Enthusiast of the Month – Peveril Peake

In keeping with our interest in identifying some of the most enthusiastic VAE member over the 50 year history of our club, it’s with that same enthusiasm that this month we recognize Peveril F. Peake.

Older members will remember Pev as a charter member and a super supporter of all our early activities. His picture appears all through our 40th year book, in a wide variety of cars over many years of events.

We could probably have a meet, or maybe a series of them, just to get together to tell Pev Peake stories. He even told a few to early Wheel Tracks editors… but the best ones are the ones you get while on an old car hunt with Pev himself.

Pev has lived and breathed old cars since birth and has probably owned over one thousand cars personally. He can discuss in detail the molding differences between models and years of any make that caught his interest… and that was most of them. Best, for the VAE, however, was his regular attendance at meets with his new “find”.

He had a nose for cars and would produce one great original condition car after another. Then, not only would he share his new prize by giving you a ride or letting you drive around the block… often he’d sell you the “last month’s” car. In this way Pev was a regular supermarket for us poorer hunters.

Even today when you look around at cars owned by club members, there are still quite a few that have those Peake transferable license plate traces and that famous “Peake Quick Restoration”.

Pev used to joke that a Peak restoration (usually on a really good original car) was to polish the dash, the left side of the hood and the top of the left front fender. Very satisfying for the operator… and he was one of the best operators we know.

Thanks, Pev, for being an early, strong and dependable enthusiast. Thanks for saving untold cars from worse fates… and thanks for your enthusiastic sharing. You brought many club members into the VAE and you will always be a part of our club’s success.

Auto Safety Through The Years

1920s Cadillac is the first car with safety glass windows as standard equipment. First electric windshield wiper introduced.

1930s Sun visors and electric turn signals were introduced on most models.

1940s Buick introduces front/rear directional signaling with self-canceling switch.

1950s Safety belts become optional equipment in some vehicles

1960s Federal law mandates front safety belts and head restraints in all passenger cars, and establishes crashworthiness standards for cars.

1970s Chrysler produces an early version of antilock brakes. GM produces first airbag. Federal law mandates front bumpers meet 5 mpg crash standard.

1980s Antilock brakes become widely available in passenger cars. First seat-belt use law enacted in NY. All 50 states pass laws requiring use of child safety seats.

1990s Dual airbags become standard equipment in all passenger cars, side-impact airbags are introduced. Daytime running lights are offered on some US cars. Better head restraints are introduced.

What’s Next? For more safety info visit, www.libertymutualinsurance.com

The Junk Yard

In the early 1940s a junkyard which included all sorts of very old vehicles and eventually comprised both sides of the street where I lived (about ¼ mile from my home located in the city of St. Albans) was established by the Shapiro Brothers.

This yard was formed as a source for their used parts store located on Federal Street. If there was anything in my life that started me down that one-way road to a deep affection for old vehicles, it must have been Shapiro’s Junk Yard. It was a virtual Disney World for a “junkie” like me.

Through my formative years, and despite the best attempts of the Shapiros and the pleas of my parents, a siren song and musty smell of those old vehicles and fascinating piles of junk drew me into that playground of obsolete and rusty “toys”.

I soon learned the skills of running at full speed among the car bodies and piles of iron as I eluded the Shapiros who were in full pursuit.

Ah, it was wonderful! Eventually I did grown up and became pretty good friends with the brothers, and of course, after purchasing my first car, a 1938 Pontiac, used the yard frequently to keep my car on the road.

The yard lasted into the early 70s, and even though the brothers (there were three) are gone, as I write this I can look out of my kitchen window in the same house where I lived as a child and see those fields straddling Aldis Street. Both are still void of any structures, but with just a little imagination I can see my “playground” in all its glory.