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! 

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 

1935 Packard  Limousine

Tom Noble’s 1935 Packard  Limousine

I think the best way to tell the story of the car is in two parts – first the part I know is actually true, and secondly the part that might be complete bunk…

The car is a 1935 Packard V-12 limousine that my grandfather, Bert Pulsifer, acquired sometime during the 1960s from a man named Charles Barnes. Charles was renting a house from my grandfather at the time and, having run out of money to cover rent, offered the car in lieu of of rent. My grandfather was a collector of cars and took him up on the offer. He kept the car and entered it in local parades from time to time and my Uncle Scott drove it occasionally- although I’m guessing a V-12 limousine wasn’t something anyone could afford to drive regularly even then! I do remember it sitting in the garage at Grandpa’s farm and pretending to drive it when I was little – as a kid that was the most impressive car in the world!

1935 packard limousine
Charlie Noble, Tom and Michelle Noble’s son will be driving this beast of an automobile some day.
Perhaps to his senior prom dance!
Charlie is in junior-high today and Wheel Tracks has learned he has some dance moves to die for….

I also remember the whole family washing and waxing it in preparation for a parade. This must have been done many times because even then the paint was worn through in places. The parade I remember best – and I think it was the last time it was driven, was in 1982. The Packard had a tendency to vapor lock and I recall it did it at least twice that day. The first time was at a gas station on the way to the parade. We had stopped to fill up, but couldn’t get it to start after. Fortunately, one of Grandpa’s friends was also on his way to the parade, with his similar vintage Jaguar, and offered to push start the Packard with it. This worked and we made it to the parade.

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it THROUGH the parade. About halfway through, she vapor locked again and had to be pushed aside to let the rest of the parade go by. I’ll have to dig out the picture of me, with my Grandpa’s Mason’s ballcap on, leaning against the fender, waiting for it to cool down. My grandmother wrote on the back “Thomas guarding the Packard”. (This picture never made it to Wheel Tracks).

1935 packard limoWhen Grandpa passed away, he left the Packard to my Uncle Scott. Uncle Scott didn’t really have a good place to keep it, and knew that I had always admired the car, so he gave it to me. I’ve had to move it a few times since then and it has remained my “someday” project that I plan to get going as time permits. The first project will be to get the gas tank cleaned/rebuilt – 30 year old gas does some bad things to the inside of a gas tank!

The part of the story that might be bunk, is the detail of Charles Barnes – I was always told that Charles was of the “Barnes and Noble” Barnes from Rhode Island. Apparently he was the black sheep of the family and had a girlfriend that the family did not like or approve of. The family told him he needed to leave the family estate, but that he could take any car he wanted as long as he left and didn’t come back. The car he chose, of course, was the Packard. He headed north and ended up near Plymouth, New Hampshire and began renting the house from Grandpa.

From Lester-Steele Handbook & Standard Catalog of American Cars “Packard Twelfth Series- Twelve”

*Price new….$4485.00
*Bore & stroke…3.44 X4.25
*HP….175 @3200RPM
*Weight…5900lbs
*WB– 144.25 inches
*Carburetor….Stromberg-Duplex
*Gear-ratio options,4.41, 4.06, 4.69, 5.07
*Tires…7.50X17
*3-point engine rubber suspension
*15 12-cylinder body styles offered with the limo being #835.
*Engine, 67 degree V-block, modified L.
*Displacement, 473.3 cu. in.
*Four main bearings
*Trans, selective synchromesh 3F/1R.
*Clutch, single plate, vacuum assist.
*Brakes, mechanical, vacuum assist 4W
*Options…dual sidemounts, bumper guards, radio, heater, spotlight.
*Introduced August 1934.
*V-12 model choices, series 1207wb139” & series 1208wb 144.25(the limo)
* Total factory production for all models including V8 & V12…..788

1919 Ford Model T

Tin Lizzie, Leaping Lena, or Flivver is a few of the names for Ford’s Model Ts.  Dave Welch’s 1919 Model T, above, fits these names.

dave welch clock shopDavid Welch has a clock shop in the old Kennedy Brothers building in Vergennes and has been in the repair business for many years. He is also “the cook” according to his 90+ year dad, Steve. Dave and his dad live together. When asked the time that Dave gets home from work at the Clock Shop, Mr. Welch replied that he hoped by five PM, because he is the cook. They live in a wonderful area along lake Champlain, where the extended Welch family have lived for a number of generations.

