It’s A Sickness

That’s a picture from our garage. Of course, the signs are not originals. Original signs like these in good condition are not cheap.

Why am I obsessed with cars in general and defunct American makes in particular? The simple answer is I don’t really know. My father was a mechanic who operated his own gas/service station. (Flying A and Amoco!) Therefore, I grew up around automobiles. Before I discovered sports or girls or music, I kept one of those hard back notebooks with the funky black and white covers (composition notebook?) filled with notes about cars. I wish I still had that today.

So, do I diverge from defunct makes and write about the car my father almost purchased or do I stick with defunct makes? Eenee, Meenee, Minee, Mo… Hey, stream of consciousness can be fun although it implies consciousness in the first place. 🙂

Take a guess which direction I chose…a picture I took of a Studebaker GT Hawk at a local auto show last year. This show, which is an annual event, had more than 600 vehicles on display and is my favorite car show of the year. Any car that is at least 25 years old can be displayed and the cars go back to the turn of the last century.

How many of you reading this have any familiarity with Studebaker? My wonderful wife’s father owned one when he was in his 20s. Most accounts I have read of the demise of Studebaker identify the causes as: the GM-Ford price/output war of the early 1950s that put great pressure on all of the independent (non Big Three) automobile companies, Studebaker management/Studebaker unions allowing/forcing per unit labor costs to be non-competitive and Studebaker management screwing up the 1953-54 cars by bodging the design of the sedans and underestimating the demand for the coupes.

Whatever the reasons, Studebaker production declined from about 321,000 in 1950 to about 60,000 in 1961, a drop of 81 percent. In December of 1963 Studebaker ended all automobile production in the US, closing its plant in South Bend, Indiana. The company manufactured a small volume of cars until March of 1966 at its plant in Hamilton, Ontario.

Studebaker

I love this logo, which was Studebaker’s logo for its last 10-12 years as an automaker. I’ll have to find one in three dimensions somewhere.

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Obsession

I am obsessed with defunct American car makes, such as Packard, Studebaker and Pontiac. Why? What shapes our interest in anything? I believe it is a combination of genetics and environment.

A picture like this (from Hemmings and, obviously, Volocars.com; https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/dealer/desoto/firedome/2016958.html) makes my day. This is a 1956 DeSoto Firedome. I have developed a real affinity for 1950s American cars, but the fact that this is a DeSoto makes it even more appealing to me.

I own and have intently read books on Packard and Studebaker. I will probably buy books on American Motors and fervently wish a complete history of Pontiac were available. In general, why am I so interested in cars? Is (was) it an attempt to bond with my father, even though he has been dead for 25 years? My father was an auto mechanic who owned and operated a service station in the days when those businesses sold gas and fixed cars, not gas, snacks and lottery tickets. No inanimate object captures my attention as much as cars. Honestly, I’m not sure I even want to know why that is so. What difference does it make, anyway?

See the source image

From conceptcarz.com a picture of a 1930 Packard 745 Deluxe Eight. I don’t know why, but a picture of a similar car built by Cadillac would not be as interesting to me.

Besides automobiles (I assume you’re interested if you’re reading this), in what other subjects do you have interest? Why do you think you’re interested or do you even care? I would very much like to read your opinions.