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.

Alternator Maintenance

I recently had a Subaru Outback in the shop for some extensive maintenance. I had to remove the alternator to do this work. The car had 185,000 miles on it, and still had the original alternator. I decided I would utilize the time waiting for parts to do some preventative maintenance, and overhaul the alternator while the car was in the shop. A rebuilt alternator for this car is about $200, with a new one over $400. The parts to overhaul this alternator were about $30.

How does one overhaul an alternator? Usually when an alternator wears out, it is due to the wear items reaching the end of their useful life. The wear items in an alternator are the brushes and the bearings. On this alternator, like many alternators, the brushes are part of the regulator assembly. While new brushes can be soldered in to the existing regulator, it is far easier to replace the assembly as a unit.

I ordered the parts on line. Surprisingly, I have found most parts stores do not sell alternator rebuild kits. I have to buy them from automotive electrical or electric motor parts suppliers.

An examination of this alternator revealed the brushes were well worn, almost at the end of their useful length. Both bearings rotated freely, however sounded and felt slightly “gravely” when rotated. The rebuild kit came with both bearings and a brush/regulator assembly.

Rebuilding of the alternator was very straight forward. First, I removed the drive pulley with an impact wrench. The pulley easily slid off. Next, I opened the case by removing the four bolts holding the case together. The front of the case came off after several light taps with a hammer. I carefully compared the old parts with the ones that came in the rebuild kit to ensure I had the right parts. Once the front of the case was off, I removed the four screws that held the front bearing plate on. These screws required the application of a torch to free them, but came out easily once some heat was applied. The front bearing came out of the case easily, with a gentle push from my thumb. The new bearing easily slid into position, and was secured with the four screws and the retaining plate.

The rotating assembly was removed from the case next. A careful inspection of the slip rings showed they were in good condition. There had been no arcing against them from the brushes. The rear bearing needed to be removed from the shaft in the press with a bearing knife and a drift. Great care is exercised to prevent damage to the assembly. The new bearing easily pressed on to the shaft.

The brush/regulator assembly is soldered into the case. I needed to melt the old solder connections with a soldering iron. Careful inspection showed the remaining parts of the alternator were in good condition. I carefully cleaned the alternator case while it was apart, rinsing all pieces with electrical cleaner.

I mounted the new brush/regulator assembly in to the case, and soldered the connections with electrical solder. The brush assembly came with a small wire to hold the brushes in place. It is important to leave this wire in place, and carefully thread it through the small hole on the back of the alternator assembly. It is impossible to mount the rotating assembly into the case with this wire removed, as the spring loaded brushes will interfere with the slip rings upon reassembly.

With the brush/regulator assembly installed, the alternator can be reassembled. After assembly, it is important to ensure the alternator spins correctly, with no noise or interference.

This is an easy and inexpensive preventative maintenance step.

This is the season for church suppers…

There are church suppers everywhere… the most popular are chicken and biscuit suppers, but once in a while you will read about a ham dinner or even a game dinner. We’ve been to several in the past month and they are wonderful! A lot of the churches have been putting these suppers on for generations. They have become so popular that reservations are now required. Sometimes there are three “seatings” with take-out available. If you don’t have reservations, you need to get there early. They are usually served family style with refills all the time. We’ve been to a few with friends and it is a great way to see the foliage, visit with friends and catch up on the local gossip.

The season for ice cream socials is over, but they are good and lots of fun, too. Often there is music to go with the event which is a nice added feature. Another thing that is happening in recent years are the monthly community suppers that are usually held in local churches and put on by the members of the local church. They are usually free, with a donation basket at the door. You could go to these almost every night of the week if you don’t want to cook. After years of cooking or trying to think of what to cook, the thought of going to these suppers is getting more appealing to me every month. The local church has been hosting these suppers once a month for a number of years now and we rarely miss one. There is a group of us that get together at this supper and you get to visit with people who live in town that you might not see otherwise. Every month there is a different menu and you never know what is being served, until it is posted on the FPF or the Clark’s Truck Center notice board in Jericho, where local events can be posted for free and it is seen by all who travel Route 15.

