1905 Orient Buckboard Engine

I am finally running again! Some say it has been sixty years. Others say closer to 85 years. 

Good Morning…. I think this is called “first person”, when it comes to writing style. Well, this a little different and I am calling it “first engine” and I will be telling you this story. 

I was built in 1905, in Waltham, Massachusetts, one of around 2500 built from 1902 through 1907. I produce 4 HP and since I push only 525 pounds, I can go a fast of 35MPH. 

My owner is Gary and Nancy Olney of Derby Line in northern Vermont. Gary’s dad, Harry, found me in the 1950s, in a barn, in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. I spent many years in that barn with a Studebaker that was 6 years younger than me. My memories of the years before Mr. Olney found me, are very fuzzy. 

I do know, I did not start out life on the 1906 body that is waiting for my installation in Gary’s barn, because my exhaust is different from the ’06s. Theirs point toward the right and mine shoots straight back. We know the body is a 1906, because of the controls. I also know I have not run in a long while, because I have found I had a very rough life in the old-days. 

A while back, Mr. Olney made a deal with a restoration shop in East Fairfield, Vermont that is run byMr. Dennis Dodd, and you would not believe what he found. My cylinder space that my one piston was in, was egg-shaped! That is the main reason, Mr. Dodd believes, I had not run, since at least the 1930s or 40s, because my compression could be nothing more than zero in this condition. When Mr. Dodd finished with me, I now have a compression of 84 pounds, not bad huh? 

My back-side

My connecting rod was twisted and bent, and my piston was broken into pieces. My exhaust valve was shot and the seat needed to be bored out completely and replaced. I am now sporting a Caterpillar valve with a brand new seat and feeling very macho! All of my bearings were bad and have been replaced with new ones made of bronze. It was scary, but a shop by the name of RPM, was able to bore the egg-shape out of my cylinder and Mr. Rick, at RPM, found a 1940s Dodge cylinder, and new rings that fits me perfectly. Mr. Dodd did have to rework the piston a bit. The skirt had to be cut off and the wrist pin needed to be relocated a little lower because the piston was not going up high enough. 

My head was warped and that got fixed. I have two balanced flywheels and guess what…I was way out of balance and my main pins were toast. After some mill work and some time in a special jig made just for me, my balance is now perfect. I have a brand new push rod so the fuel and exhaust can work the way they are supposed to. And, speaking about fuel, my old carburator is now in a box. It never worked good even when it was new and after many hours, Mr. Dodd decided to put on a really nice Schebler carb, I now purr like a kitten. 

Mr. Dodd balanced the face of my transmission real nice. Someone had repaired the disc at one time and made me jump a lot when I was going down the road. About the only thing I had going for me was my timer. A little cleaning and adjusting, and it was ready to go! 


This is my timer. Someone forgot to put on my brand new cover that Mr. Dodd made from a big block of aluminum. 

There is a story from my fuzzy past, when a jeweler in Nova Scotia owned me. They say he was a very pious man, but would use lots of swear words while getting me started. I had lots of problems even back then. All I need today is a tickle on my new carburator and a half turn of the crank, and I am ready to go to work.

I would like to thank Gary Olney for sending me to the shop, and his wife Nancy for her patience (not with me, but with her husband). Mr. Rick Paya at RPM for his professional attention and Mr. Dodd for his not giving up on me. A gent by the name of Skip Minor was also at the other end of the phone line many times when Mr. Dodd had trouble figuring me out. Skip is a master at motor cycle engines and that is basically what I am. I will see you in the movies. 

Fred Webster 1921– 2021

fred webster

Fred Webster was just a few days from a drive-by birthday party, he would have been 100 years old when he died on January 17th 2021. Most of his years he resided in the Coventry, VT farmhouse where he was born. 

Fred leaves his wife Vivian and five sons and daughters, three of his children predeceased him. For many years, Fred taught vocational agriculture in high schools, mostly in Northern Vermont. 

fred webster woodstove

Fred’s life was a mixture of hardship and humor, the humor always kept his glass half full. He loved throwing humor at his guests. While heading out the door one day with a guest, he grabbed his wife’s shoes that were sitting by the door. Walking off the porch, the guest asked him why he had his wife’s shoes in his hands. Fred explained by saying, “Well, did you see that little pile of money on the kitchen table? I know it will be there when I get back because she can’t go anywhere without shoes”. Next was Fred’s great joy, watching his guest’s face processing his comment. 

