The First 1966 Wagonaire

1966 Wagonaire CNE Unit

Good day all, I am new to this forum. My brother purchased a '66 Wagonaire on a whim while attending a wedding in Calgary Alberta in 2001. He drove this car home with old cracked tires and a leaking right rear axle seal. I began to do a light restoration on it for him. Thinking nothing of this car other than it's a neat old wagon with about 43000 miles.

I disassembled it to a point and had it repainted. The body was in excellent shape with absolutely no rust. I vacuumed about 6" of red dirt from inside the rear quarters. The floor boards under the carpet were still painted original colour and the rear seat had the plastic wrapping still installed.

I have been tinkering with it now for 13 years (no real rush, other things happen) and just stumbled across a couple of messages about early 1966 models. I started to do some research and checking numbers on this car. It is serial #C530008 and the aluminum tags screwed to the firewall by the ventilation filter housing under the V-P8 tag is 16626 and also has another tag with "CNE Unit". It has a locking gas cap, electronic ignition module (but someone has disconnected it) electric rear window and not much more for options.

I don't have any other paperwork with it but the story is that it was sold to a farmer in Saskatchewan and when he passed away it went to his grandson in Alberta. So now I'm a little disappointed that we had it painted as the original paint was reasonable. I had the engine freshened up with new rings and seals as it burned quite a bit of oil on its journey to Ontario. I am presently reinstalling the engine and hopefully will have it back on the road by summer. I would appreciate any information available on this auto. I have added some photos. Thank you. Gary Inkratas

 Well, you never hint of something special about a Studebaker unless you really want the answer. What followed was a long series of entries over the better part of a month. Some of those entries referred to previous posts on the Forum and gradually the Wagonaire was identified as being the first Wagonaire produced in 1966 and special because it was a “CNE” unit (scheduled to be shown at the Canadian National Exhibition) . That seemed to meet everyone’s satisfaction. Everyone except me.

Being a certified Wagonaire nut I couldn’t let the story end there. I contacted the original poster to see if they still had the Wagonaire. No, they didn’t. Here is his reply:
“Good day, Sorry we don't own it anymore, it was sold a couple of years ago to a younger fellow who lived down towards Toronto way. His dad had a couple of Studebakers and his grandfather was the owner of a Studebaker dealership in Bowmanville. But I can't remember his name. If
I come across it or hear from him, which I do time to time I will email you his address. Gary”

True to his word, Gary did send me the email address of the “younger fellow” who had purchased the Wagonaire. I contacted him and received a very nice reply. Yes, he still has the Wagonaire and not only does he still have it but he took his honeymoon in it while towing a classic trailer.

 Traveling over 7,000 miles and journeying from Canada as far South as Nashville, Tennessee on that trip.

His grandfather and father are both still active in the Studebaker world.

A much bigger story is in the works. Stay tuned.

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