The Knights of Columbus put on breakfast once a month at a local church that are wonderful. It is another meal where there is a donation basket and the proceeds go to a good cause, whether it is local or not. This is another one we rarely miss, with the same people going, and we usually fill up a whole table…people who we might see only at these breakfasts. You can refill your plate as much as you like, although usually the first pass-through is all that you can eat. Although there might be seconds for bacon. Twice a year, the K of C puts on dinners instead that are delicious. Here, again, they are so popular that reservations are suggested. This also is the season for beer fests and they seem to be happening all the time now. With so many small local breweries and people making their own beer, they are all the rage. The one that takes place in Underhill has lots of food, music, cider making, children’s craft tables and has become a local family event. Rain or shine! Everyone out enjoying themselves before cold weather and darkness settles in and forces us indoors. You should get out the old car and go to one of these. You won’t regret it.

1908 Model 10 Buick

A beauty of a 1908 Model 10 Buick Owned by Sandy & Tom Pierce

buick by whitingFor six months I kept noticing an ad for a 1908 Buick in Old Cars Weekly. The ad was only a phone number with no photo, so I looked up the Buick and thought it might be a great project, for someone who did not know much about Brass era cars. The car was still available when I called, so Sandy and I went to see it. It was located in Brockport, New York at the original dealership, that had sold it in 1908 (in those days, the dealer’s name is written in brass and attached to the car, as shown in the photo above… by Whiting). It was red and cute and shoved into a back corner of their garage. We wanted to see if it would start but water went right through the radiator and there was only an old rusty can for the gas tank.

1908 buick model 10We bought it and they transported it to our garage. I figured I could get the parts I needed from JC Whitney or NAPA. Boy was I in for a surprise! Over the next few years I took the car apart, glass blasted and numbered parts and primed them. John Layport built the radiator to exact Buick specs. The engine was rebuilt in Glens Falls. I took out the seats and found pieces of the original red leather upholstery and had the seats recovered in Water-bury by Patti and Phil Tomeny in the correct color. I had it painted the original Buick white by a friend and pinstriped by another. Sandy and I found running board covers and other parts at Chickasha and tires in Tennessee.

tom sandy pierce 1908 buick
Tom & Sandy Pierce

After about five years the car was back together and running. I was so proud of it and still am. Its fun to show because its so cute and stands out among all the big cars and the black cars and the newer cars. People love to talk about it and the Buicks in their family, and are always interested to know more about its history and car history in general. My jaws are happily tired from talking about my horseless carriage after a show.

Editor’s notes… A few days before the car show in Stowe a few of us heard how the Buick had not run for a while and that Tom wanted to take the Model 10 to the show. So, five of us piled into a pickup and headed south to Rochester to give Tom a hand… four enthusiastic theoretical mechanics and one real 100% mechanic (he is sitting on the running board in the picture to the left).

vae 1908 buick model 10
From the left… Gary Fiske, back…Gael Boardman, running board…Dennis Dodd, Tom Pierce, Gary Olney , Wendell Noble

While “theories” were flying through Tom’s garage the real mechanic cleaned the buzz coil connections and made sure the plugs had a healthy spark. The carburetor was found to be loaded with a quarter inch of gunk, so that got cleaned out. Next, some gas was poured into the empty gas tank under the driver’s seat and a fresh battery was hooked up to make the buzz coils do their “buzz” sound.

All that was left was to turn the crank while the “theorists” advised the “cranker” where to place his thumb….. and the little Buick came to life. We did find the cone clutch was stuck but with some jockeying, we were able to get it loose.

We hope you saw the Model 10 Buick at the show in Stowe, it is a beauty!

The Buick Model 10 Specs…
Valve-in-head 4 cylinder engine, cast iron block, 165 cu. in., brake HP=22.5, S.A.E. HP= 34.2. Mechanical valve lifters, Schebler carbu-retor, W.B. 88 inches, tires are 30X3 inches. It has a planetary transmission, 2 for-ward, 1 reverse, cone clutch & shaft drive. The top was an option that cost $10.00. The new price was $900.00 and Buick produced 4002 Model 10s. The Model 10 was the most popular Buick in 1908. Information from “Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942”

My ’65 MGB

My ’65 MGB story started in ’83, when I was 15 years old and was looking for my first car in anticipation of my 16 birthday. My limited funds available meant that I was looking for a deal and I would have to borrow the money to get it. My father has always been a fan of auctions and decided that our best bet was to go that route to get the most bang for the buck. We attended a Cruze Auto Auction in Springfield, MA and came home with the B for a price of $1,500.00. My father spotted me the money at the auction, then co-signed a loan so I could pay him back. I had the better half of a year to get the car ready for my July birthday and did so by primarily washing and sitting in it. I drove the car summers only and found a winter beater every fall that would usually not quite make it through mud season. Upon graduation from high school in ’86, we stiff hitched the B to Melbourne Florida where I attended Florida Institute of Technology and was able to drive year round. Over those 6 years of use I put a transmission, clutch, fuel pump and gas into the car. The mechanic in Fla., who put the fuel pump in, explained to me that the reason the car wanted to shoot off the road, to the right if you let go of the wheel, was due to the dire need for some king pins and other front end work. The estimate was way more than I could afford and I decided to drive my motorcycle to school and used that to get me through the last year.

