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What was your first Studebaker?

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  • What was your first Studebaker?

    wrong topic

  • #2
    It was a 51 Commander 2 door sedan bought for $350 in 1957. Although it was only six years old, it was a total rust bucket from the South Bend winters. The front fenders were rusted so bad on the bottom they were peeling loose, the rear quarter had a foot square hole on each side. Last time I checked, it was number one of about 400 Studebakers I've bought and sold since.

    64 Commander 2 dr.
    64 Daytona HT
    63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk (Black) #2
    63 Avanti R1
    63 Daytona convert
    63 Lark 2 door
    63 Lark 2 door #2
    62 Daytona HT/ 4 speed
    62 Lark 2 door
    62 GT Hawk 4 speed
    60 Lark HT
    60 Hawk
    59 3E truck
    52 Starliner
    51 Commander

    JDP Maryland


    • #3
      My first Studebaker was a 53 Commander Starliner that I bought for $75.00 in 1961 when I was 16 years old with money I had saved from cutting people's lawns for $1.25 each. It was also rusty even though it was only 8 years old. I think the previous owner had lived at the beach. A friend and I went to pick it up about 10 miles from where I lived. We went on a Sunday morning so there wouldn't be much traffic. The car had no brakes, no inspection sticker, no license plates. I drove it the whole way home without seeing a single other car on the road. This is what it looked like when I got it homeIf you have seen these pictures before, I'm sorry!)

      The first thing I did was to wash it and wax it and put Port-A-Walls on it.

      Then I found some wheel covers. Of course, none of them matched. The front wheel is a 14" from my Mother's 58 Sliver Hawk spare with an Olds type flipper!

      Here it is in the driveway behind the Silver Hawk.

      After driving it for a couple of months, I decided to put a Chevy small block in it, and take care of the rust, which seemed to be never ending!

      I took all the fenders off and other parts and had them scattered over the back yard. I eventually took the body off the frame and painted the frame and installed a Chevy rear end.

      I decided I needed a garage, so I rented one about 3 miles away and a friend and I pushed the frame on another Sunday morning to the garage. I let the parts sit in the back yard too long, and one day I came home from school and my Mother had paid a junk man to haul them away. I lost interest in the frame and stopped paying rent on the garage. I have tried to locate the garage but can't seem to remember which house it was behind. As far as I know the frame may still be there!

      The left front fender had recently been replaced due to an accident, so it wasn't rusty. I managed to save that fender, because I had it in the tool shed, and I have carried it around with me for 45 years, in hopes of someday getting another 53.

      Leonard Shepherd, editor, The Commanding Leader, Central Virginia Chapter,


      • #4
        My first car ever was a stude at the ripe old age of 15. The mid 50's 4dr was purchased by my dad for the sole purpose of being dismantled by me. I was heavy into pistons. Just wanted to see pistons. Well the damn thing hung so low to the ground that i could even get under it to drop the pan. I had absolutely not mechanical experience what so ever, and had to learn on my own. Dad had got the car from a buddy of his who ran a junk yard. So the stude went back, intact. It was traded for a late 40's jeep delivery wagon. Now that had plenty of room for me to get to it, and it had a flat head six besides! Getting that jeep home was an adventure in itself. It burned oil like no tomorrow, so we put lots of oil in it before we left the junkyard, and we used water for brake fluid! I remember dear ol' pops pumping that brake pedal like he was mad man as we took the back roads home. With the engine burning so much oil, the blue smoke killed all the mosquito's within 30 feet of either side of the road.
        It didn't take me long to tear the head off that puppy, drop the pan and pull the pistons. Pistons were power!!! And that's about all I did to it, other than sit in the back of it b.s.'ing with my friend. It would take me another 20 years before I would cross paths with a stude again. But that's another sad and embarassing story.


        • #5
          My first Stude is my '64 Daytona. To pick the car up, I drove cross county to Lake Tahoe from Detroit. It was the first time that I drove west of the Missouri River. I still have a dent in the hood of my Ranger from hitting a tumble weed at the Nebraska-Wyoming boarder.

          Tom - Valrico, FL

          1964 Studebaker Daytona

          Tom - Bradenton, FL

          1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
          1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD


          • #6
            My first Stude(early 60's) was a Black 1957 Golden Hawk.One of my best friends had a 1953 coupe with a hotted up V-8 ,O/D trans and real Dayton knock-off wire wheels.......So I had some knowledge of Studebakers.

            1961 Hawk 4BC,4-SPEED,TT

            (formerly chevpartsman)
            1961 Hawk ...4-Speed;4bc;Twin Traction

            Ken Byrd


            • #7
              I had never heard of Studebaker until my sophomore year in high school in 1979 and met the other new kid in school who's parents restored and drove Studebakers. It wasn't until 1991 that I got one and it was a rusty (this is Wisconsin) 64 2 door. I told my Dad I bought a Studebaker and he replied "I never liked Studebakers." Guess I know why I never knew of them. Anyway, this past summer I sold my 63 Lark to buy the 52 and my Dad was very disappointed I didn't give him the Lark. Maybe if he hadn't made that comment he wouldn't have to drive his minivan all summer. Just kidding. I would have given it to him if I didn't need the money for the 52.

              1952 Commander Starlight


              • #8
                My first car was not a Studebaker and no one in my family ever owned a Studebaker. I did drive several Studebakers while owning other cars. The first Studebaker that I owned was a 1957 President Classic in 1960. It was in excellent condition. It had only been used two years and then traded in at the car dealer where I worked part time. I have owned more than 50 Studebakers since that one.

