Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Threat to SASCO and the parts (continued)

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Threat to SASCO and the parts (continued)

    A couple of weeks ago, there were several threads that reported that a small fire at SASCO threatened the continued operation of their parts business. I spent some time during the Intl Meet trying to learn how we might best respond to this threat. JDP suggested that I post where things stand right now.

    First, there was the small fire. Attendees at the Stude Truck Farmers tour on Tuesday can confirm that the damage was very slight. However, the fire made clear that the old Stude engineering building where the parts are now stored no longer meets current fire-suppression standards. As a result, Dennis Lambert of SASCO has had to employ contract guards to monitor the building for fire. This is not a long-term solution.

    Some people have asserted that the city wants to clear all of the old buildings in the Studebaker Corridor so the area can be redeveloped. While there may be some truth in that, there are no plans to develop the land on which SASCO sits (the old Newman and Altman building had to be vacated so it could be demolished to make way for the new county jail), and there is plenty of vacant land available in the area. The old South Bend Lathe building next door to SASCO is scheduled for demolition within the next few weeks. While I would not agree that the SASCO building is an eyesore, it clearly is not modern and looks at least a little bit derelict. There are some leaks in the roof and broken windows, though none of that is visible from the street. It's also worth noting that vacant land in South Bend is not exactly in short supply, and the old Studebaker area south of the railroad tracks is not particularly desirable. It probably does not qualify as as EPA Superfund site, but the soil there is somewhat contaminated with industrial byproducts, which means it cannot be used for residential development, parks, playgrounds, etc. While the land would be suitable for a shopping center, office building, or industrial uses, there is plenty of property already available in more desirable areas.

    The SASCO building is owned by the city, so it has an obligation to ensure that it is brought up to safety standards. SASCO will have to pay for whatever upgrades are necessary. That said, the city Fire Department has the authority to grant exceptions or approve compromise solutions, given that the building is not occupied except during normal working hours. (However, the safety of Fire Dept personnel remains a priority, even if the building is not otherwise occupied -- consider the FD deaths in Charleston last week.)

    Dennis Lambert "owns" the parts, though most of the money came from the bank. While SASCO provides steady cash flow, most of the money goes to pay off the loan. There is not a lot left over for expensive upgrades to the building. Last week, Dennis was reviewing bids for upgrades to the sprinkler system and hoped to be able to make a choice that would not only be affordable, but would satisfy the SBFD. Nevertheless, this may only be the opening shot of a continuing battle over the safety of the SASCO building. Clearly, if the city wants to close SASCO down, they can find a way to do it.

    The fire was electrical in origin, and was caused when a wire that was repaired improperly (probably decades ago) came in contact with a grounded box on the second floor. Dennis suspects that the vibration caused by the demolition of another old building next door was the underlying cause, though it really doesn't matter. SASCO is in an old building that has gone through a number of tenants since Studebaker moved out. Clearly there is plenty of wiring that doesn't meet the code. Dennis has de-energized all circuits except those lighting the first floor, but there's no way to tell whether there may be some problems lurking somewhere.

    We need to recognize that there's no hope of moving the parts to more a hospitable venue. Until you have seen how much stuff is stored there, you cannot comprehend the magnitude of the effort it would take. It would require hundreds (maybe thousands) of tractor-trail
    Skip Lackie

  • #2
    Thanks for that well-written, and picture-clearing post, Skip. I now have a little better understanding of the situation thanks to this piece, combined with having made my first personal visit.

    I only saw the main "store" area, and the upholstery/interior area way in the back... and left with my head spinning[:0] My overriding thought since then is this: What other marque ANYWHERE- let alone orphaned- has this magnitude of genuine, original, company-produced parts (hard AND soft!) still available 40+ years later? But that combined with reality- an area probably 100' long and 40' wide with MOUNTAINS of NOS seat covers and door panels, racks of rolls of piping, tons of other related items... sitting in a questionable building, musty, moldy, and totally disorganized- but most usable! And this is just one area; I was told there were many more, much larger areas, filled with parts being slowly damaged by leaking roofs, broken windows, bird do, and on and on... again, totally disorganized. Understand, this is in no way an indictment of Dennis or his staff; merely pointing out the size of the problem! Financially, it's not possible to save say, 3500 tie-rod adjusting sleeves, for example; but at the same time, if they're gone, where you gonna get 'em when you do need one? But then, how can a person or an entity possibly store, catalog, protect, and sell or ship these things- and wait till May 12 2034 when it may be needed? I spent the rest of my time in SB distracted by this issue; I am a Studebaker enthusiast (even more so after this week!), a businessman, and a thinker; and am saddedned that I have yet to even begin to formulate any type of viable solution in my mind[}][V]

    Frankly, the idea of having the SNM involved- a non-profit entity- may be the start of a viable solution. A lot would depend upon the city's- and bank's- willingness to work along toward a solution to a huge problem; biggest hurdle being that it's really only huge to us, the enthusiasts! If you don't love Studebakers, it's easy to write off a loan as loss, or evict a tenant and demolish a structure; it's just business. But if the city has a higher-up that has any feeling for the cars, and therefore the parts, anything's possible! Of course, that remains to be seen...

