Fall  2001 Issue #16

The JTN is intended to provide a link among owners and enthusiasts of the high performance Studebakers (Larks & Hawks) built for 1963 and 1964. We seek not only information about surviving cars but also parts which exist from ”parted” units. Please submit all the data of which you are aware on any of the nearly 2000 such cars.
This newsletter is available by subscription for $5 a year. JTN is published in March and September

EDITOR & ROSTER KEEPER.....  G.J. (Ron) Ellerbe, P.O. Box 940483, Simi Valley, CA 93094

Founding Editor: Don Curtis   Past Editor: George Krem

JT Production Lists by Serial Number
These listings tabulate all cars built by serial and engine number and a few additional details. They are useful for determining the factory original state of that JT car and/or JT engine origins. The 1964 list has more information on each car than the 1963 list.

JT Owners Rosters: A single package contains the following 3 rosters: 1) owners of 1963 JT cars,  2) owners of 1964 JT cars, and 3) owners of engines pulled from JT cars.

JT 1963 Production Listing $10
JT 1964 Production Listing $10
JT Owner Rosters $10

To order any of the above, make checks payable to the editor and remit to same.
If you have a JT car to report, please supply the editor with the year, model, body style, VIN (driver’s door post), body # (firewall), engine type, engine # (top of block on driver’s side), transmission, interior and exterior colors. If it’s a ’63, please note if it has front fender badges and 160mph speedometer. Send a photo. For loose JT or JTS engine, send the engine # and any info on the donor car.

The Mission of the Jet Thrust News
A permanent goal of the JTN remains the maintenance of the owner rosters of 63 and 64 JT cars and loose engines. These 3 rosters are published on the PC. Reports of  JT cars that the JTN receives go into the rosters. That includes changes of ownership, engine transplants, survivor discoveries and news of parted and crushed vehicles. “Loose” means the engine is no longer in its original car. The roster trio is available as shown on the title page. The original 1964 production summary listing is available as is the 1963 production listing. The JTN keeps a library of photos and build sheets. Please send JTN your photos and build sheet along with that JT story. JTN is keeping a detailed ledger of sightings and reports of JT cars that have not been identified by VIN. With the aid of the readership, we do our best to track down such sightings. JTN counts on its readers to report such sightings and to aid in identification.  This list has several dozen cars on it.

Another part of the JTN mission is sharing of technical and historical information about Studebaker high performance from South Bend and Paxton Products during the 1963 and 1964 model years.

The library of photos has been assembled into an album. The photos in the album are in VIN order and were taken from many sources including the Internet, old Stude magazine coverage, TW issues and the US mail. There are nearly 200 cars represented. JTN always wants more. Photo prints in 4 by 6 inch format are ideal for use on the newsletter cover. Good cover photos are sought for those sharp JT gems out there.

Photocopies of back issues are available. $14 for a set of issues #1 - #15, postpaid. Contact your editor.

Roster News

Surviving cars found since the last issue
Owner Car Owner Car
Lyle Behrens 63V6284 R2 GT Doug Hawthorn 63V14516 R1 GT
Gerald Wilson 63V2280 R1 GT (S)Bob Peterson 64V9137 R1 GT
(S) Jack Shiver 64V8722 R1 Daytona 4 dr John Gregurich 63V24541 R1 GT
John Carnahan 63V18874 R1 GT (S)Nelson Bove  64V5470 R1 package GT
Torrey Kirby 64V14327 R2 package Daytona hardtop
(S) indicates the person does not have the car but has information on the car.

Cars determined to be non-surviving
Car Car Car
63V33368 R2 pkg Regal 2 dr 4 spd 63V33078 R2 pkg Daytona HT P’shift 64V4473 R2 pkg Commander 2 dr

Found engines
Owner Number
Malcolm Stinson, Jr. JTSJ304 from 64V4473 package Commander 2 door
Malcolm Stinson, Jr. JTH326
Bob Kabchef JTSJ313 from 64V6763 GT
Hugh McDowell JT1839 from 63V31510 Custom 2 door
Bruce Sandburg JTK330 from 64V15772 Cruiser
Henry Downs JTS1049 from 63V6330 Cruiser
Barry Holley JTS1684 from 63V33616 package Custom 2 door

