Ric & Donna Venner’s 1950 Chevrolet Deluxe Project

1950 chevy deluxe trunkRic is a retired Westfalia engineer where he spent much of his time installing and fixing the German company’s milk separators throughout Germany and the U.S. These were fantastic machines that could separate 100s of thousands of pounds of milk per hour. Donna is also retired after a career of working in medical administration. They are a great couple and their lives in Barre, Vermont seems right out of the “supposed-to-be” book. Ric falling on the ice recently, resulting in a head injury was not supposed to be and Donna discovering breast cancer last year was not supposed to be either; but guess what, they are doing fine… together. Donna swears by early regular mammograms and believes that is why she has beaten the disease. Ric has the Vet hospital in White River watching over him and is looking forward to being OK soon.

1950 chevy deluxe interiorThe ’50 Chev came into their lives about 5 years ago, purchased from a gent in Corinth, VT. A switch to 12 volts and some re-wiring has been done along with some rust damage work as you can see in the be-fore and after pictures to the right. You might also see a couple of other changes if you look sharp. The “three-on-the-tree” is missing and there is a stick coming out of the floor. Ric found the floor shift kit from a company called “Mr. Gasket”. You might also pick up something else that GM had nothing to do with… Bucket leather seats, front and rear! Ric found the seats in a 2002 Grand Cherokee Jeep and could not resist. He even has the electric seat controls working.

1950 chevrolet deluxe interior restorationHow many of us know the “real” name of the rope that goes across the back of the front seats of these early cars? Many of us think those ropes were there to help us pull our butts out of the back seats – NO. When talking of the old seats being taken out of the Chevrolet, Donna added that she missed the “blanket rope” that was there. Donna said she learned that term from her Grandfather many years ago.

The car could be driven very nicely when they first purchased it, in fact a number of miles were put on the vehicle that reached above 50 MPH. All the time there was an odd noise that Ric believed was some small detail that needed tending. Like all Chevys from 1929 to 1954 they had “torque tubes” where the rotating drive-shaft between the transmission and the rear-end was all incased in a tube that did not rotate. Ric found the “odd noise” was actually a totally disconnected U-joint that somehow was still doing its job. In fact, after replacing the warn bolts the original U-joint has continued to do its job. There are still things that need to be completed on the Deluxe Chevy including a new paint job. Ric has told Wheel Tracks he will send a picture when the new paint is on.

The Chevrolet Deluxe was a trim line of Chevrolet automobiles, marketed from 1941 to 1952. Ric and Donna’s Deluxe has the 216.5CID “Thrift-Master” engine that produces 92hp. It has a 3-speed transmission, a wheel base of 115 inches and weighs 3150 pounds. The average cost new was $1700.00 when gasoline was $0.27 per gallon. GM claims they produced 1,236,778 of the Deluxe models in 1950.

 

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 I don’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…

1954 R Type Bentley

1954 R Type BentleyChristina and Paul McCaffrey’s ’54 Bentley

Are those Holley Carburetors we can see in the Bentley? Oh no, they are SUs, straight from the island!

We purchased our 1954 Bentley R-Type on 10/3/1999 from Philip Palmer – Starksboro. Original owner was Stephen John Pilkington of “The Quarries”, Quarry Drive, Ormskirk, Lancaster County, England. The vehicle was imported to Lake Placid NY in 1985. Chassis is a Standard Steel Saloon # B109ZX; 4 1/2 Litre; bench front seat; RHD; Coker Tires

We took it to the RROC ( The International Club for Bentley & Rolls-Royce Owners & Enthusiasts) national meet in Greenwich Connecticut where the local dealer completely over-hauled the brake system. They say that Bentley and Rolls Royce vehicles don’t breakdown – they only may experience “failure to proceed”. Our Bentley R-Type had a failure to stop! Once the work was finished it practically stood on the bonnet when the brakes were applied.

I grew up in Greenwich with six siblings. Our family car was always a Ford station wagon where we fought over the chance to sit in front “way back”. We took regular Sunday drives and played “punch buggy” when VW’s were spotted. My Mom always said she’d love a Rolls Royce if she could have any car she wanted. With a small inheritance from her, the Bentley became the first in our modest “collection”.

We have used it in a few family/close friends weddings. We’d love to do more but insurance restricts “commercial use”. Paul is the designated chauffeur – I’ve only driven it in parking lots and open fields. We have taken it to VAE shows in Stowe, Shelburne, St. Albans; Knight’s Point; Manchester VT; and has been a regular 1st place winner at the Bristish Invasion in Stowe. We enjoy the Tailgate competition and dressing in Vintage clothing of the 50’s era.

Bio: Paul and I were married in Ireland. We both work at the University of Vermont Medical Center in the Operating Room. Paul has been a surgical technician for 43 years; I am a neurosurgical nurse there. Paul served in the Army in Vietnam, was a City Councilor in Winooski, and was a private investigator. I formally worked as an independent stockbroker and as a Cost Estimator for General Electric/Lockheed Martin. We have five grown children: Lauren, Coberlin, Jameson, William James and John (Jack). Five grandchildren: Hillary, Marley, Paris, Taylor and Zoey. We also enjoy Lake Champlain – Sailing out of LCYC in Shelburne Bay and fishing.

