The 50s (Part I)

After the war, women left their wartime factory jobs and returned to the role of homemaker. Families thrived in the suburbs with station wagons, picture windows, backyard, casseroles and Emily Post. Donna Reed was the perfect picture of the happy housewife dressed in the standard daytime shirtwaist with full circle skirt, and belted waist.

A fancy apron was added to wear at home in the kitchen. Of course, she never left the house without the short white gloves, flowered hat perched on the back of the head and suitable handbag.

Taffeta strapless ball gowns, many in black, with full skirts and wide-collared evening coats, extravagant cocktail dresses in lush colors, fabrics and accessories, were worn for evening wear, along with elbow length gloves and coordinating hats. Mink stoles, cashmere sweaters with fur collars, and jeweled embroidery were the coordinating features.

Chanel returned to designing with her signature cardigan suit and low sling-back shoes. Skirts were mid-calf and pleated at the waist to give fullness. Pucci designed silk scarves, dresses, blouses and stretch bathing suits in bold patterns of purple, pink and crimson.

Poodles were top dog, and appeared on skirts and jewelry. Costume pearls were worn as every day jewelry. Rhinestone-studded sun glasses were the crowning touch to any outfit.

Toreador or Capri pans worn with appliquéd sweaters and ballet slippers were the mainstay of the casual outfit. Circle skirts were made in felt with appliqués of everything from poodles to plants and lobsters.

(Read more in Part II)

Best Restoration of 2002

What appears to be my last act as 2002 President of VAE is the selection of Best Restoration Award. First of all, I had no idea how difficult this decision could be!

There were six exceptional entries for this award, all deserving to be a winner. After studying photos, restoration information (even some albums of the rebuild process) my decision was made.

The award goes to Mark Bennet of Warren, who received a handsome plaque for his 1960 Thunderbird, retractable top convertible. A beautiful restoration of a very complex automobile. Mark is to be congratulated on his award, as are all of the entries in this past year’s event.

The time and expense spent on their projects are not to be taken lightly and shows a dedication and love of the hobby that is unique to the fascinating world of automotive preservation.

Car Estate Planning

In resent years, I have heard VAE members speak of how they want the club to go and to be remembered. I feel this opportunity is in our hands. The VAE members, who have been in the club for years, have done great things with their automobiles, which, in return, have provided them great pleasure.

In speaking with these people and going over to their shops, I find that they have great collections of “project” cars, trucks and lot of boxes of parts.

The overwhelming drive of car collectors to start new projects and the reality of “Not enough time and not enough Money” means many of these cars are going to be at Estate Sales. The other result is a spouse left with old cars and old parts and looking for any means of disposal.

I believe that the solution lies with those who have three or four (or more) car projects, which they will never get to. It is to seek out people, men or women, who are younger and have car interest. Go to High Schools, Vocational Arts programs, automobile repair or similar locations of education.

The first time I went to VT Tech for the fall VAE meeting, I was approached by two students, while I sat near my 49 Packard having a sandwich. Their interest was working with older cars. This was my first hand experience with younger people having an unfulfilled desire to restore and own old cars.

For those interested: Find younger people interested in cars and have them come over to your shop 2-4 times per month and work on a “project” car that you have most of the parts for, get it running, then give them the car with extra parts.

Another idea would be to give a car to an auto repair school and become an assistant to the instructor. This could do two things for you: help to clean out your shop or barn and give you the opportunity to teach and interact with younger people.

At this time, I think it will be difficult to find young people who are willing to spend $10K – $15K on a resorted Model A when they can get a old corvette for the same price. The early VAE members back in the 40’s & 50’s could buy any old car they wanted for $50 – $100.

I know everyone feels the favorite car has great value. The true value is only what someone else will pay. I would hope that the greatest value would be the value to a first time owner, at the beginning of their car addiction, when money may be scarce.

In closing, in order to avoid the termination of your passion for old cars at the time of your demise – do some Car Estate Planning and pass along the “Fever”! I feel we could and should now pass on cars, which we will never get too, to interested younger people. Pass on the passion and the car addiction while we still have some say on where and how it will go.

Enthusiast of the Month – The Saxbys

In this, our 50th year, the VAE is recognizing people, past and present, who have really exemplified our name – Enthusiast. In recent months we have cheered people, both living and dead, but this month our award goes to a couple who we have lost track of completely.

It is our loss, as Dr. Robert and Marion Saxby were super Vermont Auto Enthusiasts. In our early years, from their home on Brooks Avenue in Burlington, they were a steady force: keeping our records, arranging meetings and holding us on track.

With a young family of their own and all the pressures of a young doctor, the Saxby’s really helped us when they might have been honestly excused from such efforts.

Marion was club secretary for a number of years and Bob lent stability to the Board of Directors. Later the family moved to the spacious Beeman house on High Street in St. Albans, with its grand carriage house. Having this neat space, they bought (from Peveril Peake) their outstanding ‘33 Lincoln Double Windshield True Dual Cowl Phaeton.

It was a beautiful and quite original 12-cylinder Lincoln of real classic status. They deserved the car and we all enjoyed it at meets. We lost track of the Saxbys when they moved to upstate NY some years ago. There was a rumor that the Lincoln had been sold… we hope to another good home.

But most of all, we want to thank them more properly than we did when they were here with us… to do so, we award Bob and Marion Saxby a Great Big E. Thanks for everything you did for all us Enthusiasts.

Where Is Your Gasoline Coming From?

Are you buying gasoline from the Middle East? The Saudis are boycotting American goods right now so perhaps we should return the favor.

Every time you fill up the car, you can avoid putting more money into the coffers of Saudi Arabia. Just buy from gas companies that don’t import their oil from the Saudis.

Major companies that DO import Middle Eastern oil:

Shell, Chevron/Texaco, Exxon / Mobil, Marathon / Speedway, Amoco

Major companies that DO NOT import Middle Eastern oil:

Citgo, Sunoco, Conoco, Sinclair, BP/Phillips, Hess