Studebaker Stories:


5 things to do (after you buy a Studebaker)

The people who have owned and been around Studebakers for a few decades (and there are many of them in the Studebaker Drivers Club) will be the first to tell you that buying a Studebaker is the beginning of a great adventure filled with fun and satisfaction. Okay, maybe not fun and satisfaction every single moment, but compared to most things in life, spending time with your Studebaker and other enthusiasts ranks right up there.

They'll also tell you that if this is your first Studebaker, there are a few things you should do to maximize the enjoyment and minimize the frustration of dealing with a decades old vehicle.   With that in mind, here is my personal list of 5 things to do after buying a Studebaker:

1. Get the manuals! The first few ducats you shell out should be for a Shop Manual, Chassis Manual, and any other manual available for your year and model.   Even if you're not going to be your own mechanic, having these on hand will help you understand your Studebaker better, help identify parts (or missing parts), and even provide some pretty interesting reading if your football team falls behind 56-0 on Monday Night Football. Fortunately, reproduction manuals are readily available from most any Studebaker parts vendor. Most of those vendors can be found at www.studebakervendors.com .

2. Join the Studebaker Drivers Club! While you're waiting for your manuals to arrive, click on over to "Join SDC" on our web site and you'll be whisked away to the membership page where you can join online. Now, don't worry about your personal info because the membership page is secure and unhackable by even the most devious Chebby or Furd guy.   Membership means you'll get the SDC's Turning Wheels magazine every month.   That alone is worth joining.

3. Join your local SDC chapter! Now here's where the fun really begins with your Studebaker. Find a chapter near you, contact a member and sign up.   Dues are generally as low as the limbo bar at a contortionist's convention, and they put on great events – from picnics and cruises to full-blown car shows.   Plus, the fellowship is great... especially when you need someone local to talk to about that jee-gog that fell out of the whachamacallit and now the fleependorp won't work.

4. Discover the Studebaker Newsgroup ! If you can picture a hometown tavern, cafe or barber shop where all the locals tend to congregate daily and cure all the ills of the world, that pretty much describes the Studebaker Newsgroup at alt.autos.studebaker.   There's a tremendous quantity of Studebaker knowledge on that newsgroup and it's mixed with just enough hot air for some very interesting conversations.   Kidding aside, new Studebaker owners are welcomed with open arms and the group's knowledge is readily shared. You can get there from here.

5. Get your Production Order! The Studebaker National Museum has most of Studebaker's original production orders on file. For a nominal fee and your VIN, they'll dig through the vaults of microfilm and paper records to find the original production order for your vehicle (unfortunately, they do not have records for all vehicles).   The production order tells you when your Studebaker was built, its color, interior, accessories, motor, and its shipping destination.   Sometimes it'll also show the dealer or customer name. Beyond the interesting history it provides, it is your guide if you're planning on a correct restoration. For more info on production orders and the benefits of joining the Studebaker National Museum are found here.

6. Drive safe! I know – I said "5" things. But, in keeping with Studebaker's credo to deliver "more than they promise", here's a bonus... and an important one.   Make sure your brakes are working perfectly. 40 to 60 year old braking technology is barely adequate among today's high-speed-bumper-riding-brake-slamming drivers. Carry a fire extinguisher . You never know when that electrical wire the mouse had been snacking on last winter will short out and threaten to give you a serious hotfoot. Install seatbelts. Chances are, seatbelts were not an option when your Studebaker was new. But, the SDC considers this so important that it will not deduct judging points for having seatbelts in any year Studebaker. Don't swerve when people drive up along side of you then suddenly honk their horn and scare the bejeezes out of you, just so you can see them giving you a "thumbs up". Lastly, disengage the overdrive when parked (or at least put the car in reverse) lest the Studebaker begins freewheeling down the driveway without you (uh, been there, done that)!

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