Miscellaneous Rumbles

1962 Earls Court Motor Show- One for Ade

1

Saw this and immediately thought of Ade. So much good stuff in this clip.
For me, one of the stand-outs is the Jensen. Wow! And how about that XKE!? Incredible to see these cars when they were brand new. A "multitude of fine cars". Not sure what the car is with the built in dog kennel. At first I thought was a Rolls, but I see "Countryman" on the rear ? And why is that man poking the underside of the Zephyr police car with his umbrella?

This brings back memories of going to the auto shows in Philadelphia in the 60's,as a kid. In 1964, I went with my father who was working the show for Studebaker. I recall him telling a man wearing a hat to keep it on as he got into a Commander (or Cruiser) to demonstrate the head room.
I also remember seeing the James Bond Aston Martin DB5 (or one of the movie cars) on display. One year, my friend Chris put the seat of a Saab Sonett too far forward and it fell off it's tracks. We ran out of their booth before they found out..

Enjoy!

2

Fantastic film, the dog kennel car is indeed a Rolls (I think it’s a Bentley S2) the “Countryman” was a special conversion by Radford Coachbuilders available on Silver Clouds and Bentley S2s.

I used to have a Hillman Superminx a couple of years on from the blue cutaway model filled with a trio of Blonde ladies. (Borg Warner 35 Autobox too)

3

Takes me back -- my first car was a 1961 Singer Gazelle IIIA convertible with twin SU carbs and overdrive on third and fourth. Went fairly well in a straight line, but cornered like a foam mattress. It was replaced by a 1934 Morgan -- more my style at the time.

5

So much to enjoy in there, Metman. For me it's the perfect era.

Noggsly, absolutely agree that the Countryman is a Silver Cloud custom variant.

The P5 Rovers are great too. And that Jensen CV8! So deliciously over the top, big Chrysler power and English armchair interior combined. Sean Connery had one in green and another silver one was star car in the ITC series 'The Baron'.

The music is great too- relentlessly optimistic, moving ever forwards to nobody knows where, the perfect counterpart to the jingoistic narration. I like the Super Minx too, Dave. I was on a recording session once and the drummer for the day turned up in one. Automatic. Powder blue with a white top. His name was, quite unfeasibly, Eddie Cochran.

6

That Lagonda Rapide at the end of the film is pretty tasty too...

Dave, my Superminx used to handle in a similar way! It was like driving a sofa, especially as it was still shod with Crossplies.

Ade, that blue with a white hood Hillman colour scheme was a beauty. Mine was a four door saloon, Storm Grey with an Alabaster side stripe. Orange/red vinyl interior including orange carpets.

7

Thanks, Metman! I've owned a couple of those, but not quite so new.

8

Goodness me, your father must have been working for Studebaker right at the moment of Sherwood Egbert's final throw of the dice. I'd love to hear more about the work he was doing and the atmosphere at that time.

9

That was quite fun. Grew up in a '67 Rover P6 and still have the English car bug.

11

Ade, my dad worked as a salesman for the local Studebaker dealerships, Steele Motors. The auto shows would use local support, as they do now. He left the dealership before the company went under. I believe you know, I still have his 1963 Gran Turismo Hawk. It was my first car, given to my brother and me to use when he purchased a new 1972 Javelin AMX. I have that car as well. He was NOT a "big three" (of the US) car guy!
I'll never forget the day he brought home the first Avanti the dealership received. To me, at seven years old, it was like something from outer space had landed on our street! I remember it being gold with an off white interior. Someday, I'd love to own an Avanti... someday..

Our friend Wabash Slim has family who worked directly for Studebaker. I'll bet he could tell some interesting stories from the time!

13

This is real nostalgia city guys! I had a 1963 Humber Sceptre with all the trimmings and a metalic green paint job fantastic dash and seats. overdrive on 3rd and 4th gears , single Zenith carb. would go like crazy. At the time I was travelling to work in Cambridge on a Sunday evening and back to Yorkshire on a Friday teatime. Once on the A1 I could open it up (pre 70 mph speed limits) Was travelling home one Friday doing about 70 when a Lotus Cortina passed me doing about 80. So naturally I passed him doing about 90, he passed me doing 100 so I started to pass him when I heard a tapping noise under the bonnet. This turned into a banging noise so I stopped. The big ends had gone.(also damaged crank shaft.) I phoned my dad and he came and towed me home with his Ford Zephyr (85 miles) we rang a local scrap yard, they had an engine from a Hilman minx, delivered it to our house total price £10. we took the old engine out, replaced it with the Minx engine on the Saturday and I was running again. This engine did 55,000 miles before I had to replace it with another Minx engine £8 this time. This did another 72,000 before I had to scrap the car. I replaced it with a Rover 3 Litre Coupe. But that is another saga.!

14

This is real nostalgia city guys! I had a 1963 Humber Sceptre with all the trimmings and a metalic green paint job fantastic dash and seats. overdrive on 3rd and 4th gears , single Zenith carb. would go like crazy. At the time I was travelling to work in Cambridge on a Sunday evening and back to Yorkshire on a Friday teatime. Once on the A1 I could open it up (pre 70 mph speed limits) Was travelling home one Friday doing about 70 when a Lotus Cortina passed me doing about 80. So naturally I passed him doing about 90, he passed me doing 100 so I started to pass him when I heard a tapping noise under the bonnet. This turned into a banging noise so I stopped. The big ends had gone.(also damaged crank shaft.) I phoned my dad and he came and towed me home with his Ford Zephyr (85 miles) we rang a local scrap yard, they had an engine from a Hilman minx, delivered it to our house total price £10. we took the old engine out, replaced it with the Minx engine on the Saturday and I was running again. This engine did 55,000 miles before I had to replace it with another Minx engine £8 this time. This did another 72,000 before I had to scrap the car. I replaced it with a Rover 3 Litre Coupe. But that is another saga.!

