This snapshot of John Tom Cohen and his ’57 Studebaker Scotsman was posted at the Cohort by John Lloyd, and not surprisingly, caught my eye. It’s not exactly the stereotypical Scotsman owner, but then this was shot in the late ’70s. But just as surprising is that the original buyer was hardly a typical Scotsman owner either. An actor?
Abe Vigoda, known for a number of movie and tv roles, perhaps most of all for his portrayal of the character Salvatore Tessio (above) in The Godfather, and GF Part 2. He played Phil Fish on Barney Miller, as well as a number of roles on stage and elsewhere. Given that Vigoda’s career only started to take off some in the mid-’60s, I guess it’s plausible that he would have bought a Scotsman in 1957.
I love that top snapshot, as it’s such a period piece, when old beaters from that vintage could be picked up for a song. Looks like it’s needing a bit of attention.
Is that a Datsun 510 behind it ?
Nothing much has changed old bangers from the 90s have hit their lowest values now, cheap wheels for those who need em and theres good stuff amongst it.
Agreed, and certain 1990s cars are in better shape in 2019 than a 1950s car would be in the 1970s.
Was two-tone paint available on the Scotsman, or is the rear door from another car?
It’s the angle of the sun.
That’s what I was thinking as well. Though it sure looks like there is a design painted on the door around the handle.
I’m totally seeing a lighter color in the triangular patch around the door handle as on the car below, not just a sun angle thing. Don’t see the light color on what’s visible of the rear fender though, so I still think it’s a replacement door from a higher-trimmed car (though still a 1957 model).
Please click on the image and look closely. That “lighter color triangle” is a painted-on sun. There are other images painted on it. This is from the ’70s, after all.
Wow, I’ll chalk this up to my eye seeing what it wants to see, which in this case is “door from Studebaker President” not “door from Studebaker Scotsman with a sun painted on it”. But the painted-on sure is located uncannily almost exactly where the second paint color would have been, had it originally been there.
painted-on *sun* that should be
It looks to me like president paint and the “images” around it blots of paint or filler to cover over the holes left by the chrome trim
I agree with Matt. Further, I’m not positive that’s truly a Scotsman, but may just be a primered Champion with all the trim removed and the hubcaps painted.
Matt: among other things, the President had rear door vent windows.
I agree with Matt
The President has rear door vent windows.
I’m not positive that’s truly a Scotsman, but may just be a primered Champion with all the trim removed and the hubcaps painted.
You just defined the Scotsman. 🙂
I’m going to need to know the other things 🙂
I do think it’s probably a Scotsman but I’m convinced that door is from a president. It’s hard to tell in black and white but it doesn’t quite match the body color to my eye.
Among other things…there was more than one type of President sedan, obviously. 🙂
But yeah, why not a President rear door? A Scotsman President.
Yep, there was a President (116.5 inch wb) and a President Classic (120.5 inch wb with the long rear doors). Some jokesters call the short one a Vice President.
It’s definitely a Scottie – the painted 56 style taillights are the giveaway. As for the paint, I am seeing plenty of touch up splotches so some embellishments would not be unexpected on a beater like this.
If there was a car company that would put doors from their highest trim cars on their most ultra-strippo models, it would be Studebaker. 🙂
After a closer look I am starting to come around on the President door. There are lots of little dark spots that look like spray touch up spots, and they all look like they are in areas where there would have been trim holes on a higher trim model. Under the window, the horizontal strip that ends right before the color splash on the door, and the holes for the trim that surrounds the second color around the door handle.
Finding a junkyard door would not have been something unusual for a car of that age and state of beaterdom. What bad luck to only find one that had all those trim holes that needed to be filled and painted.
For 1956 and 1957, Studebaker offered two four door Presidents: the Y-Body 120.5 inch wheelbase President Classic is easily identified by the rear door vent window. This was the successor to the Land Cruisersm a top-of-line model that accounted for a consistent 10% of sedan sales.
The second four door President was the W-Body 116.5 inch wheelbase President sedan that shared the W-Body with the other four door Studebaker Champions and Commanders. It was simply a trim level. included the 289 2V engine.
Studebaker guys refer to the 1956-’57 116″ wheelbase President as the ‘Vice-President”!
That car is a Scotsman, there is no other way to get the body crease on the rear quarter. The door… well?
Abe was very popular on Barney Miller, so much so they spun off a sitcom called Fish based on his character. I never caught it, but as a Barney Miller fan I remember the new show announcement:
Loved Abe Vigoda in his various roles, especially Fish in Barney Miller. There was a Barney Miller episode where the officers recovered a pink ’58 De Soto that was stolen 20 years before, and they were looking for the original owner (the car was never shown). Does anyone remember that one?
Also, who is John Tom Cohen and where is this car today?
where is this car today?
In your washing machine.
