South Bend, Ind. — It had been on The Studebaker National Museum’s “wish list” for years. So when Charlie Hayes spotted an ad for the fully restored 1932 Studebaker President St. Regis Brougham, he contacted Vintage Motor Cars in Cleveland immediately.
Today, the extraordinary classic automobile is proudly displayed in the museum’s main level gallery, thanks to Hayes’ generous donation. A classic car collector and enthusiast who serves on the museum’s Board of Trustees, Sound Bend businessman Hayes knew this particular vehicle was something special the moment he saw it.
“This automobile was part of a great collection of Studebakers owned by S. Ray Miller, which was auctioned off after his death,” said Hayes. “It’s one of the fanciest Studebaker’s ever made, and when I saw that it was available for purchase again, I jumped on it.”
According to Andrew Beckman, archivist for The Studebaker National Museum, only five or six of these vintage automobiles are still in existence. The museum’s latest addition is a full “CCCA Classic Car,” as recognized by the Classic Car Club of America.
“This is a truly exquisite automobile, which we’ve had on our wish list for a long time,” said Beckman. “It’s a very striking, beautifully restored car, and the only one of its kind in our collection.”
The President St. Regis Brougham body style was built for only two years, between 1932 and 1933, in Studebaker’s South Bend factory.
Hayes, who owns cellphone towers in several Midwestern states, currently has 10 vintage automobiles in his personal collection. “But I knew this one was simply too nice to drive,” he said.
Hayes purchased the automobile from Vintage Motor Cars, a leading buyer and seller of antique cars based in Warrensville Heights, Ohio.
“I was very impressed with the attention to detail paid by Vintage Motor Cars,” said Hayes. “It’s clear they understand the nuances of representing such unique, classic automobiles.”
“Everything went very smoothly with this transaction, other than a slight glitch on the title transfer to the museum, which we rectified immediately,” said Matt Harwood, co-owner of Vintage Motor Cars. “This vehicle is a multiple national first prize winner that’s going to be an extraordinary addition to the Studebaker Museum’s collection, and I’m very proud that we had a hand in making that happen.”
The Studebaker National Museum is a state-of-the-art, 55,000-square-foot facility that opened in October 2005. The building is onthree levels and features fully climate-controlled galleries and storage facilities to ensure the best possible care for the collection. The museum was designed by South Bend’s own James Childs Architects and features several design elements from Studebaker’s factory buildings.
“We encourage everyone who loves Studebakers, and anyone who just wants to see an extraordinary example of one of the finest cars ever made anywhere, to come by the museum and take a look at this ’32 Studebaker President,” said Beckman. “Chances are, it’s the only time you’ll ever see one, and I assure you you won’t soon forget it.”