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Gillentines years at Studebaker create lifetime of memories
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You could say classic cars are in Leon Gillentine’s blood, and the color is probably Studebaker red. Gillentine liked cars even before he left Warren County to work at the Studebaker plant in South Bend, Indiana, where his more than a decade spent with the automaker gave him a special affection for the unique brand which thrived for over a century.These days, the spry 87-year-old enjoys arranging and browsing his huge collection of automotive memorabilia, including literally thousands of photographs, magazines, books and models stored in his basement after he moved south from his home in Niles, Mich.Though his interests encompass a variety of classic marques, including Duesenberg and Auburn, Gillentine’s principal devotion is reserved for Studebaker, the innovative automotive manufacturer that occupied his working life for 12 productive years in the late 1940s and ’50s.The history of the company is a storied one. The Studebaker family came to the United States from Solingen, Germany in 1736, eventually settling South Bend.