Automotive

Friends get together for an informal Presidents Day

Updated: 2013-12-20T18:07:09Z

By TOM STRONGMAN

Studebaker ownership connects Art Seifert and Don Armacost, Jr., in ways that only enthusiasts understand. Not only do both have 1939 President sedans – Seifert’s is Velvet Black and Armacost’s is Sun Valley Tan Metaltone – but both cars were also once owned by Seifert.

Seifert, of Lenexa, loves Studebaker Presidents because he bought a 1939 with his paper-route money when he was 16 years old, and Armacost loves Studebakers because his grandfather, Robert S. Armacost, was a Studebaker dealer in Kansas City from 1930 to 1956 when he switched to Pontiac. Armacost’s company, Peterson Manufacturing Co., in Grandview, is home to the Armacost Museum, one of the finest Studebaker collections in the country. The museum is not open to the public and is used solely for charitable events.

In 1976, Seifert’s wife, Jean, gave him a ’39 Studebaker President for their 10th wedding anniversary. It has 38,622 original miles and is in remarkable condition being that it has not been restored. In 1977, Seifert bought another ’39 President, and it was Sun Valley Tan Metaltone. He sold it in 1984 and that is how he met Armacost.

“It was raining, and I wanted to look at Seifert’s President after seeing an ad in the paper,” Armacost said. “My dad was supposed to play golf, but couldn’t because of the weather, so he went with me. He bought the car on the spot.”

The staff of Armacost’s museum performed a complete, frame-off restoration, and the car is immaculate.

Until 2000, Seifert was busy with work, travel and his family, but since then he has had more time to devote to his Studebaker. He often relies on Armacost and his crew for advice and help with his car.

One Friday a few weeks ago, Seifert and Armacost had the Studebaker version of Presidents day when they posed their 1939 Studebaker Presidents together behind the Armacost Museum in Grandview.

Seifert’s is beautifully original, and he is meticulous about keeping it that way. Armacost’s car has the craftsmanship and detail of a fine restoration. It is probably better than new. Seeing both cars together again after 30 years was a bit like a family reunion of long-lost cousins.

Tom Strongman’s email address is tom@tomstrongman.com

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