Photo of Toto 6 months after her restoration. I was on my way up Oak Creek Canyon north of Sedona, AZ on my way to the Rt 66 Fun Run. We changed her color from the red to the an original Forest Green during the restoration.
The next photo is set up to look like Toto is hauling that 200 ton transformer on an 80 wheel transport rig. Had a good time taking this with my sister Tina and her husband Gail. We were on our way to be in a parade that Thanksgiving Day morning. Great fun, Drive your Studebaker!
TOTO (she ain’t in Kansas, anymore)
1946 Studebaker Truck
Model M16 with C2 cab (fixed windshield), 152” wheel base, 1 ½ ton
Engine #3M15449, Commander “Big Six” 226 ci, 94 HP w/ 6 blade
Rear end: single speed, 6.6, ratio
Transmission: T9 crash box 4 speed w/ drum emergency brake
Tire size, 8.25 x 20”
Optional equipment: heater, single side defroster, marker lights, hydraulic
tilt bed, shock absorbers on front axle (none on the rear)
’46 Studebaker Home coming
What is a fella to do when he sells his airplane?
Find something older? My plane was already 49 years old!
Find something more fun? Now that sounds good.
Of course I knew all along what I wanted.
Barbara, my wife, gave me a ’47 M5 Studebaker pickup for my wedding present 35 years ago.
We had more fun in that truck and the camper we put on it. It took us to some beautiful places in real style!
With such a distinctive body style and such fond memories, the decision was easy. Go find another M series truck. This time a bigger one, one suitable for parades with lots of people, displays or what not on the back.
Not to say we didn’t take our ‘47 M5 in parades. We did and we won prizes with it too. So off to ebay I went.
What luck I had, found an M16 in Gypsum, Kansas in the last week of August. That was real convenient since I have cousins, Harold and his wife Jean, who live just outside of Gypsum on a farm. A quick call to them and they were very willing to go check out my find. When they called back, Jean said, “She sure is pretty!”. Harold was a little more reserved in his comments when he said, “are you sure you want to drive it all the way back to Arizona in the winter?” The plan was to purchase my new beauty and store it in Harold and Jean’s barn until Thanksgiving week.
Then I would travel to Gypsum, spend some quality time with Harold and Jean, do a tune up on the truck, take care of a few other odds and ends before setting out for Denver. Now I know that you folks who are real good in geography probably thought to yourselves, “I didn’t think Denver was in Arizona.” You’d be correct about that, of course. But it is sort of on the way. Besides, I wanted to meet my wife, Barbara and granddaughter, Caitlyn, in Denver and have Thanksgiving with my in-laws.
It only added a few hundred miles to the trip and gave us a chance to drive the new truck through the mountains of extreme northern Arizona, more commonly known as Colorado. On further consideration and some reflection, it did seem prudent to have a “few” repairs done to our new truck, before I arrived in Gypsum. The fellow that sold her to me, Paul Kruse, happened to know a gentleman in Abilene, Kansas that runs a restoration shop.
His name si Doug Lyne. I contacted the Doug and talked about replacing the broken glass and fixing the seat (well worn by the farmer that had used her for many years to haul grain). Yes, she had spent a large portion of her life as a grain truck. She came with a hydraulic lift bed and a 152” wheel base and a “big six”, 224 ci , 94 horse power. She did not have too many options, no radio, no clock but she did have only 39,000 miles on the still operating odometer. So she was pretty much almost brand new!
At least that is what I attempted to convince Barbara.
TOTO FLIPS HER LID OR TILT GRAIN BOX FLAT BED ‘46
With new window glass in the doors, wing windows and windshields, I thought we were
in pretty good shape. Doug called. He said, “say, you know those metal strips that go on the door windows that give the wing windows a place to seal up to? Well, you don’t have any.” A quick search of the internet Studebaker parts sources, starting with the Studebaker Drivers Club site brought me to a new friend, Vern Ediger and his Studebaker salvage yard, E&V Motors in Halstead, Kansas, only 70 miles south of Gypsum. Vern has a LOT of Studebaker trucks and quickly sent off a pair of those stainless steel window seal parts along with the necessary stainless steel strip that belongs in the center of the grill of an M series truck. He also had two speed rear ends that sounded very inviting but I resisted the temptation to have him mail one of those to Gypsum. I took the idea of the two speed under advisement and decided to go visit Vern’s place on my way to Gypsum. About now, I thought it would be a pretty good idea to ask Doug if he would re-pack the front wheel bearings. They are pretty big on this truck and I wasn’t so sure I’d have time to do that before I would need to leave for Denver. Doug called, again.
