Back on May 13 we told you about our trip to Kelsey Tire Co. (www.kelseytire.com) in the Lake of the Ozarks area and how we were looking for an old car that my son Jesse could squeeze into his budget. Now, we know the wisdom of paying a little more to get a much better car. After looking at some of the jalopies $600 won’t buy you today, we decided we were not going to get anything rebuildable at that level and started looking at cars priced a bit higher.
Jesse is pretty good at car hunting by computer and it wasn’t long before he discovered a couple of possibilities. The most interesting was a 1949 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe with the unusual rear window treatment that looks more like the pilothouse of a boat than a Dodge Pilothouse pickup does. The Studebaker was in northern Illinois, but my friend Marv Richer lived close by. He has mechanical experience and has owned a lot of old cars himself.
Marv ran down to take a look at the Studebaker and gave us a fantastic report on its condition and owner history. Once a Mississippi car, the Commander was pretty straight, largely rust free, fairly clean inside and out and had tires that looked really good. The engine is stuck and apparently has been for years. Jesse is not against a non-original swap, though we’re hoping to stay with Studebaker power if we can fix the 245-cid six or get another one.
We do not have the car yet, but as a first step we put the word out to our network of hobby friends that we want to get a car transported from the Crystal Lake, Ill. area to Iola at a cost that a young man on a budget can handle. If we don’t catch an empty trailer deadheading home to north central Wisconsin, then we’ll borrow and open-car trailer and hitch it up to our own pickup truck.
Stay tuned for regular reports on our “new old-car adventure.” Yours truly has no experience with Studebakers, but we’re sure that Jesse is going to learn about them very quickly. We advised him to join the Studebaker Drivers Club (www.studebakerdriversclub.com) to begin with.
Too bad the old Newman & Altman Catalogs we have in the literature collection are so far out of date.