James and Stephanie Bell have always had a great interest in old vehicles, history and enjoying fun gatherings with interesting people.
They also enjoy learning and hearing the stories and history behind vehicles and the people who were impacted by them.
James first vehicles were a 1962 SS Impala and driving the family 1946 4x4 Military munitions carrier and a 1972 Vega in high school. College saw a 1962 Cadillac and a modified 1945 Willys CJ2A Jeep and a 4 spd Camaro. After college James got into big block Chargers, Barracudas, Firebirds and numerous other types such as a 67 Mustang convertible and Jaguar XKE.
After getting married James and Stephanie decided to buy something more unusual and uncommon (a Studebaker!). The vast history of Studebaker and owning something "Different by Design" created a rewarding passion that multiplied into the Bell collection today.
Every vehicle has a story and every person has a story that includes a vehicle.
Fond memories, exciting memories and reminiscing are but a few of the reasons vehicles bring back memories of "the good old days".
Viewing rolling artwork, recycling history, or sitting in a time machine can transport you to that favorite time, or better appreciation and understanding where we've been.
While going to college for a degree in Recreation, several vehicles needing repair required James learning to fix them affordably which was very rewarding.
Although Recreation, Events and later Tourism jobs were a way to be involved in a fun part of peoples lives, an Automotive degree was also a valuable learning lesson in life.
James spent 23 years as a professional Meeting Planner, putting together international event logistics for group events with 500 to over 20,000 people attending.
You can only drive one car, or truck at a time, so loaning some to museum exhibits helped with free storage while others could enjoy seeing them. As the collection grew, a smaller house and larger shop became necessary, so it also became an opportunity to build a permanent home for the vehicles, where they could be enjoyed by many groups of people while we enjoy hearing their stories, seeing their vehicles, or meeting new friends.
Car Clubs, School Groups, Senior Assisted Living Groups and others are welcome to visit the Bell's Studebaker Diner & Museum in Bellingham, WA.
By Advance Appointment Only.
By word of mouth, over 2,000 people visit each year during the owners spare time, when they aren't restoring, or driving a Studebaker.