Members Stories – Part 2. Four Members Stories For The Clubs 40th Birthday Year 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009 12:14

This years 40th Anniversary Celebration Year 2009 has been a great opportunity for members to write their stories. Michael Cosgrove has added his memoirs to these ongoing updated articles of past and present members stories.

 

A BRISBANE STUDEBAKER

WRITTEN BY MICHAEL COSGROVE

 

Studebaker 36 President Straight 8

The familys Studebaker 1936 President straight 8 and 8 seater.

My earliest memory of the Studebaker vehicles in our family is our Grandparents 1936 President straight 8 and 8 seater. This car was equipped with ‘dickie’ seats, behind the front seat. My Granpops first car was a Hupmobile.
A weekly event was when a Sunday ‘passenger’, after church would ask for a ride and be invited to hop on the running board for a lift up a steep hill, as the car was full of our large Cosgrove family. My brother John and I were allowed to push and finally drive the President backwards and forwards in the driveway and only just outside the gate. This car was eventually sold for 20 pounds to a second hand dealer, and the next time I saw it there it had a large dent in the boot lid. This was very disturbing, it had never had a prang. The last time I saw it, it was at Walters’ yard.
Grandpops other car, was a grey 1947 Champion, in which the kids were taken to and picked up from school, and early morning swimming lessons at Langlands Park. Some Saturdays my Grandpop and I went to Walter Irelands yard to buy parts for the Champion. It was an amazing site, Studebakers everywhere.

Bundaberg was a holiday destination in this car with my Grandparents and I was allowed to drive the Champion, at a young age ## from outside Bald Hills. That overdrive was a great thing on the highway, and the skill of acknowledging the oncoming driver was soon developed. (other gestures are used these days) . The law (parents caught us out) and that was the end of that.
In 1964 my grandparents decided the Champion was getting a bit old. We went down to Howards Ltd and checked out the new Studes. I can still remember the green GT we stood beside and my Grandfather tapping the door with his knuckles. Too tinny he said! And V8…..
The Champion was traded in on a 65 Toyota Crown Wagon. After Grandpop arrived home with this new vehicle, he had a change of heart and went back and retrieved the Champion.
A visiting mobile mechanic kept it in good order and we were allowed to polish and vacuum it, keen to do for the pocket money.

When I turned 17, I was fortunate to be allowed to drive the Champion to and from work at Evans Deakin Ship Repair where I was an apprentice (much better than the pushbike). Some of my mates at work were turned from being Holden and Ford owners to being Studebaker owners. It was also interesting to note the workshop electrician, Gabby Rayment also had a 1962 Studebaker as well as 3 boilermakers and Truck Driver Cliffy (Cruiser) Muller, who all owned Studebakers on the work site. These guys at the work Christmas Club lunch on occasion, tried out the Studes at the ‘Colmslie Hillclimb’, which is now the Colmslie Hockey Field! They drove straight up a very steep slope. But common sense prevailed and so did the Managment and these activities ceased.
My first big trip as a licensed driver in the Champion was to Noosaville with passenger Gary Campbell, to visit Gabbys apprentice. What a trip. Every time I pulled the Stude out of overdrive the bonnet popped, kept grabbing the wrong button. Gary skillfully advised me every time this happened, he could envisage the bonnet coming over the windscreen.
Our Lodgings for the night was a bunk on Michael Massouds fathers fishing boat “The Noosa”. Tucker for the night was Michaels mothers legendary Curried Prawns, yum!

One occasion driving home from work, I noticed a silver GranTurismo coupe. I thought ‘What a car!’ About a year later I eventually traded the ‘47 Champion to Walter Ireland for a 1965 Daytona sedan, with red interior and Moonlight Silver duco. Heaven had come early. It wasn’t long after that I noticed again the silver Gran Turismo and after leaving a Gary Smiths place I spotted a card on my windscreen which turned out to be an invite to join the Studebaker Car Club of Qld.
I was amazed to find that the guy who owned the 62 Hawk who happened to be a chap called Des Skinner invited me to his house one day where I saw he had a ‘custom’ Austin A40 sedan. I couldn’t rationalise this Austin A40 parked beside a Studebaker, it didn’t work for me!

