Monday, July 26, 2010

New Studebaker National Museum

Great old neon sign as you enter the first floor

Sunday, May 30, I’m up at 8:15. It is hot already after a low of 61 degrees it gets to a high of 86. Our new motor home neighbors pulled out before we left this morning. Too bad! They were overnighters I guess. Anyway, we got our view back.

We leave around 11:30 to take US 20 to Michigan north to Samples west to Chapin to Studebaker National Museum. There are actually two museums here; “The Museums at Washington and Chapin.” The other one besides the Studebaker National Museum is “Center for History” which includes topics such as Women’s Hard Ball, Notre Dame, Knute Rockney and regional art. We just toured the Studebaker Museum for $8.00 each.

Reet checks out the first display in the lobby of the new Studebaker Museum

Bob checks out the Big Six with a dummy auto mechanic

Bob and I enjoyed a great lunch in the old Studebaker home when we were here the last time.

1935 President Convertible Sedan, 250 cu. in., 110 hp, Cost new $995

The museum consists of three stories: The Main Level Gallery covering 1736 through 1920, Upper Level Gallery from 1920 to the present day, and Lower Level Gallery showcasing Studebaker War and Remembrance. I personally enjoyed 1920 to the present. Many of the exhibits were the same as the old Studebaker museum location but there was plenty of new stuff too. I love the peach-colored Hawk, the New Muppet Movie Car, the golf club side door, and an exhibit of the Studebaker Brothers. This time we didn’t see the Studebaker pocket watch. They have added an exhibit of old toys that is really cute. And now they have a coffee shop.

Lower level of the Museum

No sticker shock back then!

1963 Studebaker Zip Van could be driven by the postal worker from a standing or sitting position

Part of the huge toy display includes this 1895 tricycle

My favorite Studebaker-1961 Hawk, V-8, 289 cu. in., 225hp, Cost new $2,650, Color-Flamingo!

Flight Hawk

Upper Level: 1920 to Present

We stopped in the gift shop for postcards and some miscellaneous items. I really thought the old museum that was located in the original Studebaker dealer showroom building was neater but the new museum’s displays are much more professionally done. In the “Club Room” I signed a story book that was provided for visitors to leave memories of their favorite Studebakers. I said my Dad and oldest brother drove Studebakers and I learned to drive my brother’s 5-speed on the floor (slightly modified) 1955? Silver Hawk. A policeman in my hometown stopped me when I was in high school and asked if he could buy it (in the 1970’s!) Some guy who signed the visitor book before me was grieving the wreck of this Studebaker. “I’m nothing without that car. I can’t talk about it.”

As we left we tried to pinpoint the old location. We weren’t sure of the exact corner but the new museum is not too far from the old site near all of the abandoned factories. We headed on to lunch at Texas Roadhouse that we spotted at US 20 and Michigan. Same great food as in the ones in Texas but the line dancing by the wait staff was not as enthusiastic. They just don’t get that country beat this far north.

We were home by 4:30 after fueling up at Speedway. It’s 4:450 p.m. and 86 degrees with 23% humidity. I go outside and join Reva in the sun, trying in vain to find some shade. Bob soon joins us. Don is building another corn hole set. I get a picture of his face through the hole! Jim and Betty join us shortly. As Betty drove up she opened her car door on the road behind us and let Ginger out. She came running over to Don and Reva’s site. The golf cart parade is a non-event as only 5 or 6 decorated golf carts are in the parade. We all chat until around 7:30 when Bob suggests ice cream at Yup’s. Everyone is in for that idea. Jim and Betty go in their car and take Ginger. Don and Reva come with us. Our truck is a bit higher that theirs but they manage to get in.

There is a big line at Yup’s. Betty is already saving a table in the shade with Ginger. Bob, Don and I get in the back of the long line. I start chatting with a younger gal who has two small dogs in her car. She says they get their own dish of ice cream. She says she likes Turtle Topsy Turvy. As we chat I mention we’re full-time RVers and a local couple behind us starts asking me lots of questions. They want to sell off parts of their 5-acre farm and go RVing.

The line moves fast and I have to decide on my two scoop cone: Traverse City Michigan Cherry Fudge and Bear Claw Brownie. Bob has Raspberry Yogurt. They don’t have their famous Black Cherry today. Bummer. Don had me all set for that. He gets the Traverse City Chewy Fudge for Reva. It is all very good and we can see why this place is so busy. The couple I was chatting with comes by our table in the back and says the place is a gold mine. John Yoder (prevalent local name) bought it from the original owners who celebrated 50 years in business last summer. You can easily tell that it is a local tradition.

We chat with a young couple with two toddlers. He teaches locally and we discover he teaches Reva’s granddaughter. We head back to the RV Park and sit out until 9:45 when the mosquitoes chase us in. It’s 10:03 p.m. and 75 degrees with 50% humidity.

Lark letters used on a 1950's dealership to announce the arrival of the Studebaker Lark

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