by Keith Gramlich
Most of you remember my grandfather Walter Gramlich. When my Dad, Paul, became a
member of the GNYR 50 years ago, my Grandmother, Irene, thought it was a great idea to be able to join my Mom, Dad and me and my Brother at the car meets, and Granddaddy thought it would be interesting to drive a car from his youth. My Dad located a 1928 Studebaker Dictator 2 door sedan in Hollis Queens. It had been there all it’s life. The gentleman selling the car belonged to the AACA and he loved the car, but his wife didn’t share his enthusiasm. In 1965, the car was purchased by my Grandfather.
As I got old enough not to be in a car seat any longer, I wanted to ride in Granddaddy’s “Tiki Car” as I called it at an age still learning the English language. We went to all of the meets that way, with me riding in the Studebaker. These times riding shot-gun with Granddaddy, left a very large mark on me, and I will never forget those times, growing up with the GNYR and the Studebaker. Getting even older still, I would assist my Grandfather going down to Mrs. Budds’ garage where the car was stored, and filling the radiator with water and putting the battery in. The first start of the season was always the best!
I had always said that if the opportunity arose, I would love to have that car. When my Grandfather passed on in 2007 at age 100, my Dad looked at me and said, “Do you still want it?” I said absolutely!! My Dad had also gone “halfies” with my Grandfather on a 1925 Model “T” also, and that was given to my brother, Scott.
At the point that I got it, the Studebaker hadn’t run in over 20 years. I was just happy to have the car in my garage, though with a budding family, time to work on the car was not to be had. My Dad hooked up with an acquaintance of his that agreed to assist me in getting the car running again, and in October of 2011, I drove the Studebaker for the first time as owner. I have since had it out to several meets and love driving around the neighborhood with the kids.
Studebaker’s production in the 20’s were running production years, in that they would make changes to the design of the car mid production rather than waiting for the next model year. So my car is known as a 1928 Studebaker Dictator GE Second Series Club Sedan. It has a 242 cu in. 6 cylinder engine that produces almost 28 horsepower. The car is mostly original, with the original mohair upholstery and having been painted once in the 1950’s, but with the correct colors, even down to the painted spokes on the wheels. A new set of Coker reproduction tires and a replacement Carter BB-1 Updraft carburetor to replace the original Stromberg UX-2 pot-metal carb got the car on the road again.