So 12/11/2020 marked the Studebaker’s 80th birthday. Car birthdays are tricky. The cylinder head is dated 11/28/1940 but the engine block is stamped 12/11/1940. Oddly that date is also the shipping date shown on the production order. Which means either they built and shipped the car the same day OR somebody fudged the production order.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the car before my father started working on it. Here is the earliest picture I could find. It is of my sister and I washing the car in 1982. This was the first time I ever saw the car out in the open. We were visiting for a week so all we did was clean it up and make a list of things we needed to do.
This next shot is a couple years later. After working on the car whenever we visited Dad finally got the car running. This is us looking very pleased with ourselves. Notice the oil dripping up front…
My grandfather got into it at this point and decided to get the car painted. He knew a guy who ran the body shop at a car dealership in Greensburg PA. Here they are during the project
And pictures of the car being painted…
Dad took these pictures on our next visit after the car was finished. It looked amazing. Grandpap looked thrilled. This is the only picture I ever found of him driving the car.
After he passed the car sat for 8 years until my grandmother also died and left it to me. It was a sad sight with years of dust on it.
We got air in the tires, pushed it up the hill, and loaded it on the trailer. This was difficult because it has been parked for years with the parking brake on and the back wheels did NOT want to turn.
At this time my father was building houses and we asked the contractor who graded his lots to help use bring the car home. This trailer usually held a backhoe so the car was no strain. We did have some excitement when several deer decided to cross I-70 and we locked up the trailer brakes getting stopped. I thought for sure we were going to wreck but we did not hit anything and left a really impressive set of skid marks.
Friday night Maria and I took the Stude into town. We left at dusk and when I turned the headlights on nothing happened except the instrument lights got really dim. Parking and taillights work fine. So today I started tracking down the problem.
The weather was SO nice that I decided to take care of a couple of little things. The first is this defroster vent hose. It has been falling out from under the dash for years. The hose is fabric soaked with some sort of flexible compound that is not flexible any more. Plus the canvas is rotten. The last time it fell it broke in the middle and that is that. I found that hose above on Amazon. I found some other hoses that looked more like the original hose but they cost $5-$8 per foot and nobody can see it anyway. This hose was $9 total. Sold!
I cut the hose to length. I could have made it shorter but I have plenty of hose (there is enough there for another car, let me know if you need it!). I found some hose clamps too.
Here is where the hose attaches at the defroster heater core. The other hose going up is only about 5 inches long and still intact so I am leaving it. The other end of the new hose goes to the vent over the glove box.
Here is the new hose attached. It was tight getting it over the pipes. I think the intention was not to need clamps. I put the clamps on anyway. This is not falling down again.
Next job. The passenger side door check strap on the car is attached with a sheet metal screw stuck in the hole. Not only is this ugly every once in a while it pops out and causes problems.
Cleaning up my late father’s stuff I found a stash of 4 pins. I snagged them figuring one would work.
The bit shiny one on the left worked the best. I put some grease in there and put it together. I don’t think this will pop out but if it looks like it might I will have to do something to hold it in. For right now it is good.
It turns out that it was actually 2006 (14 years ago) that I did the front brakes. I put fresh parts in the NOS cylinders a while ago. But my Dad’s passing in the midst of a pandemic has meant the car has sat for a month. Today the weather was perfect so I took a day off of work to get this done. Since I have covered brakes before I thought I would go into a little more detail this time, especially because I forgot some stuff since 2006.
The front wheel cylinders I installed 12 years ago (!!!) are leaking. There is a kit to put disk brakes on this car but I have a set of new shoes and two NOS wheel cylinders so I will defer that decision (probably for another 12 years). But I need to rebuild those cylinders.
This is not really related to the Studebaker but I lost my father, Lt. Col. John Alan Vonada to a stroke on Sunday, April 19, 2020. He was 76 years old. Considering he taught me everything I know about cars I was surprised I could not find a picture of him with the Studebaker. But he was amazing and I really miss him.