1905 Orient Buckboard Engine

I am finally running again! Some say it has been sixty years. Others say closer to 85 years. 

Good Morning…. I think this is called “first person”, when it comes to writing style. Well, this a little different and I am calling it “first engine” and I will be telling you this story. 

I was built in 1905, in Waltham, Massachusetts, one of around 2500 built from 1902 through 1907. I produce 4 HP and since I push only 525 pounds, I can go a fast of 35MPH. 

My owner is Gary and Nancy Olney of Derby Line in northern Vermont. Gary’s dad, Harry, found me in the 1950s, in a barn, in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. I spent many years in that barn with a Studebaker that was 6 years younger than me. My memories of the years before Mr. Olney found me, are very fuzzy. 

I do know, I did not start out life on the 1906 body that is waiting for my installation in Gary’s barn, because my exhaust is different from the ’06s. Theirs point toward the right and mine shoots straight back. We know the body is a 1906, because of the controls. I also know I have not run in a long while, because I have found I had a very rough life in the old-days. 

A while back, Mr. Olney made a deal with a restoration shop in East Fairfield, Vermont that is run byMr. Dennis Dodd, and you would not believe what he found. My cylinder space that my one piston was in, was egg-shaped! That is the main reason, Mr. Dodd believes, I had not run, since at least the 1930s or 40s, because my compression could be nothing more than zero in this condition. When Mr. Dodd finished with me, I now have a compression of 84 pounds, not bad huh? 

My back-side

My connecting rod was twisted and bent, and my piston was broken into pieces. My exhaust valve was shot and the seat needed to be bored out completely and replaced. I am now sporting a Caterpillar valve with a brand new seat and feeling very macho! All of my bearings were bad and have been replaced with new ones made of bronze. It was scary, but a shop by the name of RPM, was able to bore the egg-shape out of my cylinder and Mr. Rick, at RPM, found a 1940s Dodge cylinder, and new rings that fits me perfectly. Mr. Dodd did have to rework the piston a bit. The skirt had to be cut off and the wrist pin needed to be relocated a little lower because the piston was not going up high enough. 

My head was warped and that got fixed. I have two balanced flywheels and guess what…I was way out of balance and my main pins were toast. After some mill work and some time in a special jig made just for me, my balance is now perfect. I have a brand new push rod so the fuel and exhaust can work the way they are supposed to. And, speaking about fuel, my old carburator is now in a box. It never worked good even when it was new and after many hours, Mr. Dodd decided to put on a really nice Schebler carb, I now purr like a kitten. 

Mr. Dodd balanced the face of my transmission real nice. Someone had repaired the disc at one time and made me jump a lot when I was going down the road. About the only thing I had going for me was my timer. A little cleaning and adjusting, and it was ready to go! 


This is my timer. Someone forgot to put on my brand new cover that Mr. Dodd made from a big block of aluminum. 

There is a story from my fuzzy past, when a jeweler in Nova Scotia owned me. They say he was a very pious man, but would use lots of swear words while getting me started. I had lots of problems even back then. All I need today is a tickle on my new carburator and a half turn of the crank, and I am ready to go to work.

I would like to thank Gary Olney for sending me to the shop, and his wife Nancy for her patience (not with me, but with her husband). Mr. Rick Paya at RPM for his professional attention and Mr. Dodd for his not giving up on me. A gent by the name of Skip Minor was also at the other end of the phone line many times when Mr. Dodd had trouble figuring me out. Skip is a master at motor cycle engines and that is basically what I am. I will see you in the movies. 

Fred Webster 1921– 2021

fred webster

Fred Webster was just a few days from a drive-by birthday party, he would have been 100 years old when he died on January 17th 2021. Most of his years he resided in the Coventry, VT farmhouse where he was born. 

Fred leaves his wife Vivian and five sons and daughters, three of his children predeceased him. For many years, Fred taught vocational agriculture in high schools, mostly in Northern Vermont. 

fred webster woodstove

Fred’s life was a mixture of hardship and humor, the humor always kept his glass half full. He loved throwing humor at his guests. While heading out the door one day with a guest, he grabbed his wife’s shoes that were sitting by the door. Walking off the porch, the guest asked him why he had his wife’s shoes in his hands. Fred explained by saying, “Well, did you see that little pile of money on the kitchen table? I know it will be there when I get back because she can’t go anywhere without shoes”. Next was Fred’s great joy, watching his guest’s face processing his comment. 

