The Champ…

Trying to remember the year we finally became a 2-car family. Trust me, it wasn’t soon enough. I believe it was around 1980. A few years earlier Hubs restored a cute 1936, 2-door Chevy, (not an ideal daily driver) he literally lugged home in boxes and put back together which took him a year. He sandblasted it himself. He traded the ‘36 for a Kawasaki motorcycle. He drove the bike as long as Iowa weather permitted (including any day during the winter when the streets were dry, no matter how cold) so I wouldn’t be without a car with 3 kids to haul around. For at least the first 11 years of marriage we had one car.

John’s 1936 Chevy, Spencer, Iowa 1979…

By the late 80’s we had at least two or more cars (Shannon started driving). Shannon drove a 1978 Nova my folks gave us. When Josh turned 16, he and John restored a 1949 Ford Pickup for his first set of wheels. We bought a yellow 1972 restored Volkswagen slug-bug for Adam when he turned 16 (didn’t last long, he was hard on cars). Hubs caught the classic/antique car bug long before so by the time he was done paying for cars the kids drove (and wrecked) he bought a 1964 Stingray Corvette Coupe in 1992, which we owned over 20 years.

Josh & his 1949 Ford pickup, North Muskegon, 1995…

Once we both had decent transportation, one of us would get something relatively new every four or five years. He got a new Silverado in ‘89, and 2007 with company cars provided in between. We bought cars with less than 20,000 miles for me every few years. When it was John’s turn around 2012, he said he really liked his truck and wasn’t ready to trade it. So he kept it while I drove my dad’s 2006 PT Cruiser after he passed away in ‘08, a Dodge Journey in 2011, a Jeep Cherokee in 2014 and another Jeep in 2018. And still he contentedly drove his ‘07 Chevy truck.

1964 Corvette, North Muskegon, 1998…

The times grew less frequent when we drove a long distance separately, and we rarely used the truck for hauling stuff anymore. When we did go away we always took the Jeep. After we retired we stayed home more. The truck began showing its age. Little bit of rust was cropping up around the wheel wells, the 4-wheel drive was temperamental, and the passenger airbag light usually glowed bright red. Hubs started looking on the Internet to replace the truck box and got quotes on fixing the Chevy’s worn out parts. He would rather fix what he had (but hardly drove) than replace it.

2007 Silverado during a nice April snow squall. Ugh…

A month ago Hubs was on his way to Menards, the only store he does not detest, which is about 5 miles away when an oncoming car turned right in front of him. John swerved towards the ditch but still got clipped on his left front end. Neither the ‘clipper’ or the ‘clipee’ were hurt, thank heavens. Cops were called, who then called me to pick John (the clipee) up. Clipper got a ticket.

The Silverado had seen better days and was not drivable, so it was hauled to the tow truck’s lot (100 bucks for the tow and 30 dollars a day to keep in their back lot-yikes). Felt strange to open our garage door and park the Jeep smack-dab in the middle.

Hauled a lot of firewood in that truck for 14 years…

We were unsure of what to do next. Although neither of us drive a lot, were we really ready to backtrack to a one car household again? There’s a lot of issues if you’re in the market for any kind of vehicle these days. You might see a car lot with an abundance of new rides but many can’t be sold because they’re missing that all-important semiconductor chip which is made in Taiwan and back ordered. Used car lots are pritnear empty. Do we need a new car or truck? Definitely not. But are we ready to share one car? Ah-no. I don’t like sharing.

A 1932 Ford like John and his dad found in Minnesota in 1973…

Somewhere around 1973 we were on a fishing trip/vacation at Lake Ottertail, Minnesota with John’s parents (who rarely took vacations). Shannon was 2-1/2 so one day we went to a nearby Dairy Queen in Battle Lake for ice cream. While we were riding around John spotted a black, 1932 Ford pickup sitting in a repair shop’s lot. Of course we had to stop. Shannon was on a sugar buzz so she was content. After a quick look (it was so cute-and little) Mag and I went back to the car to wait. And wait.

Both Jim and John were salivating over that little truck. Everything was original and it ran. Guy was asking $500. It was out of the question for this young family. We didn’t have 50 bucks to spare, let alone 500, but with some finagling, Jim could have bought it, I think. I know he was sorely tempted but at the end of the day, they both walked away. John has regretted not buying that truck ever since 1973. ‘Thou shalt not covet,’ didn’t work on either of them in Minnesota.

