1906 Orient Buckboard

The 1906 Orient Buckboard continues to make history in its quiet way.  Pictured here is the Orient introducing itself to the school children of Island Pond in May of 2015. Sorry, but Wheel Tracks has no name for the pretty young lady, seated. Left is the Orient’s engine being restored today in a machine shop in East Fairfield. Will we see the Orient under its own power in 2020? 

Indeed, the 1906 Orient Buckboard  continues to make history in its quiet way. 

It was July, 2010, Gary Olney’s Orient Buckboard made its way to Wheel Tracks. At the time the Buckboard had a lonely corner of a rented barn in Derby, Vermont. There was a visit to a small car show in Island Pond, the front page pictures a young lady sitting in the vehicle’s 114 year old seat.

Today, the Orient has a place of honor at Gary and Nancy’s home in Derby Line. The tires are still flat but there is a plan! The engine has been removed and sits in Dennis Dodd’s shop in East Fairfield. There is a plan to get it run-ning, on the shop stand, then the rest of the vehicle will be retrieved to reinstall the engine. From there, the other small problems will be tackled and the Orient will have a new life of car shows and short parades. 

The engine has a carburetor but most of its innards are missing. Dennis will be making new valves since it is impossible to find factory valves, also a cracked exhaust valve seat needs to be addressed. He has found the ignition timer is still in good condition and has it set for running. The bottom end and the cylinder/piston also seems to be in working order so he has decided to go after the other items that need attention. That attention will cover the exhaust routing, new gaskets, possibly the valve sleeves and what has already been mentioned. He says the hardest task is to follow Mr. Olney’s instructions and leave the engine’s patina as is. We all love to make things look brand-new, but Gary’s hope is the Orient will basically look the same when the restoration is complete. 

Dennis has also found the engine is a late 1905 model. It is most likely the original engine, it is just that the factory had probably not made the switch to the newer engine when they sold this vehicle. Most manufacturers of the time added changes throughout the year and was not into today’s New-Model-Year mentality of today. 

This is a part of the Wheel Tracks story from 2010….. 

There are some mysteries we have been unable to find answers to but isn’t that exactly how it should be? 

The “friction drive” can easily be seen here. 
A rubber disc, mounted, and touching, 90 degrees to this disc, allows the speed variations 

This Orient Buckboard was built by the Waltham Manufacturing Company on Rumford Avenue in Waltham, Mass. Thanks to Bill Sherk’s article in ’Old Autos’, a publication printed in Bothwell Ontario, a few of the mysteries have been solved. The auto…with it’s Massachusetts number plate…… made it’s way from Waltham to Antigonish Nova Scotia when a jeweler purchased it (date unknown). The story goes that the jeweler would often turn to swearing as he turned the crank because the car was so hard to start. 

At some point the jeweler made arrangements to store the Orient Buckboard and a 1912 Studebaker in an area barn owned by the grandfather of Mr. Gordon Penny. When the Studebaker was removed it is said the Orient was left as payment for storage. When Gordon was 14 years old in 1945 he found the Orient in his grandfathers barn, the Massachusetts plate was still attached. He pulled the Orient out and got it running. 

The story continues……..in the early 1950s Gordon sold the Orient, in running condition, to Mr. Harry Olney of Springfield, Vermont. 

Mr. Gordon still resides in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and when he was interviewed by Bill Sherk he said he thought the Orient was now in Maine someplace. Well, guess what, the Orient resides in Derby, Vermont and is owned by Harry Olney’s son Gary… the Orient still has it’s Mass.1908 plate #0237K. 

There were about 2500 Orient Buckboards built and it is estimated 57 exists today, of which 45 are in the United States. The 1906 Orient was sold new for $440 and was the first to have what is called Friction Drive, a wheel and disc that allows an infinite variation of speeds forward and reverse also allowing for much less vibration when driving. Top speed is 35 MPH and if you want to enter a race, special ’racing’ sprockets can be installed to reach up to 40MPH. The engine produces 4 horsepower and is air cooled. The car weight is 525 pounds with a wheelbase of 80 inches. The wheel track is 42 inches but can be changed to 56 inches which would allow it to fit into the ‘standard wagon tread’. 

