1960 Studebaker Truck Honors Iowa Dealership That Fueled Love of Marque

By Parker, Vern | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 24, 1997 | Go to article overview

1960 Studebaker Truck Honors Iowa Dealership That Fueled Love of Marque


Parker, Vern, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


A little kindness accorded to a youngster by men in an Iowa garage many decades ago is still fondly remembered.

In his VERY early days George Hamlin spent many hours around the Union Motors Studebaker dealership in Des Moines, Iowa. A few years later, while matriculating at Iowa State University in Ames, he transferred his automotive loyalty to the Whattoff Studebaker Truck dealership. "I used to hang out there when I should have been studying," Mr. Hamlin recalls.

It was there that the student learned of the intricacies of four-wheel-drive Studebaker trucks.

After school the years came and went and Mr. Hamlin found himself working at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Silver Spring.

After an unusually harsh winter, during which the arduous task of digging out through the snow from his Clarksville, Md., home to the main road, almost became a full-time job, Mr. Hamlin decided the time had come for a four-wheel-drive truck with a plow.

"My intent was to have a neat truck to drive to work after I had plowed my own driveway," Mr. Hamlin explains.

The search for a suitable truck began. Remembering his roots, Mr. Hamlin focused on Studebaker trucks.

In response to its dealers' pleas for four-wheel-drive trucks, in 1957 Studebaker offered such an option on the one-half-ton and three-quarter-ton models.

By 1959 the four-wheel-drive option was also available on the one-ton models.

From 1960 through 1964 four-wheel drive was only offered on the one-ton model trucks.

A 1960 Studebaker one-ton truck that was ordered new by Myers Motors in South Burlington, Vt., was advertised for sale by a man in West Virginia. It caught Mr. Hamlin's attention.

The truck had been ordered by Archie Myers as a cab and chassis, and a wrecker body was added at the dealership. It was used as a shop truck until 1980 when it was sold to Paul Johnson in Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

Mr. Johnson used the rusted-out truck around his farm until 1987 when the bed was distorted, the brakes were nonexistent as was the exhaust system. The floorboards were but a memory.

It was just what Mr. Hamlin was looking for. He bought it Sept. 5, 1987. "There wasn't much about this truck that was right except the chassis," Mr. Hamlin concedes.

"First, I put the brakes back in," he said, "in order to make it safe to drive."

Part of a new C4 cab was located in Arizona and positioned to replace the original cab from the firewall on back. That also solved the problem of the holes in the floor. Standard amenities in the cab include:

* Dual armrests.

* Outside door visors.

* Padded instrument panel.

* Electric wipers.

* Map light.

* Dual sun visors.

Optional equipment on the truck includes:

* Climatizer heater and defroster. …

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