Studebaker produced just five 1934 President Regal Roadsters. Of those five, only one exists today and that vehicle, owned by Tom Griffith of Verona, Wis., will be competing in the 2016 Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance, Aug. 28, in Veterans Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront.
“The side-mounted wheels distinguish the car as a Regal,” explained Griffith, who has owned the rare car for less than a year. “It’s the most gorgeous Studebaker ever built.”
Griffith considers himself fortunate to own the vehicle, which spent its entire life in California after it rolled off the assembly line in South Bend, Ind. It had three previous owners. He purchased it from the widow of the man who invented the plastic grocery bag. She lived in Riverside, Calif., and wanted the car to go the “right home.” Griffith was bidding against other collectors, including museums.
The owner wanted to make sure that the car would be driven and displayed at shows. She didn’t want it sitting in a museum. “I had to send her pictures of my heated garage as she was concerned about the car’s life in a cold northern state like Wisconsin,” he said. So Griffith acquired it, after completing several interviews with the woman. “It took some doing but I finally convinced her to sell me the car.”
After the husband of the previous owner passed away, the widow took it upon herself to finish the car, which at the time was in primer awaiting a choice of color. A no-expense-spared restoration commenced to make the car look “Presidential.” Griffith re-nickeled the wheels and spent $12,000 on the correct engine components such as the carburetor, generator and distributor. Griffith noted that the Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance show will be the first time the 1934 Studebaker will be shown in its present condition, following his restoration work.
With a straight 8,250 cu in. engine, the former owner was ticketed in California for going 110 m.p.h.
With its black and gray exterior and black leather interior, “up close, the car is absolutely stunning,” Griffith said.
Fortunately, attendees at this year’s Milwaukee Concours d’ Elegance –including Studebaker collectors from across the U.S.—can do just that: See this rare car up close.
Studebaker vehicles were made from 1852 to 1966. The company started as a manufacturer of wagons for farmers, miners, and the military. Studebaker entered the automotive business in 1902 with electric vehicles and in 1904 with gasoline vehicles, all sold under the name “Studebaker Automobile Company.” The South Bend plant ceased production on Dec. 20, 1963, and the last Studebaker automobile rolled off the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, assembly line on March 16, 1966.
You can see this vehicle in person. Purchase advance tickets.