You could say it was destiny that made the Studebaker Ed Davies’ ride of choice. He grew up only a few blocks from Mack’s Auto Sales in Akron, Ohio—one of the oldest Studebaker dealerships in the city. This gave the young car enthusiast a front row seat to every new model of Commander, Champion, and Land Cruiser that rolled off the manufacturer’s South Bend, Indiana assembly line.
Ask Davies how many Studebakers he has owned over the years and he answers with a single word: Many.
“I have been a Studebaker guy all my adult life,” said the Bath, Ohio resident.
As a 17-year-old, Davies saved enough money working at a neighborhood drugstore to purchase his first Studebaker from his father—a 1950 Champion Starlight coupe with the “wrap-around rear window,” he recalled. More Studebakers followed including a 1960 Lark convertible which he drove for eleven years, a 1964 Daytona convertible, and a 1964 Champ pickup.
While working for Mack’s Auto Sales in 1959, Davies travelled with his boss to Studebaker’s South Bend factory, just four years before the company would shut it down. (Studebaker continued to manufacturer vehicles in its Hamilton, Ontario facility until 1966.) Part of Davies’ trip included a visit to Studebaker’s famous proving grounds, a three-mile oval track used to test the company’s vehicles.
“The factory was humming,” he said. “I have many good memories. It was wonderful—something I will never forget.”
Davies has kept the Commander as close to factory original as possible, down to its immaculate Sierra Sand paint. After purchasing the vehicle from a friend, he upgraded its brakes with parts savlaged from a 1962 Studebaker Lark Cruiser and had all the chrome replated. It features the stock 232 cubic inch V8 engine capable of producing 120 horsepower and a three-speed manual transmission with overdrive.
Davies and other area Studebaker owners remain dedicated to preserving the legacy of the plucky independent that once battled the Big Three. He’ll also be bringing his ’64 Daytona convertible and a 1956 pickup to the Studebaker-Packard show at Summit Racing—no trailers required.
“Our club is called the Studebaker Drivers Club, and we drive ‘em,” he said.