Richard & Roxie Kerr and their 1951 “Cab Over” Dodge

Why would Richard Kerr want a two ton Dodge truck?

1951 dodge 2-ton interiorYup, you guessed it… he has been a truck driver since he was nineteen years old and that is what makes him happy. He found the truck about 20 years ago, so the restoration has been a long haul for him. Richard works 10 to 12 hour days, for the past 26 years for ABF in the Burlington area, so he has had to farm a lot of the work out. He also claims he is not a mechanic but there is evidence in his garage that he might be more of a mechanic than he claims. They are a ‘trucking’ family, as Roxie works for FedX in the office in Burlington. She also has her antique ride sitting in the garage…a really nice MGB.

1951 dodge COE restorationThe truck engine, transmission and rear-end have all been taken apart and rebuilt when needed. The body was taken down to the bare metal before repainting this beautiful green. It is a very impressive eye-catching vehicle. Richard built the flat-bed wood body in his shop and as you can see, he did a great job. The truck has a 238 Dodge Six engine with a 4-speed transmission and a single speed rear-end with a weight capacity of 2 tons. It has 27,915 miles registered on its odometer. Some call this type of truck a “COE” meaning Cab-over-engine. Another term used is a “pilot-house cab” which seems to be a loose term used even for some Dodge pickups. A more modern term is “cab-forward”.

1951 dodge COE  2-tonAnother term that came up during the Wheel Tracks feature is something that is hard to read but is printed on the area just above the number plate. The term is “Job Rated”. The best history Wheel Tracks found was that Dodge started using it in 1938 as a sales way of getting folks to think about matching their “jobs” to one of the many types of trucks that Dodge produced. Do any readers have more of the term.

Richard bought the truck from Dale Slack of Jeffersonville, Vermont after it made its way here from North Carolina.


Editor’s notes… The amazing thing about this truck is how little is published about this type of Dodge truck. A few of us in the club have International High Wheelers and if you try to research this type of vehicle, except for some pretty pictures and a video or two, there is practically nothing available. I found the same for Dodge trucks from that time period. The High Wheeler folks attempted to put something together by starting a “registry” of owners and vehicles and the “Horseless Carriage Club” agreed to hold the registry. I did find a registry for Dodge trucks for 1948 to 1953 with only 298 trucks registered and no 1951 “Cab-over engine” trucks. This might mean that Richard and Roxie has a fairly rare vehicle. The Dodge Truck registry can be found online at townwagon.com

Another term I found when looking for information on this truck is “Fargo Truck”. Fargo was a brand of truck back in the 1920s and over the years after a number of buy-outs, Chrysler ended up with the brand. Also over the years, the way I understand it, the word “fargo” just became a truck type and not a brand.

Lets start talking about those heavier antique trucks. I know we all have stories from our younger days about these big work trucks. Example… I was too young to throw bales of hay on to the old ’47 Reo 2-ton. So they put me behind the wheel. I knew what I was doing but my short legs tended to get the truck into regular “jogs” that made the worker on the back of the truck call me names. If you have information or a truck… or a truck story please pass it on to Wheel Tracks. I know VAE members have a few pickups but Idon’t know if VAE members own larger antique trucks.

Doris Bailey: 1922 – 2016

Doris Jane Doerfler Bailey died on September 13, 2016 at the age of 94. She was born on March 10, 1922 in Yonkers, New York, the fourth of five children of Dr. William and Betty Doerfler. She lived in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York until age seven. Then after her parents’ divorce, she moved to and was raised in Morrisville, Vermont where she rode horses, swam at Lake Elmore and graduated from Peoples Academy. On January 19, 1943 during World War II she married Everett Bailey before he was deployed to Italy with the 10th Mountain Division. Doris and Everett met skiing on Mt. Mansfield before the lift was built (in 1940). Everett and Doris lived and raised their family in Williston, Burlington and South Burlington.

She had a fondness for antique cars (She was her own mechanic.) including a 1947 MG TC which she drove to Nova Scotia when she was 80 years old. She was an active member and officer of the Vermont Auto Enthusiasts and worked for years on the annual antique car show in Stowe. She was predeceased by her husband, Everett, in 2014, her oldest son, David Leslie Bailey of Montpelier, and her siblings, Doug Doerfler, Dorothy (Dot) Sargent, Dayl Kelly and David Doerfler. She is survived by her children, Thomas Bailey (and his wife, Linda) of South Burlington, Vt., Anny Cain (and husband, David) of Jamestown, R.I. and Everett (“Clark”) Bailey, Jr. of Draper, Utah, and grandchildren Tappan Little of Colchester, VT, Spencer Bailey (and wife Jacki) of Burlington, VT, Skyler Bailey (and wife Crystal) of Newport News, VA and Rachel Dibiase (and husband, Dave) of Vergennes, VT.


