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my father and his studebakers....

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  • my father and his studebakers....

    i posted this on the H.A.M.B. board, and a few suggested i put it here as well.

    first, a little backstory.....

    I wasnt always close to my dad growing up. he was a stern, hard working man and i was a kid from the 80's. bmx, skateboarding and all that rebellious attitude kinda kept us apart a bit. we were far from wealthy, dad was a steam engineer in southern ohio in the late 70's when it collapsed, and moving to texas in 1980 right when the oilfield began to die was terrible timing too. But my dad made sure we were fed and had a roof. By the time i got into cars, i had to save to buy my own, and my dad worked so much that he wasn't there to help me learn about them. But the one thing i always knew was that dad loved Studebaker coupes.53 and 54's were his thing! he couldn't afford one back then, and wouldn't have gotten one if he could, but he loved them!

    Shortly after my brother and I left home, and stopped living off of our folks, my dad bought a rough old 60 hawk. the paint was so thick, it probably would deflect bullets! it had a chevy v6 in it, and was pretty gutless, but my father loved that old car. he drove it daily for 6 or so years until an old man stopped at our house and said his dying wish was a 60 hawk and offered dad quite a bit for the old girl. this was back in 99 or 2000.

    I immediately began searching this new website called "craigslist" for a 53-4 coupe for my father. We located a really nice original car that wasnt running and struck a deal. Dad finally got his 53 coupe. It needed work, it needed paint, it needed alot, but was a solid old car.
    About the time dad got his coupe, I opened up a car audio store with my father. We worked what seemed like 24hrs a day up there just trying to ger her off the ground. We had some success, had a few cars published in magazines, but it was just too much work for the pair of us to make it. We sold the business and to make up some losses, some of our personal toys.....and dad sold his stude.

    A couple years later, i saw an ad for a 54 commander regal coupe for a good price and i called on it. it was two miles from my parents house, so we drove over and looked at it. One owner, 70k miles, completely original car. No rust, running flat 6, etc....he bought it and drove it home!

    We put a small block chevy in it, lowered it a bit, new wiring and little things like that, but when i got stationed in virginia for a year, dad stopped working on the car, cause he didnt want to work on it without me. After i returned, my life kinda got screwy, a long seperation, divorce, and all the craziness that goes with that, so the stude sat. Now, dad loves to tinker with the car, but he's not a mechanic by any means, so not much gets done if i'm not there with him...but mabye thats the way he wants it anyway.....

    Now recently, with the economy downturn, my father lost his job building cabinets for aviation, and my mom who is a realtor...well, we all know how that market is, my father did the only thing he knew to do to save his house...he sold the stude........


    When my dad called me and asked me to put the stude on craigslist and here on the HAMB, i told him sure i'd do it and i went a took a few pics for the ad.
    On my way home, I called my friend "bubbaluv" a fellow hamber, and with the help of bubba, we sold the me!

    My father doesn't know that I have his coupe, and plan to do all the things he had planned for it and give it back to him on father's day next year! It's not gonna be a traditional build as i want him to have all the things he talked about...disc brakes, a/c, a fatman frame stub, i'm gonna do ls power , a custom interior, he likes the new rocket brand "fuel" wheels which look like a 17" "A" spoke torq thrust, and a smooth paint job.
    I'm buying and gathering parts while i'm working here in Afganistan, and can afford to give back just a little of the joy that my dad has given me these last few years. I've grown very close to my dad and can finally see how hard he worked through some really rough times to make sure we had what we needed. I've been blessed with a good job and now it's my turn to give back. Reading Ryan's post today inspired me to write this, so mabye my sons will be able to see what i was thinking at the time, as well. Bubba, i owe you big time, and i'm sorry if my dad hates you,haha....he'll change his mind soon enough!!

    i'll post some pictures when i find them on this computer of the stude, and once i get back home, i'll use it to show progress and mabye get some answers to some questions i have. I still need a good drivers grille surround,a set of 57-61 post doors, and if any stude guys could tell me what is a good disc rear to swap in, that would be great.

    Thanks for letting me ramble on, i hope i didnt bore anyone to death...

    Last edited by negativematt; 03-31-2011, 02:16 AM.

  • #2
    Nice story!


    • #3
      I'll second that .........keep us posted , especially next fathers day

      Home of the Fried Green Tomato


      1960 Champ , 1966 Daytona , 1965 Daytona Wagonaire


      • #4
        Wow, what a first post! Thanks for sharing, and Welcome!
        Proud NON-CASO

        I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of is a symbol of despair. ~ William McKinley

        If it is decreed that I should go down, then let me go down linked with the truth - let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.- Lincoln


        Ephesians 6:10-17
        Romans 15:13
        Deuteronomy 31:6
        Proverbs 28:1

        Illegitimi non carborundum


        • #5
          Great! Welcome aboard. 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.


