Rock River Valley Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club

Our Charter, Keeping the Studebaker Marque Alive
Welcome to the Rock River Valley Studebaker Drivers Club Website
Last Updated:
July 2nd, 2019
Updated "Featured Cars of the Third Quarter 2019"


Click on the Globe left to go to the Sub-Site "Articles", if you are interested in automotive trivia and history, else don't bother.



This wonderful example of a 1951 Studebaker Champion 4-door Sedan, in Regal Trim, is owned by Marty and Sue Brackin. Marty and Sue purchased the car from Glen Reints' widow, shortly after Glen passed away.  1951 is the second and final year of the Studebaker bullet-nose, the first being 1950.   The bullet-nose Studebaker's have become Iconic, which cause may folks to think they were made for several years, but the truth is 1950 and 1951 only.   This car also has a some what rare automatic transmission that Studebaker called “Automatic Drive”.   The car has Fender Spears, which Marty added after he purchased the car, and full rim hubcaps that would be correct for 1952.   Both of these items were available in the 1951 Accessory Catalog, as extra cost options for all 1951 Studebaker's.

The 1947 - 1951 Studebaker's:

Costing some $11 million to develop, the appealing 1947 Studebakers had evolved from sketches done as early as 1940 by Robert E. Bourke.  It was that work that prompted Bourke's hiring at the design firm Loewy Associates by Virgil M. Exner, the group's chief stylist.  Though Exner began the '47 Studebaker program, he left Loewy before the design was finalized, so the end product was a blend of Exner and Bourke ideas.

Seeking to look fresh against newer-design rivals for 1950, Studebaker gave its basic '47 bodies a dramatic cowl-forward face lift that was controversial at the time.   According to designer Bob Bourke, the new "bullet nose" front was ordered by the French-accented Loewy with the words, "Now Bob, eet has to look like zee aeroplane."  It did, and has become one of Studebaker’s Icons.  If you say “Studebaker”, someone will say “Bullet-Nose”.

Engine: Straight-six, L-type head

Displacement: 169.6 cubic inches
Horsepower: 85 @ 4,000

Transmission: Automatic Drive

Weight: 2,695 lbs.

Cost: $1,615 *

Production: 35,201 *

* Classic Car Database


 This wonderful example of the early 60's Chevy design, the 1960 Chevy Sport Sedan (4-door hardtop) Impala, is owned by Gordy and Annette Buetsch.   It is mostly an un-restored original car, except for the running gear.

In the 50's automotive stylists learned how to do creative things with paint, metal and glass that had never been done before.   The designs matched the more powerful engines inside.  Earlier, it was difficult to tell a Chevy from a Ford or a Plymouth or one year’s model from the next’s, but by 1959, competing makes and annual model changes became so distinctive, the task was simple. But design freedom can lead to excess, and the 1950's were hardly free from these indiscretions.  With bloated bodies, towering tail fins, masses of chrome trim, two- and even three-tone paint schemes and windshields that wrapped in every direction, stylists gave us new excitement in our daily transportation, but occasionally pushed the design envelope to the breaking point.  The 1958 models in particular.   With Chevy, the 1959 and 1960 models marked the end of Harley Earl's design rein at General Motors.  We all know that Harley though if a little chrome is good a lot is better.  The sixties would bring us some of the best automotive design of any decade.

Side Bar:  Lawrence P. Fisher, general manager of the Cadillac division, commissioned Harley Earl to design the 1927 LaSallefor Cadillac's companion marque.  The success of the LaSalle convinced General Motors presidentAlfred P. Sloanto create the Art and Color Section of General Motors, and to name Earl as its first director.

The executives at General Motors at the time, including engineers, division heads, and sales executives, viewed Earl's conceptual ideas as flamboyant and unfounded.   Earl struggled to legitimize his design approach against the tradition- and production-oriented executives.  As head of the newly formed Art and Color Section in 1927, he was initially referred to as one of the "pretty picture boys", and his design studio as being the "Beauty Parlor".

