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.