‘The Andy Griffith Show’: How Aunt Bee Actress Frances Bavier’s 1966 Studebaker Became Every Classic Auto Collector’s Dream Car

by Matthew Wilson
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Frances Bavier played the sassy and motherly Aunt Bee on “The Andy Griffith Show” for eight seasons. In between shoots, she also got around in style. Bavier drove what’s now a certified classic car and would certainly be the emerald of any collectors out there.

Bavier’s car of choice was a Studebaker. She had been a fan of the brand for years. In fact, she refused to drive anything else at all. How far did her passion for the car go? Well, Bavier was even a member of the Studebaker Drivers Club. The last model of a Studebaker she owned was the 1966 Daytona model. It also happened to be the last year Studebaker made cars. She refused suggestions from others to get a new car, liking the vehicle so much.

And Bavier’s particular car has a ticket to fame. It reportedly appeared in the background of “The Andy Griffith Show” on the street. This is particularly notable considering the show only used Ford vehicles in its show.

By 1983, Bavier decided to hang up her keys and driver’s license for good. But in her final years, she used a driver instead to get around.

Francis Bavier in Her Final Years

Francis Bavier had a popular turn as Aunt Bee on “The Andy Griffith Show” and then followed that up on “Mayberry R.F.D” as well. She retired from acting in 1970 and moved from Los Angeles to Siler City, North Carolina. Bavier used her trusted car to get her across the country in one piece. There, Bavier hoped to enjoy her final days in peace.

But later in life, Bavier became a bit of a recluse. She didn’t like the attention that “The Andy Griffith Show” gave her. She reportedly rarely left her residence and once turned away both Andy Griffith and Ron Howard when they visited. Cats became her constant companions in her later years. She reportedly had around 15 of them.

Bavier passed away in 1989 at the age of 86. She owned her beloved Studebaker until the very end. But it experienced some ruin as Bavier’s health declined with age. The car sat in her garage, all four of its tires flat. Her cats had also wrecked the interior of the car as well.

After her death, Bavier donated her money to charities and even her house to a local hospital as well. She ultimately gave back to the community that she made her home in her final years. As for her car, two collectors reportedly purchased it for $20,000.

Outsider.com