Harley Earl retired from General Motors in 1959 after overseeing the design of 1960–1962 models.   It is widely reported that while he was still in charge, the original 59 & 60 designs were scraped and replaced by Bill Mitchell, while Earl was visiting Europe. Earl was succeeded as vice-president with responsibility for the Design and Styling Department by Bill Mitchell, under whose leadership GM design became less ornamental.

The 1960 Chevrolet Impala

The Impala was Chevrolet's top-of-the-line series. For 1960, the Impala was offered in four body styles; four-door sedan, Sport Sedan (four-door hardtop), Sport Coupe (two-door hardtop), and Convertible.


Impala interiors featured a Corvette-inspired instrument panel and sports-type steering wheel, and featured waffle pattern embossed bright aluminum trim along the lower half of the dash. Standard equipment on Impalas was an electric clock, cigarette lighter, bright aluminum capped control knobs and a parking brake alarm. Bright aluminum window garnish mouldings were also standard equipment on all Impala models except the Convertible. The front seats were also capped with bright aluminum trim on both sides. The seating fabric was a cloth houndstooth pattern (this was vinyl on Convertibles) accented with color coordinated leather-grain vinyl. The door panels were accented with the vinyl houndstooth pattern, the same used on the Convertible seats. Sport Coupe and Convertibles both featured a built-in rear speaker that was located in the center of the rear backrest. It was decorated with an Impala crossed flags logo. The arm rests featured an ashtray and chromed plastic safety reflectors in their ends. Impala's all featured "wall to wall" carpeting.


Impalas also were equipped with deluxe exterior trim treatment, features bright aluminum spears on the leading edge of the front fenders, bordered on the top and bottom by chromed corporal stripes. The quarter panel of the Impala featured dual chrome strips, lead by a large jet airplane ornament. The rear end of Impalas featured three tail lights for each side, the center light being a backup light. They were inset in a bright aluminum panel.

The highest horsepower 283 V8 in 1960 was the Super Turbo Fire, with a four-barrel.  It had a compression ratio of 9.5:1 and made 230 HP at 4,800 RPM, Max Torque was 300 ft. lbs @ 3,000 RPM.  The Bore & Stroke was 3.875 by 3.00 inches.

Weight: 3,625 lbs. Base Price: $2,769 Production: 169,016



Gasser Wars magazine did the linked story below in one of their issues this summer. They have given us permission to share the article with you as long as we give them credit.  The article was written by Phil Morris.  It is an article about Gordy Buetsch's dragsters and his life long love of the sport.   Click on the link below "Gasser Wars" and enjoy the article in a seperate window. Enjoy!!!!!!!!

The next link will take you to the Gasser Wars Magazine

The club meets the first Monday of every month, unless that date is a holiday, then the meeting is on the next Monday.
Date of Next Meeting:
Meeting Dates for 2019 - 2020
January 3rd, 2020
February 6th, 2020
March 4th, 2019
April 1st, 2019
May 6th, 2019
June 3rd, 2019
July 1st, 2019
August 5th, 2019
September 9th, 2019
October 7th, 2019
November 4th, 2019
December 2nd, 2019

Location:  Stockholm Inn, 2420 Charles Street, Rockford IL

Time:  Dinner at  5:30 P.M. Meeting starts at 7:00 P.M


55th International Meet, September 11th - 14th, 2019, Mansfield, Ohio.


The "NOTA ZONE MEET" will be held August 17 & 18th, 2019 in LeClaire, Iowa
The form will open in another window as a PDF and then you can print it, full it out, and mail it,
          Studebaker Meet
To:      1808 S. 11th Ave.
                       Eldridge, IA 52748-1805


This web site is owned by The Rock River Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club, All contents © 2019, Rock River Valley Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club, and may not be reproduced without permission.