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Studebaker car enthusiasts arrive in Michiana

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -

Pieces of South Bend history hit the road Thursday evening.

Folks from around the globe were in Michiana for a homecoming weekend dedicated to Studebaker car enthusiasts.

Dozens showed up at Bonnie Doon’s Drive-In restaurant to reconnect with one another share stories about their vintage Avanti cars.

“Sadly, it’s going by the wayside,” Mike Lenyo, a South Bend resident. “The younger people just aren’t picking it up.”

Considering these cars have been discontinued for decades, there are quite a few cars on the market that most people are excited about.

But fans of the Studebaker Company say there aren’t too many quite like the Avanti.

“It’s a fiber glass body, built in roll-bar, disk brakes, the dash lights up, it’s like an airplane,” said Lenyo.

Lenyo is a longtime resident of South Bend.

So it means so much more to him that his antique car is a part of the city’s history.

“In 1961, the new president came to town and he wanted something to revitalize the company and he came up with this in 18 months,” he said.

Many folks met up with Lenyo Thursday, despite the dreary weather and many more are in town for a weekend of events dedicated to the Studebaker’s legacy.

“There’s probably 3000 people in south bend this weekend,” he said.

That kind of interest in the area makes other local drivers happy as well.

“It’s really great to bring the history, South Bend history and bring everybody together in town to see all the vehicles,” said resident Dennis Zmyslo.

The Studebaker Driver’s Club International Meet Up runs from May 3-6.

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