CUSHING, Okla. (KFOR) – The bright, modern lights of the 21st Century have no place in Dale Gillespie’s backyard garage.
“I’ve got everything in here,” he says as he walks a narrow aisle.
His style of time machine is full of black and white pictures, stopped clocks, and the modern machines of the 1950s and 60s made by a converted carriage company called Studebaker, the only kind of car Dale really prefers.
“I just like them,” he smiles. “I’ve probably owned 40 or 50 I imagine.”
He was a tender boat ‘swabbie’ at Pearl Harbor during WWII.
When Dale came home, he started a family then traded a 1951 Mercury for his first Studebaker.
He got a Merc again recently, but he really fell for Studebakers.
Pointing to a wall filled with framed photographs, Dale states, “Most of those pictures are what I own now or what I’ve owned in the last 15 years.”
Gillespie and his cars have slowed a bit in recent years, but he still starts them up once a week.
His 1959 Silver Hawk came with all the accessories, and they still work.
A 1950 winch truck looks ready to go to the next Studebaker car show.
But his pride and joy is a 1964 Hawk, one of the fastest production cars ever made, and, in this case, one of the last.
It came off the production line on December 19th, 1963, the day before the factory closed forever.
“It’s next to last,” he says. “If what I can tell by the window sticker is right.”
In 1960, Dale’s wife’s aunt bought a brand new Lark off the lot.
He still has the car, ‘plane jane’ he calls it, but all original save for the paint.
Dale boasts, “It still gets 27MPG on the highway.”
With a little coaxing, he’s drive it to town and back on gravel roads.
Nothing strays too far these days from the time machine that is his Studebaker sanctuary.
Dale and his favorite cars are holding on to this last outpost, on the highest ground in Payne County, where the last of the Studebakers still run free.
Gillespie has sold off a few pieces of his collection in past years, but he still drives one of his cars every year in the Cushing 4th of July parade.