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  • Coming or Going?

    I visited a classic car museum in central PA yesterday, and they had a 1909 Studebaker electric trolley car that was used in a tunnel under the US Capitol for many hears. Since there was only one track and no roundtable, the trolley had 'two front ends' this where the phrase 'you can't tell if they're coming or going'comes from?

    If not, when was the phrase coined and what models did it apply to?

  • #2
    I believe the phrase was first applied to the all new post war Studebakers of the late '40's. These were styled by Virgil Exner, who went on to create the ultra-finned "Forward Look" for Chrysler in the mid-'50's.


    MarkC, 64 Y8
    Working in Spokane, WA


    • #3
      The "First by far with a post war car"47 models,that were styled by Raymond Lowey studios.As all the other car manufactures at the time,even Studebaker with its Skyway Champion,were just sliglty re chromed pre -war models.When Stude came out with the all new 47 design in mid 46 it was a sensation.Many comedians at the time made up jokes about Studebakers "can't tell if their comin or going"
      Soon the rest of the industry was stealing the desisign
      So any of the 47-52 models,I would think it would especially apply to business coupes if you look at one from the side.


      • #4
        Studebaker produced two of the electric cars for the original congressional subway to transport senators and congressmen from their offices to the Capitol. One, as you mentioned, is in the Swigart Museum in Huntingdon, Pa. When the car reached its destination, the driver would get out of the driver's seat on one side of the car and move to the driver's seat on the other side and return to the congressional offices through the same tunnel.

        Swigarts was the first antique auto museum in the U.S. and also displays the original Tucker prototype,as well as a production Tucker from the following year. Visit them at
        "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

        Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
        Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
        '33 Rockne 10,
        '51 Commander Starlight,
        '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
        '56 Sky Hawk


        • #5
          The other Congressional electric subway car resides in the Studebaker National Museum.
          Gary L.
          Wappinger, NY

          SDC member since 1968
          Studebaker enthusiast much longer