1930 Packard Standard Eight

Gene and Gina Wescott gets a visit from Hemmings. Hemmings wanted all the details on the Wescott’s Beautiful 1930 Packard Standard Eight. 

1930 packard standard eight unrestored

Gene and Gina Wescott’s Packard looks a little different in one of its former lives. She is pictured here in 1996 when the couple purchased her from the estate of Dr. Carlos Otis. The Doctor practiced for many years in Townshend, VT. and was the founder of Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend. 

Max Brand was an auto appraiser and a friend of the Wescott’s through “The Yesteryear Car Club”. Max let Gene know about the upcoming Packard sale and that began the next chapter in the life of this wonderful car. 

One of Gene’s first tasks was to remove the original lacquer paint and after many hours using paint stripper and sand blasting, the task was complete. The beautiful paint job you see on the front page was done by Eric Lanning of King Ferry, New York. 

Many of us know the Packard’s upholsterer, and that is Dick Hurd of Springfield, VT. Many additional hours have been spent during the last 24 years to bring the Packard into its current life, witnessed by the picture on our front page. 

1930 packard standard eight gene wescott

Then along came “Hemmings Classic Car” magazine! 

“Hemmings Motor News Concours d’Elegance” began in 2003 in Lake George, NY. The Wescott’s thought it would be fun to enter their Packard for the 2018 gathering and that was when Hemmings first heard about the car. As Gene said, the car could never compete with the “big boys” in a competition from all over the nation like this but, they did get the Reliable Carriers Award Classic Trophy that August. The three day event was a lot of fun for Gene and Gina. 

In 2019, Hemmings Classic Car Magazine contacted the Wescott’s and asked if they could feature the 1930 Packard in the magazine. Their photographer, Dave Conwill arrived on October 4th for the three hour photo shoot and the rest is history. You can find the Packard story on page 44 of the January 2020 issue. One of Gene’s comments about the photo shoot was how Dave Conwill didn’t mind getting dirty. The very low shots that you see, were taken with the photographer lying in the dirt road on his stomach to get that ‘magic shot’! 

1930 packard standard eight hilton head

This 1930 Seventh Series Packard Standard Eight 7-33 Phaeton. 

7-33 means the 7th series Packard on a 133 inch wheelbase. 

The Hemmings story, very interesting, compares the car with all of the other comparable cars of that year, that were competitors. The story also does a great job placing the Packard into the great 1930 stock market crash. According to “ The Standard Catalog of American Cars” the company had built over 41,000 cars in 1928 and another 43,000 in 1929. The 1930 production showed the affects of the crash with only 28,000 built. 

The 733 came in ten different body styles from the roadster to the limo. The engine produces 90 HP and the car weighs about 3900 pounds. The Wescott’s have put 3000 to 4000 miles on it and Gene says it loves to travel 40 to 45 MPH. They have basically done nothing to the engine. It is believed some engine work was done back when the doctor had it and it still climbs the hills like a champ today. 

One interesting call has come from California because of the Hemmings story. The gent who called had moved West in 1951 and told about his dad being the bookkeeper for the Packard dealership in the Burlington area while he was growing up. He had a chance to drive many of the Packard’s from this 7-33’s period. He remembered a local musician traveling to Rutland for a concert in his Packard phaeton. His memory of the musician driving up to the concert hall and retrieving his huge base instrument from the car’s back seat stays with him today. We VAEers are lucky, as we will be seeing the Packard in many of our upcoming events. Now that we know a bit of its history, we will be looking a little closer at her beautiful lines. 

1905 Ford Model F

Henry Ford made about One Thousand Model F Fords in 1905 & 1906. It is understood, maybe, thirty-five remain in the world. Two Model F Fords can be found in Bill Erskine’s barn. Bill is pictured testing the cornering abilities of this Model F!

It was over thirty years ago that Bill Erskine found his Model F Ford in Western New York, in a town named Angelica and not far from where he grew up. But, the Model F was not the focus of his attention then. The gent who owned the Ford also had a 1903 Rambler and an International High Wheeler that caught his eye.