From Jan Sander… I took these photos (the front page) of Doris in 2003. Our club, The New England MGT registry publishes a magazine called “The Sacred Octagon” and the publisher had asked me for a picture of Doris in her TC for our front page. The featured picture was captioned “The MG Girl”.

When Doris received her copy she was elated and immediately called me up. Her first words were “Jan, we’re FAMOUS”! I had won the Best Cover Photo and she was the cover photo.

Doris and I met in the late 80s at one of our Stowe Shows. I had returned to my TC and she was sitting there waiting for me. She explained that she knew my car because she had seen it in my driveway many times and that she had owned a TC for many years but had sold it. She missed her old MG. That was the beginning of a wonderful friendship and the start of Doris’ successful quest to track down her beloved green TC and buy it back. That also brought her back to the VAE.

There are many more Doris Bailey stories, but they will be for another day in Wheel Tracks and TSO.


doris bailey
We have lost Doris.

This loss is not just the VAE’s loss. Doris was (is) a unique and exceptional person. She and I drifted together through Maynards Auto Service and their extension, Vermont Engine Service. Doris was drawn to this automotive stuff and became somewhat of a “groupie”. She then worked her magic on me and got herself hired at our auto dealership as a line mechanic. Friday afternoon we’d send her off to a social weekend of country club activities or to the current concert circuit with mechanics fingernails but Doris could handle most things. (Think of her most recent Wheel Tracks Softer Side article.)

Although she physically wore out after a few weeks rotating tires and doing brake jobs, she (and I) were proud that she was Burlington’s first female dealer line mechanic. She loved most things on wheels, music, poetry, the big Camaro, the little MG, the London taxi were the wheels¦ And you and I were the rest. Did she ever tell you the inside story (s) of her part in the Great American Race? I bet she did! ..and so much more.

Rest in peace Doris Bailey… It was great to have known you. Gael Boardman Thank you for your dedication



When asked about Doris and “The Great Race” Son-in-law, George Little writes…

It 1944 packard 12was the 1985 Great American Race that Doris was involved with. She and Avery Hall organized and largely funded a Vermont effort using the late Joe Kaelin’s 1944 Packard twelve seven-passenger sedan.

Our brochure is attached, showing, L-R on the cover, Joe Kaelin, Linda Welch, Vicky Buffum, Doris, Avery, and myself. The route was LA to NY; the field was about 120 strong, and we finished about 60th, or respectfully if not spectacularly.

This was one of Doris’ many automotive adventures, though I’d hazard to observe that we often considered the GAR more “character building” than fun.

As Jan may well illustrate in her comments, it was with her 1947 MG TC, and the not-so-serious “Sacred Octagon” crowd, that Doris had genuine Big Fun. Big Fun for Doris was people. She loved being out and about with friendly, like-minded folk, and would take every opportunity to start and keep conversations going.

Even if it meant turning sideways to maintain eye contact with a passenger while barreling down a hill at imprudent speeds…

You can see why the GAR was not necessarily a good example of this recipe.

The Women of the Annual Car Meet in Stowe

For many years these women have worked to make our show in Stowe the successes they have been. For instance in Pat Mainetti’s case it has been somewhere between 15 and 20 years. Yes, there are also many men involved too, but this is the “quiet group”.

Thank you for your dedication

This 1927 Ford Model T Roadster Pickup is 89 years old…

with its first 28 years still shrouded in mystery…

The truck’s known history begins about 1955 when a VAEer found it for sale On North Main Street in St. Albans, Vermont.

model t ford pickupThe Roadster Pickup is locally known as an East Fairfield truck, a little village fifteen miles East of Lake Champlain in Northern Vermont. The village is known for saying yes to the railroad. The story goes, when the railroad wanted to build a line through the town in the 1860s the sleepy village center 5 miles West of East Fairfield had hysterics at the idea of becoming a rowdy railroad town. East Fairfield opened its arms to the idea… rowdy and all!

East Fairfield’s nickname is “Puddledock”that came from the Spring time hub-deep mud in the streets and the folks who live there are called “Puddledockers”; terms of endearment used to this day. When the St. Johnsbury and Lake Champlain Railroad came through town the transition was instantaneous. Hotels, granaries, a drug store, bars and pool halls were built overnight. Water power at the two dams on Black Creek sprouted all kinds of new enterprises. Puddledock took on the reputation as a rowdy railroad town while the little town center, just a few miles away, stayed safely away.

