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45 Years Ago Today

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  • 45 Years Ago Today

    I still feel bad every December 9th, when I think of that fateful day in 1963 when the announcement was made that there would be no more U.S. built Studebakers. I was only 9 years old, but as a car-crazy kid with an early liking of Studebakers it was a very sad thing for me even then.

    The sad thing for me in 2008 is that I realize I'm old enough to remember something that happened 45 years ago!

    Dave Bonn
    '54 Champion Starliner

  • #2
    Yes, it was sad.





    Leonard Shepherd
    http://leonardshepherd.com/

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    • #3
      As sad as it is/was, Dave, be glad you can remember anything that happened 45 years ago!

      I remember it, too, of course. Senior year in high school. Mom met me at the door when I got home from school, afraid I had heard the news and would be terribly depressed. I had not heard it, so she delivered it. As sad as it was, I had been following the situation in South Bend so closely that it was hardly a surprise. Nonetheless, I went out in the garage and sat in my 1955 Champion Regal coupe and silently contemplated life's unfairness, etc...

      What was a surprise, I would learn years later, is that the move to Hamilton was just a smokescreen to appease dealer contracts while they ever-so-slowly wound down their involvement in automobile production.

      After a couple days had passed and I had time to sort things out, I remember actually being a little encouraged by the move to Hamilton, figuring sales could sustain Hamilton's production capacity and everything would be hunky-dory in no time. After all, they were still building those great Studebaker V-8 engines in South Bend, right?

      Yeah, right... 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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      • #4
        Hmm.. well I don't remember the day 45 years ago, (because I my parents were still in footie jammies back then) but even though this day is listed on my calandar with a black mark due to the South Bend Closing, this day holds one great thing for me...My wife was born on this day. (but much sooner than 45 years ago)


        1963 Lark Custom, 259 V8, TT, 4 doors, 2 tone paint, and garaged for the winter...I can't wait til spring!!

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        • #5
          I was working for Newman @ Altman. Been married for a year and half wondering what now. I was there through the next summer. I got to pick up some mew Studebakers at the Tutt street gate. I remember two of them. A GT with a 4 speed and a Champ with a 5 speed over. Memories. Jim

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          • #6
            December 9th of '63, I was looking forward to going on leave from my assigned station at Langley AFB in Virginia. I can't recall what I was doing that day or if I even heard of Studebaker's dimming end. It would be TEN years before I'd get excited about Studebakers. Amazingly, I DO remember sitting down with a Newman & Altman catalog about 1974 or so and figuring up what it would cost to build a '60 Lark convertible FROM SCRATCH! - and it could easily have been done at that point. Coupla thousand bucks worth of parts (and lotsa hours too!) and I coul've done it.
            Of course, a couple of thousand bucks to spare in the mid-70s, I might as well have wished for a new Ferrari![V]

            Wonder what became of Russell Alderfer. Certainly he's dead now.[xx(]

            1957 Transtar 1/2ton
            1963 Cruiser
            1960 Larkvertible V8
            1958 Provincial wagon
            1953 Commander coupe
            1957 President two door

            No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

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            • #7
              On the bright side, even though our beloved Studebaker closed down in South Bend, after 45 years, Studebakers are still very popular among their fans (namely us). It's interesting that our club has over 12,000 members, some of whom own several Studes. How many other makes have such a fantastic following?
              It shows me what terrific cars Studebaker built. And how rugged they were/are.
              Rog

              '59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop
              Smithtown,NY
              '59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop
              Smithtown,NY
              Recording Secretary, Long Island Studebaker Club

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              • #8
                I very distinctly remember this day as I was just about on my way home from College for Christmas and to pick out the car my Dad had promised to buy me when I graduated the following June. Two of the vehicles on my list were an Avanati and a GT Hawk. I was shocked that my favorite cars were no longer going to be made. So when I got home and told my Dad, he suggested that we go down to our local Plymouth Dealer who he had a long time relationship with and see what he had. Well, you guessed it, I bought a 63 Plymouth Belvidere Sport Coupe with a 383 4v with a 4-spd floor mounted Hurst shifter. An extremely fast car for the times and had to wait almost 30 years to get my beloved Avantis and GT Hawks. I guess what goes around comes around.

                Indeed this is a day of infamy to us but just think we have our cars and our memories and a rising level of popularity of our belvoed brand to live with and cherish.

                See you in the future as I write about our past
                sigpicSee you in the future as I write about our past

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                • #9
                  Cathy and I were married then and still are. I was working for Chemical Rubber Products (now Chemprene) and Cathy was working for Marine Midland Bank (now HSBC).

                  Gary L.
                  Wappinger, NY

                  SDC member since 1968
                  Studebaker enthusiast much longer
                  Gary L.
                  Wappinger, NY

                  SDC member since 1968
                  Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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