Orlando Area Chapter - History

By Frank Ambrogio

The Orlando Area Chapter began as the Orlando Area Studebaker Club on October 15, 1983. Frank & Anita Ambrogio, Richard Green, Lucielle Moriarty, Dwight & Carolyn Swanson, and Fred & Ruth Wilcoxsin met at the Ambrogio home in Casselberry FL and formed the new club. All eight became the original officers and the process was begun to attract members and obtain a charter as a chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club (SDC). Our plan was to see how things progressed, and if all went well, we would apply for a charter to become a chapter of the parent club.

The following officers served the first term:
President - Frank Ambrogio, Vice President - Fred Wilcoxsin, Co-Treasurers - Richard Green and Lucielle Moriarty, Secretary - Anita Ambrogio, Membership Director - Carolyn Swanson, Activities Director - Dwight Swanson, and Editor - Ruth Wilcoxson.

I had obtained a pamphlet from the Studebaker Drivers Club entitled, "How To Start A Chapter" and following the procedures laid out, we developed our by-laws, established types of membership, and set our dues.

OAC CharterThe Club grew quickly and in March of 1984, we applied for a chapter charter. The chapter charter was granted by SDC on June 19, 1984. The charter was presented on July 5, 1984 at the 20th  International Meet banquet held at the  Hyatt Regency in  Kissimmee, Florida. Outgoing SDC President, George Krem hinted that the charter would be granted and it was presented to me by newly elected SDC President, Stu Chapman.

At this point, the Orlando Area Studebaker Club officially became known as the Orlando Area Chapter - SDC, or simply, OAC. This charter presentation would be Stu's first official act as SDC President and my first official act as OAC President. The Chapmans are frequent visitors to the Sunshine State, and have been members of  our chapter since 1989

The official newsletter started as an unnamed monthly publication. The name Greasy Prints was given to the newsletter beginning with the March 1984 issue, by Editor Ruth Wilcoxsin. In 1988, new Editor Anita Ambrogio changed the printing schedule to a bi-monthly.

The next three meetings were held at the homes of  Swanson (November), Green & Moriarty (December), and Wilcoxsin (January). Larry & Joann Good joined the club at the January 1984 meeting and Larry offered the use of his workplace office for our regular meetings. We met on Semoran near Howel Branch Rd till 1985 when Larry was transferred to the Tampa area. For twenty years beginning in 1985, the OAC held it regular monthly membership meetings in Sanford FL at Sanford Motors on Hwy 17-92 just South of Airport Road. Sanford Motors an auto dealership, formerly Studebaker dealership, owned by Don Bales.  We continued to meet at Sanford Motors until the Don's health began to deteriorate and the dealership was closed. Since that time, meetings have been held at various restaurants. In 2013, our monthly meeting schedule was changed to a quarterly schedule by newly elected President, Dick Langlotz.

The OAC entered the electronic age when the Chapter's web site was established in 1999. The site contains information including a list of officers past and present, Chapter By-Laws, photos of members' cars, registration information, histories of all the Florida State Meets and SDC International Meets. and links to other Studebaker Chapters and information sources.

On March 22-23, 1985 the Orlando Area Chapter served as host for the first time when the 8th Annual Florida State Meet was held at the Quality Inn in Longwood at Hwy 434 and Markham Woods Road. The OAC served as host chapter for the State Meet again on October 14-15, 1988 at the Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora, October 25-26, 1991 at the Howard Johnson in Gainesville, October 21-22, 1994 at the Wilson World Maingate in Kissimmee, October 17-18, 1997 at the Ramada Ltd & Days Inn in Alachua, and at the Orlando Marriott - Lake Mary on October 25-26,  2002, October 28-29, 2005, November 11-13, 2011, and November 04-05, 2018.

The chapter hosted Halloween and Christmas parties over the first several years and a Christmas dinner was held each year when the parties were discontinued. For many years, the chapter also hosted an annual picnic in Apopka. At its peak during the 1990s, the OAC membership totaled approximately 70 families and meetings were well attended. A monthly breakfast has been part of the regular schedule of events since 1986.

The Chapter was formed to:

Encourage the acquisition, preservation, maintenance, and enjoyment of Studebaker and related automobiles.
Provide accurate historical and technical information on Studebaker automobiles, the Studebaker Drivers Club, and the Studebaker Corporation.
Promote good fellowship and pride of ownership among Chapter members.
Publish a newsletter containing news and information concerning both national and local activities, technical advice, and items wanted or for sale.
Meetings are held monthly or as noted in the newsletter, and are open to all members and prospective members. Family membership dues are payable on October 1st of each year. See the membership registration for more information on our dues policy.

Ownership of a vehicle is not a requirement for membership. Many members are either looking for some special model or are simply interested in the colorful history of the Studebaker Corporation, which spanned 114 years (1852-1966).