The story also goes that the model T spent many of its years, previous to 1955, in Puddledock, in fact the exact residence and driveway has been identified as its home. This information has been passed down from villagers long past away and the home was torn down many years ago. Is the story true, what was the truck used for and who owned it during that time has not been figured out completely, the detective works continues…

The VAEer who found the truck for sale in 1955 is Gael Boardman. The seller who brought it to Walter Benjaman’s garage on North Main Street, St Albans to sell it was unknown when Gael offered $20.00 to buy it. When Gael returned to find if the seller accepted his offer, he found a local hotel owner, Doug Kelly, had bought the truck for $25.00. Wheel Tracks found Mr. Boardman, sixty one years later, still a little upset he got “out-offered” by Mr. Kelly. Gael was prepared to go all the way to $30.00 but in the traditional way of bartering, one does not let that information out until the exact ‘correct’ time.

For many years the Model T was parked in a shed behind the Kelly Hotel on South Main Street until rumor had it that Mr. Kelly sold it to someone in the Boston area.

27 ford pickup dirtroadEnter another VAEer… John Lavallee. John’s dad and grandfather had a machine shop in Massachusetts and had decided to expand into Northern Vermont in the mid 1960s. John was a young man when he joined his father and grandfather in Winooski to inspect the building they had just purchased along the river and that is when he spotted a Model T pickup in one of the dark corners of the building. The truck then had a new owner, John Lavallee. A short time later, John heard a rumor the “T” had belonged to Mr. Kelly and after telling John it was impossible that the truck had been his, Mr. Kelly recognized the repair work he had done on the rear of the vehicle. The Model T was in fact the Kelly/ East Fairfield truck. Over the 20 to 22 years that John owned the truck, not a whole lot was done to it.

The Model T caught the eye of a dairy farmer in 1987 and again it found a new home, but this home was special… it was back in East Fairfield!

Dennis Dodd belonged to the VAE and his farm is a mile or two just outside the village. Over the 29 years the Model T hardly ever missed an area parade. Dennis and Linda’s children along with many other local kids spent many great times throwing candy to parade spectators from the pickup’s bed.

The “T” also had quite a transformation on Dennis’ farm. It got a Ruxtal rear-end and Rocky Mountain brakes. A new top and bed, a complete motor job and all the running gear trimmings along with a new coat of paint. Dennis told about the memorable hours he and his son drove the back roads enjoying the country side. He spoke of all the sights you can see when going 20MPH. He would just pop the Ruxtal into gear and chug along not having to shift, no mater how steep the hills.

So, now it is 2016 and Dennis has his attention on a 1908 International high Wheeler project. He also has a ’31 Model A sedan and a really cool home-built Model A Speedster… and the Model T pickup has caught the eye of another VAEer!

Enter the Wheel Tracks editor… The Ruxtal rear-end and Rocky Mtn. brakes was more than the guy could resist, the truck, again, has a new home. The good news is the 1927 model T pickup is only a few miles North of its East Fairfield beginnings. The bad news is the amount of filled space that had to be freed-up to make room for the “T”. All good, when you step back and look at the scheme of things…

Charlie Thompson’s 1930 Whippet Sedan has a story to tell…

charlie thompsonWay back in ’67, my friend Dick, who was driving a ’31 Willys as his regular car, told me about a ’29 or ’30 Whippet for sale in Charlotte, VT.

Since I always liked old cars and my Dad had told me about Whippets, I went to check it out. The owner was moving and didn’t want to move the car, which was not running at the time. He had bought the car for $300 “downcountry” and wanted to recover his investment. Marion and I had just gotten married, I was still a student at the University of Vermont, and I didn’t have two nickels to rub together, so I offered him $50. He was appropriately insulted by my offer and turned it down, of course. Then on moving day, he called and said that I could come get the car for $100. My brother and I rushed to get the car and found the owner and his belongings gone and the Whippet sitting on the lawn. We towed it to my place in South Hero, VT, sent a check, and never heard from the owner again.

whippet badgeThe Whippet was pretty much complete, but had had a rough life. It had been wrecked a couple times and had dents and rust with running boards replaced with old rough lumber. The top had been improperly replaced and water had rotted most of the wood around the top and door posts. Water and mice had totally destroyed the rear seat. But…with a little gas in the vacuum tank and a push around the yard with my brother’s car, it RAN! It burned oil like crazy, but ran all the same.