          • #6

            Welcome to the forum.

            My Studebaker, father and I have a similar story. He bought a brand new 1950 Champion in December, 1949, 8 months before I was born. Anything that happens in a boys life "the first time" happened in that car with me. In the late 60s, it was retired but we kept it. A few years ago, he gave it to me. Without him knowing it, I restored it. I arranged a visit to my home for him, my mother, my brother and his wife -- all unknowing of the real purpose of the visit, to present the 'new' car to him. That day will live vividly in my memory for the rest of my life.

            That car is the one in my signature, and in my driveway.

            As will your day with your father when it comes. You are a great son.


            • #7
              welcome... great story!!! i learned a lot from my dad at an early age as a "tool getter" and a "parts fetcher"...

              now you be careful over there in the 'stan...
              Kerry. SDC Member #A012596W. ENCSDC member.

              '51 Champion Business Coupe - (Tom's Car). Purchased 11/2012.

              '40 Champion. sold 10/11. '63 Avanti R-1384. sold 12/10.


              • #8
                Posted by Negativematt
                I've grown very close to my dad and can finally see how hard he worked through some really rough times to make sure we had what we needed. I've been blessed with a good job and now it's my turn to give back. Reading Ryan's post today inspired me to write this, so mabye my sons will be able to see what i was thinking at the time, as well. Bubba, i owe you big time, and i'm sorry if my dad hates you,haha....he'll change his mind soon enough!!

                Very well written. First of all Welcome to the forum and secondly, I don't think you can comprehend in your wildest dreams what this will mean to your Dad. You are a fine son and the project is great.

                Please keep posting.

                , ,


                • #9
                  Originally posted by negativematt View Post

                  Thanks for letting me ramble on, i hope i didnt bore anyone to death...
                  Hey you crazy reformed snot nose! (Lots of us here) No way you bored any of us...we love these stories. Best of all, the story is not complete , so now we can see it play out. Before all is said and done, you might acquire "positivematt" as a nick name!

                  Welcome...pull up a chair and stay!
                  John Clary
                  Greer, SC

                  SDC member since 1975


                  • #10
                    GREAT story, Thanks for taking the time to share. Makes me want to tell my story with my Dad. Keep us posted on
                    the progress. I did the rear disc on my 53 by using a S-10 rear end. Got away from the tapered axles and got disc
                    at the same time. If you don't want to deal with the lug pattern change, you might use a lincoln or Ford ranger type.


                    • #11
                      thanks for the kind words guys! my pops is my best friend and although he didnt teach me a whole lot about cars, he taught me everything about life. he sacrificed so much, and at the time, i never saw it. it took some growing up and being a father myself to see how much he did for us. doing this car for him, is the least i could do!

                      i ordered a front clip from, he's on the h.a.m.b. board and has done quite a few studes (check out his pics on his site). i bought a new set of the cragar eliminators in grey, a vintage air setup, i'm gonna graft in a 59 impala dash, and i really like (and so does dad) the look of john martin's "gold dust" with the layback headlights. i like the terp christensen car as well with the mini lights. i'll figure that out when i get to that point. i have a few good friends back home who are gonna do the chassis work and body work, then i'll do the rest when i get back. i'll post pics as i get them and keep you all informed...
                      Last edited by negativematt; 03-31-2011, 02:13 PM.


                      • #12
                        Dude you can never bore me with your posts. Please keep it updated and welcome to the Forum!


                        • #13
                          With all the other bidy mods you have mentioned you never said anything about chopping the top??
                          Welcome to the Forum.
                          Good Roads
                          PS I have a friend that just acquired a 58 (smooth Doors) and he wants early doors.
                          Where are you located?
                          Brian Woods
                          1946 M Series (Shop Truck)


                          • #14
                            What a story! Thanks for sharing it here.
                            Joe Roberts
                            '61 R1 Champ
                            '65 Cruiser
                            Eastern North Carolina Chapter


                            • #15
                              Awesome story! It reminded me of my somewhat choppy relationship with my Dad as a rebelious teen 20 year prior to your experience. Dad loved Studes and I hated them at the time, especially when I needed help finacing a car and Dad was my banker who insisted to only finance a Stude because they were reliable. I was pretty mad at my Dad and I hated my '60 champion which I did not keep very long. In retrospect it was reliable. Now, forty some years later I am busy building my '55 Studebaker truck probably inspire by my teenage relationship with the Old man and his Studebakers. I bet he is quite proud and having the last laugh from way up there.