Cars sold
Owner Car Last owner
Lee De La Barre 64V17327 R1 Marshal Arnold Hoskovec
Steve Swintosky 64V5459 R2 Cruiser Bob Kapteyn
Richard Yeats 63V26929 R2 GT Bill Sowerby
John Cornfoot 63V15470 R1 GT William Elkins
John Poulos 63V18874 R1 GT John Carnahan
Nelson Bove 63V29265 R1 pkg Regal Ann Wiant
Clayton Studebaker 64V18049 R1 pkg Commander 2 door Ken Voigt
Tom Crosswhite 64V30647 R2 GT No info
John Poulos 64V10523 R1 GT Tom Reese
Bill Jordan 63V16252 R1 GT Don & Pat Ramsey

Turning Wheels Issues on Jet Thrust Production
Those issues of Studebaker Driver Club Turning Wheels that document the Jet Thrust options and production are invaluable material for the JT owner and enthusiast. Every owner and potential owner should have these issues. The outstanding work of George Krem is very evident in the Super Stude issues. Those issues are:

TW issue date Content Issue #
September 1989 Super Studes 1964 part II Vol 21 #9
July 1982 Super Studes 1964 Vol 14 #7
September 1988 Super Studes 1963 Vol 20 #9
February 1999 1963 Larks Vol 31 #2
April 1997 1964 Hawks Vol 29 #4
These issues contain further references.

The Story of Bonneville Car #5 by Denny LeRoy
The #5 car was purchased off of Andy Granatelli early in 1964 by USAC race car driver Dick Passwater of Indianapolis. I contacted Dick in 1998 and we met at a local watering hole. This is his story.

Dick is one of the few old time racing legends. He started after WWII and raced all through the 50’s and 60’s. One of his cars, an Olds, is in a racing museum in Lansing, MI. He is very active with racing associations in Indy. He told me some fabulous stories and, as a result of our conversation, since 1998 we have become good friends.

Now on to the car. The #4 and #5 Hawks were painted Avanti Maroon with painted white sport tops. Dick purchased the car to race in the USAC season. Motor Trend magazine August ’64 pg. 70 features and article on the Yankee 300 and has 2 pictures of the car. Dick contacted Studebaker that he had the car still painted with the Bonneville logos, except for having to change the number, and asked for some sponsorship. Being a native Hoosier, they could not turn him down. Studebaker sent him some cash and also some adapters for a dual caliper setup for the disc brakes. The car had an R2 in it when purchased and Dick’s shop made other race preparations to the for the season. I asked him what it was like to race the car. He shook his head and got one of those grins on his face. His eyes started to light up. I knew I was going to hear a great story.

Dick is a very colorful person and he got very excited at this point. The exact language content will be slightly altered. We all know what it is like to drive a lone Studebaker into a group of Chevys, Fords and Mopars and Dick’s experience  was no different  when he showed up for the Yankee 300. The one thing that the other drivers did know was what the Studebaker did at Bonneville the preceding Fall and it was one of those cars.

Dick expressed the fact, “the car went like blazes down the straights, passing everything, but was a bear in the turns.”  He said, “this is where the opposition caught me.”

The beer and the liquor was getting to both of us, but I was having a great time listening to this man telling me a tale of history first hand. Dick said about midpoint in the race he lost the brakes and had to down shift to slow but was able to hold his own. He said he liked to see what was on the other driver’s face when he passed the SOB’s. Did I mention Dick likes to smoke when he races! Dick very near the end had to drop out of the race because of his brake problems, but he managed to finish tenth. You can see by the final standings he was racing with soon to be and present NASCAR greats.

The rest of the ’64 season he raced the car on other NASCAR and dirt tracks. The ’65 season saw the R2, which was a little tired now, replaced by a Pontiac engine. He said,” we painted the Pontiac engine black and put the Stude valve covers over the Pontiac valve covers and the opposition never knew the difference. We cheated back then and sometimes we got caught, but most of the time we didn’t.

At the end of the ’65 season, Dick sold the car to a racer in Texas and he heard that the man was killed in the car. We, at this point, can only surmise what happened to the car next. Dick said,” It was pretty banged up when I sold it, two years on dirt tracks does a lot of damage and I didn’t  see what we would get out of the car at this point.“

Dick is in his mid-70’s now and it is a pleasure and adventure to talk with him when I go to Indy. When I saw him last at the watering hole, he told me he wanted to give me something. He went over to his truck and brought me what might be the only remaining part of #5, it’s heart, the most cherished of Studebaker relics, it’s supercharger. (Ed. Note: except perhaps for the R3 engine)

The history of our R cars is like tracking down our war veterans to get their stories first hand, before they are all gone. This was Studebaker’s finest hour. Let’s preserve the history.

