- The Washington Times - Friday, October 31, 2008

Murray Welsh can offer no reason why a 1950 Studebaker Champion Regal Deluxe four-door sedan is parked in his garage other than its peculiar appeal.

The bullet-nose Studebaker was built in the Philadelphia. Its whereabouts are unknown from then until Mr. Welsh and his wife, Linda, went Studebaker shopping about a decade ago.

They drove to Parole, Md., near Annapolis, where they found a 17-foot, 6-inch-long Studebaker, one of 270,604 Champions built in 1950. It had a base price when new of $1,644.

“It’s so ugly someone needs to save it,” Mrs. Welsh said.

They purchased the 2,755-pound car and in order to drive it home to Germantown Mr. Welsh settled behind the two-spoke steering wheel and pressed the clutch to the floor to activate the starter.

With the 170-cubic-inch, six-cylinder engine pumping out 85 horsepower he motored home in Studebaker style.

The 113-inch wheelbase is supported by radial tires that have replaced the original 6.40x15-inch bias-ply tires.

Within a couple of years after Mr. Welsh got the car home he discovered problems with the 50-year-old electrical wiring. He arranged to have a new wiring harness installed in Massachusetts. The 500-mile trip was almost too much for the Studebaker. “I barely made it to Germantown, Mass.,” he says.

The trip back home was more pleasant with the car effortlessly running with other traffic thanks to overdrive. Mr. Welsh reports average mileage of 20 mpg. The gasoline tank has a capacity of 18 gallons.

While Mr. Welsh had the car painted gray he had both bumpers and the trunk handle sent away to be replated with chrome. During that time the car was reupholstered.

With the Studebaker both looking and running great Mr. Welsh in 2002 drove his car to South Bend to attend a gathering of Studebakers. He made the trip in 11.5 hours, adding, “The 100 mph speedometer is a useful decoration.”

Mr. Welsh says, “The brakes left a lot to be desired.” Once more he drove to Massachusetts, this time to Maynard for new brakes. The original brakes. which were not all that good even in 1950, were replaced with a superior system from a 1963 Studebaker GT Hawk with 11-inch drums. The original hand brake is beneath the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel.

Peering through the two-piece windshield, the chrome-plated hood ornament, above the pointed nose of the car, is topped with a sleek piece of lucite.

Front seat occupants have a surprisingly spacious area because the dashboard drops vertically from the base of the windshield. Between the two pieces of the windshield is a day/night mirror that Mr. Welsh says is “functional.”

In the center of the dashboard is a push button AM radio. Below the dashboard by the driver’s left knee are three knobs controlling from the left, a water valve for the Climatizer heater, an engine hood release and a manual overdrive.

Both front fenders have side vents to direct fresh air into the cabin.

Opening either front door turns on a courtesy light on the dashboard. Another courtesy light, positioned above the curved rear window, is illuminated whenever one of the rear doors is opened. The rear doors are hinged at the rear.

During the eight years that Mr. Welsh has owned his Studebaker he has driven it about 12,000 miles.

He wanted a car to drive and that’s exactly what he got.

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