Fred’s college long distance running record held for many years after he graduated from UVM in the 1940’s. Dancing and especially clogging was also a passion of his. In fact, he met his wife Vivian at a dance in Quebec, a match made in heaven, he would say. 

fred webster

His life made a small turn when he retired from teaching at 65 years old. He decided to start collecting antique farm equipment after seeing many pieces rotting in farm pastures. He was concerned the history would be lost if someone didn’t do something, he decided it would be him. From Canada to Nebraska, he started bringing old farm machinery onto his Coventry hill farm, until the buildings were full. Then he and his son, Dan, started tearing down old structures wherever they could find them and hauling the material home. Soon, there was 80,000 square feet of storage, and the hunt for antique farm machinery continued. There are hay presses, tedders, mowers, plows, harrows and corn pickers, all horse drawn. Snow rollers, wagons, rakes, seeders, manure spreaders, cultivators, reapers and the list goes on and on. He has the buggy he used, to go to grade school and even the sleigh his father, Percy, used to court his Mom, Hazel. When he more or less filled every nook and cranny of his barns he started building full sized stagecoaches, 7 or 8 of them while in his nineties. 

We will all miss Fred. We will all remember him and know by his example, that life does not end when we retire. In many ways, it is a bright, clean slate when we retire. Fred has proven this to us, beyond a doubt. 

This feature article was recently published for the U.S. American Legion…… 

Mr. Fred Webster, US Navy 1944-1945 

Have you ever heard about an organization by the name of SACO, relative to WWll? 

This 99-year-old gentleman pictured left was one of 2500 SACO Navy and Marine personnel during the war. He is Mr. Fred Webster and lives in the Northeast Kingdom. During a recent conversation he mentioned that he had been in the Navy during WWll. He said he had never been on a Navy ship accept to get to China, and back, in 1944 and 1945. Asked what he did in China, he had very little for a reply, accept to say, “just study these four letters, S-A-C-O”. This from a man who loves to talk. 

So, the “study” began…….. SACO stands for Sino-American Special Technical Cooperative Organization created in 1942 and a treaty signed by China and the U.S. was signed the same year. The beginning purpose for the treaty was to have accurate weather forecasts for U.S. operations in the Pacific. If we knew the weather in China, we would have an idea what weather would be happening in the Pacific, for our operations against Japan. 

A bit of history….. In 1942, China had been in a civil war for over 30 years. Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Army against Mao Tse-tung’s Communist army. The Japanese had very little opposition from this un-industrialized country that had very little remaining energy or resources to put up much of a fight. The Japanese Army basically had no problem occupying the eastern one-third of China, and some say, would have taken over the complete country, if they had not brought the United States into the war by bombing Pearl Harbor in 1941. 

The SACO treaty was signed with the nationalists government and at its height, these “weather stations (camps) covered over 1700 miles of the China coast, all behind the Japanese’s lines. These 2500 Americans were totally immersed with the Chinese Nationalist Army and had a highly respected reputation. They were sometimes called the “Rice Paddy Navy” and if more honor was needed, they were also called the “What-the-Hell Gang”

It was not long, after the weather stations were in place and successfully operating, that other tasks were added to the “Rice Paddy Navy”. Scouting Japanese activity, demolition squads, advising and training Chinese soldiers, rescuing downed American flyers and intercepting enemy radio traffic soon became part of their operations. A few Americans scattered among the Chinese Army along the China coast from North Korea to Vietnam. Mr. Fred Webster was one or these Americans. 

1933 Chevrolet Master Eagle Phaeton

This 1933 Master Eagle Phaeton Chevrolet now belongs to Gary and Nancy Olney. Some of us travel to the other side of our nation in search of our treasured antique auto. For the Olneys, the car had been hiding in a barn only 20 miles away, since 1954.

The picture, right, is what a couple of VAEers found, the morning they volunteered to help move the old car to its new home in Derby Line.
The Chevy had been visiting this garage for only a short time, as its former residence was being sold. The Sandville family, who lives nearby, had agreed to care for the orphan vehicle until a new owner was found. The original family, who purchased it new in New York City, had passed away, the nephew, Mat, who inherited the car had also passed away and was now owned by his brother Klaus, who lives in Germany. This must explain the Phaeton’s sad face, in a strange home and an uncertain future.

