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Jerry Daniels

1937 Dictator
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Jerry and Nancy Daniels
1937 Dictator Sedan
Actual Mileage: About 19,000 miles
Platteville, Wisconsin

Actually the odometer turned 17,000 while we drove through Chicago from the 2002
International Studebaker Meet in South Bend where the car was judged at
394 points out of 400.

 The Story of Jerry's 1937 Dictator Sedan

The car was purchased new in 1937 by a single woman – the long-time postmistress of East Dubuque, IL, who lived at the top of the Mississippi River bluff and walked to work to the Post Office at the bottom of the very steep bluff. This “commute” and WW II gas rationing
(original gas rationing sticker on windshield) may be the main reasons for the low miles.

She last licensed the car in 1948, and then stored it in her garage until 1971 – with gunny sacks over the car to protect it. Unfortunately the roof leaked, and the body acquired lots of surface rust. In 1971, in her nineties, she entered a nursing home and I acquired the car which had
13,000 miles on it at the time. A tree had to be cut from the front of the garage to get the car out.

I stored the car on blocks during my working years, and only drove it occasionally, such as for the weddings of our oldest daughter and two sons. When I retired, the big restoration project was begun. Little was done mechanically except to replace the clutch, where a mouse lived, and
repair a poorly-designed overdrive pinion cage with brass gears which shattered at 16,300 miles. (My first question: “Was Studebakers’ guarantee still good?”)

Tony Hughes of Cuba City, WI, skillfully did the professional restoration work, and was my patient mentor while helping me re-assemble the car from 257 Jiffy bags. Tony’s wife, Shirley, should receive a medal of some sort. Who else would allow me to reassemble the car in her
living room and even provide a delicious lunch?

During restoration, since the car was extremely original, we tried to be as authentic as possible. For instance we used all the original bolts (after cleaning and zinc plating). The body had surface rust and a few dents, but the undercarriage still had much of the original gloss black
paint under a coating of Mississippi mud. The interior is still original except for the repainted garnish mouldings, steering wheel/column and parking brake handle. Even the rubber floor mats and rear carpeting are original. It took over two months to come up with a successful match of
the exterior paint: Bermuda Blue Iridescent color.

The biggest thrill was driving the 2˝ mile banked oval test track near South Bend when the car was 65 years old – after which we braved Chicago traffic in 95 degree heat on the return trip to Wisconsin.

My wife, Nancy, deserves the patience award for putting up with car parts scattered all over the house for a couple years. (Actually the car was initially titled in her name before we got the # 214 WI Collector Plates.

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