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Aunt Bea's Studebaker (SDC Forum #34424)

This 1966 Studebaker Daytona was the personal car of actress Frances Bavier, who portrayed the Aunt Beatrice of Sheriff Andy Taylor in television's Andy Griffith Show. Miss Bavier, a New York native, died in 1989 at the age of 86. She lived her last 17 years at Siler City, N.C., about 35 miles east of Denton FarmPark.

Her furniture, the car and other property were brought by moving van in 1972 from California to the home she bought in Siler City. She obtained a North Carolina driver's license and drove the car to the grocery, bank and post office. In later years, she employed a chauffeur who tried to convince her to get a newer car. Miss Bavier's preference for her beloved Studebaker was never swayed.

It was produced in the last year of the Studebaker brand, assembled in Canada with a six-cylinder engine made by Chevrolet and labeled "Studebaker Super Skybolt Six." Miss Bavier bought it new in California during her residence there in the role of "Aunt Bea."

The car is owned by Denton residents Brown Loflin and Sean Bingham. They paid $20,000 for it June 2, 1990, at a Raleigh auction of property the actress bequested to the benefit of the state university system's Center for Public Television.


38th Annual Southeast Old Threshers Reunion at Denton Farmpark in Denton

Photo made July 3, 2008


I found some more information:
A life-long exponent of Studebaker automobiles. The last car she bought was a 1966 model, the last model year for the make, made in the Canadian plant in Hamilton, Ontario. Some accounts say that the car was a 1964, the last year of production in the US plant in South Bend, Indiana. During the production of "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960) and "Mayberry R.F.D." (1968) she drove herself to and from the studio in it. Reportedly, it can be seen in the latter series. Miss Bavier took it to her home in North Carolina after she retired there and is believed to have last driven it in 1983. After her death in 1989, it was found sitting on four flat tires and its interior had been ruined by cats. Even so, two Andy Griffith fans bought it for $20,000 at auction.

And more info: Americaís Treasured Aunt Bee Lives on in our Hearts!

Frances E. Bavier, lovingly known as Aunt Bee from the 1960ís hit TV sitcom, "The Andy Griffith Show," traded the fast pace city life of Los Angeles in 1972 to retire to peaceful Siler City. Originally from New York City, Frances moved to Siler City in the summer of 1972, where she bought a 17 room, 5 bath home sight unseen. Attracted to the picturesque, quiet town, Frances had said, "I fell in love with North Carolina, all the pretty roads and the trees. I, like a child, came here looking for a fairyland." Tired of the relentless fanfare, Bavier spent her retirement as a recluse, leaving 15 cats and no heirs when she died on December 6, 1989, eight days before her 87th birthday.

"The Andy Griffith Show" was set in the fictional town of Mayberry, NC. Itís characters often referred to the capital city of Raleigh and on several occasions, Siler City. Frances Bavierís first introduction to the real South came in 1962 when she went to Duke Hospital to undergo the infamous rice diet. During that time, she befriended a receptionist whose sister, Mrs. Herbert Jourdan, lived in Siler City. Suffice it to say, they became fast friends, spending a Christmas holiday together and later an awardsí dinner when Frances won her Emmy in 1967 as Best Supporting Actress.

Having used her fame in life to support many charities, in death, she did no less. She bequeathed her money to various organizations within the town that was her home for her last 17 years. She bequeathed $50,000 to her longtime chauffeur/butler, $100,000 to the Siler City Police Department, instructing that the money should be placed in a trust fund, and its interest should be distributed to the officers as bonuses every Christmas. She gave $50,000 to the each Siler City Rescue Squad and the Siler City Volunteer Fire Department. She left her home to the Moore Regional Hospital, where she had been a patient several times. She left the contents of the house to the University of North Carolina for Public Television, which were auctioned off, raising $120,000 for public TV. The most sought after piece, was her 1966 Studebaker Daytona, a green, two door sedan with four flat tires and a dented fender. It got world attention. Callers came as far as England and Sweden. The old car sold for $20,000 to Stan Bingham and Brown Loflin of Davidson County.

Today, you too can buy a little bit of Americaís treasured Aunt Bee. Her house is now back on the market, selling for $459,900. Donít mind the fact that it sold for a very modest price of $125,000 in 1990, four days after being put on the market by Larry and Vickie Russell. The house has been improved since then with a new roof, air conditioning, and a landscaped one acre lot. Additionally, the 4,661 square foot house, built in 1951, includes another 1200 square feet of heated basement and a full attic.

Guys, the original post where someone remembered Aunt bee having owned a '62 Lark is also true, when she lived in Calif. she used to bring the '62 in for service at Frost and French Studebaker in Los Angeles!

Studerich, SDC Forum