An example of a 1905 Model F Ford

So, in normal “Bill Erskine fashion”, he made a deal with the old-gent owner of the Model F. Bill would restore the Model F to running condition in exchange for the other two vehicles. The gent agreed to the exchange, BUT, Bill could only take pieces of the Ford at a time, never the whole vehicle. Bill went home with the Model F engine that day, while the Rambler and the International waited for him to complete his deal.

Some time later, Bill returned the engine. It was restored, after many hours, and boxed very nicely in a wooden crate. He went home next, with the frame. Shortly , after beginning the frame work, Bill had a call from the NY police, it was found that someone had stolen the Rambler.

So, all work on the Ford stopped and in exchange for the work he had completed to date (plus some cash), Bill came home with the International High Wheeler and a 1916 Franklin.

Some twenty years later, Bill was visiting his family (not far from Angelica, NY) and decided to stop by a junk yard in the area. Guess what he found in the junk yard… you guessed it… he found the stolen 1903 Rambler! The Rambler was later purchased by someone (not Bill) from the junk yard and a settlement was made with the original owner.

Now, fast forward 27 years. Bill had stopped by a few times over the years, hoping to make a deal on the old gent’s Model F, but besides a nice conversation, he always went away empty handed… until three years ago. A deal was finally made and Bill became the proud owner of the ‘05 Ford. The engine was still in the crate that he had made for it but the body had deteriorated to the extent that it was unusable. A lot was missing and what was left could only be used as a pattern.

Bill made body patterns after taking many measurements from a Model F at the Ford museum. He then combined his measurements with two partial sets of patterns he had borrowed from people in Texas and Ohio and started building the wood body. About 120 hours of work in his wood shop produced his first body. It is important to note ’his first body’ because someone in the Midwest had heard about the project and Bill agreed to build a body for him also. The second body is what you see on the front page. When the gent who wanted to buy the body changed his mind, Bill decided to continue, and build a frame for the second Model F, and close to 100 hours of work later, the steel work was completed. That is what you see him sitting at on the front page. He has found a second engine and most of the parts needed for a complete 2nd vehicle.

Maybe the model F count is now 37, because of Bill Erskine’s creativity!

His plan is to use the first body for the original frame and engine. He hopes to sell the second Model F Ford to help lesson the amount he has invested in the two projects. There might even be a Model F for sale in his Hershey space next October. Some of us will need to travel South next Fall to find out!

1917 Studebaker Tourer

A Saturday Journey… “We are going to Hong Cong and then to the zoo.”
A ride in an old friend! Ken Cota’s ‘17 Studebaker is still in service at 102 years old!

1917 studebaker cota

This 1917 Studebaker Touring was the feature car in the March 2013 Wheel Tracks. Gene Towne of Milton had purchased the car from Dave Maunsell in Greensboro that January. You can still find the Wheel Tracks issue on our website if you would like to re-read the article. Dave, Gene, Wendell Noble, Gael Boardman and Gary Fiske were involved in getting the Studebaker to it’s new home that day.

You can see why this visit with the old car was a bit of a reunion. We have lost two of the folks who shared that day. Gene died in 2013 and we lost Gael just a few weeks ago.

1917 studebaker touring interior

The Studebaker, however, is still going strong….and isn’t that exactly the way it should be? We all worry about what will happen to our old cars as time passes, maybe this old car is telling us NOT TO WORRY, just enjoy them today and they will take care of the future.

Another VAEer by the name of Pevy Peake and Dave had traveled to Michigan in 1995 to see the Studebaker and ended up bringing it home to Vermont. Gael and Dave did some engine work on the car and it traveled much of the Northeast Kingdom the next eighteen years. Gene was able to enjoy the car for just a short time, when he sold it to Ken, where it got a new cone clutch, a new windshield and a tune-up with some shiny new spark plugs. It is now, happily, traveling the Champlain Islands.

This 3000 pound Studebaker is one of only 39,686 cars the company made that year, according to the U.S. Automobile Production Figures manual. Commercial production had decreased drastically because of the war, the U.S. government had, by that time, taken over more than 85% of the South Bend factory. By Fall of 1918, all commercial production had seized, and 100% of the factory production was for the war effort. Ken Cota’s Studebaker is a survivor of only a few from 1917. There were only about 18,000 cars produced in the next, making 1918 Studebakers even more difficult to find.