1919 ford model t flivverThe Model T has spent over 35 years owned by VAE members, starting with Ed Rotex. Wheel Tracks understands Ed “just ran the T around once in a while”.

From Ed the car went to Tim Hunt, then to Ed Welch. The last 30 years the car has been in Carl Tatlock’s garage, who gets credit for many of the upgrades on the vehicle today. The story goes that Carl is a stickler for detail, the proof is this Model T.

The next home for the T is Mr. David Welch and the way he acquired the car can only happen in the VAE. Carl “gave” it to Dave, a gift many of us only dream of… a fantastic gift.

1919 ford model t cockpitWheel Tracks has found some mysteries and solved some mysteries with this old T. It is known that the 20 HP engine is not original to the car, but no one knew the year. Research has revealed the #13669202 engine was built in May of 1926.

*The big surprise was when the car was built, it turns out, it is not a 1919 Model T! Ford numbered the engines when they were built and when the engine was placed in the car during assembly, the frame was stamped with the engine number. The frame on Dave’s T is #8893000 which tells us the car was built in December of 1923. The vehicle number and the factory production number is the same, so this car was number 8 million, eight hundred ninety three thousandth that Ford had made by that date in 1923. The 9,000,000th was completed at 1:05PM on December 26th, 1923.

The Model T Club of America publishes the total number of Ford model Ts built was 14,689,520 when they closed down the T line in 1927 and started building Model A’s. Model T engines continued to be built through 1941, for an additional 169,856.

Wheel Tracks can not find what this car started its life as. Was it a touring car, a runabout, or a coupe? Or maybe a Tudor or a Fordor or even a truck? Are there any T folks out there who can help?

Here is some additional 1923 information from the T club….. The “1923” touring car style was introduced in September 1922, with a one-man top and sloping windshield, but otherwise the body was the same as the 1922. The runabout followed about November, with a new body and turtle deck as well. A new “Fordor” sedan appeared in December 1922, which used aluminum panels throughout the body. The cowl section and lower body section were changed to steel during the year. There was no cowl vent in the early Fordor sedans but the vent was added during early 1923, before the change to the larger hood. The Coupelet and Sedan (Centerdoor) continued into 1923 with minor modifications that were introduced in 1922, but were both replaced with the new Coupe and Tudor Sedan in August 1923. The front section of the car was revised about August 1923, with a new and higher radiator, larger hood, a valence under the radiator, and revised cowl section to match. These cars were generally referred to as “1924” models in Ford literature. The Coupe and Tudor Sedan were all new, with coupe doors opening at the rear. Body construction continued with the metal panel over a wood frame design.

* This paragraph could have problems…..1. If Ford sold just the engine, then there would be no chassis to stamp. 2. Wheel Tracks took the chassis number from the cars registration form, not the chassis, there could be a different number on the chassis.

1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stringray

This is Len & Jeanne Pallotta’s 1966 Stingray Corvette.

This is part of the Corvette story written by Len Pallotto in 2005 for Wheel Tracks….

“Our Corvette”

1966 stingray corvetteMy 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 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 and 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 the airport in Burlington, to catch a plane to Disney World with the kids. As we turned off Williston Road, parked in the lot of the gas station on the corner, was this same Corvette with a For Sale sign on it. I 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 the phone booth calling the owner and telling him we would take the Corvette.

len palotta 1966 corvette stingray
Len & Jeanne Pallotta’s son Greg is shown behind the wheel of the ‘Vette.

