The Last Studebaker
Image Information

In 1971 I was living in Los Angeles, running a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard for a friend, and taking photography classes at UCLA. I had a small house at the beach in Santa Monica and a darkroom in the garage out back.

In my spare time I'd walk the neighborhood taking pictures of what one of my professors calld 'the social landscape' Then I'd come home to develop my negatives and make prints.

My next-door neighbor was a commercial photographer. We talked pictures a lot. He had done some work for Westways, the LA magazine of the American Automobile Association. He introduced me to the assignment editor for the magazine.

At the gas station I had a Studebaker Lark cvonvertible that needed a part. The Studebaker dealership was just across town.

It was no secret that the Studebaker brand was going out of business and when I got there I could see why. It was a place lost in time. Mechanics, each with an apprentice, a dark garage with an upstairs lunchroom, well worn white coveralls and a million miles of tire tracks back and forth across the floor. I saw it all.

The editor at Westways had asked me for story ideas. The Frost and French Studebaker Dealership in Hollywood California was my suggestion and I got the asignment.







all images © Michael Heller 2015