The Studeblogger

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

So I bought a Studebaker.

Yes, I know... silly, wasn't it?

Let's start at the beginning. I've always loved old cars - they're in my blood. Even when I was a kid, I was fascinated by old cars. The first big (I mean really big) book I ever owned was The American Automobile by Ralph Stein, a big 10" x 14" hardcover filled with pictures and stories of Duesenbergs, Auburn Speedsters, Pierce-Arrows, Loziers and Stanleys. (This book is probably also responsible for awakening my writing skills: I obtained it at the age of 10 by writing an essay about my mom for a contest at the mall; she'd told me if I won she'd buy me the book. I won.)

My brother Richard Johnson, a notorious gearhead who ran a well-known speed shop in North Hollywood called "Fiasco Automotive" when I was a kid, also contributed. He was always coming by the house with a blown cherry-red hearse, a hotted-up Norton Commando or this amazing Olds-powered MG TD he built (clix on the pix for a bigger view).

Anyway, I've always wanted to buy an old car that my son Reed and I could work on, so that he'd know the value of an automobile by the time he started driving. (He's 11 now, so we've got a few years to do this.) And we found one.

About two months ago, driving down Highway 101, we saw a young lady driving a white Studebaker sedan; looked like early 60's. It sounded great and looked great too. My wife immediately loved it. We saw a "For Sale" sign in the window, but didn't get the number. A couple days later, on a hunch, I checked the online classifieds in the San Diego Union, and there it was!

I called an made an appointment to see the car, and took my friend John with me. It was creaky, the front suspension was shot, and the engine had a disquieting knock in the bottom end. We thanked the owner for his time and left, not expecting to ever see the car again.

More coming...

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