Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Family Cars

The first four wheel vehicle I ever owned was a 1956 International Travelall. The thing had been built like a tank and had a top speed of about 55 mph (going downhill with a tail wind pushing). It was a great rig to take into the mountains and since that's where I lived it worked well. I had a steel I-beam welded to the frame that served as a front bumper. One day on frosty roads a car slammed into me head on. Damage to Travelall - paint transfers, handled with a rattle can of paint. Damage to the Buick that impacted me - total loss.

The year I was born (1955), my grandfather and father both bought Studebaker Hawks (Speedster models). Dad's was red/white and my grandfather's was black/white. They moved from Virginia to California in the summer and I was born in December.
My mother drove a 1953 Hudson Jet. Unlike the photo above, ours was gray. I think the Jet was the last car that Hudson made before they went out of business. As I recall there may have been a good reason for the company failing. Today's socialist American government would prop up a failing car company to the last nickel in the treasury but back then the law of supply and demand ruled. Studebaker met its demise in the 1960's. International went out of business in the 1970's. 


WoFat said...

I envy you the Studebaker Hawks. We had Studebakers, but no Haawks. Sigh.

darlin said...

I love these old cars! We had a pickup truck back on the farm, I don't know how but somehow Mom and Dad packed us four girls to town on the odd occassion and I never recall riding in the box... magic!

And here I go being the female that I am, it was an old (new at tht time) sky blue truck with a white cab!

LL said...

I'd buy a Studebaker Hawk today if I thought I had the skill and the parts to keep it on the road. Very cool old cars.

I don't think I'd re-buy the old '56 International Travelall. The nickname for that one was "the Green Monster". It had an Earl Shieb paint job- $19.95 and had been retired from Federal Service with the Federal Communications Commission when we got it - surplussed. But it ran like a tank and was good for what it was.

Scott Scoville said...

I have a '58 Travelall. Takes a lot of muscle to turn the wheel when it has line-contact with the road (modern radials). And it's real noisy in town. In '97, I drove it on Highway 36 from Boise to Pittsburgh. What a riot! Ran like a top! Has a lot of pep, unlike my S10. And it's only a six. My dad was a mechanic for International from '37 to '75. He told me that Black Diamond motor was the best in the business. I believe it.

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