– davedee

That's a great story Dave. Must be a good memory, too.

15

Good video Metman. Thanks

16

Not had a chance to watch the video yet, just read the replies. Just wanted t say the Countryman was the name of the estate/station wagon version of the Austin Cambridge A60.

Not looking to argue, could well be a Rolls in the clip, just sayin’...

17

“Countryman” was also used for the woody estate version of the original Mini too.

The countryman in the video is definitely a Bentley S2, modified by Radford. Apart from the shape of the car there is a Bentley badge on the rear bumper and an S2 badge on the boot lid!

More details here....

http://www.bentleyspotting....

18

Goodness me, your father must have been working for Studebaker right at the moment of Sherwood Egbert's final throw of the dice. I'd love to hear more about the work he was doing and the atmosphere at that time.

– ade

My Dad (and both grandfathers, as well as some uncles and aunts) worked at Studebaker. Dad worked as a machinist in R&D. He stayed on even after the South Bend shutdown dismantling sold-off machinery. I worked in the plants 4 years later (Allied Stamping) in the paint dept. before going into the service.

South Bend has never recovered. They're still cleaning up the old building sites. The Rust Belt syndrome hit all over the upper Midwest. South Bend has turned into one of the 20 most dangerous cities in the US. I'm glad I moved out 40+ years ago.

I'm glad not to be involved in the auto industry, tho my wife and some of her family work for Chevrolet. The good parts were the great pay (Studebaker was one of the top paying auto companies) and getting to go to the Proving Grounds some weekends. Employees could get great deals on cars---about 2/3 of dealer costs. Everyone in the family drove one---as did most everyone in town. The bad parts were really bad. Dad was either working double shifts, laid off, or on strike. Strikes were the worst. If you're laid off, you get unemployment (the dole). If you're on strike, there's only strike funds---$25/week for a family of 4. Luckily my grandfather had a grocery store. Mom and I both worked at a drive in theater, I carried papers and worked at a drive in restaurant as well, and Dad fixed TVs and radios as a PT gig. Strikes meant we were eating gov't. surplus spam and cheese, cabbage and borscht. 1/4 of the town was out of work when Studebaker shut down. Guys were committing suicide because there was no way for them to feed their families. Grim is a perfect term to describe the situation. Dad worked a few odd jobs till he got hired on at the post office. He tried to work at Electromotive Division, the GE locomotive factory in Chicago, but hated being away from home 5 or 6 days a week. The folks had me put half of my pay on the kitchen table every week. Dad put it all into savings bonds. That helped pay for college.

Dad worked his tail off. Quit school at 16 to go into the Air Corp. B-17 crew chief, then worked as an interpreter when they found the death camps. Worked at EV and Stude's afterwards. Forced to retire when he was 45 due to health issues. He was just worn out from life---the Depression, WWII, Studebaker, the Post Office---all took a toll on him. He died at 52.

Like Metman's Dad, after Studebaker's demise, we had Ramblers. Nothing as cool as an AMX or Javelin, tho. Mom at least had a Rebel SST which my brother totaled. I even had a '63 330---best $30 car I ever owned. Ugliest car I ever owned, too. I had a '63 Stude Gran Turismo, too. Had to give it up due to tinworms. Had a '60 Lark wagon Bluesmobile (ex-county sheriff K-9) which hauled a lot of amps and guitars and such. I'd love an Avanti (or even an Avanti II). Held world's speed record for stock factory autos for 17 years. Had friends that worked there as well.

I hardly get up there much anymore. No immediate family except for a few cousins. The family is scattered widely. We keep in touch online. I'll go up to score some pierogis and kielbasa every so often---just can't get good Polish soul food down here in Dixie.

19

The Mini Estate was called a Traveller, not a Countryman.

Not sure if the woody Minor had a name, that may have been a Countryman, but I don’t think so.

20

The Morris Mini was a Traveller, the Austin Mini was a Countryman. The Countryman name was used on Austin brands such as the A60 and the Traveller name was used on Morris brands. The Morris Minor woody was a Traveller.

22

Neither did I until I just looked it up ! The Mini branding always confused me, especially the early Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor versions. I had a 1964 Morris Mini.

23

For those interested, here's a film from the 1966 Earls Court Show, Unfortunately, poorer quality. "The Big Drive!" Great music track on this one too. Even some twangy guitar melody line later on, and some swingin' sax!

Lots of cool cars. I'm digging the Singer with reclining seats (a la US Ramblers), Rover 2000, Triumph GT6 and another gorgeous XKE.

Some other overseas cars sneak in as well, including a Ferrari 365P with center driver! I figured that was a rare car. Looking it up, only two were made and one is at the Simeone Museum that I frequent, here in Philadelphia!

24

We recently saw this Lotus Elite (I think) from the same era in Interlaken. It was parked on the street and certainly was attracting attention. I had to wait awhile to get a picture without onlookers.

25

Wabash and Metman, thanks for taking the time to talk about your respective families and how their lives were entwined with Studebaker. Harsh reading, even the high moments seem bittersweet but so worthwhile as a social document. When a mighty company tumbles it really does crush the very people that held it up, who did the graft. Thanks both of you.


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