Second Hand Shops

Have you visited your local second hand clothing shop lately? If not, you are missing a bet. Oh, I know what you are thinking…. that you wouldn’t want to wear something that someone else has already worn and may be out of style. I think you should take a second look; things are not what you think.

Vintage clothing and used clothing may have a bad reputation of being ratty and out of style. Not the case at all…vintage clothing has become big business, and if you doubt my word, take a moment or two and go to the web site: I think you will be greatly surprised. This company has many sites in many states now, and seems to be growing.

The articles of clothing are carefully selected, clean, fashionable, and very wearable. Many people are in auto clubs, museums, historical groups, stage shows, etc., that need period clothing. Designer fashions are greatly sought after, and the prices seem to be right, for the quality of the clothing. Names like Adele Simpson, Edith Head, Lilli Ann and Christian Dior come to mind. These are names to watch for in your hunt.

But, even if you don’t find designer fashions in your quest, take time to look through the racks and racks of second hand clothing. You may be surprised at what you find and at what price you find it at. And, really, do fashions change that much? Do things really go out of style if they are well made and well taken care of? I have many friends who regularly shop second hand clothing stores that come away with great finds for very good prices. You just have to take the time and look carefully and be selective in what you buy, and I bet no one will know the difference. Have fun!

2004 Restoration Award Winners

Our 1966 Corvette Convertible – The Story

My interest in Corvettes probably started back in 1954 when some friends and I attended the General Motors Motorama Show in Boston where the highlight of the show for me was the fairly new Chevrolet Corvette display. However it would be 21 years later that I would become the owner of one of these cars.

One day a family friend told us that a relative of his was going to sell his 1966 Corvette convertible and asked if we might be interested. The next thing I know the car is in our drive with instructions to drive it for a few days. This we did and after looking the car over and considering the condition of the paint and body and how badly it seemed to handle we sent the car back with a definite no answer.

During the time I had the car I had rolled the driver door window down several times, the last time, the thing failed, I ended up replacing the entire assembly inside the door. (I guess you could say this was the start of the restoration of this car though I didn’t even own it yet.)

About a week later we were on our way to BTV to catch a plane to Disney World with the kids, and as we turned off from Williston road on to Airport Drive, parked in the lot of the gas station on the corner was this same Corvette with a for sale sign on it. Don’t know what sort of chemistry took place, (I think I actually felt sorry for the car, it looked like it never had any TLC) but when we arrived at the airport I found myself in a phone booth calling the owner and telling him we would take the Corvette.

When we got back, the long road to this year started. My first project was to get the handling to a point where I could at the very least keep the car in my lane of the road. Some one had put wide Craggar alloy wheels and tires on the car, which was a misfit. I removed them and replaced them with OEM wheels and tires w/original wheel covers and spinners. Wow what a difference. Little did I know this was to be the beginning of my continuing Corvette education.

I very soon learned that mid years Corvettes have a parking brake system that was unique to them at that time. Although this design is used on many GM models currently, back then they were not compatible with Vermont weather, and when they fail, the procedure in the service manual didn’t really help. When I finally got to the inside where the working parts resided I couldn’t believe what I saw; it was one solid mass of corrosion. Thankfully I learned of a supplier who produced these parts of stainless steel. Great, the parking brake now works but the jubilation was short lived, as I found out, things, it seemed went downhill from here.

As I drove the car, it seemed that every couple weeks I would have to bleed the brakes. This lead to researching the brake system and learning that because of the design, using solid mounted calipers w/ constant contact pads to rotor, plus corrosion caused by moisture absorbed by alcohol based brake fluid, pumps air into the system. This required a complete disassembly of all four calipers (each having two halves) and master cylinder which I did, and sent them to a vendor to be sleeved with stainless steel. Reassembled them and installed them. One more problem solved. But the list continued. Over the next few years I replaced ball joints, springs, shocks, stabilizer links, all front and rear rubber bushings, wheel bearings, seals, trailing arm pins and bushings, rotors and pads

Since the very beginning the engine ran smoothly, but smoked moderately, however, eventually I detected a slight noise in the lower end. Before things got worse I pulled the engine and transmission. Did a complete overhaul on the engine,( machining done at a vendor’s shop) disassembled the transmission and installed a refresh kit which all took me a little over a year. This included installing a new radiator and rebuilding the windshield wiper/washer motor, carburetor, distributor and fuel pump.

