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Studebaker Dictator and Porsche 928 - Car Swap: Swap the Senses

Arturo Rivas
Studebaker Dictator and Porsche 928 - car exchange
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Let's start with the similarities: Jessica Herbert, 29, and Helmer Schmidt-Leonhard, 72, rave about older cars . They maintain a very special relationship with their vehicles, see it as a personal statement, as an expression of a special attitude towards life and feel part of the classic scene - so far, so good. When the two talk about their cars, however, they are worlds apart: She drives a Porsche 928 S4 from 1987, he an S tudebaker Dictator 6 GE, built in 1928.

320 hp athlete against 84-year-old pre-war car

Today, the two classic fans living in Mannheim who have never met before are going for a swap their cars for a few hours. To try out whether the ideal of the other would be an option for oneself.

Admittedly, this company has an unequal level of difficulty: Jessica Herbert has never been a pre-war classic like the Studebaker Dictator driven. In other words, a car that, unlike the comparatively highly modern Porsche 928, has neither seat belts nor power steering and brakes, but on the other hand has hand throttle and manual ignition timing. Does something like that make you nervous in advance? 'A little,' explains the young woman. However, she is pretty excited about this driving experience.

Helmer Schmidt-Leonhard is quite relaxed about this unusual adventure. 'Anyone who is able to safely move a 320 hp sports car can certainly drive an 84-year-old Studebaker.' The introduction to the essence of a pre-war classic will take a few minutes.

Complicated start procedure at the Studebaker

When Jessica Herbert finally takes a seat behind the wooden steering wheel, she already knows that the high one is The bench she sits on is not adjustable. And that this vehicle is an exceptionally well restored example that Schmidt-Leonhard only came across after a long search in the USA. To register the car in Germany, he only had to equip it with turn signals, brake lights, a hazard warning system and windshield wipers.

The highlights of the relationship with Studebaker, which has been going on for over a year, were the successful participation in the Bertha Benz ride and the second prize in the 'US Cars up to 1930' category at the 9th International Concours d'Elégance in Schwetzingen.

But now - the start procedure. Schmidt-Leonhard explains the steps required for this: Unlock the steering wheel lock (to activate the ignition at the same time), set the ignition timing to 'late' (the lever for this is on the steering wheel), press the starter button with your right foot (to the right of the accelerator pedal) and at the same time accelerate a little with your hand (the lever for this is also on the steering wheel). Schmidt-Leonhard is happy to admit that it takes a while to internalize this process.

Studebaker engine develops 88 hp from 3,949 cubic meters

The man is all the more pleased, that Jessica Herbert is very interested in the historical technology of his Studebaker Dictator shows. As if as a reward for all efforts, the six-cylinder unit starts working the next moment without any problems. Schmidt-Leonhard secretly expected nothing else from his Studebaker: 'My cars have to be in perfect technical condition.' The important thing for him is the feeling of being able to drive off at any time.

Clutch, put in first gear, accelerate, release the clutch slowly. The Studebaker Dictator jerks briefly, rolls, and picks up speed. 'The complete opposite of the 928', Herbert smiles. But she quickly comes to terms with the long shift lever or the need to double-declutch when changing gears. The pilot is also pleasantly surprised by the sudden outburst of temper of the oldie. '88 hp from a four-liter displacement', adds Schmidt-Leonhard, who accompanies this first maneuver from the passenger seat.

Studebaker too cumbersome to handle

However, he does not have to intervene to support - Jessica Herbert moves the Studebaker Dictator confidently through the busy Mannheim harbor from the first meter, although she is permanently in charge of the steering feels too sluggish.

The final verdict of the young woman: The car looks really great, but is a bit too sluggish for her, too cumbersome to handle.

'And somehow I would be constantly afraid that something would break, which would then be difficult to replace.' The world of pre-war classics will obviously have to wait a while for Jessica Herbert.

Change of vehicle. Helmer Schmidt-Leonhard is clearly looking forward to meeting the sports coupé, which has been part of the Herbert family's fleet since 2003. She has a lot of fun using this car as often as possible in everyday life or taking it on vacation, explains the owner. What do you think about the like Porsche best? The combination of luxury and performance. 'And of course this avant-garde design.'

Porsche 928 with V8 that inspires

The futuristic-looking shape of the Porsche 928 also meets the taste of Helmer Schmidt-Leonhard. Not many cars are as timeless as this Porsche. 'Undoubtedly a vehicle with great potential for classic cars.'

As expected, there is not much to explain than Schmidt-Leonhard in the leather lounge of the Porsche 928 take a seat. 'Everything like in a modern car - coupled with the charm of the eighties.' The man only has to rethink for a brief moment when it comes to the gearshift pattern: first gear is on the rear left - as it should be for a sports car.

When the V8 of the Porsche 928 starts its work the next moment, the pilot listens for a while devoutly to its beguiling hissing, which signals an abundance of power even when idling. Jessica Herbert knows her car all too well: 'With the 928, driving fun begins with a turn of the ignition key.'

Difference to modern cars too small

Immediately afterwards the first lap in the Porsche 928. 'This start off the speed cellar is impressive. ' Schmidt-Leonhard enjoys the bearish performance of the five-liter, but above all this hoarse hissing at higher speeds.

However, the Porsche 928 is not his car. The difference to modern vehicles is simply too small for him. 'For me, a classic has to drive like an old car.' He definitely doesn't want to miss out on this very special, pure experience.

As it stands, the two of them will continue to occupy their niches in the world of classical music. But you can change the car more often.

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