The Chevrolet’s original owner was Roselle Brittain. Roselle was a makeup artist, in the early television days, in New York City. She later started her own cosmetics company in the city and called it Rozelle Cosmetics. Driving the Chevrolet to northern Vermont on a vacation, she and her husband fell in love with Waitsfield, Vermont and ended up purchasing a property on the Loop Road. Not much later, they moved to Waitsfield, along with their business. Rozelle Cosmetics still exists today, at number 4260 Loop Road.
As mentioned, when the Brittains passed, the property, the business and the Chevy, was passed down to family members in Germany. The Chevy even visited our August car show when it was in Stowe, while nephew Mat owned the car.

Now, eighty seven years after Roselle purchased the Chevrolet Master Eagle Phaeton in NY City, Gary and Nancy Olney of Derby Line owns it. Like always in the North East Kingdom of Vermont, there is a bit of mystery. How did Gary Olney hear about the car being for sale? There were no advertisements, no auction or no VAE gossip to help him. You see, Gary has a bit of a reputation in the Kingdom. He is known to be a bit of a car buff, well, there are better words of description, but we want to be polite here.
When the gent in Germany wanted to find the value and desirability of the car, he asked his friend, Jim McIntyer, of the Kingdom, for advice. Like everyone in the VAE, if we were asked that question, yup…Mr. Gary Olney would come to mind!

So, Gary’s life long love for old cars paid off for him when Klaus asked him for ad-vice. “Kingdom Communications” also helped.

Now for the star of this show… The 1933 Chevrolet Master Eagle Series CA.
There were only 543 Phaetons built that year and the only year the name master Eagle was used, according to the Standard Catalog of American Cars. The high-end Chevy built in 1932 was called the “Confederate” and in 1934, called the “Master Series DA”. There were two less expensive models in 1933 called the Mercury and the Standard. The company built 486,280 cars in 1933, and kept them in the number one in the US.

The Eagle introduced new styling that year with its vee-shaped radiator, rear slanting hood door louvers, skirted fenders and the beaver tail back panel. The Fisher body was called the air-stream and had a no-draft ventilation system.

The Eagle mascot stood proudly on the radiator. The engine is a six cylinder Ohv, 65HP with a carter carburetor. It had a 3-speed synchromesh transmission.

When Gary first heard about the car, it was said to be a 1934. The advice he was getting was to “run the other way”!

The Master Chevys from ’34 to 1938 had the “new Knee-action front suspension” and they were trouble. According to publications from that period, many Masters were converted back to the standard I-beam and the Knee-action was ditched.

When Gary found his Chevy and it turned out to be a 1933, and it was “all-ahead full”… that is a Navy term to go top speed using all propellers. And he did.

1918 REO Model F Speed Wagon

Mike Daigle and sons Domenico and Charlie have a new project at their home. The 1918 REO Model F Speed Wagon will be their winter project… And maybe beyond winter.

Asked why a REO Speed Wagon Mike Daigle said “Probably because of his neighbor Gene Towne.” 

Gene Towne died a few years ago, but he left a huge foot-print in our memories, especially Mike Daigle’s. It was visiting Gene’s place over the 16 years that Mike and his family lived as neighbors, that he caught the bug for ‘old stuff’. 

In fact, it appears Mike’s sons, Charlie, eleven years old and Domenico, 16, have also caught the bug. Domenico, recently, fired up his project in the family garage for the first time. A late 40s Oliver 66, wide-front-end tractor. Maybe that Oliver 66 could be a Wheel Tracks feature some day… We hope! 

Mike found the Speed Wagon in the back hills of East Wallingford. He said, after getting his trailer loaded, he had serious concerns if he was going to make it out. He did, as you can see, and the three have plans to get it, mechanically, in good shape but want to keep the same basic appearance that you see today. Mike’s background is mechanics while spending a number of years working at the VT. State Police garage in Colchester. So he knows his way around a tool box. 

The Daigle’s have the REO running. They were fascinated with the exposed valve tappets and the chain-driven starter. 