During this period of time the inspection sticker had expired, so on the day of final completion I had made an appointment for an inspection at 4:oo PM that afternoon. However on the way didn’t a trooper stop me and give me a ticket. I tried to explain the situation, even asked the officer to call the station but said they didn’t have to do that. I sent the ticket in requesting a trial which never happened of course, as the assistant D.A. (young enough to be my son) let me off after hearing my story.

One thing that always bothered me about this car was that the electric clock never worked. So one day I took it all apart was able to find the manufacturer’s name and to my surprise I was still able to purchase parts (at car shows). I had the face silk-screened and reinstalled it. This was great, but it made the rest of the dash look terrible. You guessed it, out came the main dash, matter of fact out came the whole interior seats carpet, belts, everything. This was the point where we decided that we couldn’t reinstall a new interior unless we had the body repaired and painted. Since I didn’t really have a place to do body work or paint and my own body was now needing some restoration of it’s own, we had no choice but to have this done by an out side source. While this was being done I totally restored the seats and re covered them. In 1966 some of the options available to a purchaser were seat headrests and shoulder belts. These are available through Corvette restoration parts suppliers so I added these two features when finally installing the interior.

While my car was out to the shop for painting and bodywork it was learned that the frame was very weak in some key areas so the decision was made to remove the body and restore the frame. It was completely sand blasted repaired and painted and the body replaced. Again the parts to do this are available through Corvette parts suppliers.

We completed this phase of the restoration in mid May of this year, as you can see this was an on going project from day one, however we did on occasion have periods when we could drive and enjoy the car. Even when the car was off the road being worked on, we still attended Corvette shows to search for parts and network with other Corvette people to learn and exchange information. In spite of all the pitfalls, it’s been a great ride. Many thanks to my wonderful wife Jeanne, the kids Wendy and Greg, and a lot of other people, who all have either bought parts, or pawed through many boxes of used parts at car shows or just were there when I needed them in support of this project. Right now there are left over parts still in each of our bedrooms.

The Shelburne Concept: Shelburne for Profit?

I would like to encourage our members and friends to attend the upcoming Shelburne Classic Auto Festival. Please put these dates on your calendars now! JUNE 3, 4, 5, 2005. The VAE puts on two really great car shows each year, which are our source of income to pay for the VTC scholarships, monthly newsletter, notices, postage, stipends, sunshine donations, appreciation dinner, awards for members, etc. We pay hidden costs such as taxes, equipment repairs, insurance premiums, phone bills, and for monthly meets. This club is big business and we need your support. Every member of this club is subsidized. If it weren’t for being a profitable club, dues would be $85.00 per member.

I continue to listen to some controversy over the Shelburne car show as not being profitable. Do you realize that all the Shelburne car show needs to become profitable is you? The Shelburne show breaks even on a budget of about $20,000 a year. If the weather cooperates and at least 900 paying customers walk through the spectator gate, we get $9000.00 from the museum. If more walk through, the museum makes out. We have a cap on gate revenue, which is fine. (Remember the idea is to help out the museum as well as us). We don’t need the gates extra money. Don’t confuse Shelburne with Stowe. Stowe collects a gate revenue of $35,000 plus on a good year. But keep in mind that the Stowe budget is $60,000 plus. Stowe needs a huge gate to make up the difference of a $40,000 higher budget. Do you follow me so far? What Shelburne needs is you, your old car, your neighbor’s car, your kid’s car. Shelburne needs you as a flea market vendor, and your neighbor, and your friend as a flea market vendor.

