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
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A man and his Studebaker
By Barry Schrader.................................July
One mans love affair with his Studebaker lasted 60
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.
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 beauty86 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.
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 wasnt
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
The columnist can be reached via email at :
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PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115