    I'll be watching... and listening...and thinking... this is an incredibly rare opportunity for worthwhile preservation of Stude parts! Time will tell what will happen; but writing the city, or protesting, or a grassroots effort by (realistically) a few dozen Stude people with work gloves and trucks are not going to be the answer... but I'm not 100% ready to concede that there's no solution

    Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
    Parish, central NY 13131
    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for that well-written, and picture-clearing post, Skip. I now have a little better understanding of the situation thanks to this piece, combined with having made my first personal visit.

      I only saw the main "store" area, and the upholstery/interior area way in the back... and left with my head spinning[:0] My overriding thought since then is this: What other marque ANYWHERE- let alone orphaned- has this magnitude of genuine, original, company-produced parts (hard AND soft!) still available 40+ years later? But that combined with reality- an area probably 100' long and 40' wide with MOUNTAINS of NOS seat covers and door panels, racks of rolls of piping, tons of other related items... sitting in a questionable building, musty, moldy, and totally disorganized- but most usable! And this is just one area; I was told there were many more, much larger areas, filled with parts being slowly damaged by leaking roofs, broken windows, bird do, and on and on... again, totally disorganized. Understand, this is in no way an indictment of Dennis or his staff; merely pointing out the size of the problem! Financially, it's not possible to save say, 3500 tie-rod adjusting sleeves, for example; but at the same time, if they're gone, where you gonna get 'em when you do need one? But then, how can a person or an entity possibly store, catalog, protect, and sell or ship these things- and wait till May 12 2034 when it may be needed? I spent the rest of my time in SB distracted by this issue; I am a Studebaker enthusiast (even more so after this week!), a businessman, and a thinker; and am saddedned that I have yet to even begin to formulate any type of viable solution in my mind[}][V]

      Frankly, the idea of having the SNM involved- a non-profit entity- may be the start of a viable solution. A lot would depend upon the city's- and bank's- willingness to work along toward a solution to a huge problem; biggest hurdle being that it's really only huge to us, the enthusiasts! If you don't love Studebakers, it's easy to write off a loan as loss, or evict a tenant and demolish a structure; it's just business. But if the city has a higher-up that has any feeling for the cars, and therefore the parts, anything's possible! Of course, that remains to be seen...

      I'll be watching... and listening...and thinking... this is an incredibly rare opportunity for worthwhile preservation of Stude parts! Time will tell what will happen; but writing the city, or protesting, or a grassroots effort by (realistically) a few dozen Stude people with work gloves and trucks are not going to be the answer... but I'm not 100% ready to concede that there's no solution

      Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
      Parish, central NY 13131
      http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks, Skip!

        Chris Pile
        The Studebaker Special
        Midway Chapter SDC
        The only difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks, Skip!

          Chris Pile
          The Studebaker Special
          Midway Chapter SDC
          The only difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers

          Comment


          • #6
            My 2 cents. I have bought parts from that company since they were N & A, so I was concerned when I saw that their future was in jeopardy. If the building were demolished, the parts would have to be hauled somewhere to dispose of them , anyway. So, it is not as if evicting SASCo automatically solves that problem for the city. As far as the involvement of the Museum in taking over the inventory, it is definitely not unheard of for Marque clubs to sell parts to produce income. Another bit of leverage might be the prospect of having a SDC Convention in South Bend every year. It would not only bring in the income to businesses there, but raise awareness of a new genration of Locl residents about their communities' heritage--and gain their support. And finally, where are the community preservationists? Seems a building that is still in use and structurally sound and significant historically, would have plenty of support from them...

            Comment


            • #7
              My 2 cents. I have bought parts from that company since they were N & A, so I was concerned when I saw that their future was in jeopardy. If the building were demolished, the parts would have to be hauled somewhere to dispose of them , anyway. So, it is not as if evicting SASCo automatically solves that problem for the city. As far as the involvement of the Museum in taking over the inventory, it is definitely not unheard of for Marque clubs to sell parts to produce income. Another bit of leverage might be the prospect of having a SDC Convention in South Bend every year. It would not only bring in the income to businesses there, but raise awareness of a new genration of Locl residents about their communities' heritage--and gain their support. And finally, where are the community preservationists? Seems a building that is still in use and structurally sound and significant historically, would have plenty of support from them...