He said,” you know the front wheel bearings were ok.”
He was real pleased with himself that he managed to find new seals to replace the old ones. Then he said, “but the front brake shoes are down to the rivets, what-cha wanna do?” The brake shoes were promptly re-shoed. Seemed like a good idea to have the rear brakes checked also. Now, the rear axle on this truck is pretty good sized.
Doug didn’t think his shop could handle it and suggested I talk to Mike, who has a large truck shop next door.
Mike was willing and able and agreed to take off the brake drums. Well the brakes were just the beginning!
Turned out the rear end was full of water, all the oil had come out via the brake drums and soaked the shoes.
The oil had ruined all the differential third member bearings and the wheel bearings. No one has explained how a rear end gets a ½ gallon of water in it.
So off to the Timken store for bearings, Mike went.
He actually found all of them!
The rear end was re-built with new bearings.
New brake pads were installed and the entire assembly was put back under the truck. The cylinders were also rebuilt. I was beginning to question the advisability of answering the phone – it might be Doug. The next call from Doug resulted in a decision to rebuild the front brake cylinders that had been neglected when the brakes were replaced on the front axle, they had decided to leak after the rears were re-built. I think they were jealous and wanted some TLC. Doug called again, this time he mentioned that in the process of moving the truck from Mike’s shop back to his shop that the radiator was leaking pretty bad. Did I want him to have a nearby radiator shop check it out? Well, I couldn’t disagree that a bad radiator would quickly put a halt to the planned excursion, so out came the radiator. It was rotten to the core! Not bad for what appeared to have been the original radiator.
For those not intimately familiar with a Studebaker, it may seem necessary to remove the water pump in order to remove the radiator. Good fortune comes in odd ways sometimes and Doug’s mechanic removed the water pump. Good thing that he did, since the pump was found to
be in very poor condition. The pump impeller looked like swiss cheese after a mouse had been at it for a while.
A new pump was ordered from Studebakerparts.com.
With a new core installed between the original radiator tanks, it looked like the cooling system was good to go. Little did I know how overly optimistic this was.
By this time I had owned our red and black beauty for about 2 months and still had not seen or touched her.
She was still in Kansas and it was another month before I would travel there to make my final preparations for the trip to Denver and then on to Phoenix. Winter weather would be there before I was! I wondered if the heater would work and if those old vacuum wipers would wipe.
I called Doug this time. He called back. The heater was ok, the fan worked and the heater core did not seem to leak. He said he turned the knob on for the wipers but nothing happened. I asked him if the engine was running. He said, “no, why?” A reminder that the wipers were vacuum operated helped to explain the problem.
But Doug was right anyway. The little vacuum motors would not move far enough to move two rain drops, let alone any snow flakes. That sent me back to the internet in search for help with my wiper motors. A few phone calls and I ended up at Bob Ficken’s in West Babylon, New York, well I didn’t actually go there, but the little vacuum motors did. True to his word, Bob rebuilt them and sent them back in time for me to take them with me to Gypsum. He even supplied a set of the original wiper arms, the type that do not use the wee knurled knob.
Bob even warranted his work for 3 years. That is longer than Studebaker warranted the original engine!
I had always thought that wipers always fit on the knob. The knobs were an aftermarket item in 1946 according to Bob. The original wiper arms are little more than a wire assembly the hooked into the motor shaft.
By now I was within a few weeks of leaving for Gypsum.
I had ordered points, spark plugs, condenser, carburetor rebuild kit and oil filter.
I purchased radiator hoses, vacuum line, oil, antifreeze, gear oil and grease locally.
Tools, how many and which ones to take? The little car that I was driving from Phoenix
out to Gypsum was only so big and would only carry so much weight, so I selected only
my best Craftsman sockets, screw drivers, torque wrench and all the other tools that I
could conceive of needing. Harold had tools and an air compressor so I didn’t need to
take the real heavy tools. Spare parts were packed in a couple of boxes and tools into
three steel tool boxes. The little car saged a bit as I left home on Wednesday afternoon, the 19th of Nov. headed for Gypsum. The weather was clear and warm. As heavily loaded as the little car was, she pulled the hills going northeast out of Phoenix with little problem and managed 85 on I 40, Rte 66, headed east toward Albuquerque. Grants, New Mexico was a good place to spend the night. The following morning, after a quick breakfast, I was on the road headed east, again. The little car was not heating up enough to get any heat out of the heater and it had gotten cold outside as I neared Albuquerque so it was off to a parts house for a thermostat for the little car.
