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Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. I have no idea if this has been posted in the past but I found it interesting.


    Bill Coleman first saw the car when he moved here 38 years ago. ¶ Well, parts of it. The bumper and curves from the flared fenders were all that were visible. The glimpses he got barely revealed what it was. Only that it was old.

    [​IMG] Coleman saw a photo on Bill Douglas' desk recently at the National Armed Services and Law Enforcement Memorial Museum in Dunedin and asked about the car in the photo.
    A young Stanley R. Douglas sits with a smirk on his face on the driver's side running board in the undated black-and-white photo of the car — which automotive aficionados would be hard-pressed to guess the year, make and model of — it's the same car Coleman saw all those years ago.
    "It's a relic. A barn find for sure," Coleman said. "What intrigues me is someone in the 1930s would do this to a car. He had to be one of the first guys to start customizing vehicles."
    • • •
    The car is no quotidian find.
    Its long, rectangular hood flows into a sweeping, low-slung roof. The windows are bantam versions of what Studebaker envisioned when the car first rolled out of the factory in 1924. It is likely one of three models; a Light, Special or Big Six Club coupe, said Andy Beckman, an archivist at the Studebaker National Museum in Indiana.
    "It's really a neat piece," Beckman said. "I've never seen anything like that before."
    Stanley R. Douglas got the car sometime in the early 1930s when he was a teenager, his son Bill Douglas said.
    Douglas is not sure when or why the modifications were made, but Stanley worked at inventor Donald Roebling's shop, which is likely where the work was done. Roebling, whose engineering family helped design and build the Brooklyn Bridge, developed the Alligator, an all-terrain vehicle that traveled on water and land and was used during World War II. Coleman and Douglas speculate from the square pane windows and English Tudor architecture of the house in the background in the undated photo of the car that it was likely shot in front of Roebling's former Clearwater estate.
    The Studebaker's squared roof and large windows were chopped; in their place a more modern, low, sweeping roof was fitted using slender pieces of wood lathing that were covered in airplane fabric and painted silver. The windows are slashed to about half their original size.
    The look is one never produced by Studebaker, especially not in 1924, Beckman said. The Studebaker models, with their 40- to 70-horsepower engines, were more powerful than Ford and Chevrolet's, Beckman said. But the manufacturer's image was not one of performance.
    The car is a time capsule from that era, Beckman said.
    "I would encourage him to leave it like it is," Beckman said. "The fastback style is certainly unique."
    Except for getting the car towed to be stored in various locations, Douglas never saw the car move. It was last driven in 1937 — or at least that's the year of the rusted license plate Douglas removed from the car years ago. Stanley left to start working for Standard Oil in North Carolina in 1937. The car remained after he returned to the area in 1943, Douglas said.
    Through the years his dad spoke little of the automobile but kept it all that time. Bill Douglas got the car when his father died in 1988. He moved the car to a few garages and sheds until it was entombed in storage space on the side of the museum in 1998.
    "I wish he'd talked about it more," Douglas said.
    The once slick-looking tires are misshapen hunks of vulcanized rubber. The distinctive flared fenders roll into the wide running boards. They are still there, as are some rust holes. Much of the airplane fabric roof is gone, exposing the thin, aged wood strips. Inside, the seats are just springs and torn pieces of fabric. A large clock in the center of the dashboard is stopped at 1:32.
    At one point, Douglas thought about fixing the car up enough to use as a sign for the museum. But that never happened and the car continued to sit. He just could not get rid of it.
    "I just thought it was kind of neat," Douglas said.
    • • •
    The car's look and history is one that Bill Coleman appreciates.
    Coleman recently purchased the vehicle from Douglas, who finally decided to let the car go. Coleman, a metal fabricator who runs the Institute for Creative Arts in Dunedin, considers it one of the first hot rods. Sure, moonshiners and bank robbers were souping up the engines of their cars, but the Studebaker's aesthetic changes predate the larger, more well-known custom movements of the 1940s and '50s.
    Roger White, a curator specializing in transportation with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, called the find "obscure" and "kind of offbeat," but said the museum is not in "any position to place the vehicle in a timeline" to note its significance in automotive history.
    Still, Coleman does not plan to restore the car to its squared-roof originality. He might keep it or sell it to a hot-rod enthusiast who would be able to get the car back on the road.
    There is even consideration of making it a sign for his studio.
    "I might finish off the look," Coleman said.





    Hope you enjoyed the read. HRP

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  2. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,653


    Thanks! Hope everyone gets to read this. Studebakers were the best finishing INDY 500 stock block powered cars pre WWII. Bob
  3. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,798


    Such a neat car. I'd really like to see this sympathetically restored. Would be a shame to make it into a sign.
  4. had me at Studebaker....good read....keep us posted as you can....
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
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  5. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,070

    from Minn. uSA

    Do hope it gets "restored" to its' Stanley R. Douglas condition. W/lots of refinishing pics, too.
    Very neat find/save.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  6. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 3,396


