This annual gathering of Melbourne’s Studebaker faithful is an entertaining and educational experience.
BY GAVIN KELSO, PHOTOS GREG FORSTER, FEATURED CRUZIN #222
Each October, The Studebaker Car Club hosts an annual concours on the Geelong foreshore. It’s a modest affair, attracting less than 100 cars, but an important day to those who are passionate the breed.
“We’ve been in Geelong for the last few years. On the foreshore, facing the ocean, plenty of open area – it’s a great venue,” said the club’s social secretary, Guido Grima.
The event is judged with multiple categories based on year and model for restored vehicles, plus a modified class which is open to cars spanning all ages. While some vehicles have been rebuilt to a high standard, many are survivors and budget restorations, maintained and enjoyed by enthusiasts of the marque. All are made welcome on the day.
According to the club, Studebakers have had a presence in Australia since the late 1800s, but accurate records exist only from around 1929. Typical sales of Studebaker cars throughout the 30s hovered in the low hundreds, while by the 1950s it was less than 100 a year. The early 1960s was a different story, Studebaker Larks proving more favourable with Aussie buyers. In 1963, 1,262 cars were built plus 152 station wagons and 27 commercial vehicles, the highest sales level ever achieved by Studebaker in Australia. Alas, the writing was on the wall however, with the company ceasing manufacturing after 1965.
One particular vehicle caught our eye, a soft pink 1958 Packard Hawk. Packard and Studebaker merged in 1954, hence the Packard connection.
“They come on some of our outings with us, and we have a Christmas in July meeting with them,” adds Guido.
“Our meetings are at Oakley on the third Monday of every month. It’s always a good turnout, people come from all over the place. We try to have a run once a month. We also have a mid-week run on a Wednesday, they’re pretty popular. We try to keep members active and involved.”
You’ll find the Studebaker Car Club of Australia online at studebakercarclub.net, along with a handful of state chapters on the web and face book.