1965 mg bThe front right tire was worn down to threads on the outer half and the king pins didn’t get any better after stiff hitching the car back to Vermont after graduation in ’90. Lacking money and having student loan debt, I decided to park the B in my parents barn and get a year round car to get me through till I could afford to fix the “fun car”. The Volvo 240DL wagon was the first in a long line of B replacement cars over the course of the next 26 years. During those years I worked, had a daughter, got married, had two sons, and the B got buried by “stuff” in the barn, so completely you could just see bits and pieces poking out. As fate would have it, one of my sons likes to tinker and thought the MG was worth unearthing and fixing up. At the same time his sister was looking for a senior project to complete her high school requirements. She said that it needed to be something she knew little about, but had an interest in learning. She definitely knew nothing about working on cars and didn’t really know what she was getting into, but decided to get the B back on the road, that is if I financed the restoration. That’s where it all started, pulling the car out of its cocoon on July 9th, 2016. My son was a little miffed that he wasn’t going to be able to do the work, but Aiyanna eventually found that some help would be a good thing and relaxed her “I have to do it all with no help” stance. The car was pressure washed and pulled into a shed on my property normally occupied by my tractor. The next step was to find a mentor for A.J. to work with, senior project rules dictate that the mentor cannot be family. That’s a great rule and one that probably saved her from not graduating. I have moderate mechanical skills at best and get easily frustrated when trying to “teach”.

1965 mg b restorationMy first instructions were to pour some Marvel oil down each plug hole, to which my daughter replied,”well, where is the twisty thingy to take those things out?”. After googling “MG people in VT”, Aiyanna found the name of our savior and mentor, David Sander. This saint of a man is the chairman of The New England MG “T” Register, Ltd., President of the VT Auto Enthusiast Club , and willing to give his time freely to a stranger who is interested in fixing a B, in need of a lot of help. In late September Dave came up and met the car, we were there, too. By December we had gotten new tires on the car so it would roll and we got it into it’s garage, a 10×20 tent with a pallet/plywood floor.After Christmas, Dave began a series of weekly visits on Thursday afternoons and the part buying frenzy began. By ground hogs day I was whipping out my Moss Motors customer number so fast it was catching the customer service reps by surprise. We have made a lot of progress and are on the cusp of starting the car for the first time. It currently has all new brakes, radiator, oil cooler, king pins, fuel pump, steering wheel, turn signal switch, slave cylinder, points, condenser, voltage regulator, rotor, tires, water pump, thermostat and housing, door handle, rebuilt master cylinders for the clutch and brakes, also many hours of loving attention. The car is smiling and so am I thinking of my kids driving my first car. Coming soon…

Editor’s note…The running engine has the sweetest sound you could ever hear!

Walk a Mile in My Shoes / Everyone has a Story

Having worked in medicine for 50 years, I have had many opportunities to listen to patient’s stories concerning their health, family, friends, the town, the State and the Federal government. Some have a lot of incite and some not so much, but we listen and many times I am so taken back by what I am hearing. Some of the stories are just horror stories, others are sweet, loving things that have happened to them, but later you realize that for the most part almost every story helped form this person. I must say that some-times you say to yourself, ‘how did they get this far?’. Where I am trying to head is to not form a judgement on a person from how they act or talk or what you hear about them. We have no idea that the lady who cut in line with not a glance or apology, has just got-ten a report of a serious health problem or the rude person who cuts you off and steals your parking space has just been laid off from their job. There are a million reasons why people do or say what they do, rough day, rough morning, bad report card, forgot your wallet, left late, break down and on and on and on.