Keep in mind that at Shelburne, the VAE keeps all the money from car registrations, flea market vendors, car corral vendors and tractor pull entries. Look at the numbers. If the Shelburne show breaks even with 260 cars and 24 flea market vendors, then lets add Stowe’s figures. Put 600 more show cars at Shelburne the day of the Show and we’ll have a $12,000 profit. Put 600 more flea market vendors there and we’ll have $18,000 more. The VAE can potentially profit $30,000 at the Shelburne car show. All we need is your enthusiasm for this VAE fundraiser. Imagine 860 cars at Shelburne. There’s plenty of room. And for those of you who think the classes are too spread out, they won’t be spread out at all if we have wall to wall cars!

Think about the advantages of the Shelburne show. Look at what Shelburne supplies us with for free that would be an out of pocket expense at any other show field: A show field, a flea market field, a tractor field, grass mowing, perfect road conditions, dust control, parking, overflow parking, bussing if needed, parking lot attendants, gate attendants, electricity, lighting, water, food, restrooms, trash bins, tents, tables, chairs, use of buildings, set up help, fenced off grounds, 24 hour security, telephones. Did I mention shade? In exchange the museum wants a first class show that’s been advertised heavily.

If you feel strongly about making money for the VTC scholarship then you should feel equally as strong about the Shelburne car show. They give us their facility on what would otherwise be a slow weekend for them in exchange for a busier gate. In so doing, we help to preserve Vermont history and an education center for people of all ages. School children, from every school in the state attend the museum at some point in their 12 year grade school education. All we have to do to help out is put on the biggest car show we can. Somehow 260 cars is not a huge car show for a 40-acre setting. It’s somewhat embarrassing. We could easily fit 1,000 cars on this field. We could easily fit several hundred flea market vendors. Maybe we abbreviate too much and should spell our name out more, VAE — Vermont Automobile ENTHUSIASTS. With a lot of Enthusiasm this show could be as big of a fundraiser as Stowe, on only one third of the budget and a lot less work.

Cruisin’ Shanghai

After 11 months of living in Shanghai, I’ve yet to find any sign of a collector car hobby, in this sprawling city, or anyplace in China for that matter. So, a motor head like myself is relegated to seeking out automobilia at the local antique flea markets or simply “car watching” to hopefully spot something interesting. In terms of American cars, my first 11 months have turned up some surprising finds. Not antique by US standards, but somewhat unique considering I’m in Shanghai.

I’m not talking about American branded cars produced in China, but those common “made in USA” vehicles that somehow found their way from North America to the Orient. How they got here will likely remain a mystery, since China does not permit the importation of used vehicles except under very special circumstances. My sightings have included examples of Americas “big three”, but it appears that only Chrysler Corp may have established a dealer network in Shanghai during the late 1980’s through the mid to late 1990’s.

I say this because Chrysler had quite a dealer network in nearby Taiwan at the time, and there are a relatively large number of Mopars of that era still roaming the streets of Shanghai today. For example, the ever popular Dodge minivan, from the late 80’s through mid 90’s and rebadged as a Chrysler with Chinese badging as well, is still a common sight on Shanghai streets. Less often spotted, but still fairly common are Dodge Shadows, an occasional Dodge Dynasty, and Dodge Spirit 4 door. Also seen are early version Chrysler Concords and LHS luxury models. On rare occasions, I’ve witnessed a later 80’s K car platform New Yorker.

The rarest of the rare, even on US roads, was spotted last February, when I was traveling to the airport to meet a Vermont neighbor who had come to visit. It was relatively early on a quiet Sunday morning as I traveled on the airport bus. As we waited at a red light, my eyes fell upon one of the very rare Chrysler K car stretch limos made between 1984 and 1986. I could hardly believe my eyes! There were only about 3,000 of these unusual mini limos produced and here was one of them roaming the streets of Shanghai! There has just got to be an interesting story behind how it found it’s way to China! There have been some GM finds as well, though not many. One morning last January while walking to my office, I came upon a bright red mid 90’s Corvette Roadster parked on the sidewalk. (Parking on the sidewalk is perfectly legal in certain sections of Shanghai.)