I can remember being signed up at a club meeting by Bruce Panton who had some difficulty determining the exact wording to use on the receipt, obviously a practice not so well established being such early days.
My first recollection of a Concours was on an acreage block somewhere in Tingalpa. I entered my 65 Daytona Moonlight Silver which I had purchased in good nick. I eventually found out it had been owned by the Brisbane Jenyns Corsetry industries.
I was about age 19-20 when club meetings were held regularly at the Hamilton Library hall, and they were long. I remember John Platt as President and Russel Booth the Secretary. On meeting nights at about 9.45pm ‘the peggy’ had to go to the bottle shop to get ample supplies and usually the meeting ended on his return, or soon after.
As well as Concours, Gymkhanas, and Observation Runs there was another social event, Bowling…….
This event which was coordinated Australia wide, was the ‘Studebaker Indoor Bowling Tournament’. It was organised by Mike West, and a supreme team was assembled from Qld. Those clubs participating had to link up via phone to swap scores. Top scorer was usually Mike, who had the ability to put unreal spin on his ball, and strike consistently.
Team members were Mike West, George Udovicich, Denise Fauth, Jeff Fauth, and Mike Cosgrove. We must have won a series at one time, as we are photographed around the Trophy (a Lark grille). Wonder where it is today?

Studebaker 65 Daytona Michaels late 70s.JPGStudebaker 63 GranTurismo Michaels early 80s.JPG

Studebaker Sports Daytona early '80s.JPG

Michaels Studebakers which he has owned over the years – ’65 Daytona, ’63 GranTurismo and the ’66 Sports Daytona which he fully restored.

 


 

REMINISCING

WRITTEN BY MIKE WEST

It is great to be reminiscing with you old students again, and of course many second generation present, even third generation! 40 years, eh? 1969…. now there was a year slap bang in the middle of an era when if you can remember it you obviously were not really there!

1969 was an auspicious year for Queensland, the Queensland Conservation Council, of which I was an executive member was also formed, as was the Queensland Ornithological Society of which I am now President, although I do not remember those beginnings either, a bit like Woodstock, also from 1969. I became an aficionado of all of them later, I never took drugs, I never inhaled anyway.

As a consequence of the memory lapse period around 1969 there was a lack of knowledge of the formation date of the Studebaker Car Club of Queensland. Along with a bunch of oldies, I was enlisted to help locate the year of formation. There are a few members who must have been there, Des Skinner, John Plath and Terry Knauth to name a few who should remember but like other genuine 69ers they seem to have lost their memories. One thing is certain, the Studebaker Car Club of Queensland was already off and running before the Victorian Club changed its name to Studebaker Car Club of Australia in a typical Melbourne geocentric manner which makes this club the oldest in Australia. A perceived lack of knowledge and maybe a lack of respect for the history is the main reason I accepted to address you tonight. This club has a proud record – you just need to scrape away a lot of crap to find it – a lot !
I have no doubt if the Qld club had not kept pushing the Victorian based Club we would not have the healthy, functioning, independent clubs around Australia today.
I do not mean to demean the strong efforts from the other clubs, just to show tonight the early Qld story from my own biased eyes. I feel certain a truly National Newsletter where all the clubs contribute and there almost certainly would not have been truly National Meets run by independent clubs around the country. In the early 1970’s your old club connived with the Newcastle Club who just as jealously guarded their independence as we did. There was fertile rebellious ground there, Sydney was not bad either.

I vividly remember a freezing overnight drive with Russ Booth, to whom this club owes a great debt and it is tragic he is not here tonight. We were in a Daytona with a typical air vent that would not quite close allowing a blast of New England night air in. The heater did not work as there was no thermostat, well, we did not need it in Queensland. We arrived at Doggies in Newcastle looking like we had done 10 rounds with Mohammed Ali.
We met the Newcastle Gang for the first time and it has been all downhill since then, no…. I do not mean that! Lifelong friendships have been formed, Harry and Karrene, The Lynches, you know the usual suspects….
They even talked like us, but of course they were not as good looking, I know I have to be careful here as Harry is the following speaker.
That morning was the embryo of the new truly country-wide Studebaker Car Clubs, we all travelled to Sydney to meet fellow conspirators, Rob Smith and Chris Priestly and the ‘Ginger Group’ was formed. From these beginnings we pressed the Australian Club for meetings of independent Studebaker Clubs where all were equal. We pushed for a regular two yearly National Meet shared by those able and willing to do so and we pushed for access to the National Newsletter, all the while respecting the abilities of the Australian Club to do things we could not (we never let them know that of course! )
Most importantly we pushed and got the Biennial Business Meetings where amongst other things decided where the next National Meet was to be held. Cooma was presented as the first National Meet in 1975 but it was under the bona fides if the Australian Club and the rest of us were invited to join in. It was a roaring success, for the first time Qld arrived en masse scooping the pool in the Cruiser Class and winning many trophies in the Concours. I even entered the Motorkhana in a Studebaker Ambulance with a dozen people and a dog inside. As then President I was really proud of our Clubs efforts.