1917 studebaker touring

Studebaker’s main business before 1908 was farm wagons and other related horse drawn equipment. Then a car company by the name of EMF began production in ’09 and Studebaker bought stock. Within four years they owned the EMF automobile company. For many years, the company continued their business in horse drawn equipment while building automobile the same time. In fact, in 1914, they accepted an order that was said to be the largest ever placed. WW1 had begun and Briton contracted Studebaker to deliver 3000 wagons, 20,000 sets of harnesses and 60,000 saddles. The order was completed and shipped out four weeks early. While this order was being filled, Studebaker also built and shipped 475 automobiles to Russia for the war effort.

If only Ken Cota’s Studebaker could tell us about it history……..

1929 Chevrolet Roadster

Gael and Judy Boardman’s 1929 2-Door 2– passenger Chevy Roadster 

  • We know from the bill of sale, in 1999 Gael purchased the roadster from F.E.Rambo of Saginaw, Michigan. 
  • We believe, Steve Dana with his truck and trailer, joined Gael and brought the Chevy home to Vermont. 
  • We know, there was something else that Judy was suppose to remember, but she does not remember what is was. 
  • We also know, from the picture below, that is in the “VAE 50th Anniversary Book”, that the car was “on the road” and operating. He was ‘touring’ with his two granddaughters. 
  • We know, at some point, there was some engine work done and that Gael was ribbed by many VAEers with “When do you think you will get that Chevy running again Gael”. His response was usually close to…” All I have to do is tow it down the road a bit to break-in the engine and it will be ready”. 
Gael Boardman and his granddaughters in his 1929 Chevy Roadster

Gael died a few weeks ago and left these un-answered questions and thousands more. Just focusing on the Chevy, can any of you help with the car’s history? The car is now running, thanks to Fred Gonet and Wendell Noble’s recent work. 

The bill of sale has lead to an obituary of Frederick Earl Rambo passing in 2008 in Saginaw, Michigan. Mr. Rambo left his wife and three sons, so there might be some roadster history found there, with some research. 

Wheel Tracks has Saginaw obit. 

Hey Gael… Why are the hub-caps on the driver’s side different than the other side? 

What work was done to the engine? How long did Gael drive the car before starting the engine work? Why did he choose to purchase a Chevy roadster? 

Wheel Tracks has called and talked to or left messages to many VAE “old-timers” and the car remains a mystery. 

This is what we know about the Chevrolet Corporation’s 1929 model automobile. From the “Standard Catalog of American Cars”…… 

The 29 model Chevy had a more rectangle radiator shell with an up-right “bow-tie” logo at the top. There were fewer vertical louvers on the hood side panels and placed toward the rear. For the first year, there were one-piece full crown fenders and bullet-type head lamps. The rumbleseat sport roadster was a mid-year addition to the line. Which makes Gael’s roadster, with a huge trunk, an early 1929 model. 27,988 2-passenger roadsters were built that year. 

The engine is an overhead cam inline six with a cast iron block. Brake HP is 46 @2600RPM. There are three main bearings, solid valve lifters and a Carter one-barrel carburetor. The Chassis’ WB is 107 inches. 

There is a manual transmission, straight cut gear with 3F/1R. A single plate dry disc clutch, with 4-wheel mechanical brakes. All ’29s had disc wheels. 

Options…front bumper, rear bumper, Single or dual sidemounts, sidemount covers or a rear mount cover. A trunk rack, a steamer-type trunk, a heater and an outside rear view mirror. Also available options, a cigar lighter, runningboard step plates, wire spoke wheels, wind wings and a hood mascot. 

Total production in 1929 was 1,328,605 which includes 73,918 made in Canada. 

Advertised as “A Six for the price of a Four”. MPG approximately 19 

The Vermont Antique & Classic Automobile Show – 1957 to 2019

Not a lot was written about 1957 other than a race up the Mt. Mansfield Toll Road by a Stanley Steamer and a Model T. In the 1958 VAE Show, there were eleven cars registered. This year, we expect over 600 registrations in 34 classes. We have grown-up! 

1960 stowe vt antique car rally

The Stanley Steamer won the race in 1957. It turns out, steam does not care about elevation changes…but…Model Ts do care. Our 50th Anniversary book reported that the T did make it to the top of Mt. Mansfield’s Toll Road but it had to do it backing up the entire 4 miles! Back then, the August show was called the “Invitational Meet”. 