The owner was nowhere to be found, and I have never seen the ‘Vette again. Just a few days ago while walking through an upscale commercial district my eyes fell upon a black very new looking Corvette slowly cruising by, and needless to say getting second looks. A bright red late 80’s Firebird zoomed by me one evening, the only Pontiac I’ve spotted in Shanghai. By far the most popular GM marque in Shanghai is Cadillac.

Mostly seen are the big cruiser 80’s sedans, and the newer trimmed down 90’s models, but I’ve noticed nothing past the late 1990’s. These are used mostly for weddings, chauffeuring groups, or driven by VIP types or VIP wannabe types. While the Ford Motor Company is currently building a new facility in nearby Nanjing, very few American model Fords have been spotted in Shanghai. The few examples I’ve seen have been 1980’s beaters. One, an Escort had seen better days, and was contributing mightily to Shanghai’s already bad air quality.

Over the past 2 months, I’ve spotted two seperate Ford Tempos, both well worn, but neither in the dire straights the Escort found itself in. I’ve yet to spot an American Motors product, and not a hint of a 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s vehicle anywhere. While trucks now account for roughly 50% of motor vehicle sales in the US, they virtually do not exist in Shanghai.

Yes, there are SUVs and some minivans, but the pickup truck, and its many variations so popular in the US are very rare in Shanghai, or any other area of China I’ve visited so far. The few I’ve seen have been Nissan or Chinese make mini 4 door pickups. There is some interesting Automobilia in Shanghai however, and next time we’ll talk about it!

Vanity Plate Rule Upsets Editor

The following is a letter to DMV written September 9, 2004

Bonnie Rutledge
Agency of Transportation
Department of Motor Vehicles
120 State St
Montpelier, VT 05603-0001

Dear Ms Rutledge:

I am writing about the law that prohibits a vanity plate from containing more than 2 numbers. I would really like a good explanation of why this law is in affect.

My request stems from bitter disappointment that I was unable to purchase a vanity plate that I recently applied for – 80 HONDA – for my 1980 Prelude.

Even more disappointing is the fact that I will be unable to purchase the plate that is even closer to my heart – 65 HONDA – for my very rare 1965 Honda S600.

This plate – 65 HONDA – is used across the country by members of our club – the Honda Sports Registry. The plate is registered in New York to Brian Baker, in Maryland to John Deets, in Indiana to Ron Zarro and in California to Scott King. All these plates are on 1965 Honda S600s.

For four years now (ever since I bought my S600 and began restoring it) I have looked forward to the day when I could join the “club” and have my very own 65 HONDA license plates.

People applying for classic Honda plates are probably pretty rare but what about the Ford enthusiasts? This law applies to them to. There must be some very upset Ford owners out there who would love to have a plate like 49 FORD.

I think the “no more than 2 numbers” law needs to be reconsidered. The antique car club I belong to in Vermont – the Vermont Auto Enthusiasts – recently got a new law passed that applies to 1940 and older vehicles and the frequency of their inspection. Perhaps the removal of the “2 numbers per plate” law should be our next consideration for legislation.

Thank you very much for your time.
Ellen Emerson

For English Car Owners

Doris writes: “Inspired by Gene Fodor’s British Car dicta, I thought you might like an addition in Wheel Tracks. I have had this tacked to the garage wall for several years and every word of it is true.”

You probably own an English car if…

  1. You know that:
    • A “bonnet” is not a lady’s head covering
    • A “hood” does not cover the engine
    • A “spanner” does not span anything
    • A “boot” is not a cowboy’s footwear
  2. You always automatically distrust anyone named Lucas.
  3. You always park facing downhill.
  4. People ask how many cars you own and the number contains fractions.
  5. Any discussions of a trip, long or short, always contain references to breakdowns.
  6. You tell your spouse you were out until 3 am because your car broke down – and they believe you.
  7. You call Moss Motors and they recognize your voice.
  8. You reply immediately with month, day and year when asked when your car was manufactured but have to stop and think how old your kids are.
  9. Your idea of a perfect gift is a part for your car – it doesn’t matter what part, as you will eventually use it.
  10. You buy Castrol by the case – not because it’s on sale but because you need that much on hand.
  11. Your favorite TV network is PBS, not because it’s intellectually stimulating but because with all the BBC programming you get to see a lot more British cars.
  12. You actually like the smell of Liquid Wrench.(Courtesy of Mini Owners of America).