An hour later, with a nice warm heater, I was headed east again. I had contacted a Ford dealer ship that I passed enroute to the parts place, asked them for a cost to replace the Tstat. The fella there said about 165, I said, no, it needs 195 degree. He said no, “that’s the price!” I thanked him for the trouble and continued on to the parts house.
I sure am glad I had my tools with me. Of course all the wrenches I had were standard and all the bolts on the little red car were metric so I purchased a couple of sockets with mm stamped on them.
Hutchinson, Kansas looked pretty good by the time I arrived late Thursday night.
Friday, the 21st, dawned clear, bright and cold.
Kansas needs some cloud cover to keep warm at night. Halstead, Kansas wasn’t far away where Vern Ediger’s E&V Motors Studebaker salvage yard, firstname.lastname@example.org, is located. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I drove up; there was a row of M16’s in various states of parts relief and a whole one with a van box on the back in the parking lot. According to Vern, the owner still used the van as a band truck. Band as in musical instruments. During the summer they drive it up as far as Wyoming and make music for folks when ever they decide to stop.
Quite a rig, if you ask me. I had already purchased a few parts from Vern but wanted to see the place for myself and to select a brake booster for the M16. Sure enough, Vern had the brake booster that I wanted, an R60 vacuum booster on an M16. I was glad that it warmed up a little by the time I was laying on the weeds under the parted out M16 picking parts off of the truck over head and stickers out of me, underneath. I knew that I would need ALL of the parts and connections that make up the entire booster assembly since our ‘46 did not have one.
That means the manifold vacuum port, the vacuum line check valve that keeps an engine backfire from blowing up the booster can, all of the brackets, bars and special pedal with an extra ear on it. It turned out to be an all afternoon affair. Of course, that included the time to have lunch at the local café with Vern. We had a great time talking about cars and grandkids (we each have some of both).
I reconsidered the idea of buying a two speed rear end for my M16. The idea had been to get a higher rear end ratio to increase the highway speed of our ‘46. My research showed that putting in a two speed would not help as the highest ratio in a two speed was about 6.00 and my truck probably had a 5.66. After seeing all of the parts, hoses, tanks, fittings, switches and other sundry parts, besides the actual rear end which is M16 huge, that make up a complete vacuum two speed system., I was certain that I had made the correct decision. It would have taken another full day to remove all of the parts!
Harold and Jean gave me a real Kansas welcome.
Dinner was on the table when I arrived. A good meal and I was out to the barn to unload all my tools from the little car. We were going to Abilene the next morning to pickup my M16. After all these months, I was actually in Kansas and about to actually see her for the first time.
The original “plan” had the ’46 in Harold and Jean’s barn long before now but . . . . sometimes plans don’t work out, even when you own a Studebaker. The trick is to just keep on truckin’. Saturday morning came and Harold and I were off to Abilene, the home of Doug Lyne’s Classic Auto Restoration shop. Doug opened the doors and there she was just like I had seen her in the pictures.
I walked around her. Wow, she is big, bigger than I expected. The grill was in better shape than I had thought. A few more dings in the fenders than I had noticed in the pictures. The new tires looked big. 8.25 x 20” tires are very tall and fill up the front fenders of an M16. The grain box was gone, rotted away. The steel deck was in good shape, a few holes from years of use but nothing bad. A single tail light at the back end. A lift style grain bed hangs about 4’ past the end of the truck frame making that single little red tail light look pretty lonely back underneath the bed. I noticed that there weren’t any, as in no, oil spots on the floor underneath any portion of her on the concrete floor of Doug’s shop. Pretty good for a truck 57 years old. I would have leaked more than she did if I had to stand in one spot for a few weeks.
Climb in, turn the key, thump thump thum. Well, there is an electric fuel pump under the floor boards someplace. Depress the clutch, feel for the starter switch down there at the long end of the pedal throw and push a little more. That old 6 volt starter motor groaned and rolled over, the drive engaged the flywheel, the engine turned over slowly and roared to life. Hot dog, this was really something.
