Wheel Tracks Articles Archives

Engine Management Upgrade

1987 saab 900The distributer in my 1987 Saab 900 Turbo recently broke. Even though it is a Bosch distributer, it is no longer manufactured and parts are not available. This distributer was only used on model years 1986 and 1987. I was able to find a used one; however, several people suggested I upgrade the engine to the later fuel in-jection and ignition system.

The fuel injection and engine management electronics on this car were state of the art, in 1987. Engine management technology improved significantly since.

Saab continued to use this same basic engine right up to the end, and the engine was updated to coil on plug ignition and an improved fuel injection/engine manage-ment system. By upgrading the engine, the engine performance was significantly improved, as was engine efficiency. I have been told to expect an extra 6 miles to the gallon, and an extra 40 horse power with the change to the later components. Another benefit is OBD 2 engine management. Diagnosis and repair of problems is easily handled with a universal OBD 2 code scanner, no more dependence on a Saab Tech II code scanner.

To make the change, I can either take the components off a newer Saab, or buy a conversion kit. The process involves removing the distributer, coil, electronic control module, and the various electrical components and installing the newer components with some extra sensors. Many cars from the 1960’s through the early 1990’s have engines that continued in production through the evolution of modern engine management. Upgrading these engines to modern engine management could be a fun project, with great rewards.

Winter Driving

On my way home from a friend’s house last night, in the dark, I happened upon a car that was stuck on a hill with a person behind the steering wheel and one person behind the car pushing it. There wasn’t much I could do, so I continued on my way. This got me thinking about past situations that involved having trouble getting home on bad roads in winter. All before cell phones! I think our town does a good job maintaining our roads in winter and in mud season and in recent years we have had fairly good snow tires, but there have been times in the past when our cars haven’t been the greatest and our tires just OK. This is just the way it was back then.

Our road has a nice hill just after a sharp curve and it is tricky on occasions not being able to get enough momentum to get up the hill. Fortunately, a neighbor built a house about half way up the hill with a driveway that has come in handy on more than one occasion. When, after trying to get up the hill two or three times and finally knowing you aren’t going to make it, you can either pull into the driveway and use their phone or leave your car there and walk home (2 miles). The other option was to drive around to the other end of the road which is closer to our house, go as far as you can, leave your car there and walk home which includes a stretch of road that isn’t plowed in winter. There were times when our son would have to stand on the rear bumper of the car for weight to get the car up the hill. This usually worked. We often drove Volkswagens that did amazingly well under bad conditions. I remember making it up the hill, only to find out that the road was so drifted I couldn’t tell where it was. I would be pushing snow with the front bumper so visibility was 0, having to roll down the driver’s window, look out the side and figure out where the road was by the trees alongside the road. One time Gael couldn’t make it home, and the next morning we walked down the road only to find the car completely covered by a snow drift. There was a time when we drove a VW pickup truck and in the middle of a bad storm, Gael drove over to a neighbor’s house with a long driveway that was unplowed. The neighbor was so impressed with the truck, he went out and bought one himself. There was one VW that we drove briefly (a Joe Kaelin car) that was so rusty we often had more snow in the car than was on the road. When the school bus started coming up our road, the road conditions got a little better, although we lived about a mile from the bus stop.

By the time our kids were old enough to drive, they had seen almost every kind of road and winter car problem and, surprisingly, managed quite well under bad conditions. They couldn’t call home quickly, no cell phone or AAA back then. Now, as adults, they can handle most situations very well, although they all have their phones and AAA now. Hopefully, they have passed some of their experiences along to their kids.

1921 Franklin Runabout

1921 franklin runabout lloyd davis
Longtime VAEer, Lloyd Davis (pictured here), and club member Carl Thompson now own this Franklin.

“Do you want to buy that Franklin Runabout?” 

“I don’t need it.” 

“Yes, you don’t need it, but do you want to buy it?” 

That is how the ‘partnership’ started for the owners of this 1921 Franklin Runabout. Lloyd Davis and Carl Thompson first met while working at the Quebec Cigar Company in Rutland in 1973, and have been friends since.