“Younger Member” Insights

Every time you turn around someone is talking about our need to attract younger members. As a “younger member” myself I have some insights about this that I wanted to share.

The majority of younger members, are on a tight budget, some living paycheck to paycheck and week to week. This doesn’t allow for big purchases in the many thousand-dollar range (think 1/2 to one year’s salary) that seems to be necessary to purchase an “acceptable” classic car. This leaves younger people with two options:

  1. Don’t buy a car at all and use your paycheck for more practical items like food and the electric bill, or
  2. Buy, maintain and enjoy a car you can afford on your current budget.

Believing myself to be a true car enthusiast I have chosen the second option. While most of the club has been very nice about accepting my unconventional “old” cars, I sometimes feel the unspoken question, “Why doesn’t she have a ‘real’ car?” One answer to that question is “Money”.

With very little dough to spend on my hobby, I have a vehicle that was purchased inexpensively. If someone would like to offer me a loan or a gift of something they consider more “appropriate” I would be happy to take them up on their offer. (Strongly prefer convertible please!)

A second answer to this question is that I like my Hondas – a lot. The first car I ever owned that I really loved was my 86 Accord. Because of my enjoyment of this newer car I became interested in the history of the company and their earliest vehicles. Because of this interest in older Honda vehicles I am then more open to having an interest in other, much older cars. You can’t force someone to like a certain type of vehicle. All you can do it try to recognize the fact that they are enthusiastic about some type of car and to try to encourage and increase that enthusiasm to include other vehicles they may not be familiar with.

Because of all the “increase our younger member numbers” talk, I was very surprised about the discussion last month that considered limiting future show vehicles to the 1979 model year. This would mean that no matter how old a vehicle gets, if it’s newer than 1979 it would not be allowed in our shows and considered a collector car.

One of my “inappropriate” cars is a 1980 and I have been waiting (rather impatiently) for 6 years for this car to become eligible for shows. I’ve put a lot of my time and effort into improving the car and we will be completing a restoration this winter. If the 1979 rule goes into affect, it would mean that all of my time and effort would have been for nothing as far as this club is concerned. This would make me very unhappy. (The understatement of 2004.)

I can only assume that 1) other younger folks are in a similar situation as far as old car budgets go, 2) the vehicles they have been able to purchase are just “used cars”, and 3) the cars they are currently interested in may be newer than what some people consider acceptable. If you put a year limitation on vehicles eligible for show, you will be discriminating against younger members and the vehicles they can afford. If they cannot join the VAE and feel accepted, they are far less likely to ever become interested in truly antique vehicles. A little acknowledgement for a similar enthusiasm can go a long way.

One final “issue” is that many meetings are inconvenient for people who work and who do not live in – or close to – Burlington. The Board of Directors meeting starts at 7 and runs for 2-3 hours. When they finish at 10, I don’t get home until midnight. This makes for a very long Monday and tired Tuesday morning. The same is true of show planning meetings. Working people, and especially those with children, do not want to be out late on a weeknight when they could be home spending time with their family. Thank you for reading and for your consideration.

Kenneth F. Gypson

North Greenbush — Kenneth F. Gypson, 79 died suddenly Thursday, August 19, 2004 at his residence. Born in Albany, he was the son of the late Lowell H. Gypson and Janet (Dyer) Gypson. He was the loving husband of 56 years to Anne (Gutkowski) Gypson. He had resided in North Greenbush for 45 years and was a graduate of Milne High School in Albany and Pratt Art Institute in NYC. Mr. Gypson was employed as a communications officer for Key Corp. Holding Company in Albany for ten years, retiring in the late 70s. Prior to that he worked for the Burlington Daily News, Knickerbocker News and founded the public relations departments at Hudson Valley Community College and Samaritan Hospital. Ken was a former member off the Kiwanis Club of Troy and a member of the Disabled American Veterans.

