Sunday, July 21, 2024

One man’s fated discovery not just 1951 Studebaker

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CHELAN – Jeff Koehler has always liked Studebakers, and had always wanted to own one. Spying one parked on the street in Riverside, he saw an opportunity to fulfill his dream. What he didn’t know is that this particular Studebaker holds a special history, one that began over 72 years ago.

Excited in his pursuit to acquire the car, Koehler started to work obtaining various contact options for its owner. He made attempts to contact the owner for over a year with no response.

One day, he made what would be his last try. With luck, the owner was not only home, but working out in their yard. This was Koehler’s chance.

After the numerous failed contact attempts and the owner’s great reluctance to part with the car, Koehler was granted an opportunity that day to purchase the Maui Blue beauty he’d been dreaming of. Upon bringing it home, he set to work refurbishing it. He worked tirelessly day and night for two months. Finally, the Studebaker ran again.

Tucked neatly In the glove box, Koehler found mail from California. Curious to know more of the car’s history, Jeff typed the VIN number into the California DMV database. What he found would beautify his life forever. In an unrelenting twist of fate, it was found that the car had not simply made the triumphant course from California to Riverside, Washington.

Jeff’s father, Fredrick Pierce Koehler, had originally purchased this Studebaker in Los Angeles in 1951. A photograph that hangs on Jeff’s wall is of his father pulling into their driveway in it on the day it was purchased. He hopes to recreate this image and share it with family.

The Studebaker is now seen glistening through the valley on occasion, or found guest-starring in wedding pictures.   

Katie Lindert: 509-731-3211 or katie@ward.media

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