    Danny, where do you find this stuff?! Seriously though, I have seen the one pic (swoopy one) somewhere before (probably here). Wouldn't it be great to get this running and bring it one of the "Wayne Carini" shows and enter it in the survivor class! Many years ago we went to VRCC hillclimb at Mt. Equinox, Vt. One of the great cars there was a Studebaker Indy racer (33-34), that was actually street driven for a time (there were remnants of attaching points for lights). The sound of that big old straight was thrilling as it went up the hill!
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  7. Looked much better stock.
  8. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,070

    from Minn. uSA

    Nope, rather see it at the SDC Nats, to shock a lot of folks. :D . Kinda too bad the mill wasn't hotrodded a bit, although anything would've had to been hand-built. It does have an odd mix of angles n curves (& not Studes' fault), but I've seen worse. & notice it was painted - not rusty/rotted. Original 'old-school'. There was a lot of interest in 'streamlining' & 'aero' type looks in the 30's n 40's.
    HOTRODPRIMER and stillrunners like this.
  9. You must be a restorer and have obviously missed the point this was a hot rod in the 1930's,the kid was a visionary years before hot rod was a term to describe a style.HRP
  10. Yeah and I bet you'd like a tarpaper roof on the nations capitol too. "It's Custom"

    Sent from my SM-G900P using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  11. I fail to see were the animosity is coming from but I see we are at a impasse.HRP
    tb33anda3rd likes this.
  12. ken bogren
    Joined: Jul 6, 2010
    Posts: 547

    ken bogren

    I kind of like it. The roofline at the B pillar is a bit clunky but overall the modified car has a total profile reminiscent of some pretty ritzy cars of the time.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  13. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,483


    This car owned by family since new was recently pulled out of seventy plus year storage. This car was modified in the early 1930s from a original 24 club coupe. Top was cut down and covered with lathing strips, airplane fabric and painted silver. In the late thirties original engine was replaced with willys "77" four cylinder which was lighter and had more horsepower. These mills were used in race cars of that era and some are still used in lake cars today. Willys transmission was attached to existing three speed Studebaker tranny, giving this car two shifters and 9 forward gears. Wood headers above door will need replaced. Top strips are solid other than small area of duck tail at rear . Needs new wood in floors, frame and running gear are solid. A few small areas of rust on sheet metal but nothing that can't re repaired. See pictures. Car was running when parked . Engine most likely stuck and should be oiled down before attempting to start. Car rolls and steers. Pictures of pictures are of this car before chopped top and of young owner in early thirties sitting on running board. Has to be one of the earliest documented untouched examples of a rod of that era that exists today. This car was built at inventor and philanthropist Donald Roebling’s shop in Clearwater where owner worked. Car was parked in 1937 and stored for good when he went to work for standard oil in North Carolina. Bill of sale only.
    studebaker 010_zpsmzvfrmed.jpg
  14. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 3,127

    from Berry, AL

    A little chunky on top, but probably one of the first "fastback" body designs! Years ahead of it's time for sure.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  15. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 3,393

    from red oak

    At $4500, seems like a heck of a good deal to me in 2015. Posies built a 32 sedan with a similar roof line after seeing a sketch in a magazine.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  16. HRP;
    I didn't intend any serious animosity. I was actually attempting to be humorous in my second post. I am not a restorer but seeing this just reminds me of how I f**ked up a perfectly good Model A when I was a stupid kid and thought I was doing something "cool".
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  17. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,745


    It kind of reminds me of the 1929 Auburn Cabin Speedster. Here is a replica of the Auburn as the original burned in what has been described as the Great Los Angeles Auto show fire of 1929. Not sure I would call it great but many show and one off cars were destroyed. au290103.jpg
    Barn Find and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  18. Emoji's can be your friend when the humor or satire runs the risk of being misinterpreted as hostile rhetoric. :) HRP
  19. 2bubbas
    Joined: Mar 19, 2011
    Posts: 564


  20. woodbutcher
    Joined: Apr 25, 2012
    Posts: 3,094


    :eek: Well,that`s different.Pretty good first attempt for a 16 year old way back when.
    Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  21. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 2,550

    Dick Stevens

    Especially when you consider he was a pioneer of customizing!
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  22. That windshield will definitely fail the dollar bill test. Love the car.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  23. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,600

    frank spittle

    Doing away with the wooden top and a flat metal roof is what it needs imho.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  24. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 2,550

    Dick Stevens

    It's not what I would have done, but that is true of a hell of a lot of customs and hot rods, for that matter! But we don't know what inspired him to go that route.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  25. RODIST
    Joined: Dec 29, 2016
    Posts: 154


    HOTRODPRIMER and slimcat7m3 like this.
  26. steinauge
    Joined: Feb 28, 2014
    Posts: 1,504

    from 1960

    Really different! Thanks HRP.
    HOTRODPRIMER and slimcat7m3 like this.
  27. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    from Missouri

    Thanks for posting.
    HOTRODPRIMER and slimcat7m3 like this.
  28. The thread was my attempt to give credit to a kid with a vision long before hot rods were a part of our vernacular.

    It makes no difference whether it appeals to any of us or not,it's the fact that a young man took a production car and using what he had on hand and re-designed the car to reflect his idea of what he wanted.

    It's not too different from what we do now,or has been done thousands of times since Stanley built his dream. HRP
    Fern 54, mgtstumpy and Dick Stevens like this.

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