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The Over The Hill Gang

The Over The Hill Gang
Let's ride! Riders are Jerry Cole, Billy Niverson, John Nave, Jack McClain, Larry Davis, Larry Burk, Merle Combs, Charles Thomas, Art Adrianson, Larry Miller.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trip to South Bend, Indiana

Jerry Cole suggested we ride up to South Bend, Indiana to visit the Studebaker Museum. Merle Combs was nice enough to lead the seven of us up there, and back (safely), Wednesday. We started out at 9:30 AM at The Five Points Mall parking lot, and rode to Ugalde's restaurant across from Grissom Reserve base near Peru. We had "brunch":

After we ate we rode up US 31 to South Bend and the museum. The museum is located at the corner of Washington and Chapin streets in South Bend.

Here we are getting off our bikes at the museum:

And the entrance:

If you are too young to know about Studebaker, here's a link to the company:


Checking in: (we are all over 65 years old, and received a "senior discount"..I kidded Charles (red jacket at counter), and John (black shirt at counter) that they should get a double discount as they are over 80 years old!)
The museum is actually three museums in one building: A Studebaker Museum, Raclin Museum of Notre Dame History, and "Kids First" Children Museum. There are also several galleries there, as well. We looked into the Notre Dame History Museum, and saw these two drum majors:

But, we were here for the Studebakers!

 First up:

A 1904 Model C Studebaker.

This car with the blue wheels is like the one that a lady drove in Marion many years ago. Several of the guys recognized the car and said it set by the courthouse square many days. It's an electric model Studebaker, and the battery weighted 975 pounds. It has a short wheelbase and is very tall. I believe this was a 1904 model. Here's a link:

There were hundreds of cars here, so I took pictures of the ones that meant something to one of us, or was unusual (or was very pretty!)

As it was explained in the museum, the Studebaker brothers started out making wagons, like this one, and wooden wheelbarrows for miners. Then, they started making carriages for people, some famous. They made the carrage that President Lincoln took to Ford Theater the night he was assassinated. On with the cars:

I liked this one because it had a "split windshield" you could open to let air in.

This is one of those cars that you have to see in person to appreciate how pretty it is. We saw one like this that had a compartment, near the back wheel on the lower side, that you could store your golf bag.

This was an "advertising car." One that they used in the newspaper and magazine ads to sell the cars. On the side, it says, "Studebaker Commander''" then "23,000 miles in 23,000 minutes." Not quite, 16 days, they drove it 23,000 miles.

Here's another:

A Studebaker model "Big Six" going strong after 475,000 miles.

They had a picture of the Studebaker factory back in it's hay-day. We rode past the place where the factory was located on the south side of South Bend. It's now a big grassy field with no sign of a large factory complex.

I'm not sure what this strange car is. It has tiny pieces of metal spot welded all over for a skin. There are many face shapes with eyes. Next, was a VW Beetle covered in metal "lace":

Casa (house) Linda Lace.

This car was a favorite. A 1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner. Jerry Cole had one just like this one, and my brother-in-law, Delmus Duckworth, had a 1954 model like this in green. Designed by Raymond Loewy, this was a car way ahead of its time. What a beautiful automobile!

A super-charged Packard. Studebaker joined with Packard in 1954 in an attempt to save Studebaker, but it ended with both companies going bankrupt.

John Nave looks at a 1950 or 1951 "bullet nosed" Studebaker Starlight Commander that was modified to look like a Lockheed P-38 fighter of WWII. My family owned one like this (it was green and a Champion model) that my Dad drove back-and-forth to work.

A 1940 Champion Coupe. 

I looked for a 1947 Studebaker Land Cruiser, but didn't see one. Our family had one, and we drove it to California and back in 1948. Three adults (my Mom, Dad, and older brother, Don) two teenage girls (my sister Ilene and her friend, Janice Roach), and me, a nine-year-old.  Of course, we had our dog, "Tippy," with us. My "job" was to take care of "Tippy." I "fell down on the job" and we left "Tippy" in a motel in Arizona. My Dad was furious when he had to drive back 60 miles to get our dog. The dog was happy to see us! :)

1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk 400.

"The Last Studebaker" A 1966 Cruiser.

They had many cars in the lower floor stacked up:

Here we are checking out of the museum. 

We were ready to hit the highway home. We rode down to a McDonald's on the south side of South Bend for afternoon late lunch, and then on south to home.

I rode 219 miles today. The weather was nice, although a little chilly in the morning. We all had a good time.

Riding today was Merle Combs, Jack McClain, Larry Davis, John Nave, Jerry Cole and his friend Jerry, Charles Thomas, and Art Adrianson.

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