Studebaker Owners Club UK
1852-1966 A Legacy Worth Preserving
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 Welcome to the SOC- UK Website 


Last updated 26th February 2014

Mission Statement:

SOC UK is dedicated to the preservation and use of Studebakers and related vehicles and
Company history for future generations.


Message from Paul Eccles - President of SOC-UK

Best Wishes to you all for the New Year.  I hope you all received some nice presents from Santa, I did; a 1947 Studebaker Woodie.  The unfortunate thing is I can't get in it because its a model, a 1/43 scale model one of only 100 produced and mine is number 70.  Studebaker produced the Studebaker prototype back in 1947.  It was test driven for over 7000 miles by a Studebaker Area Manager.  While it was a success, the Studebaker engineering department dumped it in the proving ground.  Years later the Woodie prototype has been restored to new by Studebaker loyalists from the Studebaker National Museum.  Why did Studebaker not continue with the Woodie??  At the time new cars were hard to buy.  Studebaker and all the other manufacturers were trying to keep up with demand which continued till 1953.  For the Independents it was the beginning of the end. 

 Keep driving that Stude.   
Paul V Eccles  

President. Paul Eccles.  01204 529753  email 
Vice President. Arthur Melrose.  02380 694715
Membership Secretary. Rex Burr.  01603 412551  email

"A Special Tribute to Mike from his many friends in S.D.C. Publications"  


A special award has been made to the late Mike Sandy who edited the Stude Examiner for many years.  Diana Sandy has received a Plaque from Larry Swanson, the Publications Director and Club Editor of "Turning Wheels", the magazine of the Studebaker Drivers Club Inc of America.  

 Stop Press

Mike Radcliffe is organising several events in 2014:-

Wentworth Castle Drive Barnsley Yorks  Sunday April 13th

Glossop Car Show Peak District Derbyshire  Saturday 17th May 

Evening Dinner Drives.  Venues not yet confirmed
June 19th Thursday
July 10th Thursday
August 28th Thursday

Halloween Luncheon Drive (Fancy Dress)  Sunday 26th October

Remembrance Day Drive  Sunday 9th November

For more details and to book contact Mike on 07506 463621 or email Mike will need to know numbers to book seats for the evening dinner drives and the luncheon drive. 

Bookings have now closed for this years Gordon Bennett Irish Classic Car Run, Port Laoise Ireland, 29th May to 3rd June.  If you haven't booked and want to know what you have missed you can read about the 2013 Car Run below.  


Club News

The latest edition of the Stude Examiner, Volume 17#1 for Jan-Feb 2014 is out now and all members should have received their copies.  Don't forget, if you have letters, photos or articles for the magazine then please send them to:-

Greg Diffen. Tel: 01926 733484 
Address: 86 Greville Road, Warwick, CV34 5PJ

Photos with a few details of where and when taken would also be welcome for this website so please keep this in mind when you are out and about this summer.

email to

 Events and Tours for 2013

The Derbyshire Dales Weekend  10th to 12th May 2013

The weather could have been kinder, but this was a very enjoyable weekend and an excellent introduction for those who had not visited Derbyshire before to the beauty and grandeur of the Derbyshire Dales.  We stayed at the highly recommended Yorkshire Bridge Hotel in Bamford  and on Saturday visited the Derwent Dam and Museum followed by a mystery tour via some stunning countryside to Crich Tramway Museum.  Then back to the Hotel for a special Dinner.  On Sunday our drive took us through the Hope Valley and Winnats Pass to Castleton, with a stop at the Godley Hall Inn for refreshments, then on to the Blue John Mines and the Devil's Arrse, aka Peak Cavern.   After goodbyes to old and new friends it was time to return home. 

Cars on display at Crich

Gordon Bennett Trip to Ireland  30th May to 4th June 2013. 

Mike Radcliffe has sent the following report:-

2013, this was our 5th year we have attended the Gordon Bennett Run in Port Laoise IrelandIf you have never been on this three day Car drive it is a trip you should consider taking.  The traffic on the Irish roads is minimal and it is a pleasure to take to the roads in your pride and joy.
This year five people took up the offer of joining us on the 5 day trip to Ireland, the actual Gordon Bennett Rally is only three days, so you can take the option of travelling over to Ireland for three days or less.