1979 MG

1979 MGBDick & Kit Wheatley’s ‘79 MG

When did you purchase the MG, Dick?

I purchased in February 2006. I was looking for a reasonably priced MG, spotted this online one cold Sunday afternoon. The car was located in Maryland. I threw a bid on it (wanted to see how ebay worked), didn’t think too far ahead, then left for a tennis match in Essex Jct,. When I came home there was a message from ebay “Congratulations, you won, now pay!”

Why an MG?

I thought they had nice clean lines, the ones with the metal bumpers, my first choices were a bit pricey.

What have you done to it…any future restoration plans?

The car hasn’t needed much. I filled the tank with gas one day, parked on a hill and gas leaked out the filler cap, stained the black rubber bumper, white, so I took it to a local body shop and they painted the rear bumper the same color as the body. The front bumper was painted when I purchased it, has held up pretty well. I did replace the exhaust, so I could hear the radio.

What was the mileage when you got it and how many now?

In the 90’s when purchased, something over a 100K now.

Was there a nice trip that you and Kit have had with it?

Mostly local trips, a few garage tours. It has been a hit with our grandkids.

1979 MGB
1979 MGB

Any other points members would be interested in reading?

I had to find a carrier to bring it up from Maryland. We live on a dirt road, slightly hilly. The guy showed up with a car trailer after dark on a snowy night with a plan to back into our driveway. He could not get up to the garage, it was too slippery. The driver says “why would anyone want to live out here?”, he was from Florida. I pulled it up the driveway with the tractor and pushed it into the garage. The seller told me he would fill the rear hatch with spare parts, but the lid would not open, no matter what I did. I called a good friend, Rod Rice, the next day. Rod said his son Dave had a similar MG in South Burlington and Rod had a key to his garage. Without hesitation he said he would meet me there in 45 minutes. We looked at the rear hatch mechanism on Dave’s car and determined the only way to get into mine was to drill the lock out. Simple procedure, we found a pin had slipped out in transit, ordered a new part to replace it, everything was fine. I think Rod loved any excuse to get out of the house for something to do with a car. Rod was a great guy, helped our son with a Boy Scout project, our daughter with a school project on the Long Trail, always there ready & willing.

David Lamphere’s 1919 Franklin Touring

1919 franklin noseThis 1919 Franklin Touring has been a car David Lamphere has known about much of his life. Franklin manufactured about 150,000 cars in Syracuse, New York from 1902 to 1934. This one has a story to tell…

World War I had just finished its four year blight in November of 1918, our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, died in January and according to Wikipedia, Amānullāh Khān became king of Afghanistan.

1919 franklin interiorIn Rutland, Vermont that year George Lamphere was shopping to buy a new car. He and his wife, Eva, lived at 3 Clarendon Avenue and their creamery & dry goods store on Main Street must have been doing fairly well. There were a number of auto dealerships in the area but the one at 107-109 West Street must have caught their eye because they sold an air cooled car where you didn’t have to worry about the radiator freezing up during the winter. Another thing they might have seen in the car ads was, “you could put the accelerator to the floor, even in the desert, and run it that way all day or until you ran out of gas”. That is how good these engines were. The dealership was named Rutland Machine and Auto Company and they sold Seldon trucks and Franklin Automobiles. The Franklin touring car pictured above is the car the Lampheres decided upon.

David and Cereta Lamphere are VAE members from Westford, Vermont; George Lamphere is David’s grandfather and the Franklin touring sits in David’s garage today. The car was passed from George to David’s dad, Richard, and then to David.

1919 franklinThe Franklin Company had sold about 43,000 cars by 1919 and had the process fairly well perfected by then. They were using 6 cylinder engines in 1906 for some of their models and by 1914 all Franklins had six cylinder engines. Managing the air flow was important in these air cooled vehicles and until 1922 all that was required was a fan between the engine and the transmission to help “pull” the air through. As the horse power increased they moved the fan to the front of the engine and continued to use the cylinder fins to force air down past the hot cylinders, this was called a “down-drafter”. As the 6 cylinder engine power grew, from 24 HP to over 100HP, the company changed again in 1930, to keeping the fan in the front but now forcing air “across” the engine thus calling it a side drafter. A much more efficient way to keep the engine cool.

It appears George and Eva began a family tradition with the Franklin car. Over the years they had the 1919, a 1923 sedan and two 1929s sedans. One of those 29s later was reworked into a pickup truck which also sits in David’s garage. David’s dad, Richard, added a 1930 and 1931 sedan to the family Franklin history and then David took his turn when he was 15 years old, when he purchased a used 1930 sedan for $45.00. David also bought a ’31 roadster at one point bringing the count to eight Franklins.