The oil pressure gage sprang up to about 60, the ammeter ticked over to charge. I knew for sure now that I had a winner. What a thrill itwas. Well we took a little bit of time to talk trucks with Doug and we were off.
I had a lot of work to do before I left for Denver.
DOUG LYNE & HIS DAUGHTER, DANI JOE
The first thing I noticed as I drove down the country road to Cousin Harold’s place was
that the speedometer worked, for a while. About halfway it suddenly quite, along with the
odometer. What do you think broke? If you guessed the cable, guess again. Keep reading
and you’ll find out what really happened.
I worked pretty late into the night greasing, changing the oil, installing new plug wires
and cap and putting in new plugs and installing a new mechanical fuel pump. I had
discovered the old pump was not even hooked up! She had been running on only the
thumping electric pump. Making certain to start her up after each major change, I
noticed some improvement but she was still running rough. The carburetor was next in
line for major repair on Sunday.
The little car met its new owners on Saturday. My niece, Whitney, and her husband,
Brent, live in Kansas, City. They came out to Gypsum to pick up the little car and to meet Harold and Jean.
BRENT & WHITNEY & THE LITTLE CAR
Now I had to be sure the ’46 was in traveling condition. It was the only
transportation I had although Harold did attempt to get me to buy either his ’54 Nash
Metropolitan or his ’63 Karmanghia. He had retired as an auto body mechanic and had
restored both cars. Either one of them would have fit comfortably on the bed of the ’46. I
resisted the temptation.
Sunday was another picture perfect fall day in Kansas. Off came the carburetor and the
collection of fuel lines and three sediment bowls leading to it. The carb on the big six is
not particularly complicated. Taking the top off revealed the source of the rough engine.
There was no float valve! That thumping pump was overfilling the fuel bowl and raw gas
was flowing into the manifold. I was surprised she would run at all under those
conditions. Nothing was going to keep this Studebaker from running, not even a floatless
carburetor! The rest of the carb work went very well. After all was done, I turned on the
ignition, thump thump, the fuel bowl filled, I hit the starter and she fired right up, a few
turns of the idle jet screw and everything smoothed out, almost like new.
While I was greasing her on Saturday I noticed the exhaust system looked a little worn.
Well actually I didn’t notice it right away, only until I accidentally stuck one finger
through the muffler, did I figure out that something probably needed to be done. I hadn’t
brought exhaust pipes along in the little car. I called muffler shops in Salina, about 20
miles away. The first one wasn’t interested in working on 1 ½ ton truck, regardless of
pedigree. The next call was to Midas. “Bring her on down,” he said. Some time on
Saturday I removed the speedometer cable, intending to purchase a replacement for it
when I went to town for parts on Sunday. The cable was in one piece and looked just
fine. The M16 has a little gear reduction box on the speedometer cable that goes on the 4
speed, T9 transmission. I figured the gear reduction box was broken and I would just
remove it and put the cable directly into the transmission. The little gear reduction box
was just fine. Pulling the drive piece for the gear reduction out of the transmission
housing, I found the problem. The small square shaft that was a part of the drive piece
had broken off. The parts book calls it the “shaft, speedometer pinion – 4 speed”, part #
1716-70A. So there was no fixing the speedometer. I would have to drive by the seat of
my pants to Denver and fix the speedometer at home. Mean while work progressed
reasonably well inside the barn. The barn had been a dairy barn for many years and the
floor was au-naturale, cow manure, well cured. Strange thing about this material as a
floor covering. It is in either a real find dust or large, very hard rock like pieces that you
can trip over in the dark. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about being out of
the wind at 12 degrees.
TOTO IN THE BARN
Harold and I took off for Salina and the Midas shop right after lunch on Monday. Nobody
misses one of Jeans lunches on purpose so it made sense to take care of some of the many
other odds and ends yet undone during the morning. The Midas fellas were a little
surprised when I drove up in the ’46 and had lots of questions about her. When we got
down to business they searched around in the muffler bin for one that looked about right.
An hour later they finished up. Harold and I headed off for the farm. It was getting dark. I
should have checked the lights more closely. The headlights did work just kind of dim.
That gave me a project for the rest of the night. We were back for dinner. You don’t want
to miss one of Jean’s dinners, either. The following day was Tuesday, the day I had
planned to leave for Denver.
