Jeffrey DeWitt, Freelance writer

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Night Drive, March 2001

1960 Studebaker Champ along a country road

 

Night Drive, January, 2001

I went for a drive in my Stude the other night. No big deal, I do that quite often. It was late on a Saturday night, around 2 AM. For some reason I was feeling restless and not at all sleepy so I got in the Champ and went for a ride.

It was dark of course, and a cold damp night with an off and on misty rain, it was January after all. I drove around the Raleigh Beltline to US 1 North and headed toward Wake Forest. At Wake Forest I turned west on NC 98. As I drove along on this cold damp night I was sung in the cab of my Champ, listening to the wonderful sound of that Stude V8… and episodes of “The Shadow” and “Dragnet” radio shows that I had downloaded off the Internet. (It IS the 21st Century after all!).

Reaching NC 50 I turned south back toward Raleigh. NC 50 north of Raleigh was a nice two lane NC highway that is sadly being rapidly being urbanized; out toward NC 98 it’s still pretty much a country road, at least for today. Years ago I would head out NC 50 going to Truett Ray’s; it was a nice ride through the country. Things sure have changed over the years.

It was now about 3 AM and I stopped at a Kwickie Mart for a Coke (the old truck still had plenty of gas). As I pulled into a parking space I noticed about five people looking out at me, most odd… then I went inside. In the store was the clerk, three guys who looked like they were about to go hunting, and a truck driver. They were all wondering what the heck I was driving, although one of them did guess it was a Stude. So I spent the next 20 minutes talking about Studebakers with these guys.  It was fun and they learned something, and I heard yet another story about how Uncle Wilber used to have one of them Studebakers. Seems like everyone over a certain age has a Studebaker story, and you will hear some of those stories if you’re driving your Stude.

Leaving there I drove the rest of the way home. It was a nice drive, about 70 miles. I enjoyed my truck, listened to some old time radio, and got to talk with other folks about Studebakers.

These vehicles were meant to be driven; in fact you have a lot less trouble with them if you DO drive them. Some problems actually fix themselves if you drive your Stude. I just don’t understand people who have a neat old car and just look at it. For me a big part of the fun of this hobby is being able to drive a Studebaker. Remember to keep it fun, if we don’t have fun with our cars and our hobby what is the point?

*This was first published in March of 2001 in the “Tarheel Wheel”, the official publication of the North Carolina Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club