Around 1969 the VAE August show changed names to “Antique Car Rally”. One of the first car show reports showed up in the winter Wheel Tracks where it was reported there were 225 cars. A comment was made how in only 12 years they went from having a parade with only two cars to the 1969 parade with 180 vehicles. The “Friendliest Car category” went to Paul Dutton’s Cadillac Calliope. 

In 1971, Clark Wright had recently finished as Wheel Tracks editor and Larry Johnson took over. There was an ad for a 1946 Hudson, asking $695. A nice complete car but there was a knock in the engine. The 14th VAE Stowe Rally had 300 cars that year with the “Friendliest Car” being a 1902 Orient motorcycle. There were 11 venders in the flea market. 

The 1979 show moved from Mt. Mansfield parking lot to the Topnotch field. The move created some growing problems but they had 325 cars that year. It was reported in Wheel Tracks that a crow flew over the field at 1;04 PM when they found that some of the “johns” had run out of toilet paper. A white model T led the parade that year and it appears the “Friendliest Car Category” has been dropped. The classifieds had Gael Boardman looking to buy a 10-20 IHC tractor and he also had a 48 Chevy to sell (that was too good to scrap). 

Another move was made after being at Topnotch for 12 years. In 1991, the move was made to Nichols Field, just south of Stowe Village on Route 100. Christine Skinner was our editor then and glee was expressed, in the newsletter, of not having “lake-front” flea market spaces any longer. A 1980 Canadian wolf fur coat was for sale in the classifieds for $275 (requirement….the new owner had to be bilingual). Very little was reported about the Show’s first year at Nichols Field. There was mentioned in August of 1992 that show car registrations had passed 600, (like last year). There were some worried discussions about how many cars the club could handled at this ’larger field’ (discussions of 1000 show cars came up). The Vermont Chamber of Commerce had awarded our Stowe Show, the best summer event in the state. 

Conception Conti was our club secretary in 1993 and in his September Wheel Tracks report, he told of “gorgeous weather” for the August show that year and over 800 show cars. He witnessed car tags from 10 U.S. states and 4 Canadian provinces and one of the best shows, ever. Bob Jones, the president that year, said he would not have survived the show without all the wonderful volunteers (also true to this day)! Bob does not mention the owner, but the President’s Award that year went to a 1947 Ford convertible painted Monsoon Maroon. Bob also discusses a mistake in the recently published VAE’s 40th Anniversary Book, claiming he had been in the Navy. “The closest I ever got to the Navy, was the troop ships, that transported myself and a few thousand others to Korea in the early 50s….as US Army soldiers, not sailors!!!.” 

Jumping to September 2001, when the August show was mentioned by President Fred Cook ( many of the years, Wheel Tracks had no written show after-report). “There can be little doubt, everything came together for the 2001 Stowe Show. VAE’s 44th year, was one of the best!.” Tom Maclay and Dick Currier were the show chairs that year. 

Fred had a special “tip ‘o the hat” for Tom Mchugh that year. It was Tom’s 35th year as the Flea Market Chair….(lets see, it is 2019 now…emm, 35 plus 18 makes it an amazing 53 years that Tom McHugh has been doing his magic in the Flea Market!) 

Ray Tomlinson wrote a note to Wheel Tracks at 5:45AM the Monday after the show. He and his brother, Richard, had co-chaired the car corral for the past 9 years and he spoke about the “amazing show” that year. Ray spoke about being a part of the huge group of show volunteers and listed the many jobs involved in creating a successful show. Les Skinner was the VAE treasurer in 2001, it was noted Les had a huge failure as “The weather Chairman” and he was quietly let-go. Sandy Lambert was the Wheel Tracks editor. 

VAE car show farrs field sign

Fast forward to 2019…. Farr’s Field is waiting for us, the army of volunteers have spent the past 12 months working on this year’s show and we are only days away from pulling the trigger for the 62nd year. It was sad for many of us to leave Nichols Field in Stowe after those many years but the leap to Waterbury was the BEST-EVER outcome. Waterbury is a progressive city and we are now a big part of its great future. 