TOTO AND SCOTT, ABOUT READY TO START THE TRIP HOME
By 3 AM Monday night I had figured out the old wiring and other peoples attempts to re-
wire the system I had the lights, heater and the two new tail lights that I had purchased on
fused circuits with a new brake light switch.
Tuesday morning came too early. I busied myself packing up tools and old parts. By
lunch I was ready to go. Jean made a good lunch, I took a few more pictures and was on
my way to Denver.
HAROLD, JEAN AND TOTO
The plan was to stay off of the major highways, not wanting to be run over by any 18
wheelers as I trucked along at 45 mph. Kansas Highway 18 runs east and west through
central Kansas and looked like a good choice. The day was sunny and cool and the heater
took some of the chill off. West of Trescott, KS, about 40 miles from Salina, I noticed the
heater was putting out some pretty hot air and then the front end of the truck disappeared
in a cloud of steam. The engine temperature gauge was not operating so I had used the
heater temperature as a guide, looked like I didn’t react quickly enough. A gallon and a
half of water in the radiator and she started up ok. I called Doug. His man, Norm, met me
about half way on my way back to Abilene. Two stops to refill the radiator along the way
and more steam, all indications were that the new radiator had a hole in it somewhere. It
was already late in the afternoon when I arrived at Doug’s place. 30 minutes later Norm,
one of Doug’s mechanics, and I had the radiator out and off to the shop that had rebuilt it.
An hour or so later the radiator was back. It did not have any holes. The problem was
elsewhere. After much investigation a series of problems emerged. I had not thoroughly
flushed the engine block which allowed rust and sediment to clog the thermostat, there
was a damaged corner on the water pump gasket that provided an outlet for steam and the
radiator cap had not fit properly (’46 radiators have a very deep throat on the cap
attachment which requires a special cap).
NORM BETTER KNOWN AS “ELVIS” AND TOTO
Norm installed a mechanical engine temperature gauge for me. Exhaustion set in and I
went to a hotel. At least I wasn’t to spend the night alone. My sister, Tina, and brother-in-
law, Gail, had been driving from Denver enroute to Kansas City (Brent & Whitney’s
place) along the route I had planned to take. We were to have met and had dinner
together. Well, they met me in Abilene. We missed dinner but did share a hotel room.
They wanted to hear about my adventures so we talked late into the night. The following
morning, Gail and Tina continued on to KC and I went back to the shop to finish the
repair work. Making a new gasket for the water pump took some time, flushing the block
as best I could without removing any freeze plugs, I declared the system good to go by
late morning. All the hoses went back on and with an injection of new antifreeze, she was
ready. I greased the chassis again and changed the engine oil and filter one more time for
good measure. By late afternoon I was off, headed west on KS 18, again.
TOTO AT THE ABILENE RAIL DEPOT
The gas gage did not work reliably so I had planned to buy gas every 100 miles or so
until I figured out the intricacies of a partially working gas gauge. The KS highway system is great.
TOTO ON A ROLL DOWN KANSAS HWY 18, HEADED WEST
Even the 2 lane highways are very wide with nice paved shoulders as they pass through
one small town and county seat after another.
LINCOLN COUNTY COURT HOUSE
The picture is of the ’46 sitting in front of the Lincoln County Courthouse. After it gets
dark though, the gas stations along these highways start to close. My plans for staying off
of the Interstate were starting to unravel. Buying gas and getting a late evening snack at
the Philips gas station and store in Hill City, KS on US Hwy 24, I asked about fuel on my
intended route north to US HWY 36. Not a good idea the station owner said. All those
stations will be closed by now. The meant getting on to I 70 as the only way to get closer
to Denver before I decided to stop for the night. One more stop for fuel in Colby, KS and
we rolled onto I 70 headed west. It was getting close to midnight and fortunately the
traffic had thinned out. I had put one of those slow moving vehicle triangles on the back
of the ’46, attached to the edge of the bed when I was in Gypsum; it seemed to work
pretty well on the secondary highways. It wasn’t quite as effective on the Interstate.
The minimum on the interstate in KS is 45.
That is what I think I did. Never got stopped,
never saw a police car. Good thing, since the Kansas Antique plates on the ’46 were from
the previous owner and I had not transferred the title yet. I did attempt to, but Arizona
wanted to see the truck before they would do it. On into the dark cold night I drove. I was
sure glad that I had run a separate ground wire back to the new tail lights and added some
ground straps from the battery to the body. All the lights, including the marker lights on
top of the cab shown brightly. My lights were getting a little dim though and I lost count
of the mile markers and how far I had gone. About a mile before the Limon, Colorado
exit, the ’46 hiccupped, then sputtered and coughed. That woke me up. Wide awake now,
I sensed a fuel problem. Sputter, cough, thump thump thump and the little pump under
the floor boards was searching real hard to find something to pump.