I have been talking about the negative but you do run into some positive people. The negative occasions you remember, and these are where I would like you to give them a break. I was reminded of this when a group got together recently and while passing through a certain village, remembered the time they were having lunch and this “mad woman” came in the establishment ‘spitting fire’, obviously something they had never seen before or since. I would gather they would not want to see this again! I would have loved to have been there, to hear all the reasons they could give, why this poor distressed woman finally seemed to be on the edge or maybe a little over.

She had lived this event for weeks, made meals, and chased grandchildren and was left behind because someone else was late and she had to ‘fix it’ and then catch up in an area she wasn’t familiar with and maybe, just maybe she had the wrong instructions, but don’t think she hasn’t thought a million times if ‘he’ said it, she must be wrong. So, if you were there, cut her a break and forget it. Remember the other times when she is the only woman to show up and smiles and acts like she is enjoying herself. If you weren’t there, let that little lady cut in front and just smile and realize she probably must get that milk home to her loving children. Of course I am also open to the fact, the little lady can spot a sucker when she sees one!

In closing
, if I were that ‘witchy’ woman which I want you to know for sure that I’m not or wasn’t, of course I wasn’t even there, was I? If I was, you’d remember, wouldn’t you? Oh! Just walk a mile in my shoes!!

1955 Buick Special

“Cadet” is its name and Buick is its brand!

Brian Warren loves Buicks…

Brian Warren Buick CadetCadet, our 1955 Buick Special.
The name comes from the cadet blue metallic paint applied, by GM 60+ years ago
and the fact that the Special was the entry level Buick, at that time. Not sure why I settled on Buicks other than the fact the old advertising campaigns indicated they were “Just Better”. I think I had my sights on a 30’s or 40’s Buick, but found most needed much more work than I was willing to do or closer to the truth, capable of doing. I’m happy I decided on the 55’ because I think the styling is very iconic of a relatively happy time in America history and although lacking power steering, power brakes, and seat belts, I consider the car a reliable modern car.

 

Cadet joined our family in April of 2012 after surfing a copy of the publication “Uncle Hennery’s” out of Maine. The on-line pictures of the car looked great and deserved a closer look. After seeing the car and a short test drive, I was hooked and made a deal on the spot. I returned 2 weeks later with Vermont plates in hand, checked the fluids, kicked the tires, and began the 200 mile drive home. For the first 10 miles, I was all smiles. But after stopping for gas and a snack, the car would not restart. It was ready to start and wanted to, but the new operator (me) didn’t know how to engage the starter switch. Turns out those clever engineers at Buick had incorporated the starter switch into the accelerator pedal. It’s been fun watching others fall into the same trap since.

1955 Buick Special interiorCadet originally came from Glenn Buick in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. After going through paperwork that came with the car, I estimate I’m the 5th owner. The first owner was a banker from Sharon, Pennsylvania and the car still hasa draw string bank deposit bag from Sharon Savings and Loan in the trunk that contains assorted old wrenches. I think the 2nd owner had kept the car the longest (29 years) and put very few miles on it. The 3rd owner was an auto broker and took no interest in the car other than it being inventory. The 4th owner is an over the road truck driver and after purchase, brought the car to Maine. After owning it for 5 years, he could never find time to drive it, so he let me buy it and bring it to Vermont. At this time the odometer reads 29,850 miles. An oil change sticker on the door jamb indicates 21,033 miles had been logged by 1968.

Since I’ve owned the car, I’ve rebuilt the carburetor, combination fuel pump / vacuum pump, replaced the water pump, heater hoses (all 23feet), all flexible break lines, both front break cylinders, and front shocks. With the exception of an attempt at restoring the engine bay by one of the previous owners and touch up on the rest of the cars exterior, it’s all original paint. Even though primmer is showing in many places, there is no plan to repaint the car. The cars interior is original as well. The car drives very well and with the 264 cu. in. nail-head V8, Cadet has no problem cruising at interstate speeds (and beyond).

1955 Buick Special grilleLast July (2016), our family took Cadet back to Pennsylvania (Allentown especially), for the Buick Club of America’s nation car meet. The annual week-long event was the BCA’s 50th anniversary and was held at an amazing venue. Italian jewelry and luxury goods designer Nicola Bulgari hosted the event at his complex in Allentown. A converted 21 acre drive-in theater complete with a test track and still functional movie screen. Mr. Bulgari has enjoyed a fascination with American automobiles since he was a small child growing up in Italy. He recognized the design and engineering of American cars to be far superior to anything else on the road at the time. Between his Italian and Allentown addresses, he houses over 210 antique automobiles. Although all beautiful to my eye, he considers them to be daily drives and all are registered and driven often. One hanger sized building on his compound, housed nearly 40 Buicks ranging from the early 1920’s to the 1990’s, but lacked a 1955? Through Mr. Bulgari’s generosity, he has been able to secure funds to help sustain the “America on Wheels” transportation museum in Allentown. While on the PA. trip, the 90° days were challenging for me behind the wheel (Dana and Jason had A/C in the Reatta), but the Cadet took the city traffic in stride.