We need help in these categories if you have an hour or part of a day to spare. Call Duane Leach so he can pencil you in so he knows he has help. 802-849-6174 

The categories……Field set up……Parade lineup……Award lineup…..Someone in charge of speakers….Help with announcing on the field (Gael Boardman’s job) and field take down. 

The Classic Auto Festival at Shelburne Museum

A collaboration between the museum and our VAE, June 15 & 16.

The first was in 1969 and it was called the “Shelburne Vintage Automobile Exposition”. Different name, same great fun. 

classic auto show shelburne museum

June of 1995 was the 17th VAE Annual Vermont Auto Expo at the Essex Jct. fairgrounds and it’s last. From old Wheel Tracks archives, the weather was great but for some reason Les Skinner was forced to leave his position as ‘The Weather Chairman’. (We will not ask Les about this, as we doubt we will get an accurate answer). 

The January 1996 Wheel Tracks announced, a successful contract was complete, and the June show will change addresses to the Shelburne Museum. Bill Erskine recounted his negotiations with the museum in a one page announcement and description of the new expo in Shelburne. He and Tom McHugh had been co-chairs at Essex and would continue. Bill commented on successfully convincing the museum of the importance of a flea market and a car corral, a well attended show depended on them to draw the public. Bill reported in the July Wheel Tracks that the show was a total success. He reported there were a few “unplanned stops” in the parade from Battery Park. There were countless comments about the museum’s “spectacular setting” and the owner of the ‘Best of Show’ was quoted as saying during the 20 years of going to car shows, this had been the best one. Financially, the club broke even the first year. 

July 1997 Wheel Tracks, Mary Mazur reported a bit of a problem in the Shelburne show parade. The 150 cars in the parade down Church Street was too much for the Police Department to handle!….Yes, one hundred and fifty cars!! The 1996 car count at the museum was 246 and this year it was over 300. There were over 3300 people who went through the museum gate that year. Dick Messier combined three expo shows in Essex and the two in Shelburne on a video tape and made them available for $5.00. (Does anyone have one of these tapes for one of our gatherings?) 

The May 1998 business meeting minutes, as reported by Fred Cook included a request from show co-chair, Bill Erskine, urged everyone’s help with the weather aspect. Fred added…”I think he means pray”. Mary Mazur reported in July the show was, again, a success. The weather was cloudy and a bit chilly but the car and spectator attendance was similar to the previous year. The parade was sorted out and “a good one”. It had been reported the flea market vendors and car corral had been unhappy the first two years because of location and a dusty parking lot. This year nothing had changed that we can find but Mary reported everyone was happy. She explained that it might have something to do with Mr. Rick’s Chuckwagon and Ben & Jerry’s vendors were added to the flea market area. Mary reported that Carol Lavallee’s fashion show was “fabulous”! 

August 1999 Wheel Tracks reports the May board minutes and the decision to change the Shelburne show name to “The Vermont Vintage Auto Exhibition”. 

The July 2000 Wheel Tracks has some of Avery Hall’s ‘observations’….. The weather was great! The 300 car number was added upon by 45 tractors for “The Antique Tractor Pull”. Frank Mazur and his crew greeted and got the cars to the right places in the upbeat spirit of the event. Tom McHugh had successfully “grown” the flea market. Fred Cook and Willis Spaulding & crew manned the Courtesy Tent and he had never seen it more busy. Rick and the Ramblers with Shana Antoniuc entertained the crowd with Western and Auto related music. Steve Dana gave rides and thrills to lucky folks in his Kissel Speedster. From Avery…” Speaking for myself, I had a great time driving around the grounds in my Packard Phaeton…I truly think the moving cars added, a new spirit to the event since people love to see them in operation”. 

November 2006 Wheel Tracks. It appears the June 2006 show at the Shelburne Museum was the end of that eleven run. The VAE board minutes simply noted, “ Since the Shelburne Museum venue, no longer appears to be available, discussion turned to other possibilities…..” 

So..this year, 2019, our show at the Shelburne Museum will be Number 14….a very good number! 