Fred’s college long distance running record held for many years after he graduated from UVM in the 1940’s. Dancing and especially clogging was also a passion of his. In fact, he met his wife Vivian at a dance in Quebec, a match made in heaven, he would say. 

fred webster

His life made a small turn when he retired from teaching at 65 years old. He decided to start collecting antique farm equipment after seeing many pieces rotting in farm pastures. He was concerned the history would be lost if someone didn’t do something, he decided it would be him. From Canada to Nebraska, he started bringing old farm machinery onto his Coventry hill farm, until the buildings were full. Then he and his son, Dan, started tearing down old structures wherever they could find them and hauling the material home. Soon, there was 80,000 square feet of storage, and the hunt for antique farm machinery continued. There are hay presses, tedders, mowers, plows, harrows and corn pickers, all horse drawn. Snow rollers, wagons, rakes, seeders, manure spreaders, cultivators, reapers and the list goes on and on. He has the buggy he used, to go to grade school and even the sleigh his father, Percy, used to court his Mom, Hazel. When he more or less filled every nook and cranny of his barns he started building full sized stagecoaches, 7 or 8 of them while in his nineties. 

We will all miss Fred. We will all remember him and know by his example, that life does not end when we retire. In many ways, it is a bright, clean slate when we retire. Fred has proven this to us, beyond a doubt. 

This feature article was recently published for the U.S. American Legion…… 

Mr. Fred Webster, US Navy 1944-1945 

Have you ever heard about an organization by the name of SACO, relative to WWll? 

This 99-year-old gentleman pictured left was one of 2500 SACO Navy and Marine personnel during the war. He is Mr. Fred Webster and lives in the Northeast Kingdom. During a recent conversation he mentioned that he had been in the Navy during WWll. He said he had never been on a Navy ship accept to get to China, and back, in 1944 and 1945. Asked what he did in China, he had very little for a reply, accept to say, “just study these four letters, S-A-C-O”. This from a man who loves to talk. 

So, the “study” began…….. SACO stands for Sino-American Special Technical Cooperative Organization created in 1942 and a treaty signed by China and the U.S. was signed the same year. The beginning purpose for the treaty was to have accurate weather forecasts for U.S. operations in the Pacific. If we knew the weather in China, we would have an idea what weather would be happening in the Pacific, for our operations against Japan. 

A bit of history….. In 1942, China had been in a civil war for over 30 years. Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Army against Mao Tse-tung’s Communist army. The Japanese had very little opposition from this un-industrialized country that had very little remaining energy or resources to put up much of a fight. The Japanese Army basically had no problem occupying the eastern one-third of China, and some say, would have taken over the complete country, if they had not brought the United States into the war by bombing Pearl Harbor in 1941. 

The SACO treaty was signed with the nationalists government and at its height, these “weather stations (camps) covered over 1700 miles of the China coast, all behind the Japanese’s lines. These 2500 Americans were totally immersed with the Chinese Nationalist Army and had a highly respected reputation. They were sometimes called the “Rice Paddy Navy” and if more honor was needed, they were also called the “What-the-Hell Gang”

It was not long, after the weather stations were in place and successfully operating, that other tasks were added to the “Rice Paddy Navy”. Scouting Japanese activity, demolition squads, advising and training Chinese soldiers, rescuing downed American flyers and intercepting enemy radio traffic soon became part of their operations. A few Americans scattered among the Chinese Army along the China coast from North Korea to Vietnam. Mr. Fred Webster was one or these Americans. 

1931 Ford Model A & Deluxe Model A History

I became a member of VAE just a few years ago when I registered my 1967 Austin Healey 3000 MK III . Although I have never participated in any of the events, I have enjoyed your monthly magazine. The pictures and articles have sparked many memories of my past challenges with automobiles. 

The Model A (Ford) is, without a doubt, the one vehicle that I would put in first place, as holding both, some of my fondest and most chilling memories from my early automobile experiences. 

When I was 14 my mother wanted a low spot in the lawn filled. Normally, that might have been a job that some young people would consider work. For me and my friend it was an opportunity to drive the “A” and to siphon a gallon of gas out of my father’s ‘37 Ford Coach to run it. We found a bank of soft dirt and easy digging that had been pushed up for a logging header. We commenced to load the back of that “A” with a good heavy load not thinking about the drive up a long hill that had a steep bank on one side, the capability of the brakes, or the power of the engine. As we got about halfway up the hill the engine ran out of power and stopped. The brakes did not hold. Then it started to roll backwards along with the engine turning backwards. My buddy bailed out but I stayed with it. Down the hill backwards the “A” and I went until we got to the corner at the bottom, there it went off the road and hit a big rock unloading the entire load of dirt. My first comment to my buddy with shaking legs and tears in my eyes was, “I’m never driving that thing again.” The next day I went down and drove it back to the barn! 

