The family's old Studebaker
written by Ron:
Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Ron at
“No, no, push in the clutch and then shift into another gear.” That’s what my dad impatiently told me as the sound of grinding gears filled the inside of the car. He tried to sound calm, but he wasn’t. After all, I was twelve years old, sitting behind the wheel of our old family Studebaker. He sat helpless in the passenger seat as he tried to teach me the intricacies of driving a car.
Studebaker cars were like Chevrolets back then. Good cars, but perhaps slightly ahead of its time.
This model had a starter button that you pushed after you inserted a key in the slot. It had a radio, clutch, brake and gas pedal.
If you wanted to roll down a window you took hold of a knob and turned it manually and the window lowered. If I recall it also had an ash tray. Turn signals were made with your left arm hanging out the window. Left turns you stick your arm out straight. To signal turning right your left arm goes up and when stopping or slowing down you put out your left arm hanging down. When was the last time you saw anyone making a turn signal with their left arm hanging out the window?
Remembering those days of long ago and being curious I went to one or our local new car dealerships, feigning that I was in the market to purchase a new car. I just wanted to see what came with the latest models. The salesman pointed me towards a $45,500 van.
When I asked the salesperson about the “extras” that I could purchase it seemed that the list went on forever.
The car salesman offered, “Of course you’d be interested in the ‘Surround-Sound’ stereo system and the heated leather seats. We find these items very popular.”
He handed me brochures extolling the television screens in the rear of the front seats. Two screens in the backs of seats and a larger one hanging down from the headliner.
Other optional extras are side mirrors that blink to the rear when the turn indicators are on, a special plug to recharge cell phones, another to plug in a computer.
“We also have a complete ‘Bluetooth’ set up for your cell phone use. It fits right here in the special electronic console.”
The salesman explained, “The screen located to the right of your odometer is used for the dedicated GPS system, which I’m sure you’re familiar with. It will tell you exactly where you are at all times, in addition to directing you to the best restaurants in the area.”
Further explaining, the salesperson said, “This baby comes with many optional extras. For example, you can have, power windows, beverage holders, MP3 decoders, seven speaker system, speed control, heated door mirrors, Pleasant Air conditioning system and a CD player.”
He had me sit in the driver’s seat and showed me the rear television camera that automatically comes on when the vehicle is placed in reverse gear. It shows anyone or anything that’s in the way of the van moving in reverse. “An excellent safety feature that I’m sure you would be interested in.”
Other optional features available are the keyless starting system, OnStar safety system, a sun roof and high intensity headlights.
I thanked the salesman for his explanations and introductions.
I thought back to that old Studebaker. In its day it was an advanced model. Even came with a choice of a steering wheel knob, white walls and fender skirts.
If you’re confused. Ask your grandfather. He’ll know about the fender skirts, white walls and steering wheel knobs.
The old Studebaker even came with a full sized spare tire. Nice.
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers