frank and Aunt Sandy up in Cranston, we would pass by the local Maaco body shop on Park Avenue. They

used to have a fenced in area adjacent to the street and there always was an interesting car or two parked inside. One time as we passed, there sat a 1960 Lark convertible, partly stripped with body work in process. I thought wow, too bad it wasn't a 1961 because I already had my 1961 Lark Deluxe two door at the time and didn't want to branch out too far from the '61s. After several visits and months passed, the Lark was still there. On one trip, we noticed someone had smashed the windshield out. The car was evidently an abandoned project. The car sat there through another winter with the windshield wide open until I could stand it no longer. I finally gave in and decided to stop in and find out what the story was. I found the manager and it was an abandoned project and they were very glad I was interested! I don't think I would have able to leave the building without agreeing to buy it and for a very low price! They even delivered it for free! It was a real mess but it was a loaded Lark VIII automatic. Here comes the best part- about a week after the car was delivered, the Park Avenue area of Cranston experienced a horrible flood! One of the 20' or so main water lines ruptured and the area where the Lark was parked was under about four feet of water. It would have been scrapped without a doubt.
And that is how a 1957 Golden Hawk and a 1960 Lark VIII convertible followed me home!

12-08-2013, 04:55 PM
Yep, I have an "accidental" purchase story that turned out great ! I lived in North Alabama (Scottsboro) for a while in the 70's, and we went to East Tennessee every other week to get or visit with my son. One weekend, there was traffic due to a wreck somewhere north of Chattanooga, and we got off on back roads to explore and miss the traffic. Anyhow, I ended up going through Lenoir City, Tn. and as we passed by a shop, I spotted a 53 Coupe setting beside it. ZIP, fast turnaround, talking, offering, and happily later, I owned it AND a 56 Sky Hawk ! He said he would sell me the 53, but I had to take the other car too. When I questioned him, he opened the shop door and there set the Hawk. It hadn't ran for "a few years" he said, and the 53 wasn't ready to run at all. Well, we borrowed a battery out of a 57 Plymouth setting there, poured gas in the Hawk, and drove it on to Clinton ! My Dad and I came back a couple of hours later with a home-made tow bar and took the 53 on to Clinton. We changed the oil, gassed up, put in a good battery and drove the Hawk back to Alabama a couple of days later. I went back with my 61 Ranchero a couple of weeks later and towed the 53 back too. One of the forum members has the 53 still, but after 9 or 10 years I sold the totally fabulous and well-loved old Sky Hawk to a gentleman in Spring City, Tn. and have lost touch with it. It was a great car ! The 1st show Karen and I went to after painting and fixing it up, we got about 200 mpg - - - - of oil, ha ! The oil consumption slowed down to a very acceptable level after we drove it regularly, and I never did work on the engine. Loved that car, but also loved and miss the 53 (hear that Johnny ??) John

12-08-2013, 05:14 PM
my last 2 Studebakers were kinda/sorta accidental...

after selling the Avanti and had learned more about Studebakers from here SDC, TW, and other places, i wanted another. a few months later i found the '40 Champion on Ebay. i was in the hospital on some really "good";) pain meds 2 days after having a total knee replacement with my laptop available. i "had" to have her, placed a bid and won when the bidding closed about a week later. a few weeks later (about 3 weeks total after my surgery), i was driving up to NJ with a u-haul trailer behind my Denali, driving thru snow once i hit Virginia... i'm sure my Ortho-Surgeon would not have approved!;)

with the '51 Business Coupe (Tom's Car), Matthew B. listed her on E-bay. i put in my "best offer" i could afford. it didn't make the reserve, nor did bids over $4K over my bid. Matt re-listed her and i put in my same bid that same day. this time i met the reserve! on a thread here on the forum said that someone must really want her - of course i did - but i was done bidding. i watched the bids many times a day for the next 9 days. i couldn't believe that nobody bid higher - was sure some one would snipe it at the end, but no... she was mine!:D

again, i want to thank Maureen Elliott and Matthew Burnette for allowing me to be the new "caretaker" for such a special Studebaker.:!:

12-08-2013, 07:33 PM
Laura and i almost made this error..... last year we went to look at an avanti about an hour away from our home. the guy had it listed on the internet for $17K, but after telling him on the phone i wasn't interested he came down to $14k. we got the 61 cruiser out of the garage and took a ride. it turned out to be a pretty rough car that he had an inch file folder of reciepts on mechanical work he had paid for. drove it and it was better than it looked, but not great. shot him an offer of $8k and it seemed like he was gonna take it, but in the end he said no. as we were driving away, we looked at each other and both said "sure glad he didn't take it!" a close call, and a few weeks later we bought our 64 daytona hardtop, a much nicer car.

01-14-2014, 06:50 PM
Any other stories of people being found by their Studebaker?

01-14-2014, 07:29 PM
I had a guy looking at my 53 at a cruise in. He said: I have two of those and I would sell one for 3. I thought, sure he does. But I listened. Went by to look at the three thousand dollar 53. Turned out he was telling the truth, all except, what I thought was $3000 turned out to be 300. He also had the second one he mentioned. Not for sale

Bob Andrews
01-14-2014, 08:42 PM
I've told the story here a few times, but once more:

About 2004, I had taken a vehicle to get some work done at a local small-town shop. When I went to pick it up, he was with another customer. While I was waiting, I was wandering around looking at what was laying around, and I noticed a 64 Commander four-door sedan. I had never owned a Studebaker up till then, and couldn't remember ever seeing one in person, at least not a Lark type. I opened the door and plopped down on the weathered seat, and when I looked up, here came the shop owner at a rather fast clip, clutching a key.

It turned out that he had started restoring the car, and had stalled on it. He had completely rebuilt the engine, added a new stainless steel exhaust, and bought a battery and a couple of new tires for it. He handed me the key, and with one stroke of the gas paddle she sprang right to life and purred like a kitten. He told me he had lost interest in it, and the town was after him to clear out some cars, and asked if I would be interested in it. A quick inspection showed moderate roster in the floors and rockers, and the front fenders. The interior was complete, but completely tired out. The paint was faded and peeling. Frankly, it was kind of a sad sight.

Still, I have always been a sucker for older cars. She was sitting nose down on a slight grade, and as I look at the grill I swear she was looking sad at the prospect of another rejection. (Yes, I know, crazy). Just for the heck of it, I asked how much he wanted. He said that he had spent about $1300 just on parts and machine work, and would let it go for $1000. I told him there was no way, and offered him $500. He said there was no way he would sell it for that, and that he would pull the engine and scrap it first. I told him that was my final offer. I paid him for the work he had done for me, and away I went. I couldn't stop thinking about the sad old thing though, and a couple hours later I called him with a $600 offer. At this point he was a little agitated, and he told me that $800 was his bottom dollar and not to bother calling him with an offer even a penny less. I had made up my mind I was going to pass, thank him, and hung up. About an hour after that, I took $800 and a dealer plate over, and bought the car:)

I paid the money and got the keys from him. I started it up, and the gas gauge came up just off the 'E'. I put my foot on the brake; it had pedal; I dropped it into drive, and she moved and stopped on command. So, down the road I went. I drove that car daily for a little over a month. Ran like a top; just looked like heck. Slowly, reverse became more and more hesitant, until it quit altogether. At that point, I parked the car, figuring to finish the restoration of it.

When I started to look for parts, I googled 'Studebaker'. The first thing that came up was this very website! It was brand-new, I believe less than a month old. I immediately signed up, and started asking questions. iPhone out about all the Studebaker parts vendors, all the availability, even bought myself an NOS dash pad for it. Soon, my research turned up the sad fact that a four-door sedan six cylinder Studebaker is not worth diddly squat; Certainly no way to justify its restoration. But by now I had fallen in love with Studebakers. So I moved on to a long string of other Studebaker's, and the old commander has remained parked.