1921 franklin runabout carl thompson
Carl Thompson in the Franklin Runabout the day they took possession.. November 3rd, 2014

Carl tells Wheel Tracks this little story from 1975……… I had to shop for a new “used” car and Lloyd helped me find a 1973 Plymouth 4-door sedan, with air condition-ing. Lloyd pointed out AC was not necessary, and a waste of money, in Vermont. That summer, working in the old brick building with one small window, and 104 degrees inside the warehouse, it got hot. At the end of the day Lloyd asked if I could give him a ride to Rupert, Vt. He said he had forgotten to leave the order slip on a delivery that had been made earlier in the day. He commanded that the AC be turned on!

I told him the AC was not needed and was a wasteful expense, we could just as well put the windows down. He looked at me with a stern face and said “put the air condition on NOW!”

The conversation quoted on this issue’s front page happened in 2014 and Kate West sold the new partnership, the 1921 Franklin, soon after. Kate and Adrian West lived in Morrisville, Vermont and after Adrian passed, she had the job of finding new homes for most of the collection, that included the Runabout.

Another VAE member remembers a story about the Franklin from the mid 1950s when VAEer Rod Rice owned the car. Rod had owned it from the mid 1940s and as his family was getting larger he had decided to look for a larger car. He must have liked air-cool Franklins because he had his eye on a 5-passenger Franklin that the Fuller family owned in St. Albans Bay. Another piece of 1950s information is that Gael Boardman of St. Albans at the time, had eyes for the Franklin Runabout. So, a deal was struck where ,if, Gael could buy the Fuller car then he and Rod would make a trade and everyone would be happy. The deal never happened but the story places the Runabout in Rod Rices possession at that time and stored in a garage in Starksboro.

1921 franklin runaboutThe next turn for the Runabout was when Rod Rice needed work done on his Bentley and Adrian West happened to own a body shop in Morrisville. The Franklin ownership then changed to Adrian in exchange for the Bentley work. This date is fuzzy, possibly in the 1960’s. The Franklin then began a complete restoration in Adrian West’s shop and is basically what you see today. Adrian died in January 2008.

If you check the VAE Roster, you will find that Lloyd Davis has owned another Franklin for many years. Along with being a charter member of the VAE, Lloyd has also been an important member of the Franklin Car Club where he was the long-time club librarian until just a few years ago. Lloyd is an authority on Franklin history, and the many mechanical nuances of these wonderful air-cooled cars, that were manufactured in Syracuse, New York. New Franklin owners over the years, throughout the country, have been able to more fully enjoy these cars with Lloyd’s detailed guidance and good humor.

1921 franklin runabout interiorYou might notice a slight difference with two photos on this page. It took Lloyd a while, but using his many Franklin connections, he was able to find and have restored the wire wheels you see. Lets hope we will see this “Lloyd/Carl partnership” Franklin at a show this coming summer.

Editor’s notes…. A total of 8961 Franklins were built in 1921 and 214 were Runabouts. 300 Roadsters were also built. Other models such as Coupes, Demi-coupes, Victoria coupes, Touring limousines, Touring car, Sedans, Broughams, Cabriolets and Town cars were also part of the line-up. There were even 99 chassis built….

Franklin make the 9B series from 1916 through 1922, of which this Runabout is one…a 9B. It has a 6 cylinder engine that produces 25 HP and gets about 20 MPG. It has a 3-speed transmission and full-elliptical leaf spring suspension.

Franklins were known as great desert cars because they could handle the high temps without overheating the engine.

1957 Pontiac Clipper

Lee and Geri Carpenter’s 1957 Packard Clipper Has VAE club history at its best.

This 1957 Packard Clipper was originally owned by the parents of one of the VAE’s founding members. Peveril Peake. We are the second family owner having bought it from Pev in 2004.

The 1957 Packard Clipper Town Sedan was the next to last year of Packard; 3,940 cars built in South Bend, Indiana. It has a Studebaker 289-cu.in. supercharged V-8; 275 bhp; 333-lb.ft. torque; Borg-Warner three speed automatic; twin traction differential; 0-60- mph: 11.0 seconds ( 1957 Road & Track )

1957 packard clipper dashboard

This was Pev’s mother’s car, purchased new from Archie Myer’s Studebaker in Winooski, Vt. on January 2, 1957 ( from the original bill of sale ). The fly swatter hanging on the heater dash knob was the dealership’s free gift with purchase! This car was rarely out in the rain, never in the winter and never slept under the stars. 1957 packard clipper princessPeveril began calling it ” Princess”. When we acquired it in August of 2004, our daughter was then 9 years old and she donated her “purple ” Princess” pillow, to the car. And it has lived in the back window since!

Lee grew up in the same town as the Peakes in Bristol, Vermont. He and Pev were friends and had many adventures together. When Packard and Studebaker announced there were to be no further productions of this car Peveril purchased a used one exactly like this one, for a parts car. In 1968, Lee, at 16 , bought that parts car as his first car under the condition that it be returned to Pev when Lee was finished with it, in whatever shape it was in. Lee drove it until the transmission and super charger died. We now have, from that car, a spare dash, trunk lid, four doors, and all the glass from it stored in the garage attic !

Peveril saved many things including the original bill of sale and registration. At every registration renewal he would document the mileage of the car. He also saved the owner’s manual ,shop manuals and accessories booklet.

In 1969 Peveril and Lee, along with two others, drove this car out to South Bend, Indiana to the home of Studebaker for the Second International Meet. The judges were about to deduct points for the windshield wipers and spare tire, until Pev pointed out they were the originals! There it was awarded second place. That same spare is in our trunk today.

It remains in all original, unrestored condition. The engine has 121,000 miles on it, not rebuilt. The paint, trim, carpets, headliner and upholstery are also original . It has been in the VAE’s Stowe Car show every year since 2004, and in the Senior Class since 2013. It has chauffeured a number of brides and grooms, including the Carpenter family and Gale and Judy Boardman and their daughter, then our son’s first prom. It was invited to be a part of the Hemmings Motor News’ Concours D’Elegance, twice. ( 2010 and 2015 ) As well as being a feature in their Classic Car ( Feb 2010 ) magazine. It has been awarded first place in the Studebaker International meets of 2007, 2008, 2014, 2016 as well as first place in other Studebaker zone meets.

57 packard clipper

 

 

Our trip to South Bend May 2017

From Geri Carpenter

To quote Peveril Peak , the original owner of our Packard ( and one of the founding members of the VAE) this was a trip that was “fraught with danger and emotion” We didn’t get started on time as planned. Leaving a day late due to rain, we couldn’t even make it out of the garage! The Packard’s battery was dead, so we made a quick trip to Interstate Battery, for a new one. Lee opted to not take the bright lime green one they brought out to the counter, and asked for one in black.

Twelve miles from home the left front hub cap popped off while going around the clover leaf highway! I quickly watched where it rolled along the edge of the road. It was on an overpass and could have gone through the guard rails down onto Interstate 89 but didn’t. This was a blessing in disguise as I picked up an 18″ bungee cord along with the hub cap ( which was undamaged). This bungee cord came in handy later in the trip.

About ten miles down the road we got stuck in Route 7 construction. In the rain and mud the car got plastered and appeared like a two toned painted car. Black on top, brown on the lower half. Covered with mud.

Our trip went uneventful thereafter except for the geese around Syracuse, NY. While passing a Wildlife Preserve, two Canada geese, decided a good place to land was in the middle of our lane on the highway! With only a couple of car lengths of road ahead of us Lee honked the horn, which they ignored. He then had to swerve quickly to avoid hitting them! We could imagine the dented grill if we were not able to swerve around them. They stood a good 2 1/2 feet tall! When we were 20 miles from South Bend we hit stop and go construction traffic which took us an hour to get through. Then, 890 miles from home we arrived at our hotel.

The next day, in the rain, we headed for the host hotel. We gassed up about one block from our hotel and at the very next stop light the car started spewing steam !!! It was raining and about 45 degrees. We pulled under the next hotel’s canopy and to our good fortune, it was the host hotel of the Avanti Club! Almost immediately people came out to help! Lee opened the hood and found anti-freeze spitting all over the engine compartment. Once the steam cleared Lee found the radiator cap had loosened. We added about a gallon of water and we were on our way……. ooops but the hood wouldn’t latch ! Here’s where that bungee cord came in to good use.

We registered at the event hotel and made our way, in the rain, to the fairgrounds where the judging was taking place in the swine barn. The wait was quite long even though three judging lines had been set up. The delay was because the ‘trailered’ car owners were unloading in the judging barn instead of outside, and taking up a lot of time and space.

Once inside the long barn we did have time to wipe the car down and replace the hub cap. They said they would not deduct points for the rain. Our poor engine compartment had antifreeze splattered all over it. They took quite a while looking over the car, we were there for an hour and a half.

