The Old Car Detective

Pipestone Flyer

1931 Studebaker sedan found in Nova Scotia

     Steve Porter of Burlington, Ontario, recently acquired a rare piece of automotive history:

    “Hi Bill.  For a long time, I have been interested in cars from the ‘20s and ‘30s that I have seen at shows and on eBay or Kijiji.  Last year, I saw a 1931 Studebaker Dictator on Kijiji.  It was pale yellow with brown fenders and looked great.  Unfortunately, it was too far away (Cape Breton Island) and cost too much at $29,000.  This past September, I was pleased to see the ad appear again.  I called and the seller confirmed that it had a ‘70s era Chevy 250 engine, an automatic transmission, plus the bonus of power brakes (the original engine was a straight eight with 221 cubic inches and 81 horsepower).

    “We decided to take a trip to see this car, with a side trip to our favourite province, PEI.  We hadn’t been there since the early ‘90s.  There were a lot of changes, such as the new Confederation Bridge!

    “On the way home, we stopped at Sydney to see the car. We really liked it and decided to make an offer. An agreement was reached, and the car was soon to be ours!  My original plan was to drive it home, but it had been raining for six days, plus there was road construction for most of the 2000+ km trip. Hence, we decided to have it shipped. Many thanks to Wayne Hamilton for recommending a good carrier.

    “Our new treasure arrived home on October 12. Two days later, we drove it to the Ruthven car show in Cayuga.  The response was great!  I now have a winter project ahead of me to insulate and weatherproof the doors and windshield to make it a little less drafty.”

     Steve Porter’s Studebaker was probably built in Walkerville, Ontario ( now part of Windsor) with the American headquarters in South Bend, Indiana.  The Great Depression was in full swing by 1931 but Studebaker still managed to produce a wide range of cars in a wide price range, from the Series 54 Six 5-passenger club sedan at $1090 all the way up to the Series 90 President Eight 7-passenger State Limousine costing $3465, when you could buy a new Model A Ford roadster with rumble seat for $515.             

    I’m always looking for more stories.  Email or write Bill Sherk, 25 John St., P.O. Box 255, Leamington, Ont. N8H 3W2.  Everyone whose story is published in this column will receive a free autographed copy of my latest book:  “OLD CAR DETECTIVE FAVOURITE STORIES, 1925 to 1965.”

PHOTO:  Steve Porter’s immaculate 1931 Studebaker Dictator sedan.

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