The Studeblogger

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A drive to Perris.

Back in the day, when I spent my days spinning 45s and playing used-car commercials, I worked at a radio station whose promotions were so chronically low-budget that we used to joke amongst ourselves that (insert big-voiced announcer here) "We're sending lucky listeners on an all-expense-paid trip to beautiful PARIS! [Long pause......] California!"

Of course, this other Perris is spelled a mite different. It's in what's referred to as Southern California's Inland Empire, the cities and towns that make up Riverside County, just east of Los Angeles and north of San Diego Counties.

Tuesday, when my buddy Kirk found that my distributor was toastier than an English muffin (see Good News, Bad News...), I posted a cry for help on the SDC Forum, asking for assistance in finding a new distrib for Barney. Within an hour, I had two offers of a free unit! Dean Pearson in Murrieta offered one up but it turned out to be for a '51 V-8. But then Warren Webb in Perris said he had one which would fit my car that I could have just for coming and getting it. Woot!

So we connected by phone and I made plans to run up the next day. Perris is about an hour's drive from Oceanside - not a big deal. After dropping Reed as school on Tuesday, I hit the road and arrived at Warren's place around 8:45.

Warren is a cool guy, with cars in his blood. His dad was the body shop manager for a Pontiac dealer on the East Coast, so he grew up around cars and learned the paint & body trade. He became interested in Studebakers when the Avanti hit the news, but is first Stude was a '59 Lark VI 4-door with a straight 3-speed that came to the dealer as a trade.

With a mutual love of Studebakers and Pontiacs, we had a lot to talk about and spent about 2 hours shooting the breeze (or should I say "chasing the shade" - it was hot!). Warren has quite a few Studes - on the property he's got a '63 Avanti, '63 GT Hawk (R-2 powered!), '62 Lark Daytona convertible, '60 Lark VIII convertible, '66 Daytona 2-door, '68 Pontiac LeMans convertible, '62 Champ pickup, and '67 Barracuda notchback -- my favorite Q-body of all time!

Warren was kind enough to give me a Delco window-type distributor from a '61 engine, which I've begun to refurb. It'll go in Barney to replace the ailing Prestolite that's apparently falling apart as we speak.

It was a great visit, and Warren is a very cool guy. I enjoyed the time immensely and, after we'd said our goodbyes and snapped a couple of pix, headed for home thinking (once again!) how the Studebaker brotherhood is the neatest bunch of car guys I've ever met. Thanks again, Warren!

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