Thursday evening was the member’s meeting/buffet. It was down-right awful! 500 people were seated with three food stations. Nachos, a potato bar (yes, a potato bar where they put a scoop of mashed potatoes in a martini glass and you added your toppings) and lastly the slowest pasta serving bar in the country. They individually heated up our chosen sauce in an omelet pan, then added the pasta. A very slow process. And NO desserts! The Studebaker band played loudly throughout the whole dinner. We could hardly speak with others at the table. We did not stay for the evening auction.

Friday we woke to a beautiful day. Sunny and dry, but cold and windy. We headed for the museum. The parade was at 3 pm and it was poorly organized, not marked and there was no one directing traffic. Once finally downtown, it was a very nice event. There was a great turnout of cars and people. All of downtown had been cleared out and it was curb to curb Studebakers for about 4 blocks! The Studebaker band played again over a PA system.

Saturday was another bright sunny cold windy day. We arrived on time at the Proving Grounds and sat around the tarmac waiting an hour and a half. We were grouped with 14 cars in each pack. We had 2 laps around the 3 mile banked cornered track. We made it up to 70 MPH. This was fun, and I dare say, it made Lee’s day. Then on to the fairgrounds where they had reserved the front three rows of the field for those of us who were at the Proving Grounds. This was a nice gesture and well appreciated as we arrived later in the morning. Throughout the show there was the huge projector showing old Studebaker TV ads from the 1950s. This was cool and entertaining. (I believe they are available for purchase at the Studebaker Museum.) During the awards presentation the winner’s pic-tures were up on the screen with their name and points. We were award-ed a second place plaque. Perhaps the splattered antifreeze deducted points from our score! We checked off a list of state license plates and counted 29 different states with a Studebaker plate!!! As well as 2 Canadian Provinces.

Our traveling adventures were not over, as we had not yet parked in our own driveway. Coming home, as we were getting on I87 North we rounded a cloverleaf entrance ramp and TWANG!!! That same left front hub cap went flying across the 3 lane highway, across the median, into the next three lanes. A car had to brake, but got around it, then the car in the next lane…. Ka-thunk.

Damn. Good thing our spare tire has a matching hub cap!

So, if anyone doesn’t believe their car has a personality, think again. We think that Princess (the Packard came pre-named) did not want to go on this trip and showed us!!!

Happy motoring everyone,
Geri and Lee Carpenter

What does “FG” Mean?

Dave is taking a brake this month – An email exchange with our VAE expert on Vermont number plates.

fg series vt license plateVAE member, John Sandvil, recently purchased a Vermont number plate with # FG81. John bought it because it was different but did not know the reason for its odd number.

1950s vermont license plate prefixesTo the rescue….Gary Irish. This is part of his reply: Yes, I can tell you what it is, and will probably tell you more than you want to know! It is a plate for a state owned vehicle, and more particularly for the Fish & Game department. State vehicles were first issued special plates in 1922, and through 1925 had “STATE” written out on the bottom of the plate, similar to truck and repairer plates of that era. From 1926 to about 1950, they had an “ST” prefix, and at least from 1951, only an “S” prefix (I know 1948 had ST and 1951 had S, but don’t know about 1949 and 1950). This went through 1960, and in 1961, they issued permanent plates to state vehicles with a two letter prefix designating the department to which the vehicle was issued. These plates did not have a painted border, but somewhere around 1970, new plates were issued, essentially similar except these had a painted border. These were used until the mid-’80’s, when they transitioned over to the plates in use today. I’ve attached a few pictures to give you an idea of what they looked like. The F&G plate is probably similar to the one you are asking about. The similar one without the border is Forest & Parks. I also added a sheet that gives the meaning of the letters on the 1961 version. And by the way, the picture of the 1925 state plate may look a little odd – it is a replacement plate. These were used to replace lost plates, and were embossed with only the non-unique parts of the plate. The motor vehicle department, at that time housed in a house which once stood where the state office building is on State Street in Montpelier, had a supply of these, and when a request came in for a replacement plate, they took the appropriate blank (in this case STATE, (pictured left) but they also had them for passenger, truck, etc.) and hand painted the number on the plate in a workshop in the basement of the house and sent it out.

1925 vt license plateAfter answering your note about the license plate, I got to thinking that maybe you can answer a question for me, or at least you might know someone who can. I recently got a copy of a picture, which shows a man named Clinton Abbott in the middle of what is now Route 15 in front of the park in Underhill Flats. He was the Underhill station agent for the Burlington & Lamoille Railroad. The car has a 1911 dealer plate on it, and I was told by the person who gave me the picture that Mr. Abbott, at one time, was a dealer for Reo automobiles. From anything I can find online, this doesn’t look like a Reo, and I am wondering if you or someone might be able to tell me what make of car it is. From looking at pictures online, the closest thing seems to be a Maxwell, which has a similar shaped hood, but other details of any I could find didn’t look right, such as the cowl.

Wheel Tracks was unable to reproduce the picture that Gary Irish is referring to, but….does have a beautiful picture that can be emailed to you. There is a gentleman driving the car and two youngsters around age 10 as passengers. The Underhill church can be seen beyond the green. Please ask and I will email the photo to you. email…gafiske@gmail.com

Happy New Year – 2018

happy new year 2018As the time is getting close, I will first wish one and all a Happy New Year. It is a bit hard to believe it will be 2018 (if you are reading this, it is 2018!) It seems like yesterday that we were all trying to decide how to say the years in the 2000s, should we say 20-01 or 2,001 and now we are 18 years later!

Now that the introduction is out of the way, on to the subject; New Year’s Resolutions. I did some research (on the internet) so you can agree or disagree but isn’t everything on the internet on the up and up?

New Year’s resolutions started with the Babylonians over 4000 years ago. They started off each new year with the resolve to change something for the better. Previously, it was usually something for someone else like pay off a debt or return a borrowed item. The Romans made prayers to their god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. Other groups made resolutions through the years, and for the most part the present-day resolutions, have gone from trying to help or improve life for others to self-improvement. The most popular goals include improve your physical well-being; eat healthy, lose weight, exercise (more), drink less (alcohol), quit smoking, get rid of old unhealthy habits. Other thoughts are laugh more, enjoy life, reduce stress, improve finances, get a better job or do better at the current one, volunteer, settle down, spend more time with family, go to church. The list can go on and on and I really commend those who take the plunge and can manage to reach their goal and stick with it, but the internet tells me that less than 8% achieve their goals.

Which now brings up the question of why can’t we seem to keep our resolutions and reach our goal, after all, whatever we have chosen to ‘improve’ without much doubt needs improvement or we wouldn’t have chosen it. I have given this much thought and guess what? The internet backs me up! We tend to set goals that are too hard, complicated or just plain too big, like lose 100 pounds, get a job that pays 4 times what I’m earning now, which probably would require more education, moving, etc., all of which I am not willing to do. You get the idea. We might have more success if we said lose 4 pounds a month and plan how to accomplish this, i.e.; walk, skip one restaurant meal a week, shop in the produce aisle for half of my groceries. Is there a light dawning? For most of us, we need to start small and build on that.

Another thought I have is going back to what was the original purpose for New Year’s resolutions; make someone else’s life better, return the shovel to your neighbor or give your parents back the money they laid out for your education. Now that would sure brighten my New Year!! I am sure you could make someone’s life better with just a friendly smile and a hug. Realizing the world we live in today, how about a smile and a wave or handshake. I am sure the Milton road crew’s life is made better every time Mary shows up with cookies! Probably their wish is that Mary’s New Year’s Resolution is to set a goal of a dozen or 2 cookies twice a month!

1992 Jaguar XJS Elegante

A beautiful 1992 Jaguar XJS Elegante owned by Serge Benoit

serge benoit 1992 jaguar xjsWe have all heard about Serge Benoit… or should we say, we have all “heard” Serge Benoit. Serge has been our “French Voice” at our August Antique & Classic Car Meet for many years. He and Gael Boardman keep the show rolling on the public address system at the 60 year old car event.
Serge lives along the Richelieu River in Sabrevois, Quebec surrounded by, what appears to be, over 1700 square miles of farm land, extending from our border to the St Lawrence River. The vision we Vermonters have is that just a few miles north is Montreal, when all the time there is this beautiful farm land laid out like you would see in our Midwest.

Serge spent over 30 years working for Canadair and Bombardier, both companies very familiar to all of us. He presently works part time for a bus company called “Trans Dev” who operates busses throughout Serge’s area including Montreal, both school busses and transit busses. Serge drives them all. The balance of the time Serge operates the company, he started seventeen years ago called “Eval SB”. If you have your eye on an old car, or even a not-so-old vehicle, you can hire Serge’s company to find if the purchase would be a good idea…or a bad one. His company evaluates 100 to 150 vehicles each year.

Now to the XJS Jaguar that Serge owns. Serge found the car at an estate sale last November and is the third owner. Other than some brake work, the car was ready to head down the highway….or autoroute, so they say up his way. Jaguar made about 115,000 XJS models between 1975 and 1996 with V12 engines in most of them. The “purists”, so Serge calls them, were protesting the car should also have the 3.6-litre Jaguar AJ6 straight-six engine under the hood. The protest worked and 500 XJSs were built with the six cylinder engine.

Serge’s Jag is called the Jaguar XJS Classic and between 1992 and 1996 they made about 8800 2-door coupes and 19,000 2-door convertibles. Transmission choices were the 5-speed automatics (Serge’s car) or the 4-speed manuals.

Jaguar was founded in 1922 and was transformed a number of times with different companies in England, until 1990, when the Ford Motor Company bought Jaguar. Eighteen years later, in 2008, an Indian company by the name of Tata purchased Jaguar and retains ownership today. All Jaguar cars are, however, still built in England.

Sir William Lyons (1901 – 1985), known as “Mr. Jaguar”, was with fellow motorcycle enthusiast William Walmsley, the co-founder in 1922 of the Swallow Sidecar Company, which became Jaguar Cars Limited after the Second World War. Serge said the XJS Jaguar was Mr. Lion’s last “build approval”

1992 jaguar xjs enginePerformance wise, the XJS top speed is 150 MPH with a 0 to 60 of 6 seconds. The six cylinder, 24 valve engine produces 240 HP and the V12 engine puts out close to 300 HP. A little, like what Shelby did to Fords, a performance company by the name of “Lister” was asked to make the XJS perform, straight-up, with a Ferrari…..and they did it. They transformed 90 XJSs into 200mph-plus supercars. At over 600 horse power….we all should have one!
In the meantime, Serge’s car is a Grand Touring Jaguar that replaced the beautiful, legionary XKE……and does a great job carrying on the tradition.

 

It’s in the Bag

When doing engine work or restoration work, organization is key to success. I recently overhauled an engine in my shop, and I was greatly aided by a careful and thoughtful organization when I took the engine apart.

I carefully catalogued the nuts, bolts, hardware and parts in zip lock bags, carefully labeled with a sharpie marker. The valve cover bolts were placed in a sandwich sized bag, labeled valve cover bolts, Left. The head bolts and miscellaneous hardware were placed in quart sized bags and labeled. These bags were then placed, in a gallon sized bag, labeled and Left.

This method continued through the engine disassembly. The oil pump bolts were bagged, and placed in the bag with the oil pump. All of the bags of parts were placed in a box with all the other parts.

When I reassembled the engine, all of the nuts, bolts and miscellaneous hardware were easily located, and the order of opening and unbagging the parts, easily gave me what I needed without wasting time searching, and minimizing the risk of placing the wrong hardware in the wrong location. When installing the left cylinder head, I grabbed the bag labeled Left, and all of the hardware was clearly labeled. When I was done, all the hardware was accounted for. There was nothing missing, and nothing left over.

I also use this strategy when I take a car apart for major work or restoration. There is nothing more maddening than not being able to find a part when needed.

Zip Lock freezer bags have an extra strong zipper, and provide a white rectangle for labeling. The next time you are in the grocery store, I would suggest buying a few boxes of sandwich, quart and gallon sized zip lock freezer bags for your shop.

Beware – Friday The 13th!

These BRRR mornings are reminding us that there is a cold winter to come. Cold as it is, we in Vermont have it much better than most parts of the world, so no more complaining. In Vermont, tornadoes, earthquakes, wild fires, mud slides and hurricanes are rare. Of course, there are exceptions, like the microburst that blew down our barn in 2008. Anyway, on Friday the 13th, I once again fell and broke some ribs, right in my own kitchen. With the help of Tylenol and sympathy from the medical profession, I can still cook meals, feed the cats and birds and do laundry. I’m forbidden to do anything really strenuous like use the vacuum cleaner, oh darn!

Fortunately, I had already cleared the flower beds and what little we had for garden vegetables – cherry tomatoes and basil was about it.

Then it was time for the Gypson Tour up next to the Canadian border set up by Duane Leach which I first thought would be too painful – antique cars do bounce around when on back roads. But, take Tylenol and a blanket and go for it, I decided. So glad I did as it was a great tour, with beautiful scenery. Then there was all of the delicious food at Gary and Sharon Fiske’s home, once we got there – I am not the best navigator so we were the last to finish, but there was food left!