When we returned, 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. Someone had put wide Craggar alloy wheels and tires on the car, which was a misfit. I replaced them with OEM wheels and tires with 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-year Corvettes have a parking brake system that was unique to them at the 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 was to the inside where the working parts resided, I couldn’t believe what I found; it was one solid mass of corrosion. Thankfully, I learned of a supplier who produced these parts in stainless steel. Great, the parking brake now works but the jubilation was short lived, as I found more problems, and all went down hill from there. As I drove the car, it seemed that every couple of weeks I would have to bleed the brakes. This led to research and learning, because of the design, using solid mounted calipers with constant contact pads to rotor, plus corrosion caused by moisture absorbed alcohol based brake fluid, pumps air into the system. This required a complete disassembly of all four calipers and master cylinder, which I did, and sent them to a vender to be sleeved with stainless steel. 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, rotor and pads.

1966 chevrolet corvette stingraySince 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. It took a year to complete engine and transmission overhaul. A new radiator and rebuilding the wiper/washer, the carburetor, the distributor and the fuel pump was also done at this time.

During this one-year period, the inspection sticker had expired, so the day we completed the project, I made an appointment for an inspection. On the way a trooper stopped me for the expired sticker and gave me a ticket. It took a while but an assistant D.A. later dropped the charge.

1966 corvette stingray interiorOne thing that always bothered me about this car was that the electric clock never worked. So one day I took it apart and found the manufacturer’s name. To my surprise, I was able to purchase parts (at a car show). 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… every-thing. This was the point where we decided that we could not reinstall a new interior unless we had the body repaired and painted. Since I didn’t really have a place to do the work or the 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 outside source. While this was being done I totally restored the seats and recovered them. In 1966 some of the options available were seat headrests and shoulder belts. These were available through Corvette restoration parts suppliers so I added these two features.

While my car was being worked on, we found the frame was very weak in some key areas, so the decision was made to remove the body and restore the frame. Again, the parts were available through suppliers.

We completed this phase of the restoration in mid May of this year (2004), 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. Thanks for just being there when I needed you for support on this project. Right now, there are left over parts still in each of our bedrooms.

Editor’s notes….

Ray Tomlinson was president in 2004 and presented the Pallotta’s with the “President’s Restoration Award” that year.

That engine that was rebuilt had the factory engine pressure gauge on the dash that was fed by a tiny plastic tube from the engine. In 1984, when Greg and his date were in high school, in formal dress on their way to an event, that tiny tube burst. The engine ceased after losing its oil. A replacement 350 Chevy engine was found and installed. The car’s proper engine is a 327 and about 12 years ago, Leonard and Greg found the engine that belonged in the Corvette. It will be going into the shop soon to make the swap.

Thank you Leonard for your story. This teaches all of us who have an old car that needs “tweaking”, to have patience….. and fun, for that short time that we are in that old car’s life. Your story is why the Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts have been around sine 1953 with a very bright future. Old vehicles keeps us all young.

 

1966 corvette stingray (back)  1966 corvette stingray (back)

1913 Board-track racing Indian and 1910 Harley Davidson Model-F motorcycles

On the left we have a 1913 Board-track racing Indian motorcycle  – On the right, a 1910 Harley Davidson motorcycle

1913 indian board track racing motorcycleThis beautiful 1913 Indian board-track racing motorcycle is owned by Skip Weeks of Collinsville, Connecticut. He found a few parts of the engine for sale and decided to pass. Then a call came and he was told 95% of the rest of the engine parts had been found and it was more than Skip could say no too. A friend helped him put most of the engine together and Fred Gonet was given the task of the final tweaking. Fred has a restoration shop in Proctorsville, Vermont. Then, Skip found a business in Canada that built reproduction chassis and asked Fred to put it all together… and this is the results.

