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November 2, 2013

Noble man’s 1948 Studebaker a commanding ride

NORMAN — James Frame of Noble loves old cars. He may enjoy trading, buying and selling elderly vehicles even more than actually owning them.

His household has seven automobiles and trucks. Frame’s recently-acquired 1948 Studebaker Commander Land Cruiser is the most senior in his stable.

“I saw that Studebaker sitting on a trailer at the All Transportation Swap Meet at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds,” Frame said. “I looked it over, had the owner crank it up and I liked it pretty good, so I traded him a 1973 yellow Corvette for it.”

Understand that Frame grew up learning the art of swapping iron from his daddy and brothers in Waveland, Ark. At one time they had 38 vehicles around the place. They’d buy a jalopy, fix it up, use it for awhile and, best case, re-sell it at a profit.   

“I’ve always wanted a Studebaker because they were a top-of-the-line car,” Frame said. “Those cars were known to be very safe to drive. They have good solid bodies that were well-built with features ahead of their time.”

This is the first Studebaker Frame has owned himself but back in the day a neighbor had one.

“I’d drive her to the hospital in Ft. Smith, (Ark.,) in that car,” he said. “It was a 1948 two-door with the bullet nose.”

Frame had to do some work on his Commander, but fundamentally it’s a sound ride. The exterior paint and interior upholstery were updated a few years back. All the trim and glass appears to be original and in place. It has rear center-opening “suicide doors” and a “baseball cap” visor over the windshield. Inside and out, the car has an attractive art deco vibe. Frame is the car’s third owner. The odometer reflects more than 100,000 miles and he reckons the engine has been rebuilt. The motor starts effortlessly and purrs quietly as a kitten.

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