Records Set by Car #3 R4 convertible 64V1003 at Bonneville in 1963

All of these records were in American class C open 5 liter

Event Fly /Stnd Start  Speed Driver Date  Event Fly /Stnd Start  Speed Driver Date
1 km s 72.18 A 9/10  1 km f 139.31 A 9/10
1 m s 83.92 A “  1 m f 139.49 A “
5 km s 111.21 A “  5 km f 139.09 A “
5 m s 115.84 A 9/11  5 m f 138.64 A “
10 km s 122.57 A “  10 km f 137.58 A “
10 m s 127.22 A “  10 m f 135.71 A “
25 km s 123.70 V 10/20  25 km f 129.55 V 10/20
25 m s 125.93 V “  25 m f 129.83 V “
50 km s 126.76 V “  50 km f 129.94 V “
50 m s 128.19 V “  50 m f 130.23 V “
75 km s 127.99 V “  75 km f 130.20 V “
75 m s 129.01 V “  75 m f 130.30 V “
100 km s 128.66 V “  100 km f 130.38 V “
100 m s 129.33 V “  100 m f 130.30 V “
200 km s 128.49 V “  200 km f 128.08 V “
200 m s 128.68 V “  200 m f 127.89 V “
250 km s 127.90 V “  250 km f 128.55 V “
250 m s 119.55 V B “  250 m f 119.65 V B “
300 km s 128.41 V “  300 km f 129.05 V “
300 m s 119.59 V B “  300 m f 118.98 V B “
400 km s 119.50 V B “  400 km f 119.62 V B “
500 km s 119.00 V B “  500 km f 118.33 V B “
1 hr s 127.83 V “  1 hr f 128.13 V “
3 hr s 117.01 V B “  3 hr f 116.53 V B “

V is Vince Granatelli        B is Barbara Nieland      A is Andy Granatelli

#3 was believed to have been powered by R4 B8, a 299 cid engine. B8 itself has survived only as a few salvaged parts. The car is believed to not survive. JTN continues to research the fate of the car. #3 was featured in a CARS magazine article.

JTN R3/R4 Roster Project
The JTN R3/R4 roster project is alive and well. We have accounted for 70 Paxton built engines by B number and about 25 clones. The number of Paxton R4 engines known by B number to have been built now stands at 13. We believe that is not all. JTN is always on the lookout for B engines not yet accounted for and the B #’s of engines used by the South Bend factory and at Bonneville. That includes the engine used in #5.

’64 Commander Press Cars at Bonneville in September of 1963
South Bend built 5 nearly  identical Bordeaux Red R2 package 2 door Commanders in August of 1963. Four of these cars were shipped to Bonneville as rides for the press corps. The fifth car was the subject of the December ’63 Motor Trend road test and all five had the twin silver stripes running from the hood to the rear deck lid. All of these cars had engine serial # JTSH37 and had shipping weight under 3000 pounds. Courtesy of the Studebaker National Museum and Andy Beckman, JTN has a photo of Andy Granatelli and Barbara Nieland inspecting the engine compartment of one these beauties on the salt. None of these cars are presently accounted for as survivors or destroyed units. JTN believes that one of these was totalled in Southern California during the 60’s. No JTSH37 engines have been accounted for either.

VIN Transmission Interior Notes
64V1048 Powershift Red vinyl Bonneville press
64V1055 4 speed “ “
64V1072 4 speed Red cloth Motor Trend
64V1075 4 speed Red vinyl Bonneville press
64V1097 Powershift “ “
JTN owes Nelson Bove a big thanks for supplying the facts about these most interesting Commanders.

Doug Crall on the Restoration of 64V9251
It all started back in 1967 when my older brother convinced me to go in with him and buy a ’64 GT Hawk. My father had been a Studebaker owner since he had left the Navy in the late 40’s. He had owned several and the last purchased was a ’60 Hawk for my brother to drive to college. I was 15 at the time and my primary concerns were 10 speed bikes and my paper route. I also knew I wasn’t going to get my driver’s license for about 2 years but he was very convincing. Out new GT was a great car, painted Jet Green, 289 4 barrel, power steering, Powershift, AM/FM, A/C, full instruments and wire wheels covers. It just wasn’t a Superhawk! The Hawk was later re-powered by a balanced 304.5 c.i.d. engine with 11.5:1 heads, an R1 cam & distributor, 4 speed and 2 AFB carbs. Disc brakes, a 3.73 Twin Traction rear end and a rear sway bar completed the package. I purchased an Avanti a few years later and the GT became my second car.