I didn’t do much with the Whippet for many years, busy with a young family and an old house. Around 1990 I installed a new set of rings and cured the oil burning. Then, in 1999, I installed a new top, and I drove it 500+ miles to Lamar, PA*, to collect the Long Distance Award*, given by the WOKR for driving the longest distance to our International Meet. In 2001, I reupholstered the rear seat and then drove it 800+ miles to Napoleon, OH*, collecting the Long Distance Award* a second time. A rod bearing failed after this trip, so I shipped the engine off for a Florida vacation to be rebuilt by one of our Whippet experts. Next came Nashville, TN* in 2005, Marshall, MI* in 2008, Flatrock, NC* in 2009, Bellefontaine, OH in 2010, Duluth, MN in 2012, Waynesboro, VA* in 2013, and N. Conway, NH* in 2015 winning four more Long Distance Awards* for a total of six. All trips were unescorted except Duluth when my friend drove his 1912 100-year-old Overland with me. Luckily this was the only trip which had a problem (other than flat tires and a plugged carb) when a fan belt broke and we backtracked 12 miles in the Overland to buy a new one. I have driven Rosie over 30,000 miles over the years with the only non-routine maintenance being the engine rebuild and new valves last year.

She is Rosie, named after Rosinante, Don Quixote’s old broken down horse and John Steinbeck’s camper pickup in his book Travels with Charlie.

1930 whippet rearWhat I remember most on my trips is the friendly and kind people I’ve met along the way. While touring Penns Cave, one tire went flat in the parking lot. By the time I got out of the cave tour, fellow club members had put on the spare. The tube, which I had never removed in 32 years of owning the car, had 4 patches already!

Somewhere near Ottawa, Canada, I had stopped under a street-side shade tree to take a break. The lady from a nearby house came out and invited me in for very welcome milk and cookies.

In Brussels, Ontario, I stopped at the home of Charlie Proctor, a fellow Whippet owner, but no one was home. Backtracking a ways to a Proctor mailbox I had passed, I met Charlie’s niece and her children. She told me the Proctors had already left for the meet in Michigan. I went to camp on Charlie’s lawn and his niece invited me back in the morning for breakfast and for use of her bathroom.

On my return, I had lost my way
and found myself in the middle of Flint, MI. When I stopped on a side street for a break, two children ran into their house and returned with their father. He invited me in and, using Mapquest on his computer, helped to plot a route to get me back on track. A bit later at the 6 lane Port Huron border crossing back into Canada, Rosie overheated and stalled at the customs booth. After the usual and some not-so-usual questions, the agent told me to stay where I was despite angry travelers behind me. He make a call and 3 burley bridge workers in safety green shirts came to push Rosie to their maintenance area to cool while custom officials stopped traffic in several of the lanes to let us cross.

Traveling through Virginia
, while tinkering on the generator in a shopping parking lot, Paul and Weeta Phillips came over to investigate the car and offer to help. They were collectors of scooters, pedal cars and old bicycles. They left me with their phone numbers and an offer to come back with further help and/or to put me up overnight with dinner and breakfast!

On Route 209 in Pennsylvania, I had just passed Muchmore’s Antique Shop when I realized that Rosy had boiled out all her water and was overheating. At her shop, Dorenda Muchmore let me fill the radiator, refill my gallon jugs, and provided me with another gallon container for the road as well as wonderful conversation and a tour of her shop.

Later in the day, after negotiating a mountainous detour off Route 209, I stopped on the edge of a driveway to check the radiator and let Ro-sie cool off. Bill the homeowner’s, second question was, “Want a beer?” I told him about my leaking water pump and he just happened to be an old-time plumber with a spool of graphite string valve packing in his box, getting me back on the road toward home.

Returning home in the rain through northern NY, I failed to pay attention to mileage and ran out of gas. A lady stopped and went miles ahead to bring me gas if she could find a container. While waiting a man stopped, drove me to his shop to fetch a 5 gallon can, then to a gas station and back to the car. My first rescuer had returned with a gallon window washer container filled with gas. The 5 gallons went in the tank while the 1 gallon was used to prime the vacuum tank.

With all the bad news we hear these days, it is nice to find kind and generous folks everywhere along my travels

How NOT to buy a car

It is like sitting in your living room recliner when you ride down the road in this 1952 Imperial!

I bought this 1952 Imperial from a dealer is Canton, Ohio six years ago. It had been owned by the financial manager at the Canton Chrysler dealership who drove it to Florida every year. I bought this car solely on the basis of photos on-line which looked pretty good. The dealer told me it would need some plating…fine, then a week or so later he informed me that the engine needed a total rebuild, also saying he would rebuild the carburetor, which he never did.

