TOUR AMERICA 2019: CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS-THE PRAIRIE STATE

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Places We Have Called Home In 2019

Home Is Where We Park It:  D and W Lake Camping and RV Park

August 7, 2019

Temperature 85 Degrees

Studebaker National Museum Part Two

It’s official – Champaign has received Barbara’s official seal of approval as a top stop over spot.  Why?  It has just what a girl wants – first

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second

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Another beautiful morning that we awoke to.  Looking out over the lake never gets old.  It’s as good as it was when we were at Sunset Point RV Park In Lubec, Maine.  Just look at how the trees are mirrored in the water.  Really beautiful.

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Time to complete our tour of The Studebaker National Museum.

The transition from horse drawn equipment to automobiles was not an easy one.  When the first commercial American automobile debuted in 1896 Studebaker’s Board of Directors began a heated debate as to what they should do.  Sales of horse drawn equipment was still strong.  So they hedged their bet.

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Their early gasoline powered cars would be a partnership with the Garford Company of Elyria, Ohio.  They would supply the chassis and Studebaker would supply the coachwork.

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In time the decision was made to market their own automobile.  However, the first car Studebaker produced on their own in 1902 was not a gasoline vehicle but an electric car. J.M. Studebaker preferred electric cars because he regarded gasoline powered vehicles as clumsy, dangerous, noisy brutes which stink to high heaven, break down at the worse time, and are a public nuisance.  

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 Some early commercial electric vehicles.

In 1909 at the request of the United States government Studebaker created two electric cars to  ferry people between the Capitol Building and the Senate Office Building.  The route ran through an underground tunnel between the two buildings which precluded the use of an internal combustion engine.  In addition because the tunnel was so small there was no room to turn the car around so the cars were built with controls facing in both directions hence it’s name backward and forward.  For return trips the driver simply switched seats.

The two cars were named Tommy and Peg.    They had a top speed of 12 mph and could carry 11 passengers.  They remained in service until  1912 when a rail system was installed.

This is Peg restored.  Tommy has also been restored and is on display in another museum.

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Here is an example of one of their first electric cars for the public.  Note the weight of the batteries!  By the following year they would stop production of all electric cars.

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Automobiles brought change to the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company.  New directors joined the Board, the company was incorporated and became the Studebaker Corporation.  J.M Studebaker died on March 17, 1917 having witnessed the transformation of the family run wagon shop into a multi-million dollar automobile corporation.

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While primarily producing electric vehicles in these early years they did, though, produce some gasoline powered cars.  Early  gasoline powered cars such as this one were produced in partnership with the Garford Company of Elyria, Ohio.  The Garford Company of Elyria, Ohio. supplied the chassis and Studebaker supplied the coachwork.

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Can you say recall?  Seems they had problems early on with the rear axle.

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This was the first year and the first car that carried only the Studebaker name.  As of this model year they were only producing gasoline powered cars.

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Another first in this car was

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This was the first Studebaker to use a six cylinder engine and a rear transaxle.  The car proved to be popular with the general public.

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So which side was the steering wheel on?  On the right.  After 1916 that would change to the left hand side.  Many reasons are given as to why.  One of the most accepted reasons is that Ford wanted to change things up so they began producing all their cars with left hand drive.  It proved to be popular and safer since a driver could better judge the distance between themselves and an oncoming car.  The Government it is said then got involved and just like that all cars from 1916 would always be left hand drive in America.

Lets look at some  notable cars from 1916 and after.  This is the first Studebaker engine to feature a detachable cylinder head.

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Look at the miles this car logged and then think about the roads it did it on.

 

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There were, like this car, specialty cars produced as well.

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Used once for a funeral then it became a flower delivery vehicle.

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When looking at this car note the cubic inch displacement and the horsepower.

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This car proved to be a coast to coast barn burner.

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Not every car produced was a success. Despite its handsome looks this car was overpriced and proved to be a flop.

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This car and two others captured impressive endurance records.

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One of the most stunning car lines produced by Studebaker was the President line.

Here is the engine that powered them.

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The cars that this engine powered.

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This was when whitewalls were really whitewalls!

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Well, I thought we would  be able to conclude the Studebaker story tonight but there is still much more to share.  So we’ll pick the story up again either tomorrow or the day after.  Since tomorrow is a travel day time now to begin to get things in order.

We had another great day on The Road of Retirement.  Beautiful sunny skies for the most part.  A thunderstorm rumbled through in the afternoon for about 30 minutes.  Nothing to worry about.  Laundry is done.  Blog has been updated.  Our food lockers have been replenished.   Time to pack.

Thanks for joining us again.  We always appreciate your company and your comments.  Catch you again tomorrow.

These are the voyages of  Graybeard and it’s two human soul mates.  Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before

See you on down the road!

One thought on “TOUR AMERICA 2019: CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS-THE PRAIRIE STATE

  1. Sounds like you are in good shape now for a few days. Pantry full, blog up to date and beautiful weather mostly. Loved the ’32 Presidential Convertible Coupe. Great coverage of the museum. Thanks!

    Like

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