1931 ford model a

I always admired the Model A Roadster and always wanted one but I didn’t have the resources when I was younger. Then the busyness of working for a living, raising a family, taking care of our little mountainside family farm, and a wife with an illness made it difficult to think about getting an old car. 

Early last Fall, while driving along Route 7 to Brandon, VT, I saw a beautiful Roadster parked beside the road with a “For Sale” sign in the window. Believing it was one of those aftermarket copies, I didn’t give it another thought until my nephew visited me a week or two later. He said, “Uncle Dave, have you seen that Model A Roadster for sale on Route 7 in Brandon?” Of course I said “Yes”. I told him that I thought it wasn’t authentic. He was quite sure that it was. He said he would stop on his way home and look it over more closely. I received an excited call from him that evening, and he told me that as far as he could tell, it had been restored according to guidelines and that I should really consider buying it! 

I had a project to finish up here at the farm so it was a couple of days before I went to find out about it only to sadly discover, when I arrived at the place where it had been parked, that it was gone! I asked a neighbor who said she didn’t know anything about it. I was disappointed, but I didn’t give up. After some searching and a couple of phone calls, I received a reply from the owner. He told me that he hadn’t sold it but had put it away for the winter. It was still for sale and he said that he would meet me if I was seriously interested. We agreed to meet the next afternoon. 

When I arrived (early I might add) he was already there standing beside the Roadster with the top down and the rumble seat open. There it was, all shiny and glistening in the sun. What a beauty! Suddenly I was conflicted. I had the same feeling that I had when I was a boy standing in front of the candy counter of the local General Store wanting something that I thought I couldn’t have. But then I realized I had the same chance of taking my money with me as I did in taking the “A” with me when I died and that is zero! Yes, there was no reason I couldn’t have it. 

1931 ford model a

After careful inspection of the Roadster and continued discussion with the owner (including negotiating price) I said to myself, “I think I’m going to buy it”. Then he started it up and when I heard it crank and the musical sound of the exhaust – WOW – that was it! All those happy, carefree days of a youngster flashed before me. The deal was sealed! 

It is now stored in the barn and I am looking forward to Spring and a good Summer of touring and parades. 

Hopefully I will be able to join some of VAE’s outings. 

I have to thank my nephew, David Stone, for giving me the prod that I needed. 

Editor’s note….. Dave’s grandson took these wonderful pictures of the Model A. We thank you Johnathan. 

1951 Mercury

Ken Gypson’s Journey with His Mercury Creation 

The old car hobby has many facets, maybe too many. Grandpa was into Maxwells, early Buicks and Pierce Arrows. Dad was into British sport cars, open wheel race cars (midgets and sprint cars) and Franklins and Packards.  Me? I’m into all of the above plus vintage stock cars and traditional Kustoms. 

1951 mercury hot rod back

The 49-51 Mercurys are the holy grail of traditional Kustoms. (Yes, with a “K” as coined by George Barris.) 

I bought mine in 1988 for $3,500. It was already a mild Kustom. Nosed, decked and shaved. (Nosed – hood ornaments removed, decked – trunk emblems removed, shaved – all other non-essential trim and latches removed.) It had a modified ’51 Merc grill that I immediately replaced with a shortened ’55 DeSoto grill. Door handles were removed and replaced with ’57 Plymouth trunk locks. I also “frenched” the head lights (no outside trim rings). Shortly thereafter the stock flathead went south. In the course of a rebuild the flathead was bored 40 over, given dual Stromberg 97carbs, a Chevy 283 distributor and a one wire alternator upgraded to 12 volt negative ground. 

While the engine was out for machine work, I got the crazy idea to chop the top. I had no idea the task I created for myself. I took a perfectly good car and whacked it 5 and a half inches! 

1951 mercury hot rod paintjob

With such a radical lowering I had to get a donor ’50 Merc for the rear window. The ’51 window has a 90 degree corner and would have been 2” below the fender line. The ’50 is rounded and worked perfectly. 