Active in antique auto circles, he founded the Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts in 1953 and was a past president. A Gypson Trophy is still presented annually. Ken was co-founder and past president of the Automobilists of the Upper Hudson Valley. He was also a member of Atlantic Coast Old Timers, a vintage racing organization and Slow Spokes, a vintage car-touring group. He was an Army Infantry veteran of W.W.II, stationed in Italy and North Africa. Ken had a deep love of music, especially Hawaiian, and played several instruments. He actively participated in the Poestenkill jam group. Survivors in addition to his wife include a son Kenneth J. (and his wife Nancy) of Poestenkill, a daughter, Karen J. Patten (and her husband Davis) of Brunswick, and two grandsons, Joshua and Seth Gypson. He was predeceased by a brother, Lowell Gypson, II.

In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to Disabled American Veterans
Gift Processing Ctr
P. O. Box 14301
Cincinnati, OH 95250-0301

Takes a Licking, Keeps on Smoking

With apologies to the Timex people, here is another chapter in the 76-year-old life of this Willys Knight coupe, model 56. As pictured in the VAE 40th commemorative book as the car with the most VAE member owners it seems to have been adopted yet again.

Some history would include that fact that the Knight came to Vermont in 1954, from a junkyard in NY I think, as a birthday present to himself… by VAE founding father Peveril F. Peake. $35 and some tire work and he drove it home. As a coupe and with a heater, PF thought it would make a good winter car. With 9 quarts of oil in the sleeve valve engine it was not that good of a choice. It cranked over painfully on those below zero mornings in Bristol.

The Jewette touring car was in the garage as the queen of the Peak fleet so the Knight languished in the driveway. The first time the longest owning (to date) member saw the car, it was headed into the Lincoln Inn parking lot white from the belt molding down with Vermont road salt. When questioned about this unusual punishment Pev mentioned that it was, after all, his “winter car”. That was December 1954.

That was then. We figure that the car was driven about 100,000 miles in the next 3 plus years and consumed untold 2-gallon cans of inexpensive oil and a lot of time “on the road”. Retired to the way back of the barn it sat idle until 1996 when it was reawakened to go the owner’s 40th high school reunion. It rained so hard that it didn’t make the event and quickly went back to sleep.

This is now. Enter Charlie Thompson, the Willys, Whippet, Willys-Knight VAE member. Congratulations to Charlie and the Overland guys.

What we need now is for Charlie to tell us what really happened between the first photo and the last. I bet that Wheel Tracks readers would also like to know more about the Willys Overland Registry and their interest and activities. Call Charlie and urge him to confess.

Shelburne Vintage Fashion Show

Another successful vintage fashion show at Shelburne has come and gone. I would like to thank the judges: Gael Boardman, Sandy Lambert, and Jan Sanders. It was not an easy job to choose as all the contestants looked just lovely. Many thanks to Julie Greenia for her superb job of announcing all of the participants. Her costume consisted of a 1950’s black summer dress with ruffled hem accented with brass buttons down the front. Her black hat was trimmed with a black and white polka dotted band and she wore matching polka dotted white gloves.

First place was Lucille Marcoux from Canada, who looked stunning in a white embroidered bodice 1950’s summer dress with an open back, which was accented with a large black straw hat, gloves and white shoes.

Second place was Gene Fodor who sported a British RAF uniform worn in the African Campaign. His rank was that of a squadron leader, sporting a walking stick with war medal, African medal, service medal and security medal. He carried his flying leather helmet with goggles, white scarf, leather gloves and flying jacket. The pants of the uniform are called Bombay Bloomers which on hot days could be turned up and buttoned to make Bermuda shorts. The wing on his right pockets is that of his commercial pilot’s wings.

Third place was Christina (?) in a classic 1950’s navy blue polka dotted bias cut skirt. Accented with a red scalloped edge top and sporting a faux hankerchief and large black buttons at the back. Wearing classic pearls and charm bracelet, all originals at the time. She completes her outfit with a black straw hat, gloves and purse.

Honorable mention goes to Aryn Lamos who wore a black 1920’s wool Jantzen bathing suit with a form fitting skirt and shorts.