Then came the gale force winds that rattled the area last weekend. While there was havoc all around us, we were fortunate to have only one tree blow down and Wendell started up the outdoor wood furnace, so we had warmth and never did lose electricity, as did so many others. Our blessings, right? That was true until last Thursday evening when we were alerted by Green Mountain Power of a fifteen-minute electricity outage while some final fixes were made. It turned into a two hours outage. Guess it was our turn for a little taste of inconvenience. But, all is well now – so far!

1972 Steyr-Puch Pinzgauer

Hank Baer’s 1972 Pinzgauer Swiss Army Radio Communication Truck.

Hank is a VAE Member and also a member of the Green Mountain Military Vehicle Club.

steyr puch haflingerIn the beginning… it was an Austrian Haflinger. The Haflinger was a series of 4×4 light utility vehicles, produced by Steyr-Puch. It was designed to replace the WWII era American jeeps. The Haflinger vehicle is named after a breed of Austrian horses, that are small, but well-muscled and energetic. The vehicle was produced at Graz in Austria. Production commenced in 1959 and ceased in 1975. Over 16,000 of these light utility vehicles were made. It was widely used by the Austrian Army.

steyr puch pinzgauer badgeThe Pinzgauer was developed by Steyr-Daimler-Puch of Austria as the successor to the Haflinger of 4×4 vehicles. The first 4×4 Pinzgauer’s prototype, powered by a 2.5-liter gas engine, was produced in 1965. Series production commenced in 1971 and ever since then, the Pinzgauer series has been a major Steyr-Daimler-Puch product. The baseline Pinzgauer 710 had 4×4 configuration. It was soon joined by a Pinzgauer 712 with 6×6 configuration. The 6×6 model was first revealed in 1968 and entered production in 1971-1972. The Pinzgauers first entered military service with Austria in 1973. Another major operator was Switzerland. By 1985 over 20,000 had been produced, nearly for all military users.

1972- steyr puch pinzgauer interiorFrom 1983 onwards the gas-engined Pinzgauers 710 series and 712 series were joined by turbocharged diesel-engined versions, the so called Turbo D range, which in most respects were overall improvements on the earlier models. They are known as 716 series (4×4) and 718 series (6×6) and have longer wheelbases, disc brakes and increased fuel capacities. Other features such as automatic level control systems, that enable the superstructure to rise or fall, to suit the load involved also became available. Since 1986 the original Pinzgauers were replaced in production by the improved 716 and 718 series vehicles.

Wheel Tracks first spotted the truck during our Appreciation Picnic on Farr Field in the Spring. Before the camera and note-book was readied, the truck and it’s mysterious owner was gone…… All inquiries came up negative, mainly because the right people were not asked. Then the odd looking truck turned up at the train station at our Shelburne Show. The GMMVC new all the time!

72 steyr puch pinzgauerHank Baer is the owner and Pinzgauer is his ride. Hank purchased the truck just a few years ago and the vehicle has become his main “go to the show vehicle” since then. It is set up as a communications vehicle and even short-legged folks, like the editor, can have a ride….note the hike-ups sticking out the front axel. The gas engine has four cylinders, is air-cooled and produces 90 HP. It weighs just over 2 ton and can carry an additional ton with a highway speed of around 70 MPH.

All Pinzgauers are four-wheel-drive or six-wheel-drive with on-the-fly hydraulic differential locks, fully independent suspension backboned chassis tube. They have integrated differentials, 24 volt electrical system, vacuum assisted drum brakes and portal axles to give extra clearance.


A Salute to Our Fellow Vermont Club….GMMVC

Membership in the GMMVC plugs you into Vermont’s statewide military vehicle restoration community. You don’t need to go at it alone! The annual dues of $20 gets you on the meeting minutes mailing list, discounts on club activities, and a fancy membership card autographed by Bob Chase! GMMVC welcomes new members from all walks of life, without regard to age, sex, religion, ethnicity or taste in paint color. The only prerequisite is an interest in historic military vehicles. It is not a requirement to own a vehicle (although we bet you will sooner or later!) Over 10,000 Military vehicle enthusiasts are involved in this same hobby nation wide. This group of people has informally developed an international camaraderie. GMMVC is a registered non-profit corporation and does all its work and events with volunteers.