The car is certainly a keeper and although it won’t chirp the ties and the paint has lost most of its shine, we’ll let the stately Cadet gracefully fade into old age as it puts smiles on the young and brings tears to the old as it passes by.

1955 Buick Special hood vents

More Questions About Oil

From the Editor….

Dave, would you please keep this oil discussion going?

Questions….. Should we use synthetic in our old cars? What about the question of single-weight oil vs multi-weight oils in our old cars, which is best and why? You have mentioned the moisture collecting in our car’s oil pans, especially during winter storage, should oil types come into the conversation here? What about this whole question of 600 weight in our old differentials? What should we use and is 600 weight really 600 weight? Thanks Dave.

Gary, good questions.

synthetic oil cansThe question of synthetic oil in our old cars is a good one. Like any selection of engine oil, it comes down to the application.

The quality of engine oils has improved dramatically since our antique cars were manufac-tured. The multi-viscosity high detergent oils available today are vastly superior to the oils availa-ble when these cars were new. Not that many years ago, engines were full of sludge and varnish from engine oil deposits. Cars needed to have the engines flushed with flushing oil during an oil change.

The additives and detergents in engine oils still break down, requiring oil changes. This happens more quickly under “severe” driving conditions. Older, carbureted vehicles with open crank case ventilation require more frequent oil changes. The fuel mixture of carbureted engines is not as well controlled as the fuel mixture of modern computerized fuel injected en-gines. Unburned fuel in carbureted engines and early fuel injected engines will dissolve in to the engine oil. Modern engines have sealed crankcases. Older cars have open crankcase ventilation, leaving an opportunity for dust and dirt to migrate in to the engine oil. Because of these reasons, oil needs to be changed more frequently in these older engines than it does in modern engines.

oil leakI have had a number of people tell me they will not use synthetic oil, because they think it will leak out. If your engine already leaks oil, this is true. Synthetic oil will not cause new leaks in an engine. If the engine has sound seals and gaskets, synthetic will not leak any more than conventional oil.

Synthetic oil is superior to conventional oil for lubricating and cooling the moving parts of the engine.

If the vehicle has a fairly new engine I would be more inclined to use synthetic oil. The parts and machining cost to rebuild an engine can quick-ly pass $5,000. Synthetic oil is a relatively inexpensive way to protect this investment.

Some vehicles, like air cooled Volkswagens, were designed to use straight weight oil. I have been told multi viscosity oils can foam up in these en-gines, and only straight weight oils should be used. I use straight 30 weight synthetic engine oil in my John Deere Tractor.

Moisture will condense in the crank case as a byproduct of combus-tion. This moisture will remain there until it evaporates away due to engine heat. The engine needs to be run for a while fully warmed up for this to hap-pen. If the car is not driven much, it makes sense to change the oil before putting the car away for winter storage.

There are many factors to consider when choosing an engine oil. The type of driving, number of miles driven in a driving season, the condition of the engine, oil consumption of the engine and cost of the engine oil should all be considered.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if the extra protection of synthetic engine oil is worth the extra cost.

Next month I will talk about gear oils.

Editor’s notes….. Watch the monthly VAE auction, you will find some great oil deals. Much of the time the price is half or less what you would pay at the store and the items are high quality, new products.

Cats in the Woodpile

If you are reading this and are not a “cat person” do not bother to continue. But, if you tolerate them and even love them, read on.

For several months this winter I was feeding two feral cats, one female and one male. The male decided that inside the house would be better than outside, so we took him off to the vet for a checkup and sex “adjustment”. Henry became our second inside cat. He and our first cat were not exactly copacetic, but adjusted, mostly.