Following Cooma, the Australian Club ran the first truly National Meet at Wagga Wagga in 1977 and the scene was set for Adelaide 1979 and our turn in 1981. We thought it too much an imposition for travelers to go all way to Brisbane and ran it at a central location of Dubbo. It was difficult to run from so far away but we now had a club based in Dubbo so our job was made a lit easier with their great assistance, we successfully ran a Concours and two Motorkhanas, one fast, one slow. The Dubbo experience has not really been copied as meets are now held close to the participating clubs base. I understand the lack of keenness for the Fast Motorkhana as it was hard of cars and those hoons from Newcastle won most of the prizes anyway, I see no excuse for leaving out the Slow Motorkhana, similar to the ones the Veteran and Vintage Car Clubs run. They should be the highlight as they are open to all members with a car where if you do not have a lot of money you cannot win a Concours.

I loved the National Meets although I could never understand how my children were conceived at Cooma (Stephanie) and Wagga (Mark) as I was so busy at both of those meetings. It is also a mystery how they both looked remarkably like Bob Godley. Honestly, the formative years of the Qld club were the best days of my life. We ran monthly meetings, a yearly Concours, regular outings and displays at shows and Motorkhanas, much the same as you do today.
We had a strange mix of members in those days, we had teetotalers and pisspots, deeply religious and atheists, tandem transport aficionados, the Dynamic Duo and that infamous Henederson Street Gang. Vehicles ranged fom Objects D’Art that could fit in beside the Range Rover in the Louvre Museum in Paris to Stock Cars racing at the Speedway who could forget John Ryan (or was it Geoff Hayes?) who totaled the Mini at the Ekka Speedway.
What about the Dude Stude Drag Car that I bought with the 12.9 seconds still written on the windscreen?
The Studie owners in those days were likened to Greyhound owners, some showed them at dog shows, some raced them at the Gabba and some just loved them as pets.
The emphasis now is more on the show cars and that is to be expected that is sure to be appreciated by the purists, Des and Co.

It is great to see how strong the club still is after all these years, I have great respect for todays club. I just thought you needed to know a bit of background of your early history, not quite warts and all.
If you want to know about the warts see me after

Mike West

One of Mike and Lindys vehicles the 1958 Studebaker Provincial Hearse, photo taken in 1984.

 


 

STUDE DAZE

 

