Dave Povinsky: Wheels Reader
Occupation: Retired 40-year salaried GM of Canada employee.
The Car: 1950 Studebaker Champion 4-Door Sedan
I first encountered this car while visiting friends in Boston in 1987. It was in original rough cosmetic condition but the power train had been rebuilt by a retired mechanic in the woods outside of the city.
I immediately fell in “like” with this bullet-nosed beauty; it’s suicide doors, Art Deco hood ornament and overall styling, and I said to Christopher, the owner: “If you are ever going to sell it, let me know.”
A few years later he called me with some good news/bad news. Bad for him in that his mother was moving and he lost his storage site but good for me as he offered me the Studebaker, for free!
I obviously accepted his offer and had the car shipped to Oshawa.
A long and loving restoration transformed the old girl to her current beauty. The bulk of the restoring was done by Ian Graham of Graham’s Garage, in the village of Haydon, north of Bowmanville.
An interesting fact is that the garage was a Studebaker dealership in the 1950s, operated by Ian’s dad who still had a supply of many new old stock (NOS) parts that were used in my Studebaker. Graham’s Garage was sold a few years ago and it is now the auto service and repair shop, Haydon Automotive.
The Studebaker’s butter yellow colour is a ‘70s era Chrysler paint tone and the wide whitewall tires complete the original look.
The sleek and modern three-box design, comprised of three separate compartments — engine, passenger cab and cargo areas — give the 1950 Champion model a rear deck almost as long as the hood. This unusual design style was the basis of the cliché: “Is it going, or is it coming?”
Studebaker Champions were built in South Bend, Indiana, from 1939 until 1958, and coincidentally 1958 was the year Studebaker-Packard of Canada locally advertised the appointment of Graham’s Garage as one of the carmaker’s latest authorized dealers.
The Flathead 2.8 L I6 engine (inline six cylinder) has also drawn a lot of comments at local car shows. The three-speed manual transmission has the standard “three on the tree” shifter mounted on the steering column. It’s got just over 72,000 original miles and only a few thousand clicks on the rebuilt powertrain.
With my Studebaker I have chauffeured my daughter Sara to her high school prom and my granddaughter Britton to her Grade 8 graduation ball. Sara has already put her claim in for the car, either by gifting, or in my will.
We have had a few family road trips and we enjoy cruising around Clarington in the good weather. No matter where you go, people will approach and ask about the vehicle. It is always interesting talking to other car people. Older folks usually ask what year it is, and younger people are more likely to ask: “What is it?”
My wife Marcey says it’s like an RRSP but much more fun than watching numbers fluctuate on an investment statement!
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