1913 indian board track racing bikeThe neat thing about the machine’s destination is not a board-track but Skip’s living room where Wheel Tracks understands it will join a few other motored antiques. Track racing served as the principle venues for motorcycle racing in America. By 1910, rival companies had started to overtake Indian on the wooden speedways. Oscar Hedstrom who designed the Indian motorcycle in 1900, returned to his drawing board. His goal was to design a new motor capable of regaining the lead for Indian. The result of the engineer’s effort was an overhead-valve design; however this could not withstand the extreme temperatures of a high-speed race. Hedstrom’s solution was to decrease the size of the valves and add more of them. Instead of the usual two valves in each cylinder, Hedstrom calculated that four smaller valves would be better able to dissipate the heat. His theory turned out to be correct, and the overhead-valve configuration also proved to be more efficient.

1913 indian board track racing motorcycle engineThe Indian 8-valve debuted in 1911 and was immediately successful on the pine-board tracks. In 1920 an Indian 8-valve set an official world record for the mile, achieving a speed of 114.17 mph, and in 1926 an updated version of Hedstrom’s landmark design was clocked at 132 mph, setting another world record, which would remain for the next 11 years. It is not known how many Indian 8-valves were produced, but approximately six are known to have survived.

1910 harley davidson model-fWheel Tracks had the great opportunity of having these two motorcycles in one place, on a sunny afternoon and wanted to pass a little about them, on to our VAE members. On the left is a 1910 Harley Davidson motorcycle. This is not a racer, but a beautiful road bike. It is a perfect replica of the original owned by Fred Gonet.

Harley-Davidson, Inc. is an American motorcycle manufacturer, founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1903. In 1910 there were 110 motorcycle brands in the United States and 107 years later, Harleys are still alive and well.

1910 harley davidson rear brakeThis Harley is a 1910 Harley-Davidson 30ci Model F. It has 28 X2.5 tires with an Eclipse Knockout front hub that allows the tire removal by taking only one nut off. You start the 4hp engine by pedaling with your feet until the engine fires then engage the rear wheel by pushing a hand control forward to tighten the leather belt. The brakes are the normal “coaster type” on the rear wheel.

vintage harley davidson motorcycleThe new price was $210.00 and you could order one with one-quarter down payment and the balance due on delivery.

 

1937 Ford Flatback Sedan

Is this the same #67 in both pictures?  Ken Gypson’s ‘37 Ford has been around creating history for 81 years and still going strong.  Hal Boardman’s diorama proves the car still inspires…

Hal Boardman and diorama of Ken Gypsom's '37 Ford Flatback racecar
Editor’s note…. Ken Gypson will learn about this diorama for the first time, when he gets this issue of Wheel Tracks, in his mail box.

From VAEer, Hal Boardman …

Two years ago the VAE ventured south to Bennington for a Hemmings cruise-in and a visit to our hosts, Ken and Nancy Gypson, in New York. After morning coffee, juice and muffins-to-die-for, we went out to wander through Ken’s barn. The barn holds a collection of autos, large and small. A must see. Among the full sized cars was a ‘37 Ford 2-door sedan. Ken was in the process of restoring the former round track race car. I took a few pictures and then we hit the road.

A while later the VAE had it’s annual holiday party and I chose an exchange gift of a hot-rod model A Ford 2-door sedan. Walking by Ken’s table he said “glad you got that, you are the only hot-rodder here”. By chance, I happen to see a picture of Ken’s restoration project on line, and I put the two together, the beginning of the diorama idea.

1937 ford racer

The following year I campaigned for another Hemmings tour, it was a great time and… I needed more pictures of Ken’s garage and his race car restoration project. Once again, we had a great cruise-in, and visit at the Gypson’s. I wonder if Ken noticed my mission of taking pictures of every square inch of his garage. I got more pictures when #67 made it to our August show in Stowe last year and then, my winter project began.

While my ‘39 Ford project sat in the corner of my garage, I spent time working on the smaller project of a 1937 race car. I gathered models and parts saved from my youth and began the diorama. I found an old 49 Ford kit in my collection that provided wheels, tires, trophies and even that small dog you see lying on the floor, in front of the car. As my project started coming together, an artist friend offered to paint the number on the car and the walls to match Ken’s garage. Pam even made a small leather belt, that was used to wrap around the passenger door post, to keep it closed during a race. Thank you Pam.

