Studebaker Stories:

12 Hours in a 2R!

By Jeff Shideler

I hate to say it, but since I sold my ’53 2R truck I haven’t been a Studebaker follower as I once was. This is a true story though.

1Quite a few years back I bought a completely restored ’53 2R pickup from A.C. Terrel in Calhoun, Louisiana . It was recently finished, and A C felt like it was time to sell it and move on to another project. He was always busy with his hobbies, and sitting on the porch admiring his handiwork was not one of them. Lucky for me I guess, I got it for a great price and proceeded to drive it home to Shreveport, about 90 miles west. He had put a Ford Galaxy rear end in it, so it ran like the wind on the highway. Problem was, those old straight axle Studes were not intended to run 80 mph. It was a handful to say the least.

Anyway, I kept it for 5 years or so, drove it a lot at first, but finally decided it was taking up needed space in my garage and I put it up for sale on ebay. I got a lot of calls, but one fellow in Alabama, can’t remember his name now, sounded the most serious. I told him $5000 and come drive it home. He showed up at my house with his brother-in-law at about dusk on a Sunday night. I pulled it out and went over some of the idiosyncrasies it had, as all old Studes do, and he pulled out his cash and offered it to me.

“Will you take $4000 for it?”, he said. I looked at him and said “I hope you didn’t just drive all the way from Alabama to try and low ball me. You’ll be disappointed.” He reached in his other pocket and pulled out 10 more $100 bills and smiled. “Can’t blame a fellow for trying”, he said with a sly grin.

As he jumped in and started it up, he asked me if I thought there was any reason the 2R wouldn’t make it to Alabama . I told him I didn’t know, I had never driven it out of town! He looked at me funny, but then proceeded to pull off with his brother-in-law in close pursuit. That night was probably the longest in my life.

The weather turned really bad, torrential rain and thunderstorms, numerous tornadoes and downed trees all along I-20 all the way back to Alabama. I know you’re all familiar with those tiny 6 inch wiper blades and the vacuum motor on those 2Rs. I knew he must have been struggling. All I could envision was him running off the road and hitting a tree, or worse, injuring himself. I could almost imagine those 50 year old wheel bearings spinning round and round. After all, the truck was still basically in my name!

I tossed and turned all night, waiting for the phone to ring, but it never happened. Around 8:00 the next morning, I called his house, and lo and behold, he answered! He had made it home alright, no troubles from the truck, but it had been an experience he would not soon forget! Said it took him almost 12 hours of driving. I told him I was glad he had made it ok, but I didn’t let on that I had doubted the old ’53. That was a tough old truck, a testament to Studebaker engineering, and A.C. Terrell!

Jeff Shideler
Former (but not forever) Studebaker owner

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