Epilogue: in November I dragged home a Zip Van that I want to restore for use on my mail route. I have yet to try to start the engine in it. But I figure, if that engine doesn't run good, I have this freshened engine in the commander. So I dragged the commander up, put her in the garage, and pulled the engine in case I need it for the van. So while she did not get restored, and has been sitting for several years, she still has avoided the crusher, and will contribute to keeping other Studebakers on the road :)

Thanks to my sentimental nature, I have a few other "accidental" purchase stories, but this one was the most significant.

01-14-2014, 11:35 PM
Long ago I went some distance to look at an Avanti that I had seen listed for sale... after looking, I decided against it. While having breakfast afterwards I sat looking through the SDC Membership Roster I'd brought with me for no logical reason and saw the phone number of another local member. Just for grins & giggles I went to a pay phone (I said a looooong time ago) and called him. He answered and I asked if he was aware of any Avantis for sale in the area. He thought for a while and told me that he know of another Avanti the owner had bought and stored a few years previously but didn't know if it might be for sale, though as far as he knew the man had done nothing with it. I got the name and number of that owner and cold-called him. He was home (which I later learned was highly unusual because he traveled extensively) and when I said, "I understand from Mr. _ that you have an Avanti for sale," without hesitation he replied, "No." From there we talked for a while until he said, "Yeah, come on over" I came, I saw, I drove, I offered to write him a check, which he took. A week later, after the check had cleared, I flew in and drove the car home... I've had it nearly 40 years now. I guess you might consider it an "accidental" buy.

01-15-2014, 06:08 AM
I may have told this before. When I got my Champ, I was actually going out to look at an early 50's 2R5. this particular truck showed up on EBay 15 miles from home. I was really wanting a Champ truck, but this 2R was too close to home to not at least go look at and possibly bid.

When I went ot look at th truck it turns out that this guy is a collector or Studebakers. Mostly trucks. We knew the same Studebaker folks, but had never met. Small world. As we went to look at the ebaytruck, I spotted a pretty decent looking champ in one of the buildings and commented on it. The guy said, "yeah I am going to sell that one too". I quickly made a mental note of that...... The eBay truck was more of a project than I was looking for, so I mentioned the Champ. I looked it over and told him I was quite interested in it. He gave a figure, I counter offered. He accepted. I owned a Champ!! And made a new Studebaker friend.

Six months later I sold my 66 that I made into a 64 clone to him.......

01-15-2014, 07:22 AM
Ok, I need to get into this story thread. Shortly after graduation from high school 1965 I took a summer job working on road construction out of town for $2 per hour - big money at that time. One Sunday afternoon while cruising around Mitchell, SD with some friends we drove down a side street where I saw a cool looking car with a for sale sign. I thought it was so incredible looking I stopped and went to the door and spoke to the owner. He said he wanted $60 dollars for the car.
I just happened to have 3 $20 bills (probably for the first time in my life). So I gave them to him and told him I would get the car the following weekend when I got back into town. It turned out that he was a mechanic at Berry and Sons AMC and Oldsmobile dealership. The car, a 1936 Studebaker 4A Dictator Coupe ran like a top. A couple years later needing college money I sold it to the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, SD where it still resides. It didn't occur to me until many years later that I had not even heard that car run prior to buying it. In fact when I picked it up I couldn't figure how to start it with the pull out starter knob.
Here it is with the proud owner back then. Lots of fun memories attached to that photo.

01-15-2014, 07:52 AM
I bid $99 on a M16 a 1000 miles away at first of auction, 320 lookers later ,I figured one of then would bid above me. It didn't happen . I bought truck for the $99 and than drove 2000 miles round trip to pick up truck in December. Did sell $700 worth of parts off it that I didn't need and was a real solid truck . Was told if I hadn't bid ,it would have been scrapped, so it is on road and has helped countless others with parts . To me, a win, win deal! The fun part was telling my wife after winning , she couldn't figure out what I would do with that monster.