In the middle of May we went to Colorado for our grandson`s high school graduation and then for a visit to the Grand Canyon with our daughter. When we returned home, we discovered that the female cat had delivered five kittens, all of whom were living in our wood shed in and among the stacked furnace wood. Of course they were all cute – three calico, one gray, and one black. Who was the Dad??? No idea at all. In the last week of June, our daughter, grandson and his girlfriend came for their annual visit, to be in the Milton July fourth parade and to ride in a classic car. Meanwhile, it was becoming ap-parent that we could not keep all of these kittens and Mommy Cat. How do you get five kittens that you can’t even catch, into adoptive homes? Our daughter-in-law demonstrated the wonders of social media to us by putting their pictures on Face Book. The word was out to the world that we had these amazing possible pets to give away. About this time, our grandson and his friend had to return to Colorado, then our daughter’s significant other arrived with his two children and we all tried to catch the kittens as we now had people clamoring for them. We managed to catch three with only a little patience, deception and speed, and handed them over to some very happy people. One lady even decided she wanted two. Next we needed to catch the last two and Mommy cat. Finally after much effort, we caught the last two kittens. Who would have thought that a cute little kitten could be so vicious? Wendell’s hand is healing and nobody has shown symptoms of cat scratch fever yet. A lady wanted the little terror so badly, she drove three hours from New Hampshire to get it.

Now we “just” had to catch the mother, so we put out a Have-a-Heart trap, put food in it and hoped for the best. The first night we caught a raccoon which our daughter insisted we release. The second night we caught the same raccoon again. Wendell says it died of cardiac arrest, all very sudden and unexpected. The third night we caught a very large Tom cat that we have never seen before. He was the wildest thing I have ever seen, bounced off the garage walls and made a break for it. That might solve the mystery of who the father is. At one point, I thought I had trapped the mother in our garage, but she managed to slide under the garage door and get away again. We are still trying. So, our saga is not over – we still need to catch Mommy cat and take her to the Humane Society – may have her spayed first, but it may be too late. Ah, CATS!!!!! I’ve gotta lov’em!!

1923 Ford Model T Mail Truck

1923 ford model t dan noyesDan Noyes and his dad, Bob,  with their 1923 Model T Mail Truck that has been in the family for five generations.

In 1901 or 1902, Fred Noyes and his horse Ned delivered their “Rural Route 1” mail in South Sudbury, Massachusetts (note picture to the right).

ned the horseIn 1923 the route was 28.6 miles, Wheel Tracks was unable to find if Ned and Fred had that distance on Rural Route #1 to deliver mail. Using information from Vermont area routes, during that time the 28.6 miles was somewhat normal when horses were used. In the winter time the postman would stay over night along the route somewhere …mostly wherever the best meals were served.

1912 harley davidsonIn 1912 Fred traded Ned (the horse) for a 1912 Harley motorcycle (vin #2139B).

The cost of the Harley was $185.00 from New England Motorcycle Company in Boston. Wheel Tracks believes the Harley model was a 30 ci F-head single cylinder engine. It was belt driven with battery ignition and was 4.34 HP. For you who know Harley motorcycles, using the vin number, is this correct and another question….can this Harley be located using it’s vin number if it still exists?

You can see from the picture of Fred on the Harley that he had a basket on the back plus a shoulder bag to carry his load of mail.

1923 ford mail truck fred noyesThen… in 1923, Fred Noyes started using his 1923 Ford Model T mail truck. It is believed Fred bought only the Model T chassis because in May of 1922, he purchased a “Light Runner Rural Mail Wag-on” body from Harrington manu-facturing in Peoria, Illinois, to make his mail truck complete. The body cost him $160 plus he added a new front spring for $1.40 and a set of rear fenders for $6.00.

1923 ford mail truck in shopThe truck also has a Ruckstell rear end added on May 3, 2017…! What would Fred have to say about this? A page was found in Fred’s papers where it appears in 1922, his annual wage was $1950.

Fred Noyes’ last day of delivering mail with the “T” was in 1931, a very long time, thirty years, of knowing his friends along Route 1 in Sudbury, Mass.

1923 ford model t mail truck-unrestoredToday the Mail Truck is owned by our VAE Chairman, Dan Noyes, Fred’s great-great grandson. Dan’s dad, Bob gave the truck to him a number of years ago after having the engine rebuilt and restoring the rest of the truck. The 5th generation, if you are counting, would be Dan’s son Ian Noyes.

The picture here shows the truck as it was sleeping in its barn after many years of being ignored and before Bob Noyes decided to restore it.