Studebaker Champ Truck Gets Lots of Attention

Description: This 1962 Apache Red Studebaker Champ Truck was sold new in Kansas, but has spent most of its life under the loving ownership of Southeast Colorado local Chuck Donkle.

Published: 10/03/2021
Byline: Hart

Southeast Colorado Owned Studebaker Champ Truck Gets Lots of Attention

A little about Studebaker and truck owner Chuck Donkle

When automakers Ford and Chevrolet came out with their Ranchero and El Camino car-pickup hybrids, Studebaker had a better idea. They put a Lark car front on a truck frame to create the Studebaker Champ pickup. With only 20,000 built from 1961 to 1963, it’s a truck many folks have never heard of, says Chuck Donkle, owner of a 1962 model, the last new truck design built by Studebaker. His Apache red pickup attracts attention at vintage auto rallies he attends.

The Champ has some unique features. It was the first pickup to have sliding rear window and it has a Dodge pickup bed. Studebaker bought the rights to make the Dodge beds in 1962. It’s a long and wide bed; they were looking for hauling capacity Studebaker had a history of vehicles taking long road trips and good mileage.

Chuck has a sentimental attachment to Studebaker. Chuck’s history with Studebakers began in 1959 when Chuck’s parents bought a new 1959 Regal 4 door Lark six cylinder with three speed OD. Chuck learned to drive with this car and in 1965 took his girlfriend on dates in this car which eventually become his wife, Karen.

Each of Chuck’s cars has a story behind it. His favorite Studebaker of his collection is his 1949 half ton short box pick-up which was purchased locally. It was sold new in Kansas and evidently ended up in Las Animas in the 1950’s and how it got there is still a mystery. It went through the local dealership twice and was found in a junkyard.

Southeast Colorado Antique Vehicle Club Logo SECO News

Chuck Donkle is an avid Southeast Colorado Antique Vehicle Club member and promoter. You can find out more about the Southeast Colorado Antique Vehicle Club on SECO News: Southeast Colorado Antique Vehicle Club September Meeting

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