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Don Kelstrom
1933 Model 56 Regal Roadster

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Don Kelstrom
Seattle, Washington
1933 Model 56 Regal Roadster 

Don writes :
Here is a picture and the story of my 1933 Roadster.

Many years ago I got a call from my good friend, Mike Regan, saying that Mary had decided to sell her 1933 Studebaker Model 56 Regal Roadster.  They had concluded that there was just too much work to be done on the car and they would like to see it restored.  I had been mentioning to them many times that if they ever decided to sell the car to let me know.  The asking price was more than fair as I know they had a much larger offer from others.  I had good intentions to get the car restored soon, but wanted to get the 1933 Speedway President Sedan restored first.  As it turned out, the Speedway took much more time than I had anticipated.  In the meantime, we restored the 1938 Coupe Express and then got the 1941 Commander Sedan Coupe fixed up to use on tours and just driving around.

About two years ago I got serious about getting the roadster restored as I was feeling really bad that I hadnít finished the car as Mary had expected.  The car was in pieces at my place down in Centralia.  First thing was to put the frame on blocks as it had been sand blasted and painted.  Then I started adding the various pieces like the rear end, springs, gas tank, brakes, etc.  Finally I installed the engine and the transmission.  I thought the chassis was basically finished and talked to my friend Russ Haggen about assembling the body and painting the car as I knew it would take me forever to do it myself.  We worked out an agreement and he picked up the car and took it up to his place in Bellingham.  Russ did the body work and paint and I went up to see if we could get the car to run.  After several trials and errors, we got it to run for a few minutes but had to shut it down when it got a knocking noise.  We took it apart and discovered that one rod was bad and one of the pistons was scored.  I took the engine to a machine shop and he discovered a hole in the block that was over the valves where water would leak in. The machine shop determined that it could not be repaired, so I had a real problem.  Russ was kind enough to let me use the block from the 1933 Model 56 Sedan that I had traded to him for which I am very grateful as I donít know where I could find another block.  We finally got the engine back from the rebuilder and installed it in the car.  It seems to be running really good now.  Trying to get the hood and grille to fit properly was a real problem, but after loosening everything up and putting in extra shims under the body, it fits pretty good.  We then put in the new wiring harness and fit some of the trim pieces.

 On December 14th we started the car up and drove it out of the garage for pictures.  It runs, stops, and starts, so now it is just waiting for the upholsterer to do the seats, door panels, and top sometime in the Spring.  I donít know how I can thank Russ enough for getting the car together.  I really enjoyed the time spent going up to Bellingham and working on the car and visiting with Russ and Hazel.  What great friends.

 The only history I have on the car is that it was purchased by Bob Durnal in 1954 while he was in the Navy in San Diego.  It was sitting on the street as the original owner had died.  He paid $125 for the car and drove it across the USA to Virginia.  When he went to sea, his brother used it to go to school.  It was stored in his fatherís garage in 1957 and not moved again until he towed it back to San Diego in 1967.  He sold it to Jose Otero of San Diego who sold it to Mary Regan  in October of 1974.


I hope you enjoyed the picture and story. As you can see, the car is now finished, so I will be looking for my next project......Don

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