I hope Ken can find a small space in his vast collection for the diorama. I hope, also, that he enjoys it as much as I have building it.

pine bowl raceway troy NY
Pictured here, the Pine Bowl Raceway in Troy, NY where the front page image of a race-wreck was taken.

Some history now of the racing #67, from a story Ken Gypson had written earlier…

1937 ford flatback 2-doorIn about 1985 my family and I moved to Poestenkill, NY. Just down the road (to my delight anyways) was Wait’s Junkyard. The Waits had a bunch of old stock cars scattered about and a particular ’37 Ford sedan caught my eye. For 2 years I tried to buy the car…no go. In April of ’87 we had an ice storm that knocked down trees and power lines. While I was in the road clearing debris with my chain saw John Wait Sr. asked if he could borrow the saw. I told him he could have the saw if I could buy the stock car. He grunted and left with the saw. Two weeks later I came home from work and there, the ’37 sat in my driveway!

1937 ford flatback sedan racecar

I have been fortunate to be able to get the complete history of #67 from the day it was built. In 1961, Paul Leinbohm paid $50 for the body and chassis from Slovak’s Junkyard in Stuyvesant, NY, and a 1953 Merc engine from Lou Hacker of Rt 20 in Nassau, NY. Before he could drive the car, he was drafted into the army, and sold the car to Paul Visconte of Schodack, NY. Visconte had George Henderson of Niverville, NY, drive it with number 300D at Rt 66 Speedway in Poestenkill, NY.

ken gypsum 1937 ford flatback racerIn 1963, Visconte renumbered the car to 67 (as it is now) and raced it at Victoria Speedway outside of Albany, NY. Ironically, Visconte also ended up in the Army and left the car behind his mother’s house. Gordy Film of Wynantskill, NY, bought the car in 1964 for $300 and raced it at Pinebowl Speedway in Poestenkill, NY, during the ’64 and ’65 seasons. #67 ended up in Wait’s Junkyard across the road from the speedway’s entrance.

 

1937 ford racing

 

1957 Dodge D200 Pickup

Paul & Barb Wagner’s 1957 Dodge D200

“For 43 years it was our Every-day farm truck. Today it is our car-show truck”

1957 dodge d200Back in 1967, we decided to purchase a truck to support our small family dairy farm in Methuen, MA. The search led us to a gentleman who had a sewing machine business, and a 1957 Dodge 3/4 ton pick-up with 59,000 miles on the odometer. The truck sold for $1,750 brand new, he was asking $200.00 for it. I countered with $175.00 and drove away with the truck.

It was put into use on the farm immediately. We used it to haul milk, cattle, sawdust, manure, it was a great, all purpose vehicle.

1957 dodge d200 interiorIn 1969, my father and I bought a larger dairy farm in Bridport, Vermont. That was 200 miles away from Methuen. The Dodge was a godsend for hauling furniture and farm equipment to Vermont, and then take hay back to Massachusetts to feed our animals there. I would load sixty, forty-pound bales on the truck (2400 lbs.) and drive the 200 miles on ten gallons of gas. Not bad mileage with that kind of a load. Once the move to Vermont was complete, we put 700-800 ‘farm’ miles on the truck each year. The transmission was not right for slow field work so we rode the clutch a lot. After 11 years of this, we had to replace the clutch and when we did that, we put a four speed transmission in. The move from 3-on-the-tree to 4-on-the-floor made it a real farm truck! It was parked in the shop in 2003 when a gale wind came through and knocked the shop down. The shop roof landed in a tree across the road, while the old Dodge just sat there, with only the scratches it had when we parked it there. The truck did its work until 2005 when it would not pass inspection any longer. For the next five years it sat in the machine shed getting dusty. I started it up a couple of times a year to make sure the engine did not seize.

