'Orphaned cars' to be the theme of Allandale Car Show

J. H. Osborne • Sep 13, 2018 at 5:30 PM

KINGSPORT  — One expected highlight of the 40th annual Allandale Car Show this Sunday: a 1952 Studebaker Champion with 56,000 original miles on it. Owned by Sam Quillen, the four-door sedan with “suicide doors” will be among the hundreds of cars on display on the front lawn of Allandale Mansion.

Dan’l Boone Region Antique Automobile Club of America is the sponsoring organization of the event, which typically attracts hundreds of entrants and always draws crowds of participants and onlookers, rain or shine. Still Transfer Co., Inc. is the corporate sponsor.

The show is open to antiques, street rods, “classics,” sports cars, trucks, motorcycles and special interest cars and trucks.

The Dan’l Boone Region club’s members encourage anyone with a vehicle in any of those categories to consider bringing it out for show Sunday.

Back to that ’52 Studebaker:

• It was the last year of that body style, which had been used by Studebaker since 1947. The company had originally aimed to introduce a new model in 1952 but delayed what turned out to be a drastic makeover (lower and sleeker) until 1953.

• It was purchased new at the Kyle Motor Company on State Street in Bristol, Va. — just across the street from where the Bill Gatton dealership stands today.

• When Quillen purchased the car in 2001 from the original owner’s son, it had 23,000 miles on it. “The man I bought it from, his mother was the original owner of the car. When I bought it from him, he was 78. Before I bought it, several other people had attempted to purchase it. He and I came to an agreement on the car. I told him I planned to keep the car pretty much original, which I have. It may have just been the right time. He got to see it a few years later, after I’d had it repainted, and he said his mother would have been proud of it.”

• Studebaker’s name for the car’s color: Piedmont Grey. Its wheels are maroon. Interior door panels are faux ostrich skin. In addition to a fresh paint job and interior restoration, Quillen has had more than 20 pieces of metal trim re-chromed. 

• The black, rubber-coated steel gravel guards near the rear wheel wells would have been chrome on Studebaker’s Commander models.

• Qullen had no previous experience with Studebakers. “When I sat in this car it was the first time I’d even been in a Studebaker,” Quillen said. “I just wanted something different.”

• Studebaker actually started as a wagon company in 1852 and produced Conestoga wagons (think pioneers headed westward), so Quillen’s ’52 Champion was produced during the company’s 100th birthday year.

• Studebaker, based in South Bend, Indiana, ceased production in the United States in December 1963. The company continued to make ’64, ’65, and ’66 models in Canada until about March of 1966. “They just couldn’t compete with the Big Three,” Quillen said. “You could buy a Ford or Chevrolet much cheaper. Studebaker just couldn’t reach those numbers to make it cost effective. They didn’t make near as many cars as the other car makers. You don’t see them very often and it gets a lot of attention.”

• Surprisingly, Quillen said, it’s still fairly easy to get parts for old Studebakers. His has a V-6 engine. The brand’s Commander model had a V-8.

• There’s a strong international Studebaker club, and the cars were always popular overseas. “They sold quite a lot overseas,” Quillen said. “They would ship them kind of like partially assembled in crates and boxes and they had distributors in Europe, South America and the Middle East. So there are a lot of Studebakers.  ... Australia has a lot of Studebakers. It’s sort of odd they sold so many overseas to be such a small company.”

• Studebaker also had U.S. military contracts and provided large trucks through 1964.

• Quillen keeps the car garaged, but does not shy away from driving it. Its odometer is now at 56,000 miles.

Quillen’s Studebaker is one of three cars featured on this year’s limited edition T-shirt for the event, along with a Hudson pickup owned by James Armstrong and an AMC Pacer owned by Randy Still. That lineup reflects the theme of this year’s show.

“This year we’re featuring ‘orphaned cars.’ That’s cars that are no longer manufactured,” Quillen said. “There are a lot of those now.”

The Dan’l Boone Region club is an affiliate of the 60,000-member-strong Antique Automobile Club of America.

The Allandale Car Show is open to all vehicles for a $15 registration fee. The fee includes two adult admissions.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. Sunday and continues until 1 p.m., with an awards presentation at 4 p.m.

In addition to the car show, there will be automobile-related displays inside the mansion, door prizes, car awards, dash plaques, children’s prizes, music, entertainment, food and lots of camaraderie.

There is a $2 per adult “spectator donation” to enter the grounds.

Children under 12 are admitted free. Pets, alcoholic beverages and bicycles are not allowed at the event.

For more information, call Wayne Lambert at (423) 276-3741 or Dave Williams at (423) 765-1095 or visit http://danlbooneregion.aaca.com.