I also slanted the door posts and removed the drip moldings over the rear quarter windows, and installed a ’49 Merc dashboard with brand new VDO gauges. I drove the Merc in enamel and lacquer primer until 2018. During this time I also installed a MSD electronic distributor and adapted a Chevy S-10 5 speed overdrive tranny to the flathead. 

1951 mercury interior

It was time to refresh the Merc. I was also determined to finally get an interior done up for it. All those years it had late Chrysler seats and NO other interior. My friend, Dave, and I took the ’51 Merc interior seats and panels from a local junk yard to Labaron Bonney 2 days before they closed their doors. The shop manager took the seats home with her and did a great job in her home shop. 

Dave and I stripped the car and did whatever minor body work was needed to paint it. We flush mounted the skirts and had a body shop friend shoot the car in SEM Products Hot Rod Black. It took 3 months to put back together and install the beautiful black and red Naugahyde interior. 

I now have at least 6 times the amount of money into the Merc than what I paid for it! And, I only got to drive it one day before the snow came! 

1951 mercury flathead

1933 Chevrolet Master Eagle Phaeton

This 1933 Master Eagle Phaeton Chevrolet now belongs to Gary and Nancy Olney. Some of us travel to the other side of our nation in search of our treasured antique auto. For the Olneys, the car had been hiding in a barn only 20 miles away, since 1954.

The picture, right, is what a couple of VAEers found, the morning they volunteered to help move the old car to its new home in Derby Line.
The Chevy had been visiting this garage for only a short time, as its former residence was being sold. The Sandville family, who lives nearby, had agreed to care for the orphan vehicle until a new owner was found. The original family, who purchased it new in New York City, had passed away, the nephew, Mat, who inherited the car had also passed away and was now owned by his brother Klaus, who lives in Germany. This must explain the Phaeton’s sad face, in a strange home and an uncertain future.

The Chevrolet’s original owner was Roselle Brittain. Roselle was a makeup artist, in the early television days, in New York City. She later started her own cosmetics company in the city and called it Rozelle Cosmetics. Driving the Chevrolet to northern Vermont on a vacation, she and her husband fell in love with Waitsfield, Vermont and ended up purchasing a property on the Loop Road. Not much later, they moved to Waitsfield, along with their business. Rozelle Cosmetics still exists today, at number 4260 Loop Road.
As mentioned, when the Brittains passed, the property, the business and the Chevy, was passed down to family members in Germany. The Chevy even visited our August car show when it was in Stowe, while nephew Mat owned the car.

Now, eighty seven years after Roselle purchased the Chevrolet Master Eagle Phaeton in NY City, Gary and Nancy Olney of Derby Line owns it. Like always in the North East Kingdom of Vermont, there is a bit of mystery. How did Gary Olney hear about the car being for sale? There were no advertisements, no auction or no VAE gossip to help him. You see, Gary has a bit of a reputation in the Kingdom. He is known to be a bit of a car buff, well, there are better words of description, but we want to be polite here.
When the gent in Germany wanted to find the value and desirability of the car, he asked his friend, Jim McIntyer, of the Kingdom, for advice. Like everyone in the VAE, if we were asked that question, yup…Mr. Gary Olney would come to mind!

So, Gary’s life long love for old cars paid off for him when Klaus asked him for ad-vice. “Kingdom Communications” also helped.

Now for the star of this show… The 1933 Chevrolet Master Eagle Series CA.
There were only 543 Phaetons built that year and the only year the name master Eagle was used, according to the Standard Catalog of American Cars. The high-end Chevy built in 1932 was called the “Confederate” and in 1934, called the “Master Series DA”. There were two less expensive models in 1933 called the Mercury and the Standard. The company built 486,280 cars in 1933, and kept them in the number one in the US.

The Eagle introduced new styling that year with its vee-shaped radiator, rear slanting hood door louvers, skirted fenders and the beaver tail back panel. The Fisher body was called the air-stream and had a no-draft ventilation system.

The Eagle mascot stood proudly on the radiator. The engine is a six cylinder Ohv, 65HP with a carter carburetor. It had a 3-speed synchromesh transmission.

When Gary first heard about the car, it was said to be a 1934. The advice he was getting was to “run the other way”!

The Master Chevys from ’34 to 1938 had the “new Knee-action front suspension” and they were trouble. According to publications from that period, many Masters were converted back to the standard I-beam and the Knee-action was ditched.

When Gary found his Chevy and it turned out to be a 1933, and it was “all-ahead full”… that is a Navy term to go top speed using all propellers. And he did.