I sold the farm to my son in 2010 and entered semi-retirement. I had talked so much about fixing up the truck, over the years, that my wife, Barb told me there would never be a better time, than now to do it. I guess she had heard it enough….so I did. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

Three miles south of here, my friend Kevin has a body shop. I pulled everything off the frame. All that was left was the engine, transmission and wheels, which I pulled to Kevin’s with my old John Deere. This had taken me about fifty hours at this point, all my labor and no money. I soon found out this would get reversed! Just finishing the prep work, Kevin had used eighty-five, 100 pound bags of blasting sand.

When I removed the cab from the frame, I found it was set up for both left and right hand drive. There are pop-outs on the floor for the clutch and brake pedals. The dash is the same on both sides. There is an aluminum plate on the right side where I thought was meant for a radio. When I removed it, I found framework for the speedometer and gauges. I considered changing to the right side but then I thought, “Who is going to drive it?”….Not me!, so I left it the way it was.

1957 dodge d-200 pickup

The next challenge was finding body parts. In 1957, 340,000 Ford pickups were made and GM made 360,00. Dodge made 50,000 pickups that year. So, finding the parts I needed, ended in very short phone calls…no we don’t have any. Then I heard about Desert Valley Auto Parts in Arizona. They had three corpses! My luck had changed, I found the two rear fenders, the right front fender and the grill that I needed. It took three months to get the parts but the wait was worth it. Being a life-long New Englander, I was utterly amazed at the condition… no rust at all! I found two box sides in Rhode Island and used Hickory boards for the floor. I chose not to use oak, as I wanted something with knots, but pine was too soft.

There were two safety problems with vehicles from this period that I wanted to correct with my restoration. The single reservoir master brake cylinder and no seat belts. I went to the ‘68 Dodge split system and had to add a regulator to balance the pressure. Lap seat belts took care of the second problem. The paint color is forest green with two coats of epoxy primer, two coats of filler primer and two coats of enamel. The paint alone was $2000.00…welcome to restoration.

The whole process took ten months to complete. Kevin had 300 hours, I had that many and more, but no charge for me, it’s a LABOR OF LOVE! I kept a notebook of the expenses, even after being told not to because ‘I did not want to know’. The project ended up costing $23,380.00. the high-level break-down was $13,000 in labor, and $10,380 for parts ( I did not rebuild the engine or drive train).

In May of 2014, the steering shaft broke in a restaurant parking lot. The steering wheel was in my hands not attached. I decided it was time for power steering, my age demanded it! Driving is much more enjoyable now. My friend, Ed James, did some research and found the steering system from a ‘79 to ‘86 Toyota pickup would work. I added a pump from an ‘84 Camaro and I was in busi-ness.

The old Dodge gets a lot of attention in parades and car shows. We were at the local soft serve ice cream place when a fella came up and said, “ I bet you think more of this truck, than you do your wife!” I replied, “The only thing I can say, the truck does exactly what I ask it to do.” I always say, there is high tech and there is low tech. My truck is NO TECH!

1957 dodge d200 pickup truck

1957 Dodge D200 Specs:

  • Engine, Chrysler 230 cu. In. L-head (flat head) 6 cylinder.
  • Horse power, 110
  • Wheels, 16 inch split rims-8 lug (750X16)
  • Rear-end, 3/4-1 ton set-up for duals
  • Present mileage, 111,028

Editor’s notes… Paul told about his daughter slinking down in the seat, out of view of her friends, in the old days when he would leave her off at school. She recently asked if she could possibly get the truck when he made out his will. Thank you Paul for letting us feature your truck and your history with it.

1902 Curved Dash Oldsmobile

Dennis Dodd, of East Fairfield, Vermont

“Kids, College & Work kept this 1902 Curved Dash Oldsmobile waiting for 28 years… Finally, with a new paint job on its way, it will be finished”.

1902 curved dash oldsmobileDennis Dodd purchased the ‘02 Curved Dash Olds in ‘89 from a Massachu-setts gent while at the VAE Stowe Show. It was completely original but needed a lot of work. Over the past 4 years, he rebuilt the engine and along with restoring every other item of the vehicle. A paint booth has been reserved for later in this Spring for the last piece of the restoration. A long time friend of Dennis’s who had earlier built a replica of the same car, has helped in the restoration, he is Skip Minor of Milton. Asked the number of hours spent on the project and Dennis guessed a minimum of 500 hours, not counting his friend’s time.

