It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been to Hershey for the big car show, but my college friend from Charleston, SC was planning to come up for it, so he convinced me to go. He also suggested that I register my 1956 Studebaker President Classic for the show. Anyone who has seen my Stude knows it’s a 10 footer, so I wasn’t so sure I should enter it, as the cars at Hershey are exceptional.
In the end, I decided to register as I would have to pay for parking otherwise. Meanwhile, Hurricane Matthew was making waves during Hershey Week, so my friend’s flight was canceled. Luckily, he washed in with the tide and arrived at my house on Friday afternoon. It was the first time he saw the car in person and really seemed to take a shine to it. Soon after, we left the house and headed to South Carroll High School, as the Stude was taking part in the homecoming parade. It turned out that all the other collectible cars in the parade were Corvettes, so the Stude really stood out because it’s not that common to see an automobile that has craftsmanship with a flair.
As night settled in, we set out to a Harrisburg hotel. Obviously, that would require me to drive the car at night and on the highway. At first, I was a little tepid but later became intrepid as the Stude seemed to have no limit on speed. With the 289 Sweepstakes punching out 210 HP, the cyclops eye speedometer was getting dizzy from all the spinning. While 70 MPH seemed to be a sweet spot, traffic was less than kind and the faster I went, the faster the car wanted to go. We rolled into the 80s several times and the car carried on with great aplomb. In short time, we were at the hotel and all was well.
The next morning, we rose early for the big show and arrived without issue. I had entered the Studebaker in the Driver’s Participation Class (DPC). DPC allows a car to be shown that can be a work-in-progress and/or just a Sunday driver, or a touring vehicle. Vehicles registered in DPC are not point judged, rather they are visually evaluated generally by a two-member DPC evaluation team. After a vehicle has been evaluated for the first time, if certified, it will receive a DPC board, a DPC chip, and a DPC badge. The car was evaluated as soon as the show opened and the evaluators were quite complimentary about the car. What surprised me was that many of the cars featured in DPC could easily be judged, but their owners prefer not to deal with the judging process. Overall, the Studebaker was in good company.
As the day progressed, clouds and then rain joined in on the parade. I was quite happy with the weather as it hid the car’s imperfections (patina). There seemed to be quite a few Studebakers on the show field and I’m not sure if it was always like that, or if I’m just more observant. In any event, the day was as good as expected. The drive home was without incident and the more I drove it the better it seemed to perform. Wouldn’t it be nice if all things were that way?