Chain-driven starter

The Speed Wagon is built for a top speed of 22MPH, while other trucks from that era was 5 to 10MPH slower. Its engine puts out 27 horse power. This is how the term Speed Wagon began. REO started building “Speed Wagon” trucks in 1915 and they advertised that their trucks “had long-term viability and theirs could go faster”. 

They were also known to go faster in stop and go city traffic because they had “Tall Gearing”. Tall Gearing (vs short gearing) simply means you do not have to spend as much time shifting because of the REO’s gear ratios. 

REO used the “Speed Wagon” term through 1939, they changed the term to one word in the later years. 

REO started making trucks in 1908, merged and became Diamond-REO in 1971 and went out of business in 1974. 

The Model F 1918 serial numbers started with #15000 and ended with #21543, which means REO built 6543 of these trucks in 1918. 

Another huge plus, if you purchased a REO truck, especially a Speed Wagon, it could be refitted for whatever special purpose was needed, and the REO Motor Car Company knew that was part of their appeal. They advertised the ease with which the Wagon could be customized and started building Wagons with bigger engines, heavier flywheels, and larger water pumps. If you needed something done, the Speed Wagon could do it. 

By 1925, the company had produced more than 125,000 Speed Wagons. 

1951 Ford Victoria

Allan Wright’s 1951 Ford Victoria is almost 70 years-old and has 80,000 miles on the odometer…..but, if you look closely, the car is in better shape than when it came from the factory. 

After a complete professional restoration and winning a number of national awards, Allan was able to purchase this Ford “Vic” from its owner in Manchester Maryland in March of 2017. 

Wheel Tracks met the car, and its owner for the first time during the club’s “Flash Parade” on the 8th of August. 

Allan Wright's 1951 Ford Victoria

The 1951 Ford Custom Victoria was Ford’s first hardtop, offered only in V-8 guise. It appeared in the last year of the 1949 styling generation. 

Styled by Gordon M. Buehrig, who originally worked at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg plant. When he came to Ford he had just left the Loewy team at Studebaker. 

A plus for this 1951 top-line model was the debut of Ford’s optional self-shift Ford-O-Matic this year. The war and being required to 

basically stop all domestic automobile production from 1946 through 1948, the 1949 Ford is credited with saving Ford. It ushering in the modern streamlined car design with changes such as integrated fenders and more. This design would continue through the 1951 model year, with an updated design offered in 1952. 

Ford built 110,286 Ford Vics in 1951. The 239 CID Flathead engine was one of the most reliable engines ever made and produced 100HP. The wheelbase is 114 inches, length is 197 inches and weighs 3188 pounds. New cost was $1925. 

When Ford began this line in 1949, the engine was moved forward to make more room in the passenger compartment and the antiquated “torque tube” was replaced by a modern drive shaft. 

Competition from GM and Chrysler great and in some ways the new design in 1948 was rushed into production. One example was the door mechanism design. It was found that the doors could fling open on corners. In the 1950 model there were some 10 changes in the door latching mechanism alone. Ford easily out-sold GM and Chrysler with assembly plants in six locations; Dearborn, Michigan  Chester, Pennsylvania Long Beach, California Saint Paul, Minnesota Australia Singapore, Malaysia.

1951 ford victoria

Allan Wright first put eyes on this car at the AACA Hershey car coral in October of 2016. From talking to him, he decided at that time, he wanted this car. Like most of us, we go to Hershey with a little stash of cash, but need to do a little “banking” for the bigger purchases. 

So, Allan decided to give the owner a call when he returned to Vermont, after the show. When he did, he found the car had not been sold and better yet, the price had decreased! After making arrangements to travel to Maryland and most likely bring the car home, he had a small health problem and had to cancel the trip. Then came time for their normal wintering in Arizona, so the Ford Vic was put on the back burner. 

While poking through Ebay the following February, Allen “found” the Victoria one more time and decided it was an omen he could ignore no more. 

Another plus…the price had come down even more. 

He then flew to Vermont in March (2017)to get his truck and trailer and headed south. The trip was rewarded to find the same beauty he had seen in Hershey four months earlier. He had to go through some winter weather on his trip back to Vermont resulting in a complete ice covered Ford on his trailer, but he successfully stored it in his garage and escaped back to Arizona to wait out the Vermont mud season. 

Allen’s Ford has not