Gary Hoonsbeen died in 2016 but during his lifetime, he was the country’s lead expert in these unique vehicles. Soon after Dennis brought the car home, he was in contact with Gary, asking all the normal question of a newly minted antique car owner. The big mystery was finding the correct year that this car was manufactured. So as Dennis and Gary went down the list while on the phone, Gary was confirming the vehicle was built in 1901with some parts from 1002. Then came Dennis’s description of the water pump. Gary informed him that he had made a mistake in his notes, because “that” Curved Dash water pump did not exist. It turned out, it did exist, it was the only known original Curved Dash water pump known and it was on this vehicle! The car club later borrowed the water pump to use as patterns to build 15 new ones.

Recently, some officials from the Curved Dash Club made their way to England, where they inspected an original, in a barn that had never been modified. They discovered the serial numbers that have been used for years by the club, to determine the “built year”, most likely has to be changed. The Oldsmobile company had two places where they stamped the built number, on the engine head and on the compression release pedal. Dennis’s number is 6631 and even though Gary Hoonsbeen said the car was mostly a 1901, the serial number was 1902. The England trip will most likely confirm this vehicle is a 1901 car.

This from “Wikipedia” and “The Standard Catalog of American Cars”…….

The gasoline-powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as being the first mass-produced automobile, meaning that it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile company in 1901 and produced through 1907; 425 were produced the first year, 2,500 in 1902, and over 19,000 were built in all. When General Motors assumed operations from Ransom E. Olds on November 12, 1908, GM introduced the Oldsmobile Model 20, which was the 1908 Buick Model 10 with a stretched wheelbase and minor exterior changes.

The Curved Dash car was a runabout model, could seat two passengers, and sold for US$650. While competitive, due to high volume, and priced below the US$850 two-seat Ford Model C “Doctor’s Car”, it was more expensive than the Western 1905 Gale Model A Roadster at US$500. The Black sold for $375, and the Success for US$250.

The flat-mounted, water-cooled, single-cylinder engine, situated at the center of the car, produced 5 HP, relying on a brass gravity feed carburetor. The transmission was a semi-automatic design with two forward speeds and one reverse. The low-speed forward and reverse gear system is a planetary type. The car weighed 850 lbs. and used Concord springs. It had a top speed of 20 mph.

The car’s success was partially by accident in 1901, a fire destroyed a number of other model prototypes before they were approved for production, leaving the Curved Dash the only one intact.


1902 oldsmobile

When it inspires a song (below), you know it’s popular. This Olds was the bestselling car in America from 1902 to 1905. Automobiles had an emotional appeal. A driver in 1901 said that controlling a car satisfied “an almost universal sense, the love of power.” Despite the attraction, cars were not a significant player in the transportation world. In 1903, 4000 people bought Oldsmobile’s, but more than 900,000 bought buggies and carriages.

With its one-cylinder engine and horseless carriage looks, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash didn’t seem particularly rugged. Olds Motor Works proved its runabout’s mettle with a number of elaborate stunts. Here the car is driven up a steep hill, over uneven ground. Far more extravagant was Roy D. Chapin’s 820-mile drive, from Detroit to New York, in an Oldsmobile in 1901.

Young Jonnie Steele has an Oldsmobile,
He loves a dear little Girl.
She is the queen of his gas machine,
She has his heart in a whirl.
Now when they go for a spin, you know,
She tries to learn the auto, so,
He lets her steer, while he gets her ear,
And whispers soft and low:

Come away with me Lucile
In my merry Oldsmobile
Down the road of life we’ll fly,
Automobubbling you and I.
To the church we’ll swiftly steal,
Then our wedding bells will peel,
You can go as far as you like with me,
In my Merry Oldsmobile