The village we stay in is a typical Irish village with a couple of shops, three pubs, a takeaway and a petrol station, with everyone that you meet in the village speaking to you when you walk past as though you are a local.  The pubs are in a time warp and they seem to have stood still for the past 30 years.  Two local parks, one with a fishing lake and permits can be purchased on a half day or a full day.  Plenty of areas to enjoy a walk and take in the countryside at a snail's pace.
When booking on the Gordon Bennett Rally you have the full support of an extremely well organised car run, with every detail taken care of.  A back up breakdown service is offered free of charge.  Your entry fee covers your maps for the three days, and your car plaque for your car, to identify that you are part of the rally.  On the evening prior to the three day rally you are welcomed to the town by the Lord Mayor and the Gordon Bennett committee, followed by a complimentary buffet and drinks
The day of the first run is followed by a dinner and dance (informal) the cost for this is 25 euros and it is optional.  The second day is followed by a free bar meal, and on the last day there is a Bar B Q for which there is also no charge.  To enter the car rally it is only 40 euros so you get more than value for money.
This year on one of the days we were taken to a workhouse museum from the early 1900's, we had a private visit and we were given a guided tour. This was also included in our rally price.  On the Saturday the cars made a guest appearance in the grounds of the Town Hall for the Rose of Tralee event.  (The Rose of Tralee festival is an international competition which is celebrated among Irish communities all over the world.)  On the day of the original Gordon Bennett drive we parked our cars in the town square in Kill Cullen where the local classic car club from the town put on entertainment and awarded a trophy to the best car.
We had great weather and for those of us with open top cars it was just the perfect time to drive your convertible along on quiet country roads, with the wind gently blowing.  It is rare today that you can enjoy driving along quiet roads, take in the scenery with no boy/girl racers coming along to cut you up.

If anyone would like to join us next year please contact Mike Radcliffe on 07506 463621 or and reserve your place, we have already filled one guest house in the village and I have also received deposits from four of the people who joined us this year.
The date for next year for the five day trip is 29th May 2014 returning on the 3rd June.  And for the four day trip leaving on May 30th returning on the 3rd June.
Come on, make a date in your diary and come along and enjoy the Fantastic Hospitality of the Irish on a magnificent three day car rally.   

Many thanks to Mike Radcliffe who organized both these tours.  He is now considering a Welsh Tour for 2014, no further news as yet but watch this space!   

Rally of the Giants 2013 

The Rally of the Giants, organised by the Pre 50 American car club was held at Blenheim Palace this year on the 28th July, and the SOC UK site attracted attention with a splendid line up of members cars.  As usual it was good to renew acquaintance with existing club members, and also be able to welcome some new members to the club.  

The AGM was held during the day and Paul Eccles our President gave a short address, and was able to confirm that subscriptions will remain at £20 for 2013/2014.  nb to members renewal is due from 1st September 2013.   Greg Diffen announced he was planning an e-version of the  Stude Examiner, to email to overseas members who wanted to receive their magazine via the web. 

Apologies were received from Ann and Rex Burr, Beryl and Brian Falder, and Mike Radcliffe.

To sum up the day, the cars on display were fabulous, the company was good and the weather was kind.  At least two of us forgot our sunhats and got sunburned!        

New members are always welcomed.  It is not necessary to own a Studebaker, anyone with an interest in the Marque is very welcome to join and become a club member.  The £20 subscription is very good value - all members receive six copies of the club magazine, the Stude Examiner, annually.  If you would like to join us, we are a small friendly club, and Rex Burr our Membership Secretary and Treasurer would be pleased to hear from you.

Rex Burr.  Tel. 01603 412551 email:

International Drive Your Studebaker Day 13th September 2014

What will you do on Drive your Studebaker Day on Saturday the 13th and will you remember to take your camera with you?  It would be great to have some photos, but don't wait until September, take photos when you are out and about this spring and summer, it has to stop raining eventually.  Then send them to me with a brief description and I will add them to the website.

Web Master. email.

How did we do in 2013?

Unfortunately we don't have any photos of our shopping trip to Morrisons on the 14th, but thanks to last year's good summer we have attended local car shows and trips further afield, the Rally of the Giants at Blenheim of course, and the Derbyshire Tour.  Another favourite for us is the Classics on the Common show at Harpenden which attracts over a thousand entries from classic car and bike owners.  Driving though Harpenden at the end of the evening through streets lined with crowds of cheering enthusiasts is a great experience too.  

It's always good to try somewhere new as well, Greenham Common earlier in the year was a first for us, and we met up with Arthur, but our Starlight Coupe was completely upstaged by a Messerschmitt bubble car that parked alongside!     

There was a moment of triumph last month however when the Studebaker won first prize in the American Car class at the Alton Town Show.  So all in all a good year for us both. 
Beryl and Slim Fooks.

