So you want to know how we
our 1912 E-M-F Automobile?
Well, you have found the right page.
The Story of How We Found Our 1912 Studebaker E-M-F Demi TonneauWith the birth of our third child (and first daughter), McKenna Lynn, my wife, Amy, and I had decided that a third old car was also in order. We were in no particular hurry to buy one.
Like I said before, we had several requirements for the next car we purchased. We wanted a brass era car (i.e. a car manufactured before 1916), and we wanted it to be a touring car. I wanted acetelyene headlights and right hand drive. We both wanted something other than a Model T Ford, unless it was a Town Car (I'm still interested in a brass era Ford Model T Town Car, anyone know were I can find one?).
One day I was out doing a general scan of "E-Bay" items and came across an auction for a 1912 Studebaker. There was no picture and all it said was "1912 Studebaker. Rough condition. Last ran in 1964." At the point I saw the auction, there were about 2 hours left, and no one had bid on the car. The starting price was at a level I could afford, but a reserve had also been set which was higher than the starting price (you E-Bay'ers know what I'm talking about).
Not having time to talk to my wife, I sent e-mail to the owner asking if I could contact them after the auction had ended, if the car did not sell, and discuss purchasing the car. I received a reply saying that would be fine. I anxiously waited for the end of the auction and sure enough, it ended without even one bid.
That night I called the owner. I already knew that he lived in Kentucky and had determined approximately how long it would take to get there. I asked him about the history and condition of the car. He told me that the car was bought new by his grand-father in 1912, and had been in the family ever since. He remembered it running in 1964. It now sat in a barn were it had been moved to in the early 1980's. In the past, people who had seen the car commented on how complete the car was for it's age. He also informed me that the cars condition was very rough and would require a complete restoration.
I told him that I was interested in seeing the car. He told me that they had been sending out pictures of the car to people all over the U.S., and they would be happy to send me some pictures. I told him that, while pictured would be nice, I would really like to come down to Kentucky to "see" the car. He again reiterated that the car was in very rough condition and suggested I see his pictures before I take time to come all the way to Kentucky. He told me that he did not want me to get all the way down there and be disappointed when I got there. I assured him that I am accustomed to seeing very rough cars (since that is all I seem to be able to afford) and he had made it very clear that this car was VERY rough. I also told him that it has been my experience that pictures do not tell the complete story in a situation like this. I have also lost cars waiting for pictures to arrive. I finally convinced him that I would not hold him responsible and he agree to let me come down and see the car the following Saturday.
Early that Saturday, my youngest son, Matthew, and I headed for Kentucky. We arrived at the owners place around Noon Kentucky time. He hopped into my car and we headed over to the farm where the car was stored. On the way there I showed him the photographic record I kept of my Model T as I restored it. As we drove, the roads went from a four-lane, to a two-lane, to a side road to a two path driveway which lead back through the trees to where the barn was. As we walked back to the barn, all I was thinking about were all the stories I have heard over the years of people pulling cars out of barns where they had been stored. In this day and age, I never thought I would have the opportunity to do it myself, yet here I was.
As I looked the car over, I noticed the Studebaker Script on the radiator core,
and the Studebaker plate on the engine side of the firewall, but the headlights
and hubcaps were "E-M-F" and the plate on the firewall said "E-M-F Factories,
Detroit Mich." I had done some research into the Studebaker company and knew a
little about it's involvement with the E-M-F company.
The interior was mostly there, showing the diamond tufted leather seats and leather upholstery on the doors with pockets for storing things. The bottom seat cushions were gone except for the springs.
The more I looked at this car, the more I fell in love. This car was rough, but I did not see anything I did not think I could fix. I was starting to see this car the way it would look all restored. The same thing happened when I first looked at my Model T. I knew I had to get out of that barn quick.
I asked the owner what he was hoping to get for the car and he told me a figure that I had expected, slightly higher than the opening bid from the E-Bay auction. I told him that I would talk to my wife and then let him know what our decision was. I took him back to his house, and Matthew and I headed back to Illinois.
All the way home I thought about the car. At one point on the highway, I noticed a Studebaker Avanti come up from behind, pass me, and then drive in front of me matching my speed for several miles. I took this as a sign.
When I got home that night, I immediately loaded the pictures I had taken onto my PC and showed my wife. Like the Model T, she could not see the restored vehicle I saw in my head, so I went out on the web and tried to find a picture of a restored E-M-F. The closest I found was a 1912 five-passenger touring. She liked the look of the car so we discussed the price and determined that we thought we could afford it. We prayed about it that night and the next day. We came to the conclusion that we would try to buy the car.
That night, we were online and my wife set us up with an instant messenger chat line to the owner who was also online. We expressed our interest in buying the car and made an offer which was less than the price he has hoping for. He informed us that someone else had made an offer for the full price he was hoping to get. Our hearts sank. But he continued to say that this person was planning to part out the car, which he was not comfortable with. I had told him that my intention was to restore the car to like new condition and had shown him what I had done with my Model T. He said he would prefer to sell the car to us and asked if we would be willing to meet half way between our two prices, a difference of about $250.00 from my offer. We agreed and the deal was set. Plans were made to pick up the car the following Saturday.
It will be a long restoration, but I am looking forward to beginning. I will be documenting this restoration piece by piece so please stay tuned and follow the restoration. I purchased this car in June of 2000. I have no idea when I will have it completed. It took me five years to restore my Model T, and I believe it will take me longer with this car.
I have learned a lot about the E-M-F and Studebaker since then, and have documented what I have learned on this web site. I will continue to add to this as I learn more.
I hope you have enjoyed this page. Please follow the restoration of other
pieces of this car. Send me email if you have specific questions.