                Gary L.
                Wappinger, NY

                1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)
                Gary L.
                Wappinger, NY

                SDC member since 1968
                Studebaker enthusiast much longer


                • #9
                  My first Stude was a '63 Daytona two door hardtop. I'll be 17 in March, and will then have owned the car 7 years. I got it when for my 10th birthday. It is currently in my grandad's shop while I slowly bring it back to what it once was. It's coming along pretty nicely though.

                  My grandad picked the car up in 1985 for $50.00. It needed everything. It had a '61 front clip on it, the engine was stuck, and the interior was pretty much trash. He redone it as a driver, and gave the car to my Mom for her 16th birthday. In fact, the "I love the class of '87" bumper sticker she put on there is still on the old rear bumper.

                  This is the car last summer, when I was driving it everyday before I took it down to redo. It looked pretty much the same when I got it, only it had a siren from a fire truck and a "bubble gum machine" light on the roof. It was once dressed up as a "Fire Chief's car" for a parade.

                  This is the car now. It's getting there! I hope to have it all done by June, and drive it to South Bend for the big meet.


                  Matthew Burnette
                  Hazlehurst, Georgia
                  '59 Scotsman PU
                  '63 Daytona HT



                  • #10
                    I turned 16 in March of 65, and lived at Jacksonville Beach Fla. Dad had a 59 Lark wagon so he bought me a '48 Champion convertable for 35.00. He wasn't a fan of any brand he just liked cheap cars. In 65 Studebakers were CHEAP. I kept the car for 2 years.During that time I went through a 57 olds. a 52 caddy and a 58 ford.Each time one of the above would break down I would go back to the Champ which never let me down. In Nov.67 the top had blown away one night, the starter was dragging and it needed tires. A new top was $50. a rebuilt starter cost 8.00, and tires were 12.oo bucks a piece. I figgured I would have to invest $150. dollars to keep a 35. dollar car on the road so I sold it and bought a 56 ford. One of the biggest regrets of my life. NT

                    Neil Thornton
                    Hazlehurst, GA
                    '57 Silver Hawk
                    '56 Sky Hawk
                    '51 2R16 dump truck
                    Many others.

                    Neil Thornton


                    • #11
                      A forlorn-lookin', litte red Lark convertible - 1960 vintage. It was mine for all of $35 bucks and it ran on as many as 3 of it's 6 cylinders![^]

                      Miscreant adrift in
                      the BerStuda Triangle

                      1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                      1960 Larkvertible V8
                      1958 Provincial wagon
                      1953 Commander coupe

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


                      • #12
                        My first stude was a 52 Commander 4dr which I paid $125 for in 57. I had another 52 after that.I used to take that first 52 apart just to see how it worked. Inow have 62 hawk which I'm taking apart to rodify. think aguy would have learned better after 50 yrs.


                        • #13
                          My first Stude didn't belong to me. It was my Mum's. She had inherited it from my grandmum who had bought it six months before she died. The car had six hundred fifty miles on the odometer when it was parked in the barn, put up on blocks, and covered with a tarp. Mum said; "I don't want to ever see that eyesore of a Studeclunker again." And she meant it. Mum wanted the Pierce Arrow and Dad wouldn't hear of it. He felt that a brand new car was stupid to pass up.
                          The car sat in the barn four years till I entered seventh grade. There was no transportation to Red Bluff so I could attend school. Mum arranged for me to get a Limited use youth rural driving permit. At least that's what I think they called it. In a nutshell, I was allowed to drive a set pattern between school and home. The Sheriff allowed me to carry passengers as long as I didn't leave HWY 36. So here I was at the ripe old age of eleven driving what was basically a brand new car. I loved that car. When the school year was over the car went back up on blocks and under the tarp.
                          My dad died in 1972 and Mum sold the ranch eighteen months later. The car was still in the barn with it's pink slip signed. I begged her for that car. She wouldn't relent. When last I saw the car, in 1972, it still looked new. The mothballs had kept the mice at bay and the paint looked great under the dust. What was it? 1962 Lark Regal stationwagon, Light blue with a two-tone, cloth/vynal, blue interior. It had a V8 with three on the tree. I think overdrive as well, though I never used it. So as far as I know, it's still up on Mt. Lassen at El Rancho Seis Pinos under that tarp. I hope...

                          The first Stude that I've owned is now in Oregon. It's a parts car. It had been sitting in a field for seventeen years when a friend of mine loaded it up and took it home. I had discussed the car with him several times and had seen it in the field. He said that it would be running the next weekend. I told him he was nuts. No car that sat in a field for seventeen years would run without considerable work. Further if it did, I would buy it from him. Well, it's spent five years in my yard. When I moved to Lewiston it gained six companions. Sometimes at night the wind in the pine and fir trees sound like the cars are whispering stories to each other of road trips and good times...

                          Lotsa Larks!
                          K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
                          Ron Smith
                          Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?
                          Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
                          K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
                          Ron Smith
                          Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?


                          • #14
                            Wow, Ron. It should would be great if that ole Lark wagon is still there. Would make a good TW article. []


                            Matthew Burnette
                            Hazlehurst, Georgia
                            '59 Scotsman PU
                            '63 Daytona HT



                            • #15
                              Clunker, there must be some reason that you haven't gone back to check on that wagon, be it long distance, painful memories, or the very great likelihood that the car is long-gone. But, it sure sounds like you were very attached to it. If you remember the street address of the property, you could send a letter addressed "To Whom It May Concern" and make an inquiry as to the ultimate fate of the Lark. Not knowing all of the circumstances, I am thinking that I would have to try and find out who the lucky person was that ended up with such a low-mileage car that was, in a way, abandoned by the family of its original owner. These kinds of stories are very interesting, and are sure to be followed by a great number of people, Stude fans or not.