Totally remember the stolen DeSoto caper from Barney Miller. Great show with the coolest theme music of all time.
Regarding John Tom Cohen, could it be John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers? He liked old things. Cohen died in September at age 87.
Cars of the stars is sort of a thing right now. On the Seattle (and environs) CL there is currently a 1990 Volvo 740 wagon once owned by Boyd Grafmyre, who was an early rock promoter that brought Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead to Seattle in the ’60s. Grafmyre was a very cool guy and he passed away earlier this month. RIP Graf. One can only guess which rock stars rode around in that humble brick-wagon…
Fish: “I’m wearing my lucky dentures today!”
Wojo: “What makes them lucky?”
Fish: “My dentist dropped dead before I finished making the payments!”
Vividly remember that Barney Miller episode, where the nebbishy thief was perfectly played by Marvin Kaplan. They did find the owner, a mild-mannered woman, who came back to the squad room after seeing the car for the first time since 1958, a bit shaken:
Woman: “It’s so….big….and….pink!”
Marvin: “It’s not pink. It’s Coral! It was a very popular color that year.”
Actually, his name is John Tom Cohoe and he has owned this Scotsman since 1970. We worked together then and have stayed in touch since. I rode in and drove the Scotsman many times over the years.
This turned up on the Studebaker Driver’s Club forum. It’s Abe Vigoda’s ’57 Scotsman with 250,000 miles in a Studebaker collector’s stash of cars?
Are you asserting that’s it, or asking the question? Your second sentence is ambiguous.
It’s clearly not the same car as it has a genuine Scotsman grille.
The rear door isn’t from a President either. 🙂
It was asserted by the fellow who posted the photo that this was the Abe Vigoda Scotsman. Swapping parts was easy and cheap so the appearance may have changed. Other than who its original owner was, why would anyone bother to keep a rusty ’57 Scotsman around, it worth only scrap now.
That’s the Scotsman. That youngster in John Lloyds picture still owns it and will never part with it, tho’ we’re all older today. I took that picture 58L8134 posted , tho’ how it ended up here is a mystery of the internet. The car continues to survive. Here it is today.
It is unfortunate 58L8134 to see that Studebaker rotting away and I like the Liberty Plate on the front end
Not a Scotsman grill
The bumper looks awfully shiny to be a painted bumper. But bumpers are easily swapped
Scotsman bumpers were chromed.
I used to be that thin in the 70s, and it was not unusual.
The car is a Scotsman. John drove the car daily until 1988. It went thru at least three six cylinder engines in that time. As all of that time was spent in New York City, the car had a lot of road ‘experiences’. Yes, it changed appearance,.. Abe and the subsequent owners left unrepaired damage, and NYC did its own thing. . Over time, bumpers changed, doors needed repair. Parts were interchangeable from most any Studebaker body, and John particularly enjoys a good joke. Like putting President seats in to improve the ride. Finding an NOS bumper and putting it on . You could buy new, NOS taillights at Newman & Altman in South Bend for 25 cents. The frame rusted and was strengthened with a bed frame. I went to my first York Studebaker Meet in it in 1986., stayed in Mr. Lloyd’s house and it was so cold I caught the flu.. Why do I still own two Studebakers!?!
I’ve owned something like 10 Studebakers in my life, but John has owned the same two The Scotsman in 1970 and a ’51 convertible since’74. . The top picture is at one of the Studebaker Drivers Club meets in South Bend. John still owns it and it rests quietly in upstate New York. I think the picture with snow is one of mine from a few years ago. But who remembers. I guess the internet never forgets!.
Did John used to attend Carlisle in the 1980’s? I think I might have talked with him about his Scotsman there one time.
We still go to Carlisle. Hershey. The untimely collapse of the Pennsylvania studebaker meets has cramped our style.
Carlisle lost me years ago, too much of the highly popular, not enough variety. On the other hand, Hershey is my Christmas annually! The York Meet was great in the 1980’s, just petered out as the demographic has aged out.
I grew up in Northeast Ohio. I remember the painted poverty wheel covers on the Scotsmen. They may have been painted only on the outside, as the wheel covers rusted out in two winters or so. The center would be flapping in the breeze. I doubt the typical Scotsman driver noticed.
Abe Vigoda owning a 1957 Scotsman is just…perfect. It would be great if a photo exists of Abe and his Studebaker. What a terrific car to have at any car show (and not just one that specializes in Studebakers).
What Lark4dr says is true. I am the guy in the photo. The rear door is from a 57 President, not a President Classic. What you see in the photo is bondoed holes. The door on in now is an NOS door that has since lost a window, etc. yada yada. It’s been dormant for a long time. All body panels except the right rear quarter have been replaced at least once over the years. It was a road warrior on the streets of NYC for A long time! Imagine street parking this beast in
with no power steering!