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Snowy Studebaker trip, long, long ago

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  • Snowy Studebaker trip, long, long ago

    This wild snowy weather reminds me a driving a Studebaker in similar weather many years ago. January, 1961- I had just bought our new '61 Lark Cruiser at Don Schmidt Studebaker in Wichita. I was between stations on a Navy move. I had to be in Rhode Island a few days later. With just over 100 miles on the car we started out on a cold clear day driving to Riverton, Kansas (extreme Southeast Kansas) where we planned to pick up US Route 66. We spent the night with my aunt in Riverton. Got up in the morning and it was snowing and blowing like it is here as I look out the window. I had no choice but to start out. We had virtually all our earthly possessions in the car so it was ballasted pretty well and I had decent traction and I passed a lot of stuck cars. However, I decided to stop in Joplin, Missouri to buy a set of chains and get them installed. Nice Joplin tire shop took care of that- no problem. We started east on 66 and the snow got worse. Pretty soon we were about the only vehicle on the highway. Good thing about that was I could stop right in the road (old three-lane highway) and clear the snow from under the wipers about every five miles. We actually made it all the way to St Louis with no trouble on the unplowed highway. Toward the end of the day I was feeling worse and worse (flu). On the west side of St Louis we pulled in to an old fashioned motel (one that had a little garage for each unit) and spent the night. In the morning I felt better and the roads were plowed. After breaking through the snow pile behind the car I took off the chains and we headed east again shifting over to US 40. The Cruiser got its 1,000-mile service in Columbus Ohio. From there the rest of the trip was uneventful, but still memorable (I think I still have that set of chains somewhere out in the shed).



    Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Daytona convertible, '53 Commander Starliner, Museum R-4 engine, '62 Gravely Model L, '72 Gravely Model 430

    Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
    '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

  • #2
    "On the west side of St Louis we pulled in to an old fashioned motel (one that had a little garage for each unit) and spent the night."

    Paul,

    Was your motel the late great Coral Courts on Watson Road. The CC was on the north side of Watson(US66)Road about 6 miles west of the St. Louis City limits. It consisted of beige enameled block buildings with glass block windows and an attached garage.

    Eventually known as THE spot for assignations, when my cousin and her husband got married, her fiancee got reservations there for the out-of-towners. Quite the joke!

    Its been bulldozed for several years, but one cottage was saved and reconstructed at the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis. If St. Louis scores another meet you can come and take a look.

    Gary

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    • #3
      UH OH... were the fenders and floors rusted out when you arrived??[:0]

      Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
      Parish, central NY 13131

      GOD BLESS AMERICA





      Comment


      • #4
        quote:Originally posted by skyway

        "On the west side of St Louis we pulled in to an old fashioned motel (one that had a little garage for each unit) and spent the night."
        Paul,
        Was your motel the late great Coral Courts on Watson Road. The CC was on the north side of Watson(US66)Road about 6 miles west of the St. Louis City limits. It consisted of beige enameled block buildings with glass block windows and an attached garage.
        Eventually known as THE spot for assignations, when my cousin and her husband got married, her fiancee got reservations there for the out-of-towners. Quite the joke!
        Its been bulldozed for several years, but one cottage was saved and reconstructed at the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis. If St. Louis scores another meet you can come and take a look.
        It could have been. The location sounds about right. However, (1) it was snowing hard, (2) it was dark, and (3) my memory just isn't that sharp any more. Also, in that era there were quite a few motels with garages. I don't know if it was the only one in that area or not. On our chapter Route 66 trip in '03 we stayed at as many original Route 66 motels as possibe (Munger Moss in Lebanon for one). Neat that they did save part of Coral Courts. I have been to the Transportation Museum (which is great), but I don't remember that exhibit- may have been after I was there.



        Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Daytona convertible, '53 Commander Starliner, Museum R-4 engine, '62 Gravely Model L, '72 Gravely Model 430

        Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
        '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

        Comment


        • #5
          quote:Originally posted by skyway

          "On the west side of St Louis we pulled in to an old fashioned motel (one that had a little garage for each unit) and spent the night."
          Paul,
          Was your motel the late great Coral Courts on Watson Road. The CC was on the north side of Watson(US66)Road about 6 miles west of the St. Louis City limits. It consisted of beige enameled block buildings with glass block windows and an attached garage.
          Eventually known as THE spot for assignations, when my cousin and her husband got married, her fiancee got reservations there for the out-of-towners. Quite the joke!
          Its been bulldozed for several years, but one cottage was saved and reconstructed at the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis. If St. Louis scores another meet you can come and take a look.
          It could very well have been the Coral Courts. The location sounds about right. However, (1) it was snowing, (2) it was dark, (3) I was sick, and (4) my memory just isn't that sharp any more. I know there were other motels then that also had garages, but I don't know if there were others near there. It's neat that they preserved part of it at the Transportation Museum. I have been there (it's great), but it may have been before they put up that exhibit.
          On our Potomac Chapter Route 66 trip in '03 we stayed at as many original Route 66 motels as possible (Munger-Moss in Lebanon for one).
          I was at your previous St. Louis meet and I have made both Springfield meets- great fun.



          Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Daytona convertible, '53 Commander Starliner, Museum R-4 engine, '62 Gravely Model L, '72 Gravely Model 430

          Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
          '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

          Comment


          • #6
            An off-Forum suggestion was made that I should have mentioned that the '61 Cruiser was both my first new car and my first Studebaker. It was also suggested that I might explain why I chose a Studebaker.
            So, I fell in love with Studebakers when I saw my first '53 Commander Starliner and I kind of kept checking them off and on from then on (even though I was from a dyed-in-the-wool MoPar family). I had driven several '59 and '60 Lark V-8s and had been impressed. Even so, I bought a three-year-old, beautiful '57 Plymouth Belvedere four-door hardtop. It was a perfect used car- 20,000 miles, traded on a new Plymouth at the dealer who sold it originally. First week, the Torqueflite went out and it went down hill from there. So, in the fall of '60 we were driving from Athens to Atlanta, Georgia. In a small town we went through I saw a Studebaker dealer with a big banner announcing the all-new '61 Lark. So, I stopped and looked. A salesman came out and tossed me the keys to a new black Cruiser (he had never seen me before and I had a Yankee tag on the Plymouth- neat thing about small towns). Anyhow, the test drive did it. I had driven Falcons and Valiants. They were so tinny and cheap. On any Lark I looked at I could hold a door open about six to eight inches, let go and it would shut with a solid "ca-chunk". I wanted a red Regal V-8 with overdrive, reclining seats and such. I didn't have time to order one and I couldn't find one anywhere. Finally, we settled on an Autumn Haze Cruiser with automatic and reclining seats (very important option in my mind)- decided it would do. It turned out to be an absolutely great car and that kept me in Studebakers from then on.



            Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Daytona convertible, '53 Commander Starliner, Museum R-4 engine, '62 Gravely Model L, '72 Gravely Model 430

            Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
            '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

            Comment

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