Thanks to Peter Wilis for kindly sending the following digitised photos taken from early transparencies of his Studebaker Champion:-   


Florida 1955


Pembrokeshire 1958


 Studebaker History

Welcome to the world of Studebaker and specifically the very active part that Studebaker Owners Club UK is playing in ‘Preserving the Legacy’.  Although it was always one of the little guys compared to Ford or General Motors, its history over a period of 114 years, was rightfully a proud one.  Believe it or not, the money to start the business in 1852 had been earned by one of the five Studebaker brothers, who was nicknamed ‘wheelbarrow Johnny’!  He sold wheelbarrows to the miners in California, during the ‘gold rush’, seeing a need and filling it! The five brothers set up their company in South Bend Indiana as blacksmiths.  Business was good with thousands of families migrating westwards, needing reliable wagons to carry their goods.  By the end of that century, Studebaker Manufacturing had become the largest wagon manufacturers in the world!

By then times were changing.  There was talk of such things as "horseless carriages".  With its sound engineering and body construction abilities, it was natural that Studebaker would become a maker of automobiles.  In 1902 it placed its toe in the water, by constructing electric vehicles and two years later it added gasoline cars. 

The 1920s were aptly named the ‘roaring twenties’, anything seemed possible. By the end of that decade, the ‘golden age’ seemed limitless, until the Wall Street crash blew it all away! Many small manufacturers, without back-up of sheer size, went to the wall. Studebaker barely made it, but by 1934, it was pulling itself up by its boot straps and ready to face the future. 1939, 1940 and 1941, were excellent years for the company and then another ‘calamity’, the 1939 war in Europe caught up with the USA.

Studebaker, like most engineering establishments, stepped up to do its part.  It produced nearly 200,000 US 6x6 and 4x6 trucks, thousands of aircraft engines, and nearly 20,000 small tracked vehicles called ‘the Weasel’.  In early 1947, it proclaimed itself ‘first by far with a postwar car’.   It was first as it would be 1949 before the large makers were able to release their new models.  By the early fifties, the ‘buyers market’ came about, with the end of the pent up demand that the war had caused.  The car makers now had to work hard convincing Joe Public that he should buy their particular car over others.  Although Studebaker was the largest of the so called ‘independents’, like them it realised that it would have to merge with another maker if it was to have a long term future.  The grand name of Packard was the suitor in Studebaker’s case in 1954.  For a number of reasons, the ‘marriage’ was not a success and by 1958, the last Packard rolled off the line as little more than an ‘extra deluxe’ Studebaker.
The following year, Studebaker stole a march on the ‘Big 3’, by releasing its new ‘compact’ car named the Lark, a year ahead of them.  The respite was only temporary and the end of 1963 witnessed the closing of its doors in South Bend where it had been for 110 years.  But it went out on a high note.  It had just produced a sports car that is still remembered today, the Avanti.  It then focussed its operations in Canada until finally closing its doors in the spring of 1966, a truly sad end to a great legacy.  But all was not lost. "The Studebaker Driver Club" (commonly known as SDC) had been formed in 1962 with the blessing of the Studebaker management.  This club has grown to nearly 13,000 members internationally in 20 countries.  The "Studebakes Owners Club UK" has been proud to be one of its chapters since 1998.   


Do I need to currently own a Studebaker or one of its associated makes or intend to purchase one before I am entitled to join the club? 

No! Just a general interest and appreciation of its unique history and products.

As SOC UK is a chapter of Studebaker Drivers Club do I also need to be a member of that club?

No, it is not a requirement but is highly recommended.  The club is also an excellent source of cars and trucks for sale should you wish to buy.

As Studebakers are not as common as Fords, Chryslers or General Motors vehicles, will I have difficulty sourcing parts if I do decide to buy a Studebaker?

No!  Because Studebaker Drivers Club is such a large international organisation with many members requiring parts a number of companies have re-manufactured some of the more popular items required.  Most Studebaker engineering sizes were the same as those used by most manufacturers at the time.  Practical help to tackle restoration or general running problems is only a phone call or e-mail away.  Many members have up to 40 years experience to give accurate answers to any question.

Does the club hold regular meetings for its members at least in the UK?

No, that is not possible because the members are spread out so widely.  However, several do get together at different times of the year at general classic car shows.  Our biggest gathering is in July when we attend the Pre50 AAC Rally of the Giants now held in Blenheim Oxfordshire.  Here we have a club stand with member's Studebakers in attendance.