At this juncture, it should have been a deal breaker, but I stumbled on agreeing to go forward. To his credit, he did lower the asking price. Finally the work was completed and we agreed to meet at Hemmings in Bennington where I would drive it home to Mont-gomery. When we got the car off the trailer it would not start. After various experts tried to figure out the cause, McNessor, one of Hemmings editors, found the fuel filter was on backwards. The filter had arrows indicating the fuel flow and they were definitely pointed in the wrong direction.

1952 chrysler imperialRecklessly, or just poor judgement, we decided to risk driving it home. It first stalled on Route 302 in Barre, backing up traffic for a half mile; then again in Shelburne but we finally did get home. Since then the carburetor was rebuilt by the Carb Doctor and there have been no problems.

I have had three different mufflers installed from local vendors, one even blew out the minute I started the engine. I am no mechanic but got good advice to order and install an original type muffler from Waldron’s. I have had no problems since.

1952 chrysler imperial engineThe car has needed a lot of additional work. A complete rewiring, more chrome plating, new tires and mostly correcting a lot of poor workmanship done by others. A new paint job and upholstery is my plan yet to do.

When I worked in Cape Cod one summer, an elderly lady with a mean face was walking by the house I was painting. I said “Hello”. She said “How are you?”

Replying honestly, I said I had gotten a severe sunburn that Saturday.

In a dry, raspy voice she replied, “ Well, I guess you learned your lesson!”

Yes, the lesson is when buying an old car, go and inspect it. Try to buy one, if you can, with low mileage and as good condition as you can find. Because the restoration cost are simply prohibitive.

Editors notes…….
I was surprised with Barry’s reply when asking him if I could fea-ture his Imperial. He thought Wheel Tracks only used “really old” cars for it’s features. He is correct and that is entirely my fault. My head is in vehicles older than 1930 and unfortunately that is what ends up in Wheel Tracks. I will try very hard to be more in-clusive of 1940s, 1950s and 1960s cars.

As I wrote on the front page, it WAS like sitting in my living room chair when Barry took me for a spin in his car! The transmission is a ahh-so-smooth “Fluid-matic Drive” an interesting cross between manual and automatic. The shift lever has reverse, of course but also “low range”, “neutral” and “high range”.

Another huge thing you will notice is when you close a door. It goes THUNK, not twang like my model T or boing like a 27 Dodge I know!

The Imperials were made from 1926 to 1954 and then a short time between 1990 and 1993. Barry’s “Chrysler Fire Power” engine is one of Chrysler’s first Hemi’s and puts out 180 HP. Chrysler, in WW2, developed their first experimental hemi engine for the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft. The XIV-2220 engine was an inverted V16 rated at 2,500 HP.

The “Macaroni Monza” journey to become the “Almquist Sportster”

macaroni monzaJune 1954 – mid-Century in what has been typified by many as the Age of the Automobile – General Motors had just produced its 50 millionth car – Mercedes introduced the 300SL coupe, with its now famous gull-wing doors – Nash and Hudson had merged to form the American Motors Corp (AMC) – the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at an all time high of 382.74.

In Clearfield PA, Clark Mitchell, who was still in high school, was just starting to build his own Class H modified Crosley based sports car in the Mitchell Mills garages, his family’s business.

Clark’s mechanical sensibility came from working on the Mill’s and friend’s vehicles, building & selling kayaks of his own design, and constructing & flying numerous hand-built model planes. His intention being to make a basic tubular shaped, aluminum skinned body with cycle fenders, put it on the Crosley chassis and hop up the engine for more power. Over the preceding winter he had created several scale clay models for the national Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild competition. His design ideas generated some real interest among his family, friends and neighbors. They were aware that he was working on creating his own ultra-lightweight sports car. Several days into his project, he had a visitor. Harry Heim stopped in at Mitchell Mills to purchase dog food for his Russian Wolf Hounds. Clark’s father noticed Harry’s car was rather unusual for those parts, a Riley Healy.

Quoting Clark, “When Harry learned that I was dismantling a Crosley to transform it into an aluminum bodied, cycle fendered, ‘H’-modified sports car . . . dad gave him directions to our garages. He came into where I was working, introduced himself, looked at my drawings and clay models, listened to my ideas before saying, ‘Sell the Crosley and help me design and fabricate a fiberglass sports car body for my friend ‘s Stanguellini chassis.’ He upped the incentive by saying, ‘I’ll keep the molds because this will be a completely separate project from my contract with CPI,’ and finally he added, ‘I know where there are a couple of Fiat Topolino chassis that we can lay up two more bodies for, so we can build two cars of our own and go racing.’ Could I say NO’ . . . NO!”

