Thursday, June 25, 2020


Like old television programs, family furniture and strange communicable diseases, certain things can flash me back to my earliest memories within an instant. The same goes for automobiles...I can pretty much lay out my entire life and the changes it went through by looking at the cars that I have come in contact with and admired from afar long before I was even able to drive one of these things. And by that time eh, the magic was lost.

And when I was a mere turdler, I used to get this impression that moving vehicles had their own strange aura about 'em, as if they were just as much of living entities and as part of the family situation as the dog. Now, I used to think that in the hierarchy of life there were humans, then dogs, and then all sorts of smaller creatures but cars figured in the equation somehow. Exactly how I couldn't explain, though I thought that things like that would clearly be explained once I got into second grade.

As for Studebakers well...these things were special to me. The Lark was a cool little thing---I have two Tootsietoy convertibles that are gravely in need of restoring while the Avanti was a slick rarity that always had me turnin' my pre-stool head and I really liked the '63-66 Wagonaires because they had different taillights than the sedan version. That was something that really got me goin' somehow...station wagons with different taillights. All these years later I think it was a misplaced understanding of sexuality transposed to automobiles on my part, like men were sedans and convertibles and women were station wagons or something like that, only in real life women have different headlights.

When the Studebaker disappeared so did a little of me. Life was becoming too difficult with school and all and I was struggling along missing the old days of which Studebakers seemed a grand part of. As I grew older and older I saw less and less of them which I couldn't comprehend because well, I thought when a car was made it was here for all eternity. By the early-seventies rusted out Champ pickups could be espied on rare occasion while others from the marque were nowhere to be found. Sheesh did I feel old, and I was but a mere sixth-grader!

At least there are books on the subject matter that remind me of those way better'n now times when Studebakers ruled the parking lots and were brazenly featured on MR. ED. This hardcover is but one and it's a boon to those who really go for this historical automobile which thumbed its nose at the Big Three until it just couldn't. And considering how many of the smaller auto companies in the US petered out long before Studebaker's own '66 demise, maybe that's saying something that should be SHOUTED FROM THE HIGHEST AUTOMOBILE PARTS SHOP!

Lotsa great photos of all the Studebaker cars are to be found. None of the trucks mind you (woulda liked to have seen at least a few Champs) but the title clearly says CARS and besides there are plenty of sedans and wagons pictured giving your eyeballs a good pleasin'. The older models that I was not familiar with are a surprise---I gotta say that they look just as sleek and savvy as many of those French designs that were comin' out inna thirties which some might feel strange since like, Studebakers did have this reputation for being lower-class 'n all. Cars that really woulda looked sleek drivin' down your street if you were some sorta depression-era kid on the lookout for some interesting thrills.

Of course for me its the fifties and sixties Studes that I like to gaze upon with the same passion I give to hula gals in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.. Why not, since it is those Larks and Avantis and Hawks that I used to see all the time looking so energized with their European styling and overall portrayal of just what a snassy automobile that I wish I was old enough to drive should look like. Yeah, these cars also remind me of HAPPIER times which is a personal part of it you would have no connection to but dang, when I think of Studebakers I also think of HUCKELBERRY HOUND and weeknight tee-vee viewing with the rest of the fambly not to mention just how every day was an adventure in itself, things that eventually flew to the wayside once I got old and other people had ideas on how I should live and well, that didn't turn out so hot as I eventually discovered!

Yeah this book coulda used more, like a pic of the various Eyetalian Studebaker designs which were rather unique in themselves. But why should I quibble given how STUDEBAKER CARS captures a big hunka everyday Amerigan history of how we used to live and how some of us who are old enough to remember why things were better then are right about those days after all. I mean, there is a big difference between driving a Studebaker and driving a Tesla, and if you think the former is somehow subpar and reflective of an irrelevant past well, I'm surprised you've read down even this far.

By the way...this is not mentioned in the book but there was an idea being bantered about to import Toyotas and slip the Studebaker badge on 'em which I kinda think woulda been slightly interesting. Almost as cool as that early attempt in 1960 to sell the Facel Vega Excellence as Packards which also didn't go far, but just imagine if...


diskojoe said...

Studebaker, the car of choice of Bryan Ferry!

I read about that proposed Studebaker-Toyota linkup in one of the car blogs that I read & the lawyer who put the kibosh on the thing was no other than Richard Nixon.

It's also interesting that Studebaker also distributed Mercedes-Benz in the 1950s. Too bad nothing came up from that, but from what I've read, by that time Studebaker's board of directors weren't interested in making cars anymore. There was one guy who was President of Studebaker, the one who green lighted the Avant, as well as having a performance division headed by Andy Grantelli of STP fame that set records in Bonneville, but he died & the operations went from South Bend to Canada & then to nothingness.

Finally, there was an Avanti parked in my local museum several years ago for a Raymond Lowery exhibit

debbie downer said...

lol never even heard of them lol loser company lol loooooozrz

Bill S. said...

Ahhhh, Studebaker.
I was born into a Studebaker family (1952 Champion).
The perfect combination of style and creative engineering and economy.
How I miss them.
I still pull off the road whenever I see a Stude in a parking lot and check it out and talk to the owner if they're around...


debbie downer said...

did captain bee fart drive one of these things? lol