WRITTEN BY GAIL DENVER

Growing up in the UK, the only vehicles I could tell apart were the Number 9 and the Number 16 buses. We had no connection with cars or anyone who owned one really. So when my carless family arrived in Oz and I immediately got involved with this great bunch of Aussies, at various parties, you can imagine how intriguing it was to find they were all talking a language, frequently which I had no grasp of – what the hell was a Studebaker anyway?? Daylight hours provided a few more clues, as an array of strangely beautiful cars came and went, that were a big part of the Stude Gang’s life.
Eventually, a Lark was mysteriously purchased by the Stude Gang for me, an 18 year old art student, with the driving experience of a geranium but I learned to drive in the big V8 regardless.
I remember picking it up at the traffic lights at Camp Hill very clearly – we jumped in when the lights turned green again, after viewing it whilst they were red….I even optimistically turned up in it at Coorparoo Licencing Centre attempting to pass my driving test but my (over) confident efforts scared the instructor wittless and he just shook his head and got out of the car, quite white, when we returned.
Could not understand his attitude at all.
I remember different Stude Do’s early on where you’d be required to race around large, open fields, as fast as you could go, dodging and weaving between orange traffic cones – what a hoot this club was!.
My key had gone missing but no problem, the lads jammed a screw driver in the ignition and though it looked weird, worked really well.
Louise Cosgrove and I went to the Art College together (that the lads affectionately renamed “The Girl Factory”) turning up in various Studes, including the Lark, Michael’s Cruiser, an Ambulance and once, even a studebaker Hearse – cannot remember how that eventuated though! The other students thought we were odd but who was having all the fun?
The Qld Club always put on good trips and we went all over having fun in our cars; the trip to Newcastle one year really stood out, as I got to drive at length, very fast, a lot of the way, which impressed myself no end.
Probably worried everyone else though. Another day trip that stood out was when George took us all out to Samford for a swim and a picnic in his old Studie ice carrying ute – we just piled in the back, something you were allowed to do then without being
scared to death of consequences.
I had a lengthy period when I was trying to be plain sensible and so sold my Lark and tried a variety of perfectly decent other cars but Dicky knew that I always pined for another Stude and 5 years ago, called me up and said the fateful words “Have I found the perfect car for you!”.
So, he drove me to Brisbane and of course, he was right – I wanted it as soon as I saw it but that was not cool at my age, so I waited till morning so I could pretend I’d ‘slept on it and thought about it’. Dicky had to take me straight back again!
Now the ’65 Cruiser and going off on outings again is a wonderful part of our family life, which is and always has been one of the best parts of being a Stude owner and “growing up” in our club; the friendship, shared history, and good fun – it’s wonderful to be part of such a vibrant club and to think that the younger members in the club are now the age we all were when we first careered around the place in those funny old American cars, well, that makes me grin all over again.

 

Gail with her currently owned 1966 Studebaker Cruiser

Gail and her currently owned 1965 Studebaker Cruiser

 


THE STUDEBAKER OBSESSION

 

A STORY WRITTEN BY CLUB MEMBER WARREN HUCKER

1927 Model EU Dictator 4 Door sedan owned by the family

The 1927 Model EU Dictator 4Door Sedan owned by the family.

Studebaker has always been a highly respected name in our family. The origin of this story begins when my Mum and Dad purchased a 1927 model EU Dictator 4 door sedan. This was around the end of the Great Depression time in 1938. Unfortunately when the Second World War was declared in 1939 and fuel became unavailable, Dad put the Stude on blocks for the duration. I believe that he actually drained the battery acid int a container, washed out the battery and stored it upside down. He repeated the process in reverse after wars end. Amazingly the battery was slow charged and remained serviceable for a considerable time thereafter.

I have wonderful child hood memories of exciting and fantastic journeys that I experienced in the amazing stude. Most weekends our family enjoyed trips around the New South Wales countryside. Every year around Christmas time the faithful Stude carried our family on three weeks camping holiday to numerous destinations. On a number of these occasions our holiday was interstate Victoria, Adelaide and Queensland. This seems unbelievable today and I have no doubt that my enormous respect and admiration originates the Studes unquestionable reliability.
I reckon my Dad summed it up nicely when he said, ” The Studebaker is the working man’s Rolls Royce “.

I vividly recall one particular holiday to Queensland around 1951, our family were making their way towards Brisbane when the Stude broke an axle on the old Jimboomba railway overpass bridge. At that time the bridge was constructed with timber planks that were loose and uneven. I recall that back then the only buildings around the bridge were a small pub and a one room school and all the roads were gravel or dirt. We slept in the car for three days, we were parked on three wheels under trees in Cusack Lane, I was around 7 years old at the time.
To this day I dislike lemonade because we had no alternative other than to drink it hot. I reckon it was 40 degrees in the shade and drinking hot lemonade in that weather is not easily forgotten.

Dad was forced to wait a day for a bus to take him to Brisbane so that he could search for an axle. He took the broken axle with him for comparison. I remember that he eventually found one at “Valley Spare Parts”. Dad said it was a ROUGHIE’, it had a severely worn spline but it was the best he could find. Dad had to wait another day to catch a return bus as they ran only once a day!. We didn’t get to see Brisbane. Dad repaired the Stude while verbalising out loud a few of his well known saying’s like, “YOU MUDDY BUCKET OF PITCH”, he packed it in and drove nonstop back to our home in Sydney!.
To this very day it still gives me cold shivers when I consider that I ACTUALLY NOW LIVE IN JIMBOOMBA
and my love of Studebakers continues to grow!. No wonder I became an enthusiast,
LIFE REALLY IS CRAZY……..

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