1918 REO Model F Speed Wagon

Mike Daigle and sons Domenico and Charlie have a new project at their home. The 1918 REO Model F Speed Wagon will be their winter project… And maybe beyond winter.

Asked why a REO Speed Wagon Mike Daigle said “Probably because of his neighbor Gene Towne.” 

Gene Towne died a few years ago, but he left a huge foot-print in our memories, especially Mike Daigle’s. It was visiting Gene’s place over the 16 years that Mike and his family lived as neighbors, that he caught the bug for ‘old stuff’. 

In fact, it appears Mike’s sons, Charlie, eleven years old and Domenico, 16, have also caught the bug. Domenico, recently, fired up his project in the family garage for the first time. A late 40s Oliver 66, wide-front-end tractor. Maybe that Oliver 66 could be a Wheel Tracks feature some day… We hope! 

Mike found the Speed Wagon in the back hills of East Wallingford. He said, after getting his trailer loaded, he had serious concerns if he was going to make it out. He did, as you can see, and the three have plans to get it, mechanically, in good shape but want to keep the same basic appearance that you see today. Mike’s background is mechanics while spending a number of years working at the VT. State Police garage in Colchester. So he knows his way around a tool box. 

The Daigle’s have the REO running. They were fascinated with the exposed valve tappets and the chain-driven starter. 

Chain-driven starter

The Speed Wagon is built for a top speed of 22MPH, while other trucks from that era was 5 to 10MPH slower. Its engine puts out 27 horse power. This is how the term Speed Wagon began. REO started building “Speed Wagon” trucks in 1915 and they advertised that their trucks “had long-term viability and theirs could go faster”. 

They were also known to go faster in stop and go city traffic because they had “Tall Gearing”. Tall Gearing (vs short gearing) simply means you do not have to spend as much time shifting because of the REO’s gear ratios. 

REO used the “Speed Wagon” term through 1939, they changed the term to one word in the later years. 

REO started making trucks in 1908, merged and became Diamond-REO in 1971 and went out of business in 1974. 

The Model F 1918 serial numbers started with #15000 and ended with #21543, which means REO built 6543 of these trucks in 1918. 

Another huge plus, if you purchased a REO truck, especially a Speed Wagon, it could be refitted for whatever special purpose was needed, and the REO Motor Car Company knew that was part of their appeal. They advertised the ease with which the Wagon could be customized and started building Wagons with bigger engines, heavier flywheels, and larger water pumps. If you needed something done, the Speed Wagon could do it. 

By 1925, the company had produced more than 125,000 Speed Wagons. 

1951 Ford Victoria

Allan Wright’s 1951 Ford Victoria is almost 70 years-old and has 80,000 miles on the odometer…..but, if you look closely, the car is in better shape than when it came from the factory. 

After a complete professional restoration and winning a number of national awards, Allan was able to purchase this Ford “Vic” from its owner in Manchester Maryland in March of 2017. 

Wheel Tracks met the car, and its owner for the first time during the club’s “Flash Parade” on the 8th of August. 

Allan Wright's 1951 Ford Victoria

The 1951 Ford Custom Victoria was Ford’s first hardtop, offered only in V-8 guise. It appeared in the last year of the 1949 styling generation. 

Styled by Gordon M. Buehrig, who originally worked at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg plant. When he came to Ford he had just left the Loewy team at Studebaker. 

A plus for this 1951 top-line model was the debut of Ford’s optional self-shift Ford-O-Matic this year. The war and being required to 

basically stop all domestic automobile production from 1946 through 1948, the 1949 Ford is credited with saving Ford. It ushering in the modern streamlined car design with changes such as integrated fenders and more. This design would continue through the 1951 model year, with an updated design offered in 1952. 

Ford built 110,286 Ford Vics in 1951. The 239 CID Flathead engine was one of the most reliable engines ever made and produced 100HP. The wheelbase is 114 inches, length is 197 inches and weighs 3188 pounds. New cost was $1925. 

When Ford began this line in 1949, the engine was moved forward to make more room in the passenger compartment and the antiquated “torque tube” was replaced by a modern drive shaft. 

Competition from GM and Chrysler great and in some ways the new design in 1948 was rushed into production. One example was the door mechanism design. It was found that the doors could fling open on corners. In the 1950 model there were some 10 changes in the door latching mechanism alone. Ford easily out-sold GM and Chrysler with assembly plants in six locations; Dearborn, Michigan  Chester, Pennsylvania Long Beach, California Saint Paul, Minnesota Australia Singapore, Malaysia.

