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Barry Schrader
Columnist

 

I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website each week and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.

 

If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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A man and his Studebaker

By Barry Schrader.................................July 7, 2009

One man’s love affair with his Studebaker lasted 60 years
Richard Sanderson waited until he was in the service to buy a car, nearly four years after he graduated from Shabbona High School with the Class of 1944.
He wanted an eye catcher and found it in a maroon-colored 1948 Studebaker convertible coupe. Spending nearly $2,400 at the time seemed a lot but he had saved money working after school and also had his National Guard pay. It was a real beauty–86 horsepower, 6-cylinders, and it featured a straight stick with overdrive. He took his shiny new car to camp in Virginia and even across the country to a California Army base.
When he got back to the family farm between Lee and Malta he took extra special care of his “baby” while racking up more than 80,000 miles on it before burning a hole in a piston. So instead of trading it for his next car he decided to store it inside a machine shed on the farm and kept it covered. Then recently, about a half century later, due to declining health, he made the difficult decision to part with it as he would never be able to restore it himself. His wife Evelyn recalls she only got to ride in the flashy convertible once while they were dating in 1953 before it was mothballed, but agreed it was time to let someone else who loved cars restore it.

Back when Richard Sanderson was still in the service he kept his brand new 1948 Studebaker convertible with him while moving to various Army bases across the country.


Coincidentally, they were on a Resource Bank-sponsored mystery tour where they ended up at the Studebaker museum and family mansion in South Bend, Ind. On the same trip was Dave Woodin from Malta who happened to be a direct descendant of the Studebakers who came to America seven generations earlier. The brothers started the Studebaker Wagon Company, which made a success out of selling Prairie Schooners, much later getting into the horseless carriage business. Sanderson and Woodin hit it off and soon Sanderson was inviting the Studebaker descendant to come out to the farm and see his ’48 convertible that had been in storage over 55 years. Woodin finally agreed and fell for the car the first time he saw it, even though the cloth top had fallen in, the seats were damaged by critters over the years and it wasn’t running. So a deal was made, and the car was hauled off to Kishwaukee College where Woodin has been taking an automotive body rebuilding class. Over the past two semesters he disassembled the car, stripped the body of paint and has taken some 200 photographs of each step in the disassembly and start on restoration. He still has many hours of work ahead but says it is a labor of love and all the time, work and materials he puts into it will be well worth it to see the final result. On the collector car market a completely restored vintage Studebaker is worth $25,000 to $28,000, he said. But the first time he gets it on the road he wants to drive over to the Oak Crest retirement center in DeKalb and give Sanderson and his wife Evelyn a ride. That should really bring back the memories!

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The columnist can be reached via email at :

barry815sbcglobal.net

or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115