The engine stopped as I turned onto the off ramp at Limon. That ramp slopes uphill just enough to let what
little fuel may have been laying on the bottom of the tank to slip away from the line out to the thumping little pump and the engine. It was 13 degrees outside and a strong gusting wind blew from the north. The ’46 ended up parked on the side of the off ramp under the glow of a street lamp. I took 2 gallon jugs and walked towards the nearest gas station, about ½ mile away. I was going to pour out the radiator water I had brought in the jugs
and use the jugs for gas. Water freezes somewhere above 13 degrees F and I had two 1 gallon sized ice cubes. Tossed them away and borrowed a gas can from the station.
Sure was lucky this didn’t happen 10 miles back in the middle of nowhere! I doubt anyone
would have stopped. 18 gallons of gas and I was off and very wide awake now. Denver
was two more gas stops away.
I rolled up to my in-laws, Max & Mary’s place in Arvada, CO at about 5:30 AM on
Thanksgiving Day. Worn out but glad to be there. Barbara and our granddaughter,
Caitlyn, were there to greet me. Six hours of sleep and we were off to Barbara’s sister’s,
Connie and her husband, JR,’s place for a great feast. Max, and Caitlyn, rode in the ’46
with me to dinner. I noticed that the ammeter was not showing a charge on the way.
Looked like a generator problem. Dinner with all the family was wonderful; there were
about 20 of us. Fortunately JR used to be a mechanic and knew of a generator shop in
Denver that he figured would be open on Friday, the next day.
TOTO AT THE GENERATOR SHOP
Friday came too early. I was less than half way to Phoenix and getting sort of worn out.
Called the generator shop, sure enough, he says, “bring it over and we’ll fix it up for
you.” When I arrived at their little shop Generator Exchange, 2650 W 44th
Ave., Denver,I was surprised and pleased. It really was a generator shop. I pulled the generator out,
gave it to Bob and 20 minutes later it was done, new brushes and ready to roll. It took
longer to put it back in than to have it fixed. Now we were ready to head for Phoenix.
MAX, MARY, CAITLYN & CONNIE & TOTO
A good lunch with Max & Mary and Barbara, Caitlyn and I were off, headed south out of
Denver on I 25. The chase car crew, Barbara, Caitlyn & the puppies, followed in our
Toyota Tacoma. They held a constant 50 mph and I kept ahead of her. My idea of using
the side roads had been blocked by some heavy snow storms. Pueblo, CO was to be our
stop for dinner. A good choice as I was in need of fuel again. Then I noticed a slight
cough, then another. Checked the gas gauge and it showed what should have been plenty
of gas. A few more coughs and we managed to make it to a restaurant parking lot. It was
another dark night but the light from the parking lot lamp revealed a clogged fuel filter. I
had installed a clear plastic in-line filter in Gypsum and then forgot to check it. Well it
was no longer clear. It was plugged with sediment for the old fuel tank. An easy fix and
we had a nice dinner and got back on the road. The traffic had been pretty understanding
so far. This time, Barbara and Caitlyn were behind me in the Tacoma with the 4 way
flashers going all of the time. The lights made it much easier for traffic to notice us. The
climb up Raton pass was in 3rd
gear for a good portion of the pass. Raton, New Mexico
was a welcome site after crawling over the pass and we all bedded down for the night.
We all slept in on Saturday. I 25 was real quiet as we pulled out of Raton headed for Las
Vegas for fuel. The Christmas decorations were all out in Las Vegas around the town
square, what a beautiful sight. The slight cough had returned just as we turned off of I 25
looking for fuel so we searched out a parts house and purchased a couple more fuel
filters. Old town Las Vegas is an interesting place to visit. We recommend it.
