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View Full Version : Great '56 Stude Ambulette Prospect


Kurt Arends
01-18-2017, 07:21 PM
Would make a great Ambulette!

http://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/cto/5913637923.html

Kurt Arends
01-18-2017, 08:04 PM
Needs to be white body color with a red inset.

Bill Marcy
01-19-2017, 08:36 AM
It sure would be a fabulous ambulate! The original colors work for me, but I can't imagine what it would take to put this little honey together.

Steve Loftin
01-19-2017, 09:12 AM
A clone is nothing but a fake. What's the point?

Bill Marcy
01-19-2017, 10:37 AM
A clone is nothing but a fake. What's the point?

I agree to a point Steve. However, you saw George Hamlin's gorgeous 62 Studebaker ambulance recreation, didn't you? I would jump on that car in a heartbeat, if it was for sale.

John ED Renstrom
01-19-2017, 10:56 AM
With out the factory installed equipment which would tāke a ambulett to get it how do you make a correct clone? It's easy to do on the out side a lot harder on the inside. I would not mind having the Studebaker though

Kurt Arends
01-19-2017, 07:18 PM
There were hundreds of station wagons turned into ambulances by small town hospitals and funeral homes. Were those "fake" ambulances?

Wayne Krakowski
01-19-2017, 09:03 PM
No indeed, not fake they were the backbone and workhorse of the early emergency services,and for many who could not afford the superiors,and other makes they were the only answer to providing a service.

John ED Renstrom
01-19-2017, 09:42 PM
no they were station wagon conversions. an ambulate was a factory ambulance from Studebaker as a Rambulance was a conversion by ACC for Rambler American. were one could convert this Studebaker into a ambulance it would not be a ambulate. but a wagon conversion.

to say what is the difference is to miss the point of the PCS.
you can paint up and fix the lights of a combo as a ambulance but it's still a combo.just set up as a ambulance, not a low top ambulance. the general public would not know the difference. but we should. there also is nothing wrong with this. it was done a lot.as is the hearse converted to a ambulance. simply a converted car. started out as one thing and converted to another use. surviving examples are a treat to see.

Gorge stated his wagon was a replica of one used at the track In Iowa if I remember with out looking at the pictures. not that is was a ambulate.
he called it a Studebaker.

some will say it's splitting hairs and what difference does it make. but for some of us it's the same as the JFK clone. you don't pass something off as what it is not and preserve history. like the superior ford panel that we know know was built in a body shop in San Fransisco..the true story is much better then the made up one.

Bill Marcy
01-19-2017, 10:24 PM
How would we, the PCS, classify a station wagon ambulance that was converted when it was new, or nearly new?

Does it make a difference who did the conversion?

I really don't think anyone is attempting to mislead anyone, should they decide to convert a station wagon into a station wagon ambulance, any more than someone who would decide to convert a Cadillac, or any other car into a Chicago-style, low deck flower car, such as those done by McClain. I would love to own a Rambulance, but as far as I know, none exist. There is nothing wrong with a well-done replica, so long as you are not trying to deceive anybody, at least in my opinion.

Nicholas Studer
01-19-2017, 10:47 PM
There were hundreds of station wagons turned into ambulances by small town hospitals and funeral homes. Were those "fake" ambulances?

A clone is nothing but a fake. What's the point?

No indeed, not fake they were the backbone and workhorse of the early emergency services,and for many who could not afford the superiors,and other makes they were the only answer to providing a service.

Well - the PCS is first and foremost a society for the historical preservation of funeral and ambulance service - first and foremost the vehicles.

Anyone watching "The Man in the High Castle" or read Phillip K Dick's novel it was based on? It introduced me to the word "historicity." Good ole' Wikipedia tells
us "Historicity is the historical actuality of persons and events, meaning the quality of being part of history as opposed to being a historical myth, legend, or fiction. Historicity focuses on the truth value of knowledge claims about the past (denoting historical actuality, authenticity, and factuality)." In both the book and series - an antique dealer explains the concept to another character by showing her two identical Zippo lighters - one of which was owned by the historical figure at a crucial moment in history, the other is just a lighter.

Even if one could make this Studebaker wagon into a perfect Ambulette replica - it's still just that, a replica. I see where Steve is coming from. On the other hand - who's to know? With the general public - we could probably tell them anything about our cars and they'd believe it. The main point is to preserve history and.venerate the profession - and it doesn't take a perfect, unrestored, originally and fully equipped specimen to do that. As you do a better and better job - fewer and fewer can tell the difference. Isn't it fascinating that the modelmakers built their 60s Flxible-Buick ambulance off a combination car dressed up as an ambulance in the 2000s (the EliteCare one, http://www.professionalcarsociety.org/forums/showthread.php?t=17505 ) rather than Steve Lichtman's gorgeous and original ambulance? Few are the wiser. In that manner - I also see the point of Wayne, Kurt, and Bill.

