Written by Kerrie Alexander
IT’S love month here at Alive and while our traditional story telling is about passion and
romance between people, this love story is a little different.
It’s about the adoration between a man, his car and a long family history associated with motor vehicles.
To start the story, you must know that Terry Bowen and lovely wife Lesley have been married for 35
years, and worked side by side for more than 20 of those years.
Lesley loves her arts and crafts, and Terry loves his cars. The strong partnership they have allows them to pursue their passions with equal support.
If Terry is missing from the house, Lesley knows that she will find him in the shed, tinkering with
their stunning 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, which was bought from a deceased estate in
Brisbane about four years ago.
Terry’s love of the Studebaker is where his passion for cars first started and was recently rekindled.
The Bowen family owned a car yard in Sydney where Terry worked, but it wasn’t the type of lot that was filled with just average cars.
“The Studebaker was the kind of cars we sold,” Terry said.
“We would sell anything that was different. If it was just an ordinary Holden or Ford, we didn’t bother but if all the car dealers got in anything like this, they would bring it over and we’d sell it.
“All these classic cars that the hot rod guys have got these days, those were the cars that we dealt with.”
His stepfather was also a mad-keen speed car driver and passed on his wealth of knowledge to Terry.
While all the other primary school kids were playing at the park, Terry was helping his stepfather race
speedway cars and hot rods on dirt tracks.
“Because we were involved in speed cars and things like that my stepfather taught me how to drive fast and how to drive properly.
“I used to practice in a paddock on dirt, and it was good fun.”
Terry’s first car was a 1949 Holden that he bought for 50 pounds, pulled apart and completely rebuilt
before selling it and buying a myriad of other classic cars over the years.
He’s no stranger to rebuilding cars, having also worked a long side a good mate in a panel shop
converting Mustang’s to right-hand drive and whatever other repairs were needed.
In his 20s, cars went by the wayside while he focused on his career.
He met Lesley later in life and the two worked side by side looking after displays for Plantation Homes.
“One of the displays had 14 houses in it and we’d look after those.
“We did that for 10 years and had a good time, travelled overseas and did a lot of things.
“With doing all that I couldn’t play with cars.” After retiring and moving to Hervey Bay, Terry was
keen to get behind the wheel once again of a classic.
He had been searching for a Studebaker for about 18 months when this immaculate rare find was listed for sale.
“Rather than buy a car to fully rebuild I decided to try and buy something that I could get in and drive
while I played with it,” he said.
“I love the Studebaker because it reminds me of the cars we used to have.
“They are a real solid car, you can’t break them, and I know how reliable they are, so I thought, yep, I’ll get that.”
Terry is partial to a good sounding V8 and has spent a bit of time getting this one revving to perfection.
As well as the gorgeous moonlight silver colour, the Studebaker has a three-speed transmission, airconditioning and disc front brakes.
The car is totally original, except for new seat belts. From 1962 through to 1964 Studebaker produced this model, also known as the GT Hawk.
It was an iteration of the Hawk series which had begun with the Golden Hawk in 1956.
The styling was performed by Brooks Stevens using the prior Hawk cars as a starting point.
The bonnet was retained while the radiator and grille borrowed inspiration from Mercedes-Benz.
This model was well-loved by its previous owners, with only a few “fiddly” issues that Terry had at first, including overheating.
With a good clean, some new carpet and the overheating issue resolved, she is now a great ride
that’s enjoyed by the whole family.
Terry and Lesley are members of the Australian Street Rod Federation and the Conrodders Hot
Rod and Customs Hervey Bay, and often take the Studebaker out for club campouts and events.
The Conrodders meet next to the All-Abilities Park on Seafront Oval at 10am for a coffee and cruise on the last Saturday of every month.
Come along and have a chat to Terry and Lesley.