1962 Studebaker Champ found its way to our house…

Hubs decided he wanted an ‘old’ new truck. Holy Hannah, has that been a trip. Scams abound. Every where. Found a gem in Florida. Dude was selling his dad’s old pickup, perfectly restored, unbelievably underpriced, but he was working on an oil rig and using a local auto broker for the sale. All Hubs had to do was wire the money to the broker who would put it in escrow and ship the truck to us on their dime. John would have a week to inspect and drive the truck to see if he wanted it before the broker paid the guy for the truck. If John decided against the sale, we’d get our money back and they’d pay shipping to get it back to Florida. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Later we saw the exact same truck which had magically turned up in New York State with a different owner’s name (but was still working on that convenient oil rig, had lost his dad and was using an auto broker).

It’s not nearly as big as I thought it would be…

John noticed an interesting truck on the Internet at a small Classic Car dealer 250 miles away. Called to make an appointment to drive down and look at it in person but John had a doctor’s appointment and the dealer was leaving town for a few days and would call when he was back. (John called him 3 times-stalking from afar). When the guy, Phil finally got back to Ohio I was gone for the weekend. Hubs couldn’t go by himself in case he bought something, someone needed to drive the Jeep back.

What a little Champ…

John made an appointment for the day after I got back. I brought my tennis shoes and headphones so I could get my steps in while they talked (and talked & talked some more) about cars. When I got back 45 minutes later Hubs and Phil were huddled together in the office, haggling over the price. I had just spotted this really neat car and tried, (to no avail) to get John’s attention away from the pickup for 2 minutes so I could convince him to buy the car instead. A 2-door, 1947 Ford Deluxe for a grand more than the pickup, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He only had eyes for one vehicle that day and it was baby blue.

The tires are too cool…

The pickup was adorable. A 1962, baby blue Studebaker ‘Champ’ with huge whitewalls. Two wheel drive, 3 speed on the column. He was smitten-bad. No rust anywhere. They settled on a price with some adjustments. A spare tire had to be thrown in with new windshield wipers and a half a tank of gas to get us out of town. We waited for our proof of insurance to be faxed over and we were on our way home. Me, pulling up the rear in case Hubs needed to stop if something went kaflooey.

The ‘47 Ford Deluxe I was coveting this week…

We stopped for gas and at a rest stop for a few minutes but we were both anxious to get home before dark. Is it perfect? No. It needs carpet, a headliner, arm rests, visor, someplace to store the spare tire and a radio. But there’s nothing wrong with the engine. It’s got 61,000 actual miles. The little truck putzed along between 55-65 all the way home. You could say it ran like a Champ…

9 thoughts on “The Champ…

  1. Wow you’ve had some really good looking vehicles thru the years (aside from the PT 🙂 .. ) and I see the love of the split window vettes… very nice!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha Kev, funny you mentioned the PT Cruiser. I swear the doors were made from aluminum foil! But it was practically new with just a few thousand miles so I drove it for a couple years. Actually it was the first manual transmission I’d driven in a few years which was fun again. Our Vette was not a split window (only produced in 1963). We had a 64 but loved it although if given a choice mine would have been a ‘63, his would have been the ‘67…

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  2. Way to go ‘Champ’. We had a little blue quarter ton at one point in my first marriage. One of those trucks that stops at the windshield and the motor is between the seats. If I had hit a bug, it would have been game over. Good times. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My dad had two of those ’62 Studebaker pickups. One was blue like yours (minus the white walls) and one he painted red. I drove the blue one in my high school years. It had an 8-cylinder engine and a 3-speed overdrive. It would run so fast I couldn’t steer it and had to slow down. After one 180 degree whoop-tee-doo on an icy road, I learned to kick out the overdrive by pulling a lever under the dash. Thanks for the memories.

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    • I can’t believe you drove the same truck when you were a kid! That’s awesome! Hubs’ truck is an 8 cylinder, 3 speed on the column with overdrive too. Isn’t that a strange coincidence? Ha! Actual mileage is 62,000. Now he discovered the truck wheels have 5 bolt lug holes and his new spare tire rim has 6. Well that’s not gonna work is it? Tomorrow we’re going to a salvage yard to buy another. One thing after another but he is having fun. Thanks for reading and commenting…

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