In the late 70’s when renovation time came for the GT, it was decided that a “donor” body/chassis was the easiest way to go. At  the time, good GT’s were plentiful in the West. A decent donor was found and the car was reassembled for use as a daily driver for my new wife and I. The Hawk was regularly used to pull our 4500 pound, 23 foot sailboat until the second trailer hitch broke off the car. The car was then placed in very long term storage and replaced wit ha more capable Dodge truck. Although the Dodge could never pull or stop the boat as well, the hitch never broke! For the next 20 years, the car was moved around the country and lots of parts located and stored for the ultimate project of converting the car to a full “Superhawk.”

While comparing notes one day with fellow JTS member Mark Dahl, he told me of a “Full Package ’64 Superhawk” that he had parted out.  At that moment a very bright light turned on and lit up the sky saying “Doug has all he needs to make a real Superhawk! After a very short discussion with Mark on what was needed to revive this very rare car, the project was started. The ownership of 64V9251 was transferred over to me and the DMV issued title, registration and license plates, WOW plates for my dream Superhawk. I just needed a car to put them on!

My first and current donor body was not up to the quality necessary for this project, so a nationwide search was started. A year later a flawless, accident free, rust free rear body shell was located in Hayward, CA. A low mileage chassis was also found and the 2 parts transported to our home in St. Louis, MO.

The first donor body was stripped and the remains sold off to a fellow SDC member.  Since chassis are my specialty, the most perfect, no expense spared Superhawk chassis was about to be reconstructed. After the donor frame was completely stripped, cleaned and painted, all those treasures kept for years were slowly finding their way home. Only perfect and original Studebaker parts were used to reconstruct the chassis. The 1964 parts & JTS manual were used to check all parts for the project. With the help of the parts manual, only correct nuts and bolts were used. Each nut , bolt and washer was individually checked for quality, wire brushed then each checked with a tap & die before it was used.

The radius rod brackets were welded into place and a set of 6 leaf rear springs were installed. The rear sway bar from the 1st donor and a spare Avanti rear end was pulled from storage. The build sheet for 9251 said the car had a 3.54 rear end, so two additional rear ends were parted out, one for the gears and one for the TT unit. The front suspension received the same highly detailed reconstruction including the correct Superhawk springs that were once installed in the former GT. To finish off the suspension a set of original Gabriel 3 position Adjust-o-matic shocks were installed and a set of 5 brand new 1964 era Goodyear Double Eagles were installed on 5 freshly painted stock wheels. The most difficult part to locate for the chassis was the special JTS left front motor mount. A nationwide search turned up one on a  parts car in Iowa.

Once the frame was finished, the rear body shell was set in place with only a few bolts holding it in place. The collection of body panels began, from the first donor both doors and front fenders, from Iowa a hood, from Northern CA a trunk lid, from Missouri the rear valance and from Newman Altman the lower front pan. From there the rolling body has been sent to Westmoreland Studebaker for a very complete body reconditioning. The body was disassembled and removed from the frame. Everything received careful inspection prior to media blasting. The rear body shell was then mounted to their rotisserie so that the underside could also be cleaned and blasted. Once to bare, clean metal, the years of sins appeared. The left door and rear valance were rejected. A new left door was found at Steve Allen’s Studebaker and a replacement valance came from California. The passenger floor and several trunk floor areas would also need some attention.

While the body was out the work didn’t stop at the house. An engine had been found for the car during the mid 70’s but was in salvage condition. I had purchased a JTS crate engine from a Stude drag enthusiast. The original owner was an employee of Paxton who used the engine for drag racing in the LA area. It had an R3 pan and oil pump, Holley carb, Mallory electronic ignition, Nichols aluminum intake manifold, reworked for high output Paxton, forged .060 over pistons, external oil returns from the rocker covers to the pan and majorly reworked heads. When I purchased the engine she was known for going real fast for a short time and from the condition it was obvious. In the last pass at the drag strip, she had been oil starved. Two rod bearings had spun from the lack of oil in the pan and a cracked head. The engine was disassembled and only the block, 6 rods and 8 pistons were salvaged for the project. Spare R2 heads, late style rocker assemblies, intake manifold, JTS Prestolite distributor, oil pump and pan were located. A replacement crank and 2 replacement rods were added to the pile of parts sent to the machine shop. Once complete the engine had an original set of R3 exhaust manifolds and Studebaker Transistor ignition added.