I think there's room for both viewpoints and not truly a matter of strict "right or wrong." I personally side more towards historicity/authenticity. Unfortunately - even if a near-perfect "replica," - I agree with Ed - we should be able to discern and appreciate "truth in the universe." Another concern is that one day - as those who were around for these cars in service increasingly fade away - the truth becomes increasingly confabulated with fiction. As Ed notes - one only need look at the "JFK Ambulance" for an example.

Kurt Arends
01-19-2017, 11:09 PM
If we were to adhere to this thinking strictly, then we also should not be adding options and accessories to our ambulances that were not there when it was built either.

Nicholas Studer
01-19-2017, 11:27 PM
If we were to adhere to this thinking strictly, then we also should not be adding options and accessories to our ambulances that were not there when it was built either.

An astute point that could be easily argued for.

Others would say if it's period-correct, what's wrong with it?

And yet others would say do whatever makes you happy.

All depends on your interests and why you're "in the game."

Brady D Smith
01-19-2017, 11:30 PM
It's a little more complicated than that.
An Ambulet was a Studebaker product which Came directly from the factory so equipped. Every single part that differed it from a station wagon was available from the Studebaker parts department. Mr. Hamlin's ambulet was created using New old stock Studebaker parts obtained from various Studebaker vendors. Last I knew it was only missing one part that would've been present in a genuine ambulet. I wouldn't be surprised if he is found that by now. So except for the serial number even a Studebaker expert couldnt tell the difference. Makes one wonder how many dealers used those parts to create and build ambulet's that didn't have An ambulet serial number and are not recorded anywhere

John ED Renstrom
01-20-2017, 11:53 AM
Any one can build a station wagon conversion. It was done in house all the time. It would be just as authenticity as any other station wagon conversion. As Brady pointed out Gorge's Conversion was as any dealer or shop could have done with access to Studebaker parts.at this day that in it's self is a Major acolplishment. And makes it a authenticity Studebaker station wagon conversion. There is nothing wrong with a conversion or a clone, the lie comes in when you call it what it's not. Or try to pass it off as the real deal. Just the history on the few major conversion's I know about are way more interesting the walking down to dealer and ordering one. As for adding factory equptment to a car to up grade it. That was something done all the time in the days of being able to pick and choose your options. The options were offered as packages so that dealers could do as the customer wanted. As long as it is a factory option and a compleat instulation. It was something that could have been placed on the car. Aftermarket add-ons are a authenticity deduction. Even if they are period correct. That being said I'm not taking the right hand mirror off my 67 just because GM did not offer one in 67.

So to me that problem doesn't come in making the clone or the conversion the problem is in trying to pass it off as original. Our judge each car on its own merrets has elemenated the lable problem. Which helps the arument over what's it is. But I still draw the line at a hearse converted to a limo. Not a standard practice.

Paul Steinberg
01-20-2017, 02:37 PM
............. Aftermarket add-ons are a authenticity deduction. Even if they are period correct. That being said I'm not taking the right hand mirror off my 67 just because GM did not offer one in 67.

............

Since when have "aftermarket add-on's" become a authenticity deduction? There are lots of aftermarket add-on's that, in my opinion, would be perfectly correct. For starters, sirens and beacons are both aftermarket items that were routinely added to professional cars after the fact, and might not have been installed by the body builder. The same for 2 way radios and antenna's. These were almost always added to the vehicle after it was delivered to the end user. What about add on air conditioning? It was often installed after the car was delivered.
Personally, I believe that many times, it is the misguided beliefs of a few that are driving these "questionable" authenticity deductions. What should be the determining factor is common sense and reasonable determinations, by knowledgeable people, not people with personal biases.
I know of a "marque" car club, whose "authenticity expert" has caused so many problems, that at their international meets, the number of "factory stock" car class is down to such a small number of cars, that you can count them on one hand, and also as a ultimate result, the overall participation in the international meets has also dwindled as a secondary result. I certainly hope that this isn't the road that the Professional Car Society is taking.

Steve Loftin
01-20-2017, 03:08 PM
If we were to adhere to this thinking strictly, then we also should not be adding options and accessories to our ambulances that were not there when it was built either.

Not so. Many ambulances had components changed during their service life based on necessity, preference, and/or availability. If the original Dietz beacon failed (or was damaged) and the local supplier carried Federal, then a Federal was probably used as a replacement. A funeral home I worked for exchanged a Unity beacon in favor of a Twinsonic, and added an electronic siren to another rig that came with only a Q2B. Another firm I know upgraded the alternator on an Olds combination from standard to a 120-amp, and then added a second battery...etc., and so forth. There is nothing wrong with a PCS member adding or exchanging period correct components like this (although I have seen a few that went overboard).

