© 2022 WVIK
Listen at 90.3 FM and 105.7 FM in the Quad Cities, 95.9 FM in Dubuque, or on the WVIK app!
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture

For the Love of Studebakers

Duane Miller

Some dedicated fans of a car that ceased production more than 50 years ago will gather in the Quad Cities this weekend. Members of the midwestern chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club will admire each other's hub caps, engines, and grills, and try to recruit new members.

The organizer, Duane Miller, from Eldridge, says his love affair with these cars started in the 1950's when his father, who sold farm equipment, traded a Case combine for a 1950 Studebaker.

"It's something a little different. Everybody down the street can have a Ford, Chevy, or a Dodge, but there aren't that many Studebakers. And I just like them."

Credit Duane Miller
from a 2014 gathering in LeClaire, the Avanti sports sedan - a Studebaker that survived the closing of the company, under new ownership, until 2006.

Miller says the Studebaker Drivers Club now has more than 12,000 members worldwide, including Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and even South Africa.

"There are several people and businesses that still have original parts manufactured by Studebaker that have never been on a car. They've bought out dealerships here and there and parts and stuff. A few things are hard to find, but we have people all over the country who are making a living selling nothing but Studebaker parts."

The Studebaker Brothers began making wagons and carriages in the 1850's in South Bend, Indiana, then progressed to cars in the early 1900's. But by the 1960's, financial trouble forced the company to stop production.

He's expecting about 50 people will turn out this weekend, along with 20 vintage Studebakers, with their cars on exhibit Saturday morning in LeClaire, and Saturday night in Eldridge.