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Eye Candy: ‘One of those good Studebakers’

As a youth, Wheels reader David Keeping hung around an auto dealership and got to know the happy owners of the cars it sold, which weren’t exactly the run of the mill.

  • studebaker

The car: 1953 Studebaker Champion

The owner: David Keeping, Newmarket

The story: I grew up in Stouffville and there was a Studebaker dealership where I got to know people who owned the cars. They seemed very happy with them; I knew a chap who had a Studebaker Commander in the early sixties who told me he had driven his for 235,000 miles (378,000 kilometres) and never had a wrench on the motor. At that time that was amazing.

(Editor’s note: that owner may not have been alone; in its March, 2015 issue, Hemmings Motor News nominated, as “America’s best V-8 engine,” the postwar Studebaker design, “not only strong, but unusually powerful for its displacement.”)

One day I was in Bancroft autobody when a Dodge came in with 500,000 kilometres on it. After chatting about it I commented that Dodge was a little like Studebaker, in that when they came up with a good model it was really good.

My car is a Canadian classic, made in Hamilton (serial no. G-752227), where Studebaker began building cars in quantity after the Second World War. I was told it had belonged to a lady in Hamilton and that for many years it was stored in an underground garage, though there is a sticker on the windshield that says “Resident, 1964. Georgina Twp. Park.” Beyond that, the previous owner provided little history on it.

He had completed a lot of the hard mechanical work — the engine is a 169-cubic inch Six — and I did the fun stuff. The chrome and interior door panels were refurbished as a joint venture between my son Gary and myself; the roof liner was put in by Gary and a good friend. All the materials, including seating and carpet, are an exact rerun of original.

How did I meet the car? The conversation in the auto body shop. The owner knew where one of “those good Studebakers” was for sale — and now you know the rest of my story.

Show us your candy: Got a cool custom or vintage car? Send us a picture of you and your family with your beauty, and tell us your story. And we like photos — the more the better — of the interior, trim, wheels, emblems, what you admire. Email wheels@thestar.ca and be sure to use “Eye Candy” in the subject line.

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Show us your candy: Got a cool custom or vintage car? Send us a picture of you and your family with your beauty, and tell us your story. And we like photos — the more the better — of the interior, trim, wheels, emblems, what you admire. Email wheels@thestar.ca and be sure to use “Eye Candy” in the subject line.

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