The original 64 GT’s black interior will be next, the seats and door panels will have a date at Phantom Auto for service and to add the reclining seat backs.  A JTS 160 mph speedometer and tach sender had been found in a junkyard 10 years before and the JTS tach that had been acquired were readied for the dash.

It has been 2 years and the body is approaching the final paint phase. Even though the original 64V9251 was Bordeaux Red, the decision has been made to paint the car the original GT’s Jet Green with the black vinyl top. We are looking forward to the day we can install the R2 fender badges and finish the project.

I would imagine the car has well over 100 and very possibly 200 donors, the body alone is from 7 different cars. The car has no reproduced or second source parts on it. The list also seems endless of contacts friends and new friends across the country that helped revive this rare 1964 full package GT Hawk. Once finished the car will be used solely for car shows. Carolyn and I hope to have the car done in time to trailer it to the 2002 National Studebaker concourse.

Prestolite Racing Team The Studebaker National Museum in South Bend  has a photo of 5 cars that a share a common paint scheme. The cars are white with twin stripes that extend from hood to trunk over the roof.  The 2002 museum calendar includes this photo. The 5 car fleet includes an Avanti, a skytop Daytona Hardtop, a GT Hawk, a Wagonaire and a convertible. The latter 3 cars have been identified as JT cars through the work of Andy Beckman and Andy Petrass. The cars were all shipped to Daytona Beach, FL. What Prestolite did with these cars remains unknown. The name of Chuck Warren was on the build sheet of the Larks and Hawk. The JT cars were all R2 equipped. The GT is 63V20924, the wagon is 63V21077 and the convertible is 63V21303. None of the cars or R2 engines have been accounted for. The Avanti build sheet has not been discovered.

JT Engine Serialization  As JTN has pursued the fate of loose JT engines, it has become evident that confusion exists  over the numbering of 1964 model year engines. Up to the end of the 1963 model year, unique, sequential serial numbers were used on all Studebaker engines. JT R1 engines for  1963 used the prefix “JT”. The “S” was added for the R2. The numbers started with 1001 for R1 and counted up. R2 had its own number sequence also starting at 1001. The number was a suffix to the letters. Other engine types used other letters. Avanti R1 uses the letter “R” and Avanti R2  used “RS”. Standard 289’s used “P”. Engines made in Canada added a “C’ after the engine type letter(s). R3 and R4 engines installed at the factory used the prefixes R3S and R4. At the beginning of the 1964 model year, Studebaker switched the number portion to a date code as shown in the Chassis and Body Parts Catalogs. The date code was used on all engines built on a given day and is therefore not unique.

The date code format is a month letter followed by a single digit year number and a day of month code. The month letters were A to N for January through December, skipping I and L. 1963 was simply “3”. The day month can be one or two digits. The normal day of month use was two digits with a leading zero for days 1 to 9 but in  August 1963, the leading zero was omitted.

Examples: JT M306 encodes an R1 made on November 6, 1963. JTS H38 encodes an R2 made on August 8, 1963.

There were no JT or JTS engines made in Canada for 1964 models so we don’t see the date code on a Hamilton JT engine. Use this info to check the serial numbers on those engines. Let your editor know what you find.

Catching up on Letters from Far and Wide
Thanks to all of you who wrote for keeping JTN up to date.

Steve Miller and 63V26452 This R1 GT Hawk is Steve’s long term restoration project. Ted Harbit has rebuilt the engine. A donor body replaced a shot original. The new body is now sitting on a frame that has been sandblasted and coated in POR-15. All the suspension bushings have been replaced. The body is in the final paint stages. Steve hopes to have another Indy Chapter member weld up the fender patches. After the fenders are the headliner, glass, brakes and exhaust. It's taken almost three years to get this far. Steve hopes to have the car completed for South Bend in 2002.

