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My Studebaker Story

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  • My Studebaker Story

    "What's a Studebaker" is a common response that I get from my friends when I tell them about this car company. As a softmore high school student, the idea of a dream car is one that bolsters an engine behind the driver and has at least 600 HP. However, my idea is much different.
    I've always been into cars. Even when I was little I could sit in the driver's seat hours on end, doing nothing but just imagine I was driving. But, when our family would take a trip down to Texas to see relatives, the first stop was always Grandpa's. And as soon as we got there, I asked if he and I could go out to the garage. In there was waiting a 59 two-door Lark, named "Black Beauty," and a 60 four-door Lark, in baby blue, called the "Saint." I just loved the cars. The radiance of old oil, the bouncy bench seats, the big steering wheel. I can still remember him and me toodeling around the neighborhood in one of the cars. I couldn't get enough of it. I'd ask a million questions, and he had a million answers. And even as I got older, on those family vacations I would still ask to go to the garage. But, as I got older, I'd just be handed the keys.
    My grandpa, along with me, was getting older. I'd still go out to the garage and sit in the cars, but, he couldn't come. We couldn't drive around the block anymore. But one year, it was something else that captured my attention that didn't need driving. Because it couldn't be driven.

    On jack stands at the end of the garage was "The Great Pumpkin." A 62 Champ with factory A/C, a 289 V8, and yes, an automatic. It had great paint because my grandpa had just sold the truck to a painter after recently rebuilding the engine. And although that painter knew about the body, he sure didn't know about the engine, because the truck was left outside with the hood off. And it rained. My grandpa bought the truck back from the painter and started rebuilding the engine a second time. But, by this time, he needed help, so not much was getting done. The engine was hanging on an engine hoist, the interior was full of parts, but there was one thing that got done. The first thing we did with that truck was put the chains on for the tailgate.

    I came back every summer, and we did a little more. We put the pistons in. We put the exhaust manifolds on. And then I stabbed the engine. But not because it was finished. Because the truck was leaving Texas.

    In his will he had left the Pumpkin to my family and I. With the car hauler loaded with the Pumpkin and a trailer made from another Champ's bed, we headed home.

    Click image for larger version

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    And so here I find myself, wanting to finish what my grandpa started so long ago. Maybe, after all, the Great Pumpkin will fly again Linus, and I won't stop believing until it does.

  • #2
    What a great story! Thanks for sharing it with us. I don't have such memories of my Grandpas as they both died before I was old enough to do things togeter....Well Dad's dad lived 'til I was in College but we lived in different towns when I would have been old enough.

    Hopefully I can do some things with my grandkids when they get a bit older. I am planning to live longer than my Grandpas but you never know do you?
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.


    • #3
      My ten-year old grandson and his six-year old sister are card holding members of the SDC. The grandson has always favored the '49 pick-up, and it is his. He is getting pretty handy with wrenches and hangs in until the job is done. I hope they continue.


      • #4
        Sayre, great post, thank you! Will be looking forward to progress updates.
        Winston-Salem, NC
        Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at:


        • #5
          Hi, Drive and enjoy the truck , We got our Champ about two years ago , We have driven it to Rhode island last July and So.Bend this past May , Ed


          • #6
            That is a very nice truck. Would love to see more pictures. Enjoy it.


            • #7
              what a wonderful story and I love the happy ending.
              Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
              K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
              Ron Smith
              Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?


              • #8
                Congratulations and welcome to the best forum on the net.
                That's a great story and here you'll find all the help and parts you'll ever need.


                • #9

                  It it was great talking to you today. Good luck with your truck
                  1962 Champ

                  51 Commander 4 door