How would you have built your favorite car if you could have designed it? That is the question that Nashville’s John Bridges has asked himself several times. Unlike you and me, he actually answered the question by not only redesigning his dream cars, he built them!
On a recent visit to his man cave the drawings, hand built to scale models and the real deals were proudly on display. These aren’t plastic mock-ups, they are drivers. Each one is driven at least once a month.
Mr. Bridges is a long time lover of the Studebaker and Packard brands of the early 1960’s. He believes that Studebaker, and later Packard when they joined up with Studebaker, could have survived if they had improved their automobile designs just a little. It is likely pretty naive of Bridges to believe an automobile manufacturer could be saved with minor design changes. Packard and Studebaker were both once upon a time very successful automobile brands but failed to measure up by the late 40’s and early 50’s.
To demonstrate his point, Mr. Bridges took it upon himself to suggest how these two manufactures should have designed there cars of the period. He began his task with complete design sketches and followed that up with hand carved wooden scale models of his proposed designs. But still not satisfied with models he undertook the construction of several several full size versions of his dreams. I must admit, I wish Studebaker and Packard had built his version of their cars! The two seat Speedster is a natural progression of the 1953 couple and later Hawks.
I have owned a couple of the late 50’s Hawks and loved both of them. If a Speedster were available I would have likely purchased one of those rather than the Corvette I bought.
If you are not familiar with the 1953-1955 Studebaker this car was built from, let me show you. First off, Studebaker never made this model as a convertible only two door sedan and two door hardtop.
The Packard concept car was built from a late 50’s version of the Studebaker Hawk. It features a modified front end as shown above as well as other design modifications.
Mr. Brides did some other cars and has a very unique “Man Cave” to display his treasures. We will be covering those in future articles. Check back regularly.