It was then he asked me to collaborate with him on the project car for his friend John Iglehart.

1954 macaroni monza fiberglass body shell
1954 Macaroni Monza I body shell, wired & ready

1954 Macaroni Monza I body shell, wired & ready Between that time and my attending Penn State in the fall of 1954, we were able to pull the first fiberglass body from the female mold in the Clearfield Plastics parking lot on a sunny early autumn morning. ‘Hey Harry, the way the sun is back-lighting the body, it looks like macaroni!’, Harry instantly responded, “Hey Clark, we’ll call it a ‘Macaroni Monza.’ Everybody wants to call a pseudo-sporty car a ‘Monza,’ and ours has really sporty coachwork.” At that moment Clark Mitchell’s Clearfield Classic, the original Macaroni Monza, became a reality.

macaroni monza fiat topolinoBMC Somerset Engine
MM I body shell on Fiat Topolino chassis with BMC Somerset Engine and twin SU carb manifold.

The Macaroni Monzas have gone through five phases since pulling that original fiberglass body shell – when completing the Macaroni Monza I – a larger version was fashioned by Harry Heim Associates and sold through Almquist Engineering – to a day in the early ’90s when Clark inquired of his life long friend, Roger Adam if he would sell his car. . . Roger said, “You can have it!” (more on this on the page 13) – to Clark re building/ reconstructing that car into his current Macaroni Monza II.

Four years went into that recreation. In 1997 it was complete. Clark drove his new again MM II from his home near Ausable Chasm NY down to Clearfield PA where it was a featured car in the Central Mountains Region AACA car show. Clark and his car had traveled full circle back to their shared origin.

1959 almquist sportser
The initial larger bodied Almquist Sportster made in1959 for Roger Adam by Harry Heim Assocs. Mountedon a Henry J chassis with a Chevy V8 that Roger built.

Clark shares the following about being reunited with his car, “ One of the experiences that old car buffs truly enjoy is revisiting copies of the cars they previously owned. This experience escalates when that car is THE car . . . even more so when it’s a car that they helped (maybe more like conspired) to design. Imagine . . . when I asked Roger Adam if he wanted to sell his 1959 RECONSTRUCTED ROADSTER…

The initial larger bodied Almquist Sportster made in1959 for Roger Adam by Harry Heim Assocs. Mountedon a Henry J chassis with a Chevy V8 that Roger built.

clark mitchell almquist sportser
2016 – The Almquist Sportster now – Clark Mitchell with his restored Macaroni Monza II at the 15th Amelia Island Concours in 2010. Clark, who is a VAE member, will be showing his car at our 2016 Shelburne Classic Auto Festival this June 3rd, 4th & 5th.

2016 – The Almquist Sportster now – Clark Mitchell with his restored Macaroni Monza II at the 15th Amelia Island Concours in 2010. Clark, who is a VAE member, will be showing his car at our 2016 Shelburne Classic Auto Festival this June 3rd, 4th & 5th. Roger & I had not only been involved in its construction, but also in the initial design of this fiberglass bodied, modified Henry J framed, Chevy powered virility symbol. He didn’t want to sell it, instead he said, ‘You can have it!” I said, ‘For how much?’ And Roger repeated, ‘You can have it!’ When I asked if he could come down a little on the price, he laughed and said, ‘Talk to Fritz, you’ve seen it at his restoration shop. Work out something with him; it’s yours. I don’t think I want to mess with it; don’t think Fritz has time either. I know you’ll enjoy fixing it up like the old days. Just give me a ride; I’d like to see it run again.”

The work Clark did after getting his car trailered back home wasn’t really a restoration per se. It was more a synthesizing of ideas about how to revitalize the concept of what Roger had put together thirty-two years prior for his car. Clark then amalgamated that with his own ideas about how he had set up his original smaller bodied version in 1954. After reviewing numerous old photos of both cars, making sketches from measurements of Roger’s car, and making a small scale model in clay similar to that which Harry Heimand had done for the original fiberglass body, Clark undertook his hands-on reconstruction to fit the 1984 Corvette chassis that would result in the creation of his Macaroni Monza II. He decided to use the ’84 Corvette chassis following a conversation with a friend who restores corporate jets and suggested that the body shell from Roger’s car would be almost a perfect fit other than needing to alter the wheel well configurations because of the slightly shorter wheel base.

