CLUB COR­NER

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents -

This year is a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for the Studebaker Driv­ers Club of New Zealand, as it will be cel­e­brat­ing its 50th an­niver­sary and also hold­ing its 25th Na­tional Meet in Ro­torua over Easter week­end. Ex­pect to see up to 50 Stude­bak­ers around the city, with a dis­play and con­cours judg­ing tak­ing place at the Lake­front Vil­lage Green area on Satur­day March 31 from 9am to 3pm, with the pub­lic wel­come to at­tend.

The club be­gan when a group of Studebaker en­thu­si­asts in Can­ter­bury for­mal­ized their meet­ings in 1968 then, shortly after­wards, regis­tered it as an in­cor­po­rated so­ci­ety. Their aims were to pro­mote Stude­bak­ers, sup­port own­ers with tech­ni­cal ad­vice and parts sup­ply, and or­ga­nize events and so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties to fos­ter a fam­ily-fo­cused club. At about this time, fran­chise deal­ers were phas­ing out Studebaker parts, as the Studebaker Cor­po­ra­tion had stopped pro­duc­ing cars in 1964 (US) and 1966 (Canada).

The club flour­ished and, within a few years, had spread to re­gions out­side of Can­ter­bury. In the 1980s, the club be­came of­fi­cially af­fil­i­ated to the US Studebaker Driv­ers Club. The club’s head­quar­ters re­mains in Christchurch, with na­tional cov­er­age main­tained through six re­gions and to­tal mem­ber­ship of around 220. Each re­gion runs reg­u­lar club events, and, ev­ery sec­ond year, a na­tional Studebaker meet is held over Easter week­end. On the al­ter­nate years, Aus­tralian Studebaker clubs hold their na­tional meets.

To­day, the club is in good heart and has re­mained true to its orig­i­nal aims, with a num­ber of found­ing mem­bers still ac­tive. There is a good sup­ply of parts and plenty of sup­port avail­able from mem­bers. One ma­jor change, though, is that the fo­cus has changed from main­tain­ing Stude­bak­ers as daily-driv­ers to pre­serv­ing them as clas­sics.

Stude­bak­ers ap­peal be­cause they are dif­fer­ent by de­sign, with in­no­va­tive tech­ni­cal fea­tures and a wide va­ri­ety of body styles. Stude­bak­ers were im­ported to New Zealand in rea­son­able num­bers from the 1910s to the mid 1960s, with some mod­els as­sem­bled here. Many have sur­vived, and, with sub­se­quent im­port­ing from Aus­tralia and the US, there’s a good range of cars and trucks.

If you own or have an in­ter­est in Stude­bak­ers (in­clud­ing Studebaker-re­lated ve­hi­cles such as EMF, Garfield, Pierce-ar­row, Ersk­ine, Rockne, Packard, and Avanti), you are wel­come to join the club.

For more in­for­ma­tion, or to get in touch, visit stude­bak­er­driver­sclub.co.nz.

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