1951 ford victoria

Allan Wright first put eyes on this car at the AACA Hershey car coral in October of 2016. From talking to him, he decided at that time, he wanted this car. Like most of us, we go to Hershey with a little stash of cash, but need to do a little “banking” for the bigger purchases. 

So, Allan decided to give the owner a call when he returned to Vermont, after the show. When he did, he found the car had not been sold and better yet, the price had decreased! After making arrangements to travel to Maryland and most likely bring the car home, he had a small health problem and had to cancel the trip. Then came time for their normal wintering in Arizona, so the Ford Vic was put on the back burner. 

While poking through Ebay the following February, Allen “found” the Victoria one more time and decided it was an omen he could ignore no more. 

Another plus…the price had come down even more. 

He then flew to Vermont in March (2017)to get his truck and trailer and headed south. The trip was rewarded to find the same beauty he had seen in Hershey four months earlier. He had to go through some winter weather on his trip back to Vermont resulting in a complete ice covered Ford on his trailer, but he successfully stored it in his garage and escaped back to Arizona to wait out the Vermont mud season. 

Allen’s Ford has not been to our August car show in Waterbury yet, but watch for it in 2021. It is a beauty! 

1926 Chrysler Model 25

This is a test… is Fred Gonet’s automobile, pictured here, really, a Chrysler or is someone playing a joke on us, and it is really a Maxwell?
Answer… in 1925, this exact model would have had a Maxwell badge on its hood.

That same year, Chrysler bought out Maxwell, named this car the Model 25 and in 1926, slapped the Chrysler badge on it.

Chrysler was responding to other car company’s reduced pricing. They had no low-end model to offer their customers, so the Maxwell became it. The model 25 continued through 1928, when they began to call it a Plymouth.

1926 chrysler model 25 grill

At $695, Chrysler could compete with this five-seat car. It had high-tension magneto ignition, electric horn and (optional) electric starter and headlights, and an innovative shock absorber to protect the radiator.

Fred and BJ Gonet became the proud owners of this 1926 Chrysler in 1982. Fred’s Dad was visiting from his home in Long Island, NY and the two went the little ways down the road to Springfield and brought it home to Proctorsville. Fred and BJ purchased the car from Harry Olney, which was stored in a barn, in the woods, behind an area church.

There was a surprise, for Fred, when the “Chrysler” arrived in Proctorsville. He noticed there were NO hydraulic brakes like other Chryslers of the era. That was when he realized it was, really, a Maxwell, built in 1925, and one of the ‘transition’ cars that Chrysler had basically just slapped their badge onto the radiator.

The car had another odd feature when Fred took a closer look. It has a 4-cylinder engine, and interestingly, when Fred took the engine head off, there was one piston at its lower position and three at the top position! Most car buffs know, that is not quite correct. It turned out the crank shaft and all of the connecting rods were doing their job fine, its just that one piston had broken in half, explaining the “tardy” half parking at the top of the cylinder.
The car needed engine work, new Nichol trim, a paint job, upholstery, the wood and head-liner was rotted and lots of body work. So Fred, BJ and their two young children went at it, with the grand plan of driving the car to Long Island for his Dad’s birthday.

Fred was working full-time for a company in town, so the body-off restoration had to happen on weekends and during the hours of 4PM and midnight during the week.

He would take parts off the car during his evening “shift” and the kids and BJ would clean and paint them while he was at work the next day. There were not too many other ’surprises’ with the car, just lots of work.
Oh, and did we mention this small detail? The time between the start of the restoration and Mr. Gonet’s 70th birthday celebration in Long Island was 6 weeks. Amazingly, the Gonet family made their 6-weeks-restoration deadline. In fact, the maiden journey for the Chrysler, just hours after putting away his tools, was the 275 mile trip to Mr. Gonet’s house.
The car made the trip in fine fashion with its, replacement, ’27 Chrysler engine and shiny new paint. Fred’s Dad could not believe it was the same sorry car he had helped pull from a barn just a few weeks earlier.
The old Chrysler is used regularly today. It is Fred and BJ’s going-out-to-dinner car, on rainy days.

1926 chrysler model 25 back

Fred was working full-time for a company in town, so the body-off restoration had to happen on weekends and during the hours of 4PM and midnight during the week.He would take parts off the car during his evening “shift” and the kids and BJ would clean and paint them while he was at work the next day. There were not too many other ’surprises’ with the car, just lots of work.