Since completing the car in 1997, Clark has enjoyed participating in numerous vintage car events including invitational showings in concourses at Amelia Island, the Milwaukee Masterpiece, the Hemmings Concours at Saratoga and more.

Your writer met Clark six years ago at the Keene Hill Climb Reunion in Keene NY. We had gone over to check out that rather unique vintage event . . . when I first heard the guttural growl of the Chevy V8 as he geared down to pull into the show field. When Clark rolled his MM II into the parking area, I was saying to myself, “WOW, I’ve never seen anything quite like this fifties-styled bright-red roadster coming straight at me!” Once he parked, I went over and introduced myself to begin what has become a fast friendship and shared love of small, low, loud sports roadsters.

In summary, let me quote the Amelia Island show card description of Clark’s MM II which provided the following brief history from 1954 on, “Clearfield Plastics Inc. (CPI) contracted with Fiat of Mexico to supply them with 100 bodies to construct complete cars. The bodies were shipped to Mexico. The tariff had not been paid and the bodies were returned. Harry Heim & C.P.I. owned the molds/production rights and contacted Ed Almquist in Milford PA. After Almquist purchased the 100 bodies, they were renamed from the “Macaroni Monzas” to “Almquist.” This chassis sports a larger version of the original Heims/Mitchell design. Heim and Almquist collaborated on several other “ahead-of-their-time” body designs & accessories.”

Clark Mitchell & Don Perdue are currently working on compiling a more comprehensive, illustrated history of the Macaroni Monzas to share at the 2016 Shelburne Classic Auto Festival.

Appreciation Day

What made me think of writing on this subject was a headline on Facebook that asked, “How many women say thank you to a person who has held a door opened for you?”

My answer would have been, I hope at least 99.9% do but alas, that isn’t the case. I think I have touched on this before but here I go again. So much of our lives have a lot of people ‘behind the scenes’ making things happen for us. Most of us do not eat, drink, read, clothe ourselves with any direct effort on our part, someone or some ones do it for us. Yes, we work to get money and then depend that stores will be there for what we need or want without a thought to others who have put hours into making, growing, transporting, unloading and setting it up in places for us to see and buy.

This is true with so much of our lives, the newspaper deliverer, the library, the car wash, the bank, the movie theater and the list could go on and on. There is someone behind the scenes in everything that hopefully makes our lives easier and in many cases more fun. I also am sure that you, the readers, fit into that chain at some point.

This brings me to the VAE, VAAS or 501-c3. I haven’t gotten just what we are straight yet but what I would like to say is a big THANK YOU to those who understood and spent many an hour getting the paperwork needed to accomplish such. What I do know is that working with government (State or Federal) can be a daunting task and so appreciate those who took this on and worked until all the I’s dotted and t’s crossed.

Next, I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Gary (Fiske) who spends his time (a lot more than he would admit to) putting together our organization’s monthly newsletter. And to all those who contribute to it, with articles, ads, jokes and also to the proof reader, Edi. Thank you all for the work with the result being a top notch publication.

Can’t write about appreciation without mentioning Bob (Chase) and Duane (Leach) and their work and dedication to the Stowe Show. I know a lot of you put in endless hours helping under their leadership, THANK YOU ALL!

One person who has held an important position in the VAE and has done an outstanding job for years is Dick Wheatley. I am sure I am speaking for us all, THANK YOU for all your years of service. Certain jobs require someone with certain knowledge, integrity and trustworthiness and you cer-tainly meet and exceeded those requirements of the job. We can’t THANK YOU enough.

I am sitting here with the VAE 2015 ROSTER and realize there are many who do a lot in many ways. I purposely didn’t mention all the names or positions that I could have but thought if I tried to I would leave someone out and that wouldn’t be and isn’t my intention. You are all very important to making the VAE what it is today and hope-fully with your help will it only get better in the years to come and we will be able to hand this over to those who come after us and they can build on the excellent work done by you all. THANK YOU ALL and keep up the good work.

1918 G-48 Locomobile Sportif

Judy and Gael Boardman’s dual ignition, 5200 pound, 48HP beauty

1908 G-48 Locomobile SportifWhy a Locomobile?

In the early 1950’s the Goodyear Tire Company would publish a 2-page centerfold advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post showing a pictorial history of cars with Goodyear tires.

These were great little pictures and my most favorite was 1925… a Locomobile Sportif. I copied and recopied this picture a lot (The Jordan also caught my eye and I could tell you a Jordan story from some years later).

