Carl Szembrot's 1950 Studebaker

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The Knickerboxer News ran a story about Carl and his Studebaker February 13, 1952.
This rear end shot of the Studebaker was printed in Trend Book 105 Restyle Your Car in 1952. Neither the name of the owner or builder was mentioned in the story. Photo courtesy of Trend Book.
In this second photo from Trend Book 105 Restyle Your Car the Studebaker can be seen parked behind Thomas Douglas' 1950 Ford at the 1952 New York International Motor Sports Show. Photo courtesy of Trend Book.
A cropped version of the photo from the 1952 New York International Motor Sports Show. Photo courtesy of Trend Book.
The Studebaker as it sat when Daniel A. Fox bought it from Gary Breau in 2013. Photo courtesy of Daniel A. Fox.
Gary wanted a stock Studebaker convertible, and cut the customized rear end off. Photo courtesy of Daniel A. Fox.
Photo courtesy of Daniel A. Fox.
Photo courtesy of Daniel A. Fox.
Photo courtesy of Daniel A. Fox.

1950 Studebaker convertible originally restyled by R. K. Body Works for Carl Szembrot Jr., of Albany, New York in the early 1950s. After reading several magazines devoted to sports cars Carl decided that he wanted a custom car instead. He took his Studebaker convertible to R. K. Body Works at 183 Spring St. in Albany, and told them what he wanted. The design of the rear end of the car was inspired by the 1951 GM LeSabre concept car, and it featured high fender fins with three flush mounted taillights on each side. The top taillight was a blue directional signal. The middle one was a red tail-light, and the bottom one was a white backing light. The rear end was extended 28 inches as well, and the deck lid was modified and fit the bullet nose from another Studebaker in the centre. Red lights were mounted in the rear nosepiece to make it glow at night. The stock bumper was replaced with a Cadillac bumper, and the body was painted in a "flamingo-color". Except for installing a dual exhaust system and twin chromed tail pipes, the front end an motor were unchanged in the conversion. According to a story about the car in The Knickerboxer News from February 13, 1952, it took a couple of months to complete the job, total build cost was $1,800 USD.[1]


The first night that Carl was drove the car, he noticed a police car that followed him. He was driving north in the Albany-Saratoga Rd., and the cop car was making him nervous. At Latham he pulled into a service station and stopped. So did the police car. Carl asked them what they wanted. The cops replied that they were only curious about the car. Carl's custom attracted a lot of attention on the streets of Albany, and in February of 1952, The Knickerboxer News did a story on the car. The story was titled "Car with 2 Front Ends Attracts Attention". According to the story, Carl was a tavern owner.[1]


Later on in 1952, the car was displayed at the New York International Motor Sports Show. Two photos of the car were printed in Trend Book 105 Restyle Your Car. The caption underneath one of the photos, showing the GM LeSabre influenced rear end, wrongfully listed the car as a 1949 Studebaker. The other photo shows the car at the 1952 New York International Motor Sports Show.[2]


In the mid to late 1950s the car was purchased by a Roger or Robert Bena from Mechanicville, New York. Bena used the car as his daily driver for the next 15-20 years. He parked it not long before he passed away. After Roger passed away, the car stayed at his brother John Bena's property until 2003. During those years, the car deteriorated tremendously. John sold the car around 2003 to Gary Breau of Rhode Island. Gary wanted the convertible portions of the car so he could convert his 1950 Studebaker hard top into a convertible. In 2013 Daniel A. Fox of Peterson, Minnesota bought the car from Gary. It was advertised for sale on eBay as a 1950 Studebaker project. The LeSabre influenced rear sheet metal and other parts were included, so Daniel decided to buy the car so he could recreate the 1952 version of the car.


Have You Seen This Car Before?

Daniel is currently looking for more information about the Studebaker. If anyone have any additional info or photos of the car to share, please email us at mail@kustomrama.com so we can forward the info to Daniel. Any information would be helpful during the upcoming restoration.


Magazine Features

Trend Book 105 Restyle Your Car


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Knickerboxer News February 13, 1952
  2. Trend Book 105 Restyle Your Car


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