Oh, and did we mention this small detail? The time between the start of the restoration and Mr. Gonet’s 70th birthday celebration in Long Island was 6 weeks. Amazingly, the Gonet family made their 6-weeks-restoration deadline. In fact, the maiden journey for the Chrysler, just hours after putting away his tools, was the 275 mile trip to Mr. Gonet’s house.
The car made the trip in fine fashion with its, replacement, ’27 Chrysler engine and shiny new paint. Fred’s Dad could not believe it was the same sorry car he had helped pull from a barn just a few weeks earlier.
The old Chrysler is used regularly today. It is Fred and BJ’s going-out-to-dinner car, on rainy days.

1960 Chevrolet Impala

VAEer Richard Spitzer has a project on his hands with this 1960 Chevy Impala. 

This from Richard Spitzer…

When my dad told me he saw a 1960 Impala for sale, I had no clue what one looked like. 

Fins and a bubble top. What? I was 17 and driving a SAAB 99. I liked old cars, but had no idea what the models were back then. We drove over to Hyde Park to check it out. I was caught off guard a bit, it was big and turquoise! But we drove it around and it sold it-self. 

My friends rode in the car my last few years of High School at People Academy. Everyone liked it. Even my mom would borrow my car to run errands. 

I was jealous of the new 5.0 Mustangs and my buddy’s Camaros. So of course I tried flipping the air cleaner lid to make it sound powerful. I tried a big 4 barrel on the 283. No more power, but sounded great. I did get a dual exhaust system on it and some new Cragar Wheels and white letter tires. She rolled really good then. I would rev the car in first forever, then shift the Powerglide into high, and it would make a great exhaust note. It was big, heavy and slow. We even got stuck in the parking lot at the Stowe Car show. But with no seat belts, we could load it up with teenagers and cruise town in style. 

Those were the good days. When the front seat broke out of the floor and ended up in the back seat going up Quarry Hill, I new I had a rust problem. Bondo was falling off daily and the right front tire went 100 yards further than I did in Keene, NH. It was 1988, I was in the military and the Impala was pushed to the side. But soon misguided motivation and a side order of hair band music, led to the biggest mistakes many car guys make, and I disassembled the whole car. With the help of a few friends, the car was in pieces. I had the frame repaired, and the body was on its side in my garage while I repaired the floor. Pieces of that car are scattered from Enosburg to Jericho to Williston over six plus moves and I doubt I have all of them. I have miles of trailering and tons of wasted effort pushing it in and out of the garage, and now it still sits sadly waiting for repair. 

Bring in the new life, with a new wife, and a garage that makes most men jealous. I am just a few projects away from getting back on track with the Impala. I always say it has been more of a resurrection then restoration. It will move again under its own power. It is a little ugly right now. I am not a detailed body guy, just a mechanic. So hopefully there will be progress on this project each month. I am not sure yet what the car will look like in the end except the color, 1960 turquoise and a white top. I have kids that have never rode in it, so I hope to get the car done so everyone can enjoy it. See you on the road soon!! 


A question for everyone……Which vehicle would you say is the one you would like? 

This 2020 Chevy Impala? 

There have been 10 generations of Chevrolet Impalas, starting in 1958. 

Richard’s Impala is the 2nd generation. Chevrolet made 490,900 Impalas in 1960, with many variations. 

Or, this 1960 Chevy Impala? 

There was the Sedan, the Hard Top Sedan and the Hard Top Coupes. Along with the Convertible Couples and the Station Wagons. There were 2-door and 4-door variations and “Sport” packages. 

Engine choices were the 235 cu in “Blue Flame I6”, the 283 cu in “Turbo Fire V8”, and the 348 cu in “W-series Turbo Thrust V8”. A “Speedminder” was an option where the driver sets a needle at a specific speed and a buzzer would sound if the pre-set was exceeded. 

Right-hand drive cars were made in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, for New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. All the rest were built in Baltimore, Maryland, St. Louis, Missouri, South Gate, California. 

A two-door Hardtop Sport Coupe cost $2,597 in 1960, $19,425 in todays dollars. Regular gasoline in 1960 was $.31 per gallon, in today’s dollars that comes to $2.71 per gallon. The Impala with the 283 engine is reported to get 12MPG. 

So, yes, it will cost you more to drive a 1960 Chevrolet Impala, but there is no question which is more preferable. If you say the vehicle on the left, we need to talk. 