Modifying a vehicle 60 years later, however, to look like something it never was is completely different. In this case, changing a standard Studebaker wagon into an Ambulet would be like converting a Chevelle two-door hardtop into a Malibu SS. Even if original SS components were used and the job well done, it would still be nothing more than a clone.

That said, any vehicle is always subject to the desires of its owner.

Bill Marcy
01-20-2017, 06:17 PM
Not so. Many ambulances had components changed during their service life based on necessity, preference, and/or availability. If the original Dietz beacon failed (or was damaged) and the local supplier carried Federal, then a Federal was probably used as a replacement. A funeral home I worked for exchanged a Unity beacon in favor of a Twinsonic, and added an electronic siren to another rig that came with only a Q2B. Another firm I know upgraded the alternator on an Olds combination from standard to a 120-amp, and then added a second battery...etc., and so forth. There is nothing wrong with a PCS member adding or exchanging period correct components like this (although I have seen a few that went overboard).

Modifying a vehicle 60 years later, however, to look like something it never was is completely different. In this case, changing a standard Studebaker wagon into an Ambulet would be like converting a Chevelle two-door hardtop into a Malibu SS. Even if original SS components were used and the job well done, it would still be nothing more than a clone.

That said, any vehicle is always subject to the desires of its owner.


Ironically, this happens on a regular basis in the mainstream, whether you call it a clone, restomod, or whatever, it is widely done and for good reasons. How many Chenille SS454 were built, or Yenko, COPO, Hemi Mopars, etc. People want to enjoy the cars they want to enjoy and may not be able to find, or for that matter, afford the "real" car.

Nicholas Studer
01-23-2017, 06:29 AM
Ironically, this happens on a regular basis in the mainstream, whether you call it a clone, restomod, or whatever, it is widely done and for good reasons. How many Chenille SS454 were built, or Yenko, COPO, Hemi Mopars, etc. People want to enjoy the cars they want to enjoy and may not be able to find, or for that matter, afford the "real" car.

Just some musings while on night shift. I think anyone who with interest in - or owns - a professional car appreciates and likes these vehicles... On top of that, I think folks often have one or some combination of the below:

1. An interest/appreciation for the automotive aspects of these vehicles, be it mechanical or aesthetic design.
2. An interest/appreciation for funeral service, ambulance service, or fire service history which these vehicles participated in.
3. An interest/appreciation in the history of a local area where a vehicle(s) served.
4. An interest/appreciation of “hot rods.”
5. An interest/appreciation for the macabre, “gothic,” or other “shocking” aspects of these vehicles – particularly with funeral coaches.
6. An interest/appreciation for a 1980s movie that had a 1959 Miller-Meteor combination in it.

If the car’s yours, it’s of course surely yours to do with as you please. However, we are well within the period where I believe it is most important to maintain the legacy of our forebears in the professions these cars served. It is oft-cited here that even 20-30 years ago, that these cars were plentiful and often in good, original condition. All of my vehicles (1961, 1963, 1963, and 1970) were still in active emergency service in 1988. The men who built these cars were just a phone call away. Increasingly, this is no longer the case. I think it is important for us to preserve historicity best we can, lest the truth become convoluted into some caricature to future generations. The JFK ambulance story could’ve easily gone that route had it not been for the historians of the PCS! After all – that vehicle is “period correct” and a quality restoration of a Navy ambulance that I’d enjoy having in my collection – but it’s surely missing its historicity now. Sadly, there is no viable museum for ambulance/rescue service, and the PCS is all there is.

These cars are very different from the identical hordes of passenger cars put out the same year. Pick at least one: The hand-crafted construction, the scarcity, uniqueness of each vehicle, the noble purpose of its service, and the local history each vehicle is entwined with. I personally believe owning one is a responsibility in being the caretaker of a historical artifact. While I derive pleasure from them – that’s not their purpose for existing. I personally don’t see this in terms of scoring points on a judging checklist – or being able to say “Yeah man, it’s all original” at some car cruise. There’s a lot of leeway, and I see no harm in “period correct” alterations on a poorly documented or otherwise “orphaned” vehicle. After all – it “could’ve been done that way.” Sometimes, no good answer can be found for “what went where” after decades of modification and missing equipment. However, for well-documented vehicles like my 1963 Pinner-Chrysler from Rhinecliff, NY and my 1963 GMC Rescue from Norfolk, NE – I think it’d be a real shame if I decided to change them to suit my preferences. I’ve toyed with the idea of opening an actual ambulance museum one day, and I’d like to be able to say what legitimate museums from the Smithsonian on down can – “Yes, that’s what it would’ve looked like, best our research can tell.”