Richard was an engineer and loved to tweak things and make them better. While the 1919 was in his possession he added an electric fuel pump with a pressure regulator, to keep the carburetor from handling anything over one and a half pounds of fuel pressure. He also added a fuel pressure and a vacuum pressure gauge to the dash. The ignition switch has an extra position so when you engage the starter a second battery is wired in to have 12 volts. Once the engine is running, the switch is moved to the 6 volt position.

It is probably not totally unusual for an automobile to be purchased new and be in a family for ninety eight years, but Wheel Tracks did not want to miss out telling this story.

As you have read in our classifieds the 1919 is for sale. David and Cereta need to down-size and have decided to try to find a good home for the old girl, that still runs perfectly. The hope is that the car stays in the VAE family and will have many more stories to tell years from now.

How many of you will be watching for those Rutland addresses the next time you go through. Please take a picture of what is there now and send them to Wheel Tracks.

Avery Hall’s 1928 Packard Roadster (model 533)

Avery’s 1928 Packard Roadster is very close to its coming-out party, it has been a 4 year project!

Packard’s motto was “Ask a man who Owns One”.
Avery Hall is that man!

1928 Packard Roadster (model 533)This is what Avery Hall’s 1928 Packard Roadster (model 533) looked like when he started the restoration 4 years ago. Quite a difference from the beauty we see on the front page of this issue of Wheel Tracks!

Avery found the car in Florida in the early 1990s when he and VAEer, Bryce Howells drove there and trailered it home to Burlington. The two are in a small group of 16 VAE members who have Packards, wouldn’t it be great if we could see them all side by side, in all their glory, someday!

According to “American Cars Catalog” Avery’s model 533 is the fifth series of 6 cylinder Packards that started in production in 1921. After 1928, Packard did not build another 6 cylinder car until 1937. The 33 in the model number means the wheel base is 133 inches.
The L-head straight six with a bore and swing of 3.5 X 5 inches produces 81 HP and has 7 main bearings, mechanical lifters and the Packard updraft carburetor. The publication says there were 13,414 of the model 533s produced in 1928.

Wheel Tracks has been corrected a few times on what the 5 really means in the model number 533. The 5 might simply mean it was the fifth series as noted above. We were told it also means the travel of the piston and one informant says the 5 means the number of passengers the roadster can carry. Wheel Tracks will publish any “corrections” that might be sent in our next issue….please stand by.

There is no question about Avery’s 533 when it comes to beauty and quality. When standing in front of the vehicle and looking along the side of the body you can find it has a beautiful curve as it reaches the rear of the car……a little “boat-tail” feel!

The engine compartment is very simple and easy to understand it’s workings. Even the Stuart vacuum tank is in full dress, as you can see to the left. Most of the white oak body frame has had to be replaced in Avery’s 4 to 5 year restoration. The engine was rebuilt by the “Auto Shop” and the upholstery and top was done by Michael Lemire in Richmond, Vermont

The first Packard was built in 1899 in Warren, Ohio. In 1903 the main Packard factory opened in Detroit, it was designed by Albert Kahn and occupied 3.5 million square feet across 47 buildings on 40 acres and employed over 40,000 skilled workers. In 1956, when the factory was closed, it was claimed to be the largest abandoned factory in the world.

Bill Sander’s “other hobby”

General Motors SW1500 Diesel

Bill's Lionel Train LayoutBill Sander got the “green light” from his wife Jan, about 10 years ago….at least he went with his interpretation.

Bill had been into the Lionel train hobby for some time when one day there was a comment of him maybe getting a full sized train. Jan made a comment about “that happening will be the day he could find one that fits into his garage” Bill says that was the day he envi-sioned his “mission” and of course that led to a step-up from Lionel… the 7 1/2 inch gauge model train! It fits into the garage just fine and you can ride on it.

The red locomotive on the front page is a model of a General Motors SW1500 Diesel. This unit and a second Elco RS3 model that Bill has were the two main work horses used on Vermont rail roads. They were built much closer to Road Switcher specifications and not yard switchers and were very capable of pulling their loads through our hills and valleys. There were 808 SW1500s built by GM from 1966 to 1974 and the 1500 HP engine was capable of reaching speeds of 60 MPH. The Alco RS-3 is the 3rd design variation and continued to the RS-11 design. The RS-3 was built by the American Locomotive Company and the Montreal Locomotive Works and has a 1600 HP engine. Between 1950 and 1956 there were 1418 built, 1265 for American railroads, 98 for Canada, 48 for Brazil and 7 for Mexico.

Bill’s SW1500 locomotive is powered by a gas 17 HP Briggs and Stratton engine and rides of tracks seven and a half inch wide. The 7 1/2 inch tracks are used mostly in the western states and is said to follow the example of Walt Disney’s layout in California. The eastern modelers mostly use 7 1/4 inch tracks….. Bill went with the western tradition. Bill’s model is hydraulically powered by both the wheels under the locomotive and the wheels under the second car, it has reverse, lights and a recorded sound track of the real deal as he moves along his 450 feet of track.