A Celebration of Family

For eighteen years, the Austin extended family have toured the Northeast U.S in their old cars. Above is part of their 2006 tour that included the Champlain Transportation Museum in Plattsburg. The young-ones are “trying out” the museum’s pedal car collection.There is something always planned for everyone, young and older.  

A Celebration of Family, from Jim Austin and The Austin, Danahey and Jarvis Families. 

As a family we have been touring for 18 years. This is a quote from one of our nieces who went on to describe our annual family vintage car tour this way: “The antique cars take us back to simple times when family was more important than careers, electronics and social media.” 

The tours start at different locations throughout New England depending on the area we will be visiting. Usually we all get together some time in the afternoon on Thursday. At this time, we prepare a buffet lunch because everyone shows up at different times. This is the time when we are handed an agenda for the weekend activities. It describes the places we will visit as well as the driving route, and places we will eat. 

First thing Friday morning, after breakfast, we have a short meeting telling who will lead the tour and who will be last in case of breakdowns. Thanks for cell phones. We also go over the rules of the road so as not to make other drivers dislike our slower moving vehicles. We do not travel as a bunch, traveling in groups of three or four leaving room for others to pass. 

At 8:30 we are on the road. One tour in 2006 started in Chazy, NY at a sister and brother-in-law’s place on Lake Champlain. Having a large lawn backed up to a huge apple orchard made it ideal for camping. So out came the tents, travel trailers and motor homes. Naturally we also took over their house as well. 

Our tour started from their home to visit a gentleman’s collection of John Deere farm tractors. From there we traveled to the Plattsburg air base to visit the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum. This was a small collection of vehicles featuring the Lozier automobile which was made in Plattsburg. There was also a collection of model cars and trains. The kids really liked the pedal cars to drive around the parking lot. Next was a trip down to Ausable Chasm,the Grand Canyon of New York. The trip would not be complete without a raft ride down the river. There were many views of the Chasm bottom from the top. Next, we headed back to the base at Chazy for our social gathering and dinner. 

We then traveled to Canada through customs and on to Park Safari. This is a big wild animal park with many things to do, we spent the day there. Going back thru customs wasn’t too bad, then back to home base for another wonderful meal. 

The Shelburne Farm tour in 2016 was also memorable. We were treated to a guided tour of the grounds in our antique cars. A nice thing was having our cell phones and speakers in each car so we were connected to the guide who explained each event as we traveled around the grounds. 

Another time we started in North Conway, NH. We were privileged to visit a wonderful collection of horse drawn vehicles and wagons. There were over 90 wagons including two from the Queen of England’s stable, 6 Concord Coaches, Military Wagons, hearses, Peddler’s wagons and many more, of all kinds. 

Other places we went to, included Six Gun City in Jeffersonville, NH. There we were invited to drive our vehicles into the old western town village and park them on their main street while visiting all the other sites inside Six Gun City. Many tried their skills in the mini auto racing cars. 

Visiting Clarks’ Trading Post, in Lincoln, NH was a real treat for the kids as well as the adults, especially watching the trained bears and the steam train ride. The Wright War Museum in Wolfeboro, NH was very interesting. While in Wolfeboro we visited two exceptional private auto collections. At one of these collections, one young boy, 5 years old was fascinated by a high wheel bicycle. He looked it over many times and then had a question. He went up to the owner and said “Sir, how do you put training wheels on that bicycle?” 

We visited the wonderful ABC auto collection in Chocorua, NH. Today, it no longer exists. Another wonderful collection of cars located in Newport, NH has been sold and is not available any more. It was in a restored brick factory building holding the Rugar auto collection. 

What a great ride our family has had. Every year is a treat, from the places we stay, events, the museums, car collections, displays, parks, card games, you name it, they are all amazing and enjoyed by all ages. We are very fortunate to have a family that enjoys being together. Young and old we all look forward to the next family tour celebration. We usually have 32-35 family members on the tour, the most we have had is 44. They come from Oregon, Arizona, South Carolina, New York, MA, NH, and VT. 

To quote my daughter-in-law: “I now understand why my kids were so excited every year about the car tour and learned the attraction, fun and adventure. We all have built relationships with the family that they never would have without the tour. The family has become great friends.” 

Shelly Nolfi, Needham, MA. “What my father created is truly a legacy that I hope will continue on for generations. We’re so lucky to have a family, that takes the time every year, to be together for 3 days for a family reunion on antique wheels.” 

