How do you show your appreciation to a NASCAR legend? Our Dream Restorations out of Mooresville, North Carolina had an idea. Tim Walker, an automotive body expert at Our Dream Restorations, knew that Bobby Allison had a Studebaker R2 pickup truck that he had dearly wanted to restore. So Tim Walker and Our Dream Restorations decided it would be a fitting tribute to restore Bobby Allison’s 1950 Studebaker Pickup for him the way he wanted it done. Bobby had seen drawings and artist renderings of what his truck would look like, but until this week he had not seen his dream project completed. Friday here at the Daytona Turkey Run was going to be the day.
They just unveiled Bobby Allison’s 1950 Studebaker Pickup Friday morning at the Daytona Turkey Run here in Daytona Beach, Florida. Being an old hot rodder, Bobby had started by stretching the cab and working on a special Grand National Buick Turbo V6 motor for the car. Then he had several friends who ran shops in the Miami area that did some work for him over the years. But last year the car was still all disassembled and it was looking like it might be one of those projects that just doesn’t happen. NASCAR legend Bobby Allison had been waiting since 1988 to see his dream come true. Finally today he was able to take his first look at the incredible custom restoration of his 1950 Studebaker Pickup truck they call “EJ.” And was he ever proud.
A large crowd of racing fans and interested spectators filled the Yellow Garage area of the Daytona International Speedway tha morning for the event. Bobby Allison and his wife Judy were there along with family and friends for the unveiling. The truck had been under a canvas cover here since Thanksgiving Day. Bobby Allison was introduced by Dave Chamberlain of Our Dream Restorations, the shop that custom built the classic pickup truck as a tribute to Allison, a man they consider a living legend.
We were told that this truck would be debuted last month at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. But as it turns out, Our Dream Restorations never completed the truck in time. In fact, the owner of Our Dream Restorations told us today that they just hung the doors on it Monday night. You don’t want to rush anything when you spent seven months creating it.
Bobby Allison is the storied NASCAR Champion that won many races and sacrificed much for his sport. In 1988, after winning the Daytona 500, he later hit the wall at Pocono and nearly lost his life. The massive head injuries from that crash have left him with no memory of his career. Bobby also lost both of his sons in NASCAR crashes within eleven months of each other. But it was also in 1988 that Bobby purchased this 1950 Studebaker pickup truck you see pictured here. Bobby was an old hot rodder from the Alabama Gang years. He always intended to restore the old truck but it sat in storage for all this time.
After the crash at Pocono, there were so many hospital bills that needed to be paid that the Allison family had to sell most of his cars and racing equipment at auction to raise money to pay the bills. Bobby and Judy Allison paid for the hospital bills out of their own pocket. About the only thing left was this 1950 Studebaker pickup and they couldn’t sell it because it was just there in pieces. It was the only thing that survived from a proud racers long career.
Recently a filmmaker and NASCAR fan decided to put together a TV program and possibly a movie celebrating the life and successes of Bobby Allison. The Allison family told us this weekend that the funding for the movie had been acquired. Barring any delays they tell us the filming may be done by next spring. The 1950 Studebaker Custom Pickup may be a featured part of that script. Our Dream Restorations owner Jeff Arnold said he wanted a new generation of NASCAR fans to get a chance to know Bobby Allison and appreciate his contributions to NASCAR. By debuting the Studebaker truck here at Daytona they believe it may rekindle the enthusiasm for Bobby Allison’s many successes in the sport of racing. Bobby and Judy Allison are scheduled to go on a nationwide tour of car shows to promote the movie.
Allison had given so much to the sport of auto racing, it was a fitting tribute to see so many NASCAR fans here this weekend during the Turkey Run to shake his hand and get his autograph. I think Bobby enjoyed it too.