About 500 classic vehicles are in Cedar Rapids this week, the featured attractions at a national convention of Studebaker owners .
In 1852, the Studebaker brothers began making wagons for the military and for farmers and miners. The company entered the automotive business in 1902 and produced cars until the mid-1960s.
Jim Hundley, president of the Hawkeye Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club, says people from nearly every state and six foreign countries are here this week.
"If you have a Studebaker, it’s just like having a fever," he says. "You end up with one and pretty soon you have to have more and we just all enjoy our cars."
This is the first time the 45th annual Studebaker Drivers Club International Meet has been held in Iowa. Dennis Day will have his 1956 Studebaker Power Hawk on display.
"My wife and I have gone to the International Meets since 1981," Day says. "…We see people once a year at these meets that have been friends now for 20, 30 years."
Day admits the folks who’re in Cedar Rapids are "nuts" for Studebakers.
"We probably are all or some degree of nuttiness," Day says. "…We have folks, though, that are farmers and airline pilots and engineers and every walk of life."
Studebakers will be parked and on display at Hawkeye Downs racetrack in Cedar Rapids on Thursday.
"We want everyone to come out and look at the cars," Day says. "You can look at ’em, but don’t touch ’em, please."
Many of the 500 vehicles expected for the meet will participate in an organized drive through communities surrounding Cedar Rapids on Friday.