M37 Military Truck

Bob Chase seems the happiest when he is around Military vehicles, like this moment when he was unloading an M37 truck at the show field. 

He has been a co-chair of our August show since 2004. 

Duane Leach joined him in 2010 and together, they have exceeded all our expectations. The two live on opposite sides of Mount Mansfield and in the hundreds of phone calls they make to one another, Bob usually starts his conversation with…. 

“Hello, from the other side of the hill.” 

1955 17 foot Shepard Runabout

Selby & Maureen Turners’ 17 foot Shepard Runabout. 

1955 shephard runabout

It’s winter, the snow swirls around my storage barn, just feet away from the Lake and safely tucked in among the cedars on Isle La Motte. I enter, almost tentatively because I’ve not been in for several weeks. I flick on the lights and suddenly the 35×75′ space is alive with all my summer friends: 3 antique cars ranging in age from 67 to 88 years and two boats ages 96 and 64 as well as two 61 and 67 year old tractors, several newer boats, carriages and assorted lawn machines etc. The 1955 Shepard mahogany runabout sits in the middle and I’m drawn to it because I’ve promised it a spring coat of varnish. I’m already imagining the task with a pad of 220 grit paper in one hand and a soft brush in the other. I try to remember to varnish before summer humidity so the drying won’t blush and think about maybe adding some japan dryer to hasten the process. 

The 1955 Shepard is a 17′ (all original) Canadian made mahogany boat built to compete with US made Chris Craft. It is a “runabout” as opposed to a “utility” because the engine is covered by a hatch and not a box which you need walk around. Runabouts are considered more of a “sporting” boat while the utilities would more likely be used for maybe fishing. Shepard built their products first class. The 17′ runabout has a double planked bottom and is designed to accommodate 5 passengers in the same cockpit. To achieve this, Shepard installed the engine with the flywheel facing the stern (back) of the boat and powered the prop with a V drive transmission. Thus the engine is in the back of the boat covered with a hatch. Most boats are the reverse and their engines are of necessity in the middle of the boat forcing a split cockpit arrangement and, in the Runabouts, a very wet ride for half of the passengers! The engine, original to the boat, is a Chrysler “Ace” which develops 95 hp. These very popular marine engines were available as well in 125 hp as the Chrysler “Crown”. The engine is a 6 cylinder, in line flat head. The exhaust is a straight pipe which develops a most seductive and powerful rumble that reverberates across our bay, bringing people to their doors in awe! Shepard had an arrangement as well with Chrysler to provide accessories such as the steering wheel (also used in the 1955 Chrysler cars) and knobs, etc. The dashboard gauge cluster is one used in both US and Canadian boats for several years. 

I purchased the Shepard, we named the M&M after my wife and daughter and alternately the candy (our candy ride), about 27 years ago. I found her in a field of vines and tall grass and covered with old carpeting and torn tarps sitting on an old hay wagon. The owner refused to uncover her until I paid for it. He claimed he didn’t want to sell…I bit. The fates must have been with me because when I uncovered my now purchased boat, the topsides, cockpit and engine were in fabulous condition. In fact, that year I didn’t even varnish! 

1955 shepard runabout stern

There are many stories to follow thru the years including a tornado that flipped the boat upside down and sunk her under her boat lift. We were able to restart the engine before any further damage and I spent the balance of that summer with goggles and mask retrieving fittings at the bottom of the Lake. 

I have another 1955 Canadian custom made, 36′ sedan cruiser that I rescued from the wrecking ball at a boat yard in Colchester. To my wife’s dismay, it resides in our driveway and necessitates some creative turning to negotiate around. 

v drive transmission
Upper left: Engine power into Transmission — Lower left: Power to propellor

V-drive is a propulsion system for boats that consists of two drive shafts, a gearbox, and a propeller. In a “V-drive” boat, the engine is mounted in the rear of the boat and the front of the engine faces aft. Connected to the rear of the engine is the transmission. The first drive shaft connects the rear of the transmission to a gearbox mounted in the center of the boat. The second drive shaft extends from the gearbox to the rear and out the bottom of the boat to where a propeller is mounted