Later, in 1959, I acquired an ALF fire truck for $275 (another story) and it ran like a champ, 825 cubic inches of 6 cylinder T-head with 4 inch straight exhaust, twin ignition and enough radiator to keep it cool. Wow! Who designed this wonder? Andrew Lawrence Ricker did, earlier, for Locomobile. So, I began a hunt for a Locomobile. John Hawkinson, an early VAE mentor showed me one he had rescued for Albro Case in West Hartford, CT. His was a handsome brougham sedan but not the Ricker engine – and it really wasn’t for sale.

In June of 1960, my new wife and I detoured from our wedding trip in Maine to greater Philadelphia to look at another. It, too, was a later sedan, small Series and had been in a fire…not too bad, puckered fenders and hood, but running, and not expensive. Judy, new wife, wasn’t impressed and I got over it quickly.

20 odd years later, I was bemoaning this history to Steve Dana and he said, “Do you want a Locomobile?”. Dumb question! He said H.M. Burrows in North Springfield has several and would probably sell one. I was aware of Mr. Burrows, as we had mutual friends, but had never seen his cars. This story begins to sound like one recently published here by Rusty Bolts.

Rusty’s story about Fred Gonet and his wonderful 1908 Locomobile echo’s my own experience with Henry Morris Burrows. I went to look at the cars and walked right past the 1908, a 1911 Loco, a Mercer race-about and a 1915 Mercer roadster. There was also a Porsche 911 and a much later special order Chevrolet 2-door. Mr. Burrows needed room in his garage and the 1918 Sportif took up a lot; twice as much, as he had scattered it all over the shop. He loved to inspect things as Rusty explained. We sort of negotiated and it took several interviews and a “home visit” so he could check our home and family to assure a secure adoption. We finally “passed” and I sold my really nice 1950 Cadillac convertible to fund the venture. That, and a little help from VAE member Bill Billado who was a branch manager at the Chittenden Bank. I sold Bill his 1935 Buick convertible sedan as one of his first cars. I went to present payment and Mr. Burrows said, “Oh, and did I mention the spare engine? That’s another $2500.” Oh no! Well, somehow we robbed the egg money and it was all mine! The car came home in the early ’80’s in pieces. It took me years to get it together and help from now “cousin Fred Gonet” to get it properly timed and running well. You see, some years later Fred auditioned for and got the Model E 1908 for himself. The 6 cylinder T head in my model 48 is the 525 cubic inch inspiration for the just bigger 825 edition in the ALF…same stuff, same power, same noise and better with a Frank deCausse Sportif body. The factory slogan was “easily the best built car in America” That’s why a Locomobile.

My first Article for Wheel Tracks

I’ve been giving this, my first article for Wheel Tracks, some thought in recent weeks and with that a lot of reminiscing.

It all starts with my first encounter with my husband Gael and his 1937 Packard many, many years ago. Then Peveril Peake enters the picture with his 1956 VW Bug. I logged more than a few miles in the back seat of that car, often wrapped in a blanket. Fortunately, Pevie always had to stop for coffee and a meal or two. I had no idea where we were going or what we were looking for in many of those rides. One trip took us to upstate New York to visit John Hawkinson. I do remember a delicious German meal we had on the way. We might have been in a Hupmobile that time.

Then there was the firetruck that Gael and Mahlon Teachout bought in St Albans. We hadn’t been married more than a few weeks and Gael was always disappearing to some shop to work on this project with Mahlon. I don’t remember that sitting so well with me. But in the end, when the firetruck became a speedster, it was fun to see and ride in, or on.

I do remember Mahlon and I taking it to Stowe for a car meet one year, 1961. Gael had to work and met us there later. I watched the chain drive something and just hoped the chain wouldn’t break and decapitate us.

Then there was the 1927 Chevrolet (named Edward) which was actually easy and fun to drive. I don’t think it was legally registered when I stalled it on a hill at a red light in St Albans. I hadn’t been driving too long. A policeman came to my assistance and saved me. That could be another article, driving cars that weren’t registered or inspected and how easy the inspection stickers were to remove and put on another car. License plates were duck soup. Actually, I think our kids could add some stories of their own along these lines.

I will never forget seeing Steve Dana driving down our road in his Kissel and his dog sitting on the seat next to him. What a sight. Another article might be about the Volkswagons that we drove over the years, including the Thing that seems to be back in our barn. Maybe I’ll even get to drive it next summer, if the shifting gets easier. The top needs to be replaced, but the family drove it one summer without a top, rain or shine. We did get some funny looks.

Oh my, the more I think about the stuff we drove, the more stories I have. And, I don’t think it’s over yet. Thanks, Gael (and Pev, Maholn and Steve).