Russ Franko and 63V17456 17456 is the Blue Mist Daytona R1 Wagonaire that was sold at the Ray Carron auction in 1994. Russ Franko of Glenwood City, WI was the buyer and is the current owner. JTN only learned now who the car’s buyer was. Russ spoke up after reading about JTN in Turning Wheels. Thanks to Russ for taking the time to bring JTN up to date. The car is in good shape and gets lots of show attention with the sliding roof. The car was present at Red Wing.

Tom Hoosac and 63V32296 Tom is the long time owner of this Super Red R2 package Custom 4 speed. Bill Richards confirmed that Tom still has the car. Denny Leroy reported that R4 engine B57 is in this car now in place of the original R2. B57 came to Tom from John Erb 25 years ago.

Jack Shiver and 64V8722 Jack discovered this Moonlight Silver Daytona 4 door non-package R1. This New Mexico car is part of an enormous car and parts collection of an estate whose owner recently passed away.  This A/C, TT and Flightomatic equipped car has red cloth interior and is intact. It needs engine work and paint. Jack is the owner of 64V15772, a package R1 Cruiser in white with green interior and Powershift. The car has been missing its original engine JTK330 since the 70’s when Gary Bush damaged it in some spirited driving on a New Mexico mountain. The engine was pulled from the car at that time and the car was seen by Bruce Sandburg on a Deming, NM used car lot in 1978. Bruce picked up the engine and Jack ended up with the car. Thanks to Nelson Bove’s sharp eyes and good memory, Jack recently learned of Bruce and the fate of the engine. The block of JTK330 still exists.

Lyle Behrens and 63V6284 This Rose Mist R2 Hawk was sold new in Grand Island, NE and has not strayed far throughout its life. The car had its blower removed in 1963 and A/C added. The TT, HD Flightomatic and disc brake equipped car has 66K miles on it and engine JTS1044 is still in place.

Dennis Wingert and 63V14416 Dennis’ Blue Mist R2 ’63 Custom won 1st place in the Lark Class at the May La Palma meet in Anaheim, CA.

Tom Crosswhite and 63V30647 Tom has acquired this Gold R2 GT Hawk in the Sacramento area. The car was in long term storage. This late non-package car has the 160 mph speedometer.

Torrey Kirby, Tom McFarland and 64V14327 Tom helped JTN get the details on this newly discovered, 58K mile, R2 package ’64 Daytona Hardtop that belongs to Kirby. That makes 8 survivors of this model. 14327 has been in West Virginia storage for 20 or more years, has Powershift and the factory  color combination of brown vinyl interior and Laguna Blue paint. The car is thoroughly original and the color scheme is unique among JT cars.

Red Wing Meet Report
The SDC International Meet was held this year at the Treasure Island Resort in Red Wing, MN. The JT turnout was a very nice 9 cars. Here they are:

Owner Car
John Cornfoot 63V15470 R1 GT Hawk
Clay Melton 63V17134  R1 GT Hawk
Russ Franko 63V17456 R1 Wagonaire
Scott Seering 63V21171 R1 GT Hawk
Art Munari 63V21340 R2 GT Hawk
John Begian 63V30484 R2 package GT Hawk
Joe Fay 64V7657 R1 Marshal
Tony Berbig 64V11752 R1 package Commander 4 door
Ron Danielson 64V19813 R1 package GT Hawk

Tony Berbig’s Horizon Green sedan won a well deserved 1st place in the Lark class with 382 points. Joe Fay won a 1st place with 390 points. Joe’s Marshal is very sharp in black and is a fine example of the heavy duty sedan. Each car has come a long way from a humble pre-restoration state.   Scott Seering’s GT got 363 points and second place. There were no 1st place awards in the GT Hawk class.

                                            JET THRUST APPEAL!

                                          A Studebaker Family Reunion  by Doug Tjapkes
Some thought that drags should not have been scheduled for that week. I’m glad the races went on as scheduled! There’s no way that I was about to let some terrorists ruin the fun of so many American car enthusiasts. I planned to be at Stanton, Michigan, for the Pure Muscle Car Drags, and as it turns out, so did many other Studebaker supporters. More than 150! People at Mid-Michigan Motorplex had never seen anything like it.

Seven different Studebakers were taking part in the drags on the weekend of September 14-15, but two took the credit for bringing out the crowd: the Stude Tomato and the Plain Brown Wrapper. Combine that with the incredible driving skills of veteran drag race driver Ted Harbit and you’ve just put together a thrilling weekend!

