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1963 R2 Lark "The Whistler"

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  • 1963 R2 Lark "The Whistler"

    Newbie (well, it was his first post!) Mike Lynch from Phoenix posted a request for more information about a certain 1963 R2/4-speed Lark that drag raced in Phoenix back in the day: The Whistler.

    Rather than tag along at the end of an older Ted Harbit topic, I thought I'd post what I have about the car in a new thread.

    Here goes.
    It all began with a period clipping I cut out of the June 1963 edition of Speed Mechanics, Pages 29 and 30:



    Depending on your screen and monitor, the caption beside the above picture might be difficult to read. Here's what it says:

    "Surprise winner in A/Compact Stock class was a Lark equipped with the factory-blown Avanti engine. It proved to be a real stormer, zipping through the clocks at a speed of 96.49 in 14.59."

    Ray Tanner Motors in Phoenix promoted high-performance Studebakers as much as anybody; he sold a lot of them. Apparently, "the boys" decided to campaign one of their own!

    I wrote them the following letter, which is self-explanatory. I was two months shy of 18 years old when I wrote it:



    I got the following nice letter and photo in reply. Again, self-explanatory. (Yipes; sorry for the poor cropping):



    Page 2:



    Floyd Mendenhall enclosed a nice, glossy B&W photo of the car with his letter, as then being raced, that I have thankfully kept in good shape almost 50 years now:



    Yes, I have examined that Hawk on the extreme right side of the photo, behind the fence, and I'm fairly certain it is a 1956 Golden Hawk among the spectators!

    To answer the next question, The Whistler is yet to be located! There are no known color photos extant, but "we" have analyzed it to death and are fairly certain it is Blue Mist. Andy Petrass has done extensive research and, by elimination, I think we have it whittled down to being one of two possible serial numbers.

    They are somewhere else right now and I need to leave for a meeting, so I'll post them later when I locate them.

    Enjoy, all...and thanks for asking, Mike! BP
    Last edited by BobPalma; 01-07-2018, 02:20 PM. Reason: added Whistler's Serial Number
    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.

  • #2
    Originally posted by BobPalma View Post
    To answer the next question, The Whistler is yet to be located! There are no known color photos extant, but "we" have analyzed it to death and are fairly certain it is Blue Mist. Andy Petrass has done extensive research and, by elimination, I think we have it whittled down to being one of two possible serial numbers.
    There was a write-up in Jet Thrust News #17: http://www.studebaker-info.org/JTN/JTNEWS/jtn17.htm

    Craig

    Comment


    • #3
      Bob, Thanks for all the information! Any idea how they named the car? Trying to determine if there was any relation to Elmo Tanner the musician or coincidence. Thanks Again.
      Mike Lynch
      Sunnyslope, AZ

      "Be kind and civil. Allow that you may be mistaken; allow that others will make mistakes, be gracious. If you're going to contribute, try to make it worthwhile."
      Alan Taylor

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
        There was a write-up in Jet Thrust News #17: http://www.studebaker-info.org/JTN/JTNEWS/jtn17.htm Craig
        Thanks for looking that up, Craig. Here are the particulars from that issue of Jet Thrust News over ten years ago:

        “The Whistler,” 63V15969. This was the handle of the Ray Tanner (Phoenix, AZ) AHRA drag car. Andy Petrass has researched the car’s VIN with the aid of a great photograph but wasn’t able to pin down the VIN. JTN published this photo courtesy of Bob Palma in JTN #5 and #6. The car was a 1963 2 door Regal R2 4 speed. Via Jerry Kaiser, Bill Eastburn relates that the car was Blue Mist. With the aid of George Krem, JTN has determined its VIN to be 63V15969. The car was ordered without heater or radio. The fate of The Whistler and its engine remains unknown.

        I can't remember right now how we concluded that was the probable serial number, but we did. So if anyone locates 63V15969, it is undoubtedly a Very Special Car in The Studebaker World. Since it was delivered in a dry climate, let's hope it is lurking in a small, remote junk yard somewhere in the high southwest hills. BP
        Last edited by BobPalma; 03-25-2013, 08:27 PM.
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ray Tanner Motors: I spent a lot of time in their showroom...drewling!
          Lou Van Anne
          62 Champ
          64 R2 GT Hawk
          79 Avanti II

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by asesolen View Post
            Bob, Thanks for all the information! Any idea how they named the car? Trying to determine if there was any relation to Elmo Tanner the musician or coincidence. Thanks Again.
            You're welcome, Mike.

            I have never heard how the car was named. I always assumed it had something to do with the high-pitched sound of the supercharger being interpreted as a whistle, but that's just an opinion.

            (Either that, or it had a severe vacuum leak they never located! ) 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.

            Comment


            • #7
              To clarify the lettering on the door:



              Below the huge Ray Tanner name is:

              Studebaker Avanti "Jeep"
              1500 N. Central
              Phoenix


              The information below the window is on two lines. The first one says:

              * Owner - Chuck Bradshaw

              The second line is difficult. I've looked at the original under a magnifying glass and can only make out the following:

              * [something] by - Floyd Mendenhall

              That [something] is too long a word to be Tuned. It could be Prepared. 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.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lou Van Anne View Post
                Ray Tanner Motors: I spent a lot of time in their showroom...drewling!
                I wouldn't doubt that for a minute, Lou! 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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by BobPalma View Post
                  You're welcome, Mike.

                  I have never heard how the car was named. I always assumed it had something to do with the high-pitched sound of the supercharger being interpreted as a whistle, but that's just an opinion.

                  (Either that, or it had a severe vacuum leak they never located! ) BP
                  Maybe it was reaction of spectators who had never seen the car go down the track.

                  One day when my father and Uncle took their '51 to the strip, my Uncle overheard a guy laughing when my dad pulled up to the line. "What is he going to do with THAT?" the guy said pretty loud - a veteran track spectator turned around and responded, "if you just wait a second he is about to show ya..."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I note that in December of 1963 you were both using Postal Zones instead of the new Zip Codes.

                    My guess on the Whistler name is the sound of the supercharger at high RPMs.
                    Gary L.
                    Wappinger, NY

                    SDC member since 1968
                    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi All. Mike has been posting photos, now it's my turn! Hope you enjoy.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      Attachment #2 say's "Serviced by Floyd Mendenhall"

                      Attachment #5 says "Don't be caught dead sitting on your seat belt"
                      Last edited by studejohn; 04-11-2013, 10:47 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Nice pics. but each one I open boots me from the forum and you cant simply go back.!?

                        Dean.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OPPS, look like somebody DOES have the "missing" Whistler!

                          Welcome John!
                          StudeRich
                          Second Generation Stude Driver,
                          Proud '54 Starliner Owner

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by studejohn View Post
                            Hi All. Mike has been posting photos, now it's my turn! Hope you enjoy.

                            [ATTACH]22906[/ATTACH]
                            [ATTACH]22907[/ATTACH]
                            [ATTACH]22908[/ATTACH]
                            [ATTACH]22909[/ATTACH]
                            [ATTACH]22905[/ATTACH]

                            Attachment #2 say's "Serviced by Floyd Mendenhall"

                            Attachment #5 says "Don't be caught dead sitting on your seat belt"
                            Nice pics. but each one I open boots me from the forum and you cant simply go back.!?

                            Dean.
                            See if this helps.











                            This confirms it has no Climatizer

                            Craig

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It did!
                              Thank you.

                              Dean.

                              Comment

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