Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline February 2017
Feature Article

Amtrak Road Trip 2016
20-22 January 2017 Studebaker National Museum

The Amtrak Road Trip this year was to the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend. The museum is located in a purpose-built facility that provides for a fine sampling of the products made by the Studebaker Company from the times of Army wagons of the late 1800’s to the unique sedans available through the middle of the last century.

The trip started at the Amtrak Station (Union Station) at Canal and Jackson in Chicago and we were accompanied by Debby and Bill Mennel. Train service to South Bend is limited to a few trains there in the evening and a few trains back in the morning. All long-time Amtrak riders know that any service anywhere is never to be taken for granted. We were happy for what we got. Other than the limited service the trains were on time and staffed with courteous personnel who were helpful in keeping us together.

The Studebaker brothers started in the late 1800’s as blacksmiths later moving into production of horse wagons.

The battle was not only against gasoline powered vehicles but, also against the horse. In the 1907 advertisement Studebaker lists 24 reasons to replace your commercial horse down fleet with (their) electric vehicles. All 24 are great statements of the time, but I like 2 and 3 in particular. The horse has to be fed always, even if it is not working but ‘idling’, but an electric car costs nothing when ‘unemployed’.

Studebaker then started with automobiles too. They were pioneers of electrical vehicles and had a strong opinion about gasoline motors as can be seen in this quote. When the market clearly went to the gasoline powered cars, they dropped the electric cars from further development.

Reinout wasn’t able to make the ride in the Amtrak this year. But South Bend isn’t too far and with Jeff Powell as the passenger in the “VRY YLW” corvette, they drove to South Bend very early one Saturday morning to join the group for the Studebaker Museum visit.

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