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Why a beloved 1948 Studebaker spent 50 years on a second floor, and how it came down

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Sometime in the mid-1960s, Martin Greider tucked his beloved 1948 Studebaker into the second story of a cobwebbed garage behind his old brick house near Lancaster.

It was a feat. Greider, an electrician, had to remove a second-story window and wall section. With ropes and a pulley system, he yanked the teal, four-door sedan up two long planks.

There it stayed — with tires removed but the key in the ignition — until Friday.

That’s when a telescopic handler, akin to a big forklift, lowered the dusty, 3,200-pound antique to the driveway ahead of next month’s public auction of the home.

In failing health at a retirement facility, Greider, 92, wasn’t present. But his wife, Betty, also 92, watched under an umbrella. Seeing the Studebaker in daylight after 50 years unleashed a flood of memories.

Betty recalled how the 6-foot-tall, fedora-wearing Greider courted her in his shiny Studebaker. He would pull up outside her parents’ home in Blue Ball and take her to the movies, dances or outings with friends in Philadelphia, Tamaqua and a hunting cabin in Potter County.

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One night as she was driving the Studebaker to the cabin, Greider thought she had dozed off. “He grabbed the wheel, and we almost hit something,” Betty recalled. She was not pleased with him.

Betty married Greider in any case, and they took the Studebaker 1,200 miles to Miami Beach on their April 1950 honeymoon. The long trunk displayed a “Just Married” sign.

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Betty Greider holds a couple of her wedding photos. In the photo at left, she and her husband, Martin, sit inside their 1948 Studebaker. At right, the newlyweds load the trunk for their honeymoon to Miami Beach.


A teaching moment

Greider grew up on a Manor Township farm, where his father favored Studebaker trucks. The younger Greider considered Studebakers “the car.”

Betty didn’t share his enthusiasm.

“It didn’t make any particular impression upon me,” she said of the car. “I couldn’t see that it was better than other cars I had driven.”

The Greiders raised five children. Mary Henning, 67, of Delaware County, was in her early teens the day her father put the Studebaker in the garage’s second floor. It had been sitting since 1958 at his father’s farm.

“My dad called us out and lined us up,” Henning said. “We were called to our stations to learn about how a block and tackle works.”

Betty, a nurse, wasn’t there with them. Greider hadn’t even told her what he was going to do.

“I was at work, and the children were told not to tell me,” she said. “I would have probably told him it was foolish. That’s probably why he didn’t tell me.”

Greider planned to restore the Studebaker, but other enthusiasms, from tending a vegetable garden to snowmobiling, occupied his free time. His great passion was rifle marksmanship. He volunteered each summer at national matches held at Camp Perry, Ohio.

One time, Henning happened to mention to her father how the Studebaker sat forlorn and forgotten. “It wasn’t one of my better ideas,” Greider told Henning.

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Betty Greider stands beside her husband's beloved 1948 Studebaker, which was removed Friday from the second floor of their garage, where it sat for more than 50 years.


Ride promised

After the Studebaker was returned safely to the ground Friday, Betty wore a big smile as she posed for photos beside it.

The car will be in the good hands of Pieter Hegeman, 60, a landscaper and self-described “car guy.”

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Hegeman grew up on Lincoln Highway East near the Greiders. He was a good friend of Greider’s son, John, an antique sports car enthusiast. John Greider succumbed to skin cancer last summer at the age of 58.

Hegeman, who extracted the Studebaker, will pay to have it restored by CW Imports in Lancaster, where his son, Anthony, works.

“It makes me feel good that I’m doing something that John would truly have been part of,” Hegeman said. “I promised the family, if I get this thing running, we’re going for a ride.”

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People check out Martin and Betty Greider's Studebaker in New Holland on the couple's wedding day, April 15, 1950.