              Comment


              • #8
                quote:Originally posted by wally

                If the building were demolished, the parts would have to be hauled somewhere to dispose of them , anyway. So, it is not as if evicting SASCo automatically solves that problem for the city.
                No, but the point is: if you're demolishing the building, or demolishing the building with thousands of NOS parts, there's no difference in effort; just in number of trips to the landfill. So to that extent, the city won't care about the inventory.

                Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
                Parish, central NY 13131
                http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1

                Comment


                • #9
                  quote:Originally posted by wally

                  If the building were demolished, the parts would have to be hauled somewhere to dispose of them , anyway. So, it is not as if evicting SASCo automatically solves that problem for the city.
                  No, but the point is: if you're demolishing the building, or demolishing the building with thousands of NOS parts, there's no difference in effort; just in number of trips to the landfill. So to that extent, the city won't care about the inventory.

                  Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
                  Parish, central NY 13131
                  http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    quote:Originally posted by wally

                    where are the community preservationists? Seems a building that is still in use and structurally sound and significant historically, would have plenty of support from them...
                    I could be wrong on this, but from what I've gathered the city in general sees these buildings as a problem and an eyesore; I'm betting the taxpayers wouldn't go for replacing massive roofs and huge upkeep/repair bills...

                    Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
                    Parish, central NY 13131
                    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      quote:Originally posted by wally

                      where are the community preservationists? Seems a building that is still in use and structurally sound and significant historically, would have plenty of support from them...
                      I could be wrong on this, but from what I've gathered the city in general sees these buildings as a problem and an eyesore; I'm betting the taxpayers wouldn't go for replacing massive roofs and huge upkeep/repair bills...

                      Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
                      Parish, central NY 13131
                      http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2358680/1

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I may be totally off base here, but maybe a rethink of SASCO's relationship to the Studebaker "Industry" might be in order. If Sasco could be restructured as just a supplier to the other vendors, with them being the retailer, and Sasco as the supplier, then we might have a better line of distribution of Sasco's inventory. Sasco could be the repository of NOS,and reproduction parts and the vendors could sell out of Sasco's inventory, without them being competitors, and than everyone would have a stake in Sasco's survival. If it could be done, Sasco's profits could be used to upgrade the system(building, inventory management, etc). I understand there is a lot of dead inventory but it is inventory, and would be safeguarded as any of the other inventory. This is just IMHO.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I may be totally off base here, but maybe a rethink of SASCO's relationship to the Studebaker "Industry" might be in order. If Sasco could be restructured as just a supplier to the other vendors, with them being the retailer, and Sasco as the supplier, then we might have a better line of distribution of Sasco's inventory. Sasco could be the repository of NOS,and reproduction parts and the vendors could sell out of Sasco's inventory, without them being competitors, and than everyone would have a stake in Sasco's survival. If it could be done, Sasco's profits could be used to upgrade the system(building, inventory management, etc). I understand there is a lot of dead inventory but it is inventory, and would be safeguarded as any of the other inventory. This is just IMHO.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Nice write up Skip....I too was at that dinner and was just amazed at the upstairs. We all hope that something good comes of all this and the parts stay intacked and together. I just shudder when I think of an auction and this would get all chopped up and prices would of coarse sky rocket out of site. I hope everyone at the meet bought at least something at SASCO , I know I sure did ....even bought a '64 grill for single headlites for a bargain $25....going to turn it into a double headlite grill since you can't buy those any more. My wife gave me hell for not buying 2 of them....go figure.....just love that girl <g> she always comes up with those good ideas ! Anyways I'm sure it will all come out OK...at least I'm hoping .

                            HOME of THE FRIED GREEN TOMATO

                            1950 2R5
                            1960 Lark 2dr
                            1960 Champ
                            1964 Daytona HT
                            sigpic

                            Home of the Fried Green Tomato

                            "IF YOU WANT THE SMILES YOU NEED TO DO THE MILES "

                            1960 Champ , 1966 Daytona , 1965 Daytona Wagonaire

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Nice write up Skip....I too was at that dinner and was just amazed at the upstairs. We all hope that something good comes of all this and the parts stay intacked and together. I just shudder when I think of an auction and this would get all chopped up and prices would of coarse sky rocket out of site. I hope everyone at the meet bought at least something at SASCO , I know I sure did ....even bought a '64 grill for single headlites for a bargain $25....going to turn it into a double headlite grill since you can't buy those any more. My wife gave me hell for not buying 2 of them....go figure.....just love that girl <g> she always comes up with those good ideas ! Anyways I'm sure it will all come out OK...at least I'm hoping .

                              HOME of THE FRIED GREEN TOMATO

                              1950 2R5
                              1960 Lark 2dr
                              1960 Champ
                              1964 Daytona HT
                              sigpic

                              Home of the Fried Green Tomato

                              "IF YOU WANT THE SMILES YOU NEED TO DO THE MILES "

                              1960 Champ , 1966 Daytona , 1965 Daytona Wagonaire

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X