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Remembering his first Studebaker crash

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  • Remembering his first Studebaker crash

    While showing off my ride yesterday, a fellow in a Mustang convertible pulled in to look at my car. He had a neat story. When he was a teenager he owned a 53 Champion Starliner. He had three people in the front seat and a 250 pounder in the back seat! While going through a traffic circle in Niagara Falls, a U.S. resident unfamiliar with those D%^& things came around in the wrong lane and they collided head on. The big guy in the rear dented the roof upwards. The car was a write off, but he really missed it so had to check out my 55K. Then he asked me if the factory ever produced a Ranchero or El Camino. I said I didn't think so but he should google "Kart Hauler" if he wanted to see a nice one-off. I then handed him a Studebaker Story brochure and told him he should check out SDC. Great guy with fond memories of his car.
    Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

  • #2
    Can't volunteer a Stude related crash story because I've never had one. Oh Oh......I hope I didn't just jinx Myself!!!!!


    • #3
      No comment


      • #4
        Not really a crash, but in '67 or so I was sitting at a red light on Kam Highway in Honolulu when a man ran into the rear of the Wagonaire. Minor damage and he admitted fault, gave me his insurance info OK. I went right to the local Studebaker dealer body shop and got an estimate. As I got ready to back away from the shop a man in a VW pickup backed in to me and really messed up the back bumper. He said "you fix youirs, I'll fix mine". Of course his damage was a scrape on his rust bumper. My damage was a destroyed bumper. Ultimately my insurance company investigated, got a statement from the body shop manager who saw it happen, went after the other guy and collected.
        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


        • #5
          Senior in high school. Tailgating With Matthew, the way-too-literal edition.


          • #6
            My only Stude crash was when a delerious fella pulled out in front of Pete in June of '95. Got a laughable "settlement" from his insurance as well as getting what was left of the totalled truck back. Between Pete's mortal remains and another similar parts truck I'd acquired, the reborn Pete took to the road exactly two years to the day after the accident. Two weeks later, we breezed into South Bend late Sunday afternoon.
            No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


            • #7
              It was a dark and foggy night in 1960. Driving down 99 in Everett, WA, in my 50 champ 2 door. A Metropolitan was stopped waiting to turn left. I didn't see its tiny tail lights until too late. Smashed in the trunk of the Metro, ruined my left front fender. For the rest of its life that green car had a yellow fender. Sort of a lemon/lime speedster look.
              Don Wilson, Centralia, WA

              40 Champion 4 door*
              50 Champion 2 door*
              53 Commander K Auto*
              53 Commander K overdrive*
              55 President Speedster
              62 GT 4Speed*
              63 Avanti R1*
              64 Champ 1/2 ton

              * Formerly owned


              • #8
                Originally posted by mbstude View Post
                Senior in high school. Tailgating With Matthew, the way-too-literal edition.

                Now thats funny,...I don't care who you are.



                • #9
                  My first car. 1959 Silver Hawk. Bouth it for 150.00 in 1966 at age 14. Rebuilt the entire car except the exterior paint by age 16. After only 8 months of enjoying my first ride I was on my way to cruise Van Nuys Blvd. As I drove down Shermann Way some kids thought it would be funny to remove the caution signs from a big hole the Gas Co had dug to work on some pipes. I drove into the hole and in so doing ripped the entire front suspension off the frame and more. Bruised and battered I survived but the car did not. I am hoping to write the next chapter of this story. If I can sell my 2R5 and the Avanti I am going to recreate my first car with some modern convenience upgrades. I have even built a die cast metal model of what I have in mind.
                  My original car before crash having fun:

                  The die cast car:

                  If I get to build it it will had a happy ending to a sad story.


                  • #10
                    My only Studebaker crash was in our freshly "fixed up" Avanti in Nashville, Tn. at the intersection of Donaldson Pike and Murfreesboro Rd. on my way to work one morning. Our light turned green, the Ford Windstar van full of kids in front pulled out with me following- -possibly too close?- -and a guy came thru the red light. The lady in the van slammed on her brakes to avoid the idiot, and I found out immediately that an Avanti front end fits perfectly over her bumper. Broke my glass covers, and cracked the body in a couple of places as far back as center of the front wheel well. I jumped out as she did, and her van was not even scratched !! She said " was your car already wrecked ? " and when I told her no, she asked how it could be tore up so bad. I explained the inherent benefits of fiberglass. The one funny thing was one of the little ones in her van was hollering "do it again, Mommy" because his drink had splashed on his sister and he thought it was funny. I cried later when they couldn't see me, ha !


                    • #11
                      I just recently saw new evidence of my only Stude crash. In 1977 I was on my way to a Potomac Chapter picnic, when a kid in a Firebird crossed the double line and hit my 3R6 pickup head on. He came in at about a 45 degree angle, just clipping the left end of the bumper, but bending the I-beam front axle back and demolishing the left front fender. His sub-frame hit the outrigger strut that the LF corner of the truck cab bolts to and twisted the truck’s frame. Both vehicles were totaled.

                      My truck had no seat belts and I was thrown forward and sideways into the driver’s side door – hard enough to bend the steel inner panel of the door. My butt slid forward until my knees hit the underside of the steel dash, but the death-grip I had on the steering wheel prevented my head from going through the windshield. I had a lot of bruises, but no broken bones. I stored the remains of my truck until the cost got prohibitive, and finally completely disassembled it and saved all the parts. I eventually found a nearly rust-free 3R5 with a bad engine and transferred all my mechanical parts over to it. I drove it that way, as a sort of a rat rod, for 30 years.

                      Last year I finally decided to restore it properly and disassembled it again. I had accumulated a fair number of NOS parts, but also still had virtually everything usable from my wrecked truck. While picking through this pile of parts I ran across the steering gear and column from the wrecked truck, steering wheel still attached – I had removed it as a unit. I discovered (for the first time) that the heavy steel bracket that holds the steering column in place and bolts to the underside of the dashboard had been badly bent, and was cracked almost all the way through from the stress I put on it during the moment of impact. I had not noticed that when I had hurriedly disassembled the truck back in 1978. In a sense, that simple $2 bracket absorbed much of the inertia and saved my life. I think maybe I ought to get it gold plated.
                      Skip Lackie