And to a person, no one in the stands disregarded or failed to remember the tragedy of the Eastern Seaboard. In fact, at noon on Friday, when the public address announcer stated that there would be one minute of silence in tribute and memory to those involved, each one of us had an experience that may
never be forgotten. To coin a well-worn phrase: The silence was deafening!

And then came the races. And were they fun! More than 100 cars from the muscle car era, all strutting their stuff! For those of us from that age, it was the kind of deja vu that makes the heart beat a little faster, the sides of the lips curl into a satisfying grin. No little egg beater engines from across the
ocean, these were V8 engines with testosterone. And pardon me for the bias here, but absolutely nothing delivers the sound out of dual exhaust pipes like the Studebaker power plants! All of the others are wannabes. As a seasoned and respected reporter, I can only tell it like it is.

We watched all of the Studebakers perform with pride. But our reason for being there was two-fold: to see the Stude Tomato and the Plain Brown Wrapper win. And even though we got a split decision, we experienced the thrill of a lifetime thanks to Ted Harbit.

The Stude Tomato and Ted are so consistent that we almost take it for granted that the two will win. Well, they did, but the races were breath-taking. The little Studebaker was paired with a beautiful and threatening 1970 Buick 455 GS. We won!

The Plain Brown Wrapper was paired with the same 1969 Yenko Camaro that we’ve been running with for the past two years. The first two races were split. Listen to Ted’s words as he describes the first race: "Got a good lead off the line and might have been in the 12.90s, but about the time for third gear THE HOOD POPS UP!!! Momentarily let off, and with only a minuscule amount of time to decide (and unable to breathe due to heart-in-throat), figured it might be the only chance to beat the Yenko...prayed that the safety catch would hold, got back on the gas, and ran just enough to win! If gone another 110 MPH plus don’t know if that latch would have held!"

The PBW was running around 110 MPH in each race, but we lost the third by a front bumper! Now that’s a good race! As I walked from the concession stand wearing my Studebaker T-shirt, some guy stopped me. "What is it with all of these Studebaker people here?," heasked. I explained that we came out to support the drivers of our cars. "Oh," he said. "I thought maybe it was a Studebaker family reunion or something."

It was.

Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Races Report

Stude Tomato ’63 R2 Custom (63V10942)  Shootout Runs - Stude Tomato Won Both Runs Against 1970 455 Buick GS
Run  Stude Tomato ET/Speed GS ET/Speed Run Stude Tomato ET/Speed GS ET/Speed
1 13.946 / 98.70 14.071 / 99.51 2 13.877 / 99.84 13.999 / 97.46
3 13.890 / 98.80 13.889 / 98.16
Tomato’s best ET and speed of the event were 13.521 sec and 106.39 mph. Both Tomato and PBW have 4.55 rear ends.

Plain Brown Wrapper (R3 Challenger) Shootout Runs - PBW Won Run 1 and Lost Runs 2 ,3 Against 427 S/C ’69 Camaro
Run  PBW ET/Speed Camaro ET/Speed Run PBW ET/Speed Camaro ET/Speed
1 13.523 / 98.50 13.198 / 106.18 2 13.164 / 110.41 13.076 / 106.95
3 13.241 / 109.99 13.087 / 106.24
PWB’s best ET and speed of the event were 13.078 and 110.42 mph.

Barry Holley’s ’64 R2 Daytona  (64V5772) Shootout Runs - Barry Won 2 of 3 Runs Against ’69 396 El Camino
Run  Daytona ET/Speed El Camino ET/Speed Run Daytona ET/Speed El Camino ET/Speed
1 red lighted not reported 2 15/46 / 90.30 15.59 / 87.73
3 15.45 / 90.00 15.64  /  87.03
Barry’s best ET and speed were 15.24 sec and 91.27 mph. Barry is running the original 3.54 rear end in this car.

Rich Poe’s ’63 R1 Custom  Runs  (63V20656) Custom Won Both Runs Against Peter Sant’s ’63 R2 Avanti
Run  Custom ET/Speed GS ET/Speed Run Custom ET/Speed GS ET/Speed
1 15.339 / 90.16 16.637 / 86.95 2 15.461 / 90.75 16.130 / 87
Rich’s car is running a 3.73 rear end. Rich’s shootout opponent didn’t show. Rich won by default! The runs above were off the record.