01-15-2014, 07:57 AM
I found my third Studebaker by accident through work one day.
The company I worked for had several locations.
I received a phone call to go to another location to cover for a worker who
had called out.
At lunch time I was searching for a place to eat as I wasn't familiar with the
area. Turning down a side street to turn around I spotted a red
1962 Lark convertible sitting in a driveway with expired tags on it.
I stopped and knocked on the door, a elderly couple answered the door.
I asked if the Studebaker was for sale and they said the car belonged to their
daughter and they would call and find out for me.
By the time I got back to work I was the new owner of a 1962 Lark Daytona
convertible with V8 and FOM.

01-15-2014, 10:30 AM
Enjoying this thread ! Gives hope of still finding a project while out driving ! I did find out that hauling a m series 1000 miles brings a lot of people out with Studebaker knowledge and where others are .

Mike Van Veghten
01-15-2014, 10:59 AM
Yea...my first one. My current daily driver, 59 Lark, 2dr. wagon, 259/auto trans.
I was looking for a 53/54 Conestoga. I didn't/don't care for the 55 nose treatment and at the time, didn't realize there was no 1953 wagon..!
So..I looked and looked, all I found was Conestogas held together with Bondo and bailing wire. That's actual fact on a couple I saw..!

Some time later, at long time hot rod swap meet here on the West Coast, I kept seeing this 59 Lark for sale, next month, still for sale, and so on and so on. Finally after 4 or 5 months of seeing this Lark wagon, I decided to see what it was all about. Wouldn't ya know it...a prospective buyer and the owner drove off in it. Great timing...! They came back, the guy put the "for sale" sign back in the windshield. While another guy was doing some in depth questioning, I finally cought the owners attention and motioned him to where I was at the back of the car.
We struck a quick deal right then and there...left the other guy waiting...!

BUT...I kept looking for that elusive 54 Conestoga. It took me another 5+ years of looking to finally come up with what I "wanted", a moderatly clean 54 Studebaker Conestoga.

And I currently have 3-1/2 of them. Two registered and insured (both 54's), one not (a 55), and one (the 1/2, a 54), a mostly stripped parts car.

So yes, the 59 Lark wagon was basically an accidental buy. And should be for sale by this summer.


01-15-2014, 11:59 AM
Trolling Ebay Motors, as I'm want to do on occasion looking at Studebakers and Avanti's, I run across a 74 4-speed Avanti that looks like cr@p but is an OEM 4-speed for under $3K with about 3 hours to go. I've wanted a 4-speed for years, the 83 was near completion and I have a few bucks left from the two cars I sold to buy and build the 83 so I'm intrigued. Judy's gone for the day and the condition is bad but the owner claims the frame is solid and the car is about 100 miles away. Close but not close enough to get to for a look over.

I click off as I discuss these larger purchases with Judy before I take the plunge so I'm torn. An hour later, I can't get it out of my mind so I look again and the bid hasn't moved. Still curious but can't talk myself into bidding. Finally with about an hour to go, I convince myself that I'd never forgive myself if it sold for that little and was as described. Four-speeds are not that common. I also know that if I go to get it and the frame is bad, I'll just drive away and tell Ebay it wasn't as described so I put in $3550 and walk away.

I check a few hours later expecting that it sold for more than I bid but I'd at least I could sleep knowing I bid my limit.

The good news, $3500 bought it, when we went to get it the frame was salvageable. Better yet, The OP and his son were happy to see it go to a home that would put it back on the road and Judy was not unhappy when I told her what I bought. Her comment " I was curious what you would drag home now that the 83 is done".

It was bad enough that I don't feel any remorse about building/modifying it into my vision of my return to the Muscle Car 60's.

It's all good, Bob

01-15-2014, 12:54 PM
My first Studebaker was a 63 Lark VI 4 dr with a 3 speed OD transmission that I bought after helping a friend swap the engine which had a cracked head. After a quick spin around the block my friend, ever the salesman, says, 'You need a car. Why don't you buy this one?' I thought, why not? For $600 dollars I was the proud owner of my first of 5 Studebakers.
A few months later I accidentally bought both a 51 and a 56 pickup from the same friend for $300 when he moved away for a job. I am grateful for these accidental purchases.