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  • Another Studebaker Anniversary

    Today marks the 52nd anniversary of that sad day in 1966 that I had to make the announcement to the media that Studebaker would no longer build automobiles.

    Along with many other SDC members I will be shedding some tears today.

    Stu Chapman

  • #2
    We don't have new Studebakers, which may not be a bad thing, given the sad sameness of so many modern cars. But we still have all our classic Studebakers, and we still have you, Stu, and that is a treasure beyond price.
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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    • #3
      Originally posted by gordr View Post
      We don't have new Studebakers, which may not be a bad thing, given the sad sameness of so many modern cars. But we still have all our classic Studebakers, and we still have you, Stu, and that is a treasure beyond price.
      Well said Gord. Stu is our living Studebaker history & I did have the chance of meeting him way back at the Kissemee Florida International in '84.

      \"QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER\"
      MELBOURNE.

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      • #4
        What Gordon said, Stu! BP
        We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

        Ayn Rand:
        "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

        G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Stu Chapman View Post
          Today marks the 52nd anniversary of that sad day in 1966 that I had to make the announcement to the media that Studebaker would no longer build automobiles.

          Along with many other SDC members I will be shedding some tears today.

          Stu Chapman
          I can only imagine the feelings of loathing, disdain, sorrow, and anguish that were swirling around like a most caustic cocktail though your head as you gave that announcement in front of millions. It wouldn't be leveled at any one group, but everyone, as you wished every one of those sacks of s**t would've just done more. In the end, it was bound to happen at one point or another, even if Studebaker was as tightly run as AMC was during the time. To reuse a trite saying; "Don't be angry because it's gone, be glad because it happened". All the best!
          Jake Robinson Kaywell: Shoo-wops and doo-wops galore to the background of some fine Studes. I'm eager and ready to go!

          1962 GT Hawk - "Daisy-Mae" - she came dressed to kill in etherial green with a charming turquoise inside. I'm hopelessly in love!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by gordr View Post
            We don't have new Studebakers, which may not be a bad thing, given the sad sameness of so many modern cars. But we still have all our classic Studebakers, and we still have you, Stu, and that is a treasure beyond price.
            My sentiments exactly!

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            • #7
              Stu, the wife and I are still driving the 66 Daytona, former Studebaker Show Car, around and advertising the brand. Amazing how many people remember the events from December 1963 in South Bend, thinking that was Studebaker's swan song, but had no idea of the March 1966 event in Hamilton. Guess you had to be there, and you were. Thanks for your contribution, Stu.
              sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
              1950 Champion Convertible
              1950 Champion 4Dr
              1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
              1957 Thunderbird

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              • #8
                Today is our monthly Studebaker meeting here on Vancouver Island.
                I will be driving the 1966 Cruiser.
                MADE IN CANADA !!

                - - - Updated - - -

                And...I'm from Hamilton, Ontario.

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                • #9
                  Thank you so much for the kind comments from our members. Your thoughts are appreciated.

                  As many of you know, my working association with Studebaker began in 1963 and SDC was still in its infancy, just being a few months old. One of my first pieces of correspondence received was the letter of approval to officially start SDC from Studebaker corporate vice president Joseph deFranco to Harry Barnes. I still have that letter and it is autographed by Harry. In Canada, we did our best to assist Harry whenever possible, so I guess I can stretch a point and say I've been involved with SDC virtually since its beginning. My paid membership began in 1977 and I am honored to have been involved almost on a daily basis in several capacities for over 40 years.

                  On the subject of this thread, you might like to know the pressures we were under that last week before March 4th 1966. In Hamilton, the only personnel who knew what was ahead were President Gordon Grundy, Comptroller Graeme Allwood, General Sales Manager Tom Pryde, Purchasing Vice President Ralph Wilson, and myself. It was almost more than any of us could bear as we had to contain our normal composure so the staff wouldn't detect something was afoot. On the afternoon of March 3rd, the draft copy of the announcement was prepared by hand and my assistant, Lillian Morris, was brought into the confidential loop in order that she and I could prepare the printed media releases. Our Office Manager Bob Westmore was asked by Gordon Grundy to stay late that night since he knew how to operate the mimeograph printer. Between the three of us, we completed the press kits by 9 pm, then headed home for a sleepless night.

                  The next afternoon, Gordon Grundy had to shoulder the very unpleasant task of advising all the staff we would no longer build Studebakers, factory personnel first, immediately followed by the office staff being told. Key media people were telephoned by me, followed up by telegraphing the actual release to them. We didn't yet have fax or internet facilities. Within minutes, local media were at our door with Toronto media looking for interviews with Gordon Grundy an hour later. On March 5th we put in place the build-out plans, along with a low-key photo-op for the last car scheduled for March 17th. On that anniversary date I'll post my annual thread and I will include the comments of our local CHCH-TV news reporter.

                  Although my last day of employment with Studebaker was in late June of 1966, we continued to drive a 1966 Wagonaire until well into 1972, when it had to be retired due to severe rusting. The fact our advertising agency was assigned some Toyota business that year, it became appropriate that we should be driving their products. But despite everything, Studebaker has remained an integral part of our lives to this date.

                  Stu Chapman

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                  • #10
                    I was driving my newly Power Hawk from the 116th INTC Group in southeastern DC to Ft Myer in Arlington to begin the mustering out process for my soon-to-be separation from the Army when the announcement came over the radio. Of course the PH was simply a means of transportation to me as it would be later when I learned that I had something special.

                    Happy that I had a dependable car but sorry to Studebaker to be no longer...

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                    • #11
                      I was three years old when Stu's story in 1966 was transpiring. We are so lucky to have a first hand account of this within our ranks. While the South Bend group had some who held that announcement as unbelievable in December of 1963, I would imagine there was less shock in Hamilton in March of 1966. The final Stude from Hamilton was assembled the day after my third birthday. And my Grandmother never gave up that they were "Still building them in Canada". She passed in 1979.

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