McCormick-Deering Type M 6HP

The Right Power for the Bigger Jobs

Wherever power is needed, the practical and careful man buys a McCormick-Deering 6HP engine to do his work. The 6HP engine has water-cooled cylinder head and belt pulley can be put on either side. 

I believe it was the 2006 Shelburne Vt car show where I first met Gael. I was involved setting up a display of my Galloway engine belted to a Papec Silage blower. 

I had no idea who this gentleman was that ventured into the display but we introduced ourselves to each other and struck up a conversation. He seemed quite mesmerized by the displays our club was beginning to get operational. As words unfolded, he mentioned he had a few of these engines. Of course as with any hobbyist my ears then really “perked up” with the prospect of a new find. As memory serves me, he did not know what or how many he had or at least that was what he was leading me to believe. 

Eventually, the fateful question was asked by Gael Boardman. “Would you be interested in getting a couple of them running?” Somehow my nature of: shoot first ask later, did not kick in. The more rational Dave, answered Gael, “maybe but I would like to see what they are and what you have in mind.” He answered with if you get one running then I will give you the other as payment. That inner voice said: how could I go wrong? To this day, I am still amazed I stuck with my first response that I would need to see the engines before making a commitment. 

Again, memory is fuzzy but I remember that it took until November for me to get to Underhill for my first preview. As many of you know, visiting Gael and his collection was not a quick venture. Maybe it was a teachable moment, that it is not about the trip but the journey. I was beginning to understand Gael’s love for so much of our past through his diverse collection. I viewed his air-cooled Same tractor, Army Truck, WW2 bulldozer, memorabilia of all sorts, and a Chevy Coupe with overheating issues which was really perplexing him. Each piece Gael seemed to know where it came from, and what it had done, how long he had owned it, and a justification of it. 

Eventually, we got to the two engines he had in mind he wanted me to work on. Both were larger than anything I had or laid a wrench to. One was a McCormick Deering 6 HP (pictured above). I knew that, as I owned the smaller 1 ½ and 3 HP models. The other I was unsure of, other than it had a Fairbanks Morse tag. Both pieces were very complete and original engines from the local area according to Gael. It sure seemed like a sweetheart deal. Again, it happened, reason over excitement. My response, Gael let me think about it and I will call you. 

Needless to say, I soon called back and said sure I will get both going and Gael you decide which one you keep. It was not until the following summer that I made the second Underhill trip to retrieve both engines. My thinking that the loading process would be simple, quick and somewhat effortless, proved to be flawed as no tractor or other powerful machine Gael possessed was used. I soon realized Gael has ancestors dating back to the pyramids as we moved both engines onto my trailer using pipe as rollers and a come-a-long all the while he was saying: work like the Egyptians. 

I decided to work on both engines simultaneously but really concentrate on the McCormick as it appeared the quicker of the two since the Fairbanks had a serious issue with rust. 

My employment journey had taken me to be an instructor/aid role at Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury. The perfect situation, a great place to work, students to help and teach basic engine operation and the detail needed to restore an 80 year old piece and the use of tools I do not possess. Although to complete the engine still required a bit of work, in reality a lot of work. Tasks included; complete disassembly of all components, magneto rebuild, gas tank replaced, igniter refurbished, rings unstuck from the piston, valves and seats refaced plus the springs replaced, fuel pump and lines replaced, mixer rebuilt and the governor repaired. As most of you know, projects tend to take on a life and direction of their own. I decided this project should not just be a “just get it running” one but, a complete restoration including repainting and a period correct horse drawn cart to mount and move the engine on. 

Finally in the spring of 2012, Gael got a call from me asking if he would enjoy being at Hannaford for startup day. I think you all know the answer and the smile Gael had when he heard the engine run for the first time since he owned it. Later that spring, the engine returned home to Underhill where it still resides. 

Thanks Gael. 

The IHC/McCormick Deering Type M gasoline engine was debuted in 1917 and built until 1937. All M engines were throttle governed and both low tension ignitor and high tension spark plug ignition systems were used. A unique feature of these engines was a completely enclosed, but dry crankcase. The crankshaft main bearings and rod were still greased by mechanical grease cups and the cylinder oiled by a drip oiler. All timing gears were inside, while the remaining parts, including the cam, were outside the crankcase. No oil was stored inside the engine. 

“Right Power for the Bigger Jobs” was IHC’s motto. 
It furnishes plenty of power for the hay baler, feed grinder, corn sheller, buzz saw, cane mill, deep well pump and other hard work.