There are several routes from the Raton area that will get you to Albuquerque, NM. We
have taken each one at different times. The road to Cimmarron will take you past the
Philmont Scout Camp and Taos. A twisting mountain route that is exciting to drive. I 25
takes you past Santa Fe and through a frequently windy pass area. Not a very interesting
route. Our favorite, the one we took with the ’46, NM Rte #3 goes through a series of
small towns, along a river, past several mission style churches with great stained glass
and something new has been added, a winery. We stopped at the Madison Winery for a
Saturday afternoon wine tasting session and came home with a few bottles of sweet
choke cherry wine. I offered to haul a load of cases in the ’46 to Phoenix for him but he
didn’t have a distributor. Shucks, would have made for an even more interesting trip. Not
far from the winery is the Villanueva State Park. A little ice on the creek didn’t keep
Caitlyn and I from putting our feet in the chilly water. Great place to relax!
THE CHASE CAR CREW, CAITLYN, BARBARA, ANNIE & SAM
The sun was starting to get low on the horizon about now and we had a ways to go. The
next big stop was to be Old Town Albuquerque. It was a 2nd
gear climb out of the park
headed south to I 40. The ’46 managed it just fine. Not far and we were taking the on
ramp for I 40 Rte. 66, west bound. You don’t need to go too far before you find yourself
at the top of a 30 mile long downhill grade into Albuquerque. The ’46 was humming
along at 50 mph. Our fuel mileage had been varying between 7.5 and 9.3 mpg, depending
on the grades. I was pleased with these numbers. I’d like to compare them with any that
other M16 drivers may have.
Old town provided a parking space just the right size for the ’46 which was a nice
surprise. The shops were even open when we arrived. Barbara was real pleased about
that. She thinks that I normally plan these excursions so that we arrive right after the
shops have closed! Old Towne didn’t disappoint us. We shopped ‘til we were all ready to
drop and had a great dinner. Phoenix was still 400 miles away so we decided to head west
before we stopped for the night. Gassed up, we caught Rte 66 again and were off. The
traffic had picked up a lot, I suspect that other holiday travelers had decided to go home
too. That made driving a challenge but we managed and pulled off the road at Grants for
Sunday morning came a bit early but we had things to do and wanted to get home. There
is a limit to the amount of enjoyment you that you can get from driving even an M16!
NOW WE REALLY WERE “OVER THE HILL”
The continental divide provided us a good picture opportunity, place to buy more fuel
and clean the oil off of most everything. Not our oil though. About 5 miles before we
turned off, an 18 wheeler had flown by us (most did this) and not far ahead he blew a seal
and was dumping a lot of oil onto his exhaust system. The smoke screen that he created
put our steam experience in Kansas to shame. Everyone that happened to be behind the
smoking demon got coated with his oil, including us. What a mess. He should have been
driving a Studebaker. Studebakers are not that inconsiderate. The folks that operate the
Continental Divide station and store are real nice and asked about our old truck. Did you
really drive that from Kansas? Remember she still had Kansas Antique plates on the
ARIZONA STATE LINE ON RTE 66, I 40
The Arizona State line came next. What a welcome sight! Got a pretty decent shot of the
State line sign through the windshield and we kept on truckin, headed for the Petrified
Forest. We stopped there for lunch and fuel. Besides all of the interesting things to see
there it is just a comfortable place to be for a while. I'd recommend it for a destination for
a Studebaker drive weekend. They appreciate quality old things there.
We were getting pretty close to home by now, about 5 hours out and still hitting on all
big six cylinders. We took the cut-off at Holbrook, leaving Rte. 66 and off into the
mountains of northern Arizona. A few long 2nd
gear hills after we could see the glow of
the lights from Phoenix in the sky and we were home. The fuel filter insisted on being
changed in Payson and otherwise the last leg of the trip was uneventful. There were a few
times when the engine temperature climbed up to 190 for a while, reminding me that the
engine water jackets needed more cleaning.
TOTO’S HOME COMING
The following Saturday evening was the Christmas party for the Grand Canyon State
Chapter, SDC. We took the ’46 to the meeting, of course, as proof that we made it home.
We plan to have the ’46 to as many of the automobile events in and around Arizona as
our business’ will let us. Come out to the Pacific SW Zone meet if you are out of State
and meet our M16 along with all the other great Studebakers.
Barbara, Caitlyn and I trust that you enjoyed our story as much as we enjoyed
experiencing it and telling you about it. If you want an interesting vacation and like
meeting new people try driving your Studebaker 1400 miles.
Your friends, Scott & Barbara Grainger
I want to take this opportunity to thank my wife, Barbara, for her support in this
adventure. Together we made this a wonderful family event and managed to include a
host of other new friends.