A Thanks to Our “VAE Family” and…

The first thing I want to say this month is a heartfelt “Thank You” for the caring condolence cards sent us by VAE members after Wendell’s mother passed away in December. She was 107 years old, which was amazing, but she truly was an amazing lady and gave a whole new meaning to “Mother-in-law”. She was “Mom” to me as well as Wendell. Makes me glad all over again to be part of the VAE family! Our VAE Christmas party seemed like a family get-together as do most of our meetings. How often do we actually look forward to a “meeting”?? Now for something completely different.

I was recycling the other day and noticed, once again, how many people don’t bother to read what is accepted as recyclable. I grant that most, at least, aren’t tossing it out their car windows, but that’s another story. Apparently our legislators aren’t doing a very good job either, according to an article in the Burlington Free Press recently. Which brings me to mention throwing trash in with recyclables, tossing plastic silverware and glasses away when they can be washed and reused. It really doesn’t take much time to rinse out cartons, jars and cans, fold out cardboard boxes, remove small lids. And then there’s soda cans and bottles that are returnable for money – they should be rinsed out as well. Our son, in his younger days, worked in a bottle return center and I always think of the yucky smell, especially beer cans and bottles, and particularly in the summer. So I’m a little fanatical about this subject. Of course, there is also my wanting to ‘clear up’ after a meal or a meeting, which goes back to my waitressing days. It drives Wendell a little crazy, but I just feel I have to help “neaten” up, clustering the cups and glasses, etc., for easier removal by our server. My fellow writer, Nancy Olney, and I are on the same page with this “neatening up”, should I say, hang-up!? Anyone who has been to our home probably wonders why I don’t practice what I preach – my answer is, too busy baking!

Talking Shop – Dave’s Garage

No questions to answer this month, so I’ll take this opportunity to “talk shop.”

I like to work on cars. Fortunately, antique cars give me plenty of opportunities to do just that. Occasionally a problem will come up and it will stump me. This is often upsetting at the time, but usually works out well in the end. I say this because I usually end up buying a new tool, or, I learn something.

I have a rather large assortment of tools, from a nice collection of hand tools to more specialized tools. Several years ago Wilson Tire in Lebanon, NH sold off all their equipment, including the lifts. I was able to buy a two post lift for my garage at a very favorable price, and now I am equipped to do most repairs on cars. I refuse to buy a tool that I will only use a couple of times. If it becomes clear that I will get a lot of use out of a tool, I will purchase it, but it needs to justify the expense and the amount of space it takes up in my gar-age. I can do my own A/C repair now, but I don’t have a fancy several thousand dollar evacuation machine, I have a $15 dollar compres-sor powered vacuum pump from Harbor Freight. It works, and I’ve probably used it 4 times now.

The tool I use the most, though, is my computer. Knowledge is power, and if I need to learn about something the internet is always just a few finger strokes away.

I have found the Internet forums quite helpful. There is more knowledge and experience there than in any book. Chances are, whenever I have a problem or a question I need answered there is a group of people who have already solved it and they are all too happy to help. This resource is invaluable for answering questions and solving problems. The internet is very useful during a restoration, from find-ing pictures of how things are supposed to be assembled, to finding out the finer points of originality, all the answers can be found on line. If you have a particularly troubling problem, come to a VAE meeting and ask for help. You will be hard pressed to find another room with more knowledge and people willing to help. If you can’t wait for a meeting, pick up the VAE Roster and look for a person with a car similar to yours, and give them a call.

Another tip I have found to be very beneficial is the use of another similar car. It is amazing how we get used to something, and then just assume that it is normal. The best way I can judge what is “right” on any particular car is to compare it with a car that is right. Take the opportunity to drive someone else’s car. This is a great way to see if everything is as it should be on your car. It is truly amazing how things change over time, and we get used to it. Our cars need to drive safely, and we simply cannot drive with brakes or suspension components that are not up to par.


Please email all inquiries to: Dave
or snail mail
32 Turkey Hill Road
Richmond VT 05477

1947 Hudson Big Boy

mervin wells hudson pickupWhen I called Mervin Wells to ask if I could feature his Hudson Big Boy Pickup for Wheel Tracks this month, all I knew was what is entered in our 2011 Roster. A couple of phone calls later and a visit to Marshfield and presto, I have met some of the nicest folks you can find in all of Vermont.
Merv and his wife Clara live in the Winooski River Valley just south of Marshfield in the farmhouse his folks had and where he grew up; a beautiful valley, even in the middle of winter without our normal snow. Merv is 90 years old and they have been married 67 years, he was a plumbing and heating specialist and Clara a bookkeeper at Goddard College for many years. Their daughter Betty claims the reason for her parent’s great health is Clara’s cooking skills, she has a degree in nutrition. Merv was a drummer in a band back in the 40s and even though Clara’s folks wanted her to “stay away from that drummer”, they finally did marry and raised a family of four boys and two girls, which has led to some 33 around the Thanksgiving table with 5 missing.

1947 hudson big boy pickupNow to the Hudson… Merv purchased the Big Boy in Florida 27 years ago from Ralph Adell. The truck needed a lot of work and restoration but Ralph told Merv he would have no problem driving it home to Vermont and that is what he did, with his son following behind. Years earlier Ralph had found the Hudson in a Connecticut woods and needed to clear trees that had grown up around the truck to get it out. Once the Big Boy was pulled out of the woods Ralph added a battery, gas and oil; started it with no problem and drove it to his home in Pennsylvania, a tribute to 262 flathead 6 cylinder engine. I also heard that engine running and some could say the sound could be close to music.

Merv has since painted the truck in the beautiful two tone grey that you see in the picture, reworked the wood and added many new parts including all new tires. Parades in the area have included Merv and his Big Boy for years but since a small stroke a few years ago has limited his use of the clutch, he has decided to sell. Someone will end up with quite a treasure and the day it leaves that valley, I am sure, will be a sad day. You will see the listing in the classifieds for the contact information.

It was a great pleasure to meet you Merv and Clara, I wonder if there is a day in the future when you could attend a club meeting.

1947 hudson pickup truck