Bob's Studebaker Resource Website 1951-52 Studebaker Prototype
Bob's Studebaker Resource Website
1951-52 Studebaker Prototype
(Special Interest Autos - Aug 1971)
This is the scan of the 1971 Special Interest Autos Magazine article on the
"Studebaker Graveyard find'...this exact body (the "sunroof coupe") is shown
in the pictues above the title. Included below are some photographs of this
body in present time.
This is written in hopes of shedding light on the almost forgotten history of this Studebaker prototype body and in hopes it can find a home that will preserve it. It's truly a custom lead work creation built back in 1951-52 by the Studebaker experimental/design department.
The prototype body like most other Studebaker prototypes of the era was discarded
in the “graveyard” at the Studebaker proving grounds outside South Bend. It
remained there until about 1969. It was one of two or three prototypes removed in
a 1969-70 effort by some local Studebaker Drivers Club members. Since this took
place 40 years ago, there are only a couple individuals left who were present
during the 1969 effort. I was fortunate enough to speak to Gary Cameron and Eric
Levine who were actually there back when this prototype was removed from the
proving grounds. From interviewing Gary and Eric, one can piece together the
events of 40 years ago. Luckily, Gary took along a “cheap Kodak camera” and
documented the event, including showing this prototype resting in the graveyard
at the proving grounds. Some of Gary’s photos and information were the basis of
a 1971 Special Interest Autos documentary article about the ‘grave yard’ (see
attached below scans).
Unfortunately, time nor means (mostly the latter), allow me to preserve this unique prototype after all it’s survived in the past years. Unfortunately, I no longer have inside storage for it, and don’t want to see it continue to decay languishing in my collection outside. The prototype body is very rough, but most of the unique body parts are accounted for, including the rough-sand-cast aluminum prototype grill bars.
It would require a donor car and/or a very ambitious individual or group effort to restore this car. Or heck, it could be the basis of some intresting rat rod. This body gives a new meaning to rough! If there is some such individual or group out there who'd like this body, I’d love hearing from you. All I'd want to be be reimbursed for the costs I encounted when I saved it from being scrapped.
I've already sent out feelers on the internet my Studebaker Drivers Club, and zero real interest. The Studebaker National Museum is not interested unless it is restored before it's donated.
| I also should add that I would like to attempt to eventually put the car back on a chassis and make something out of it, but for the time being it's just going to be "preserved" as is because I don't have a whole lot of cash to throw at it. The good news is that this car finally found a permanent home and will not be scrapped out.
Under side of the prototype hood. As you can see, it is made of several different pieces of metal.
| I took ownership of it on December, 10 2011 and it is currently here in South Bend.|
Though extremely faded, this photo shows a "20" on the firewall written with a paint marker.
The Grill bars
The Grille bars went missing for a couple years but with some help from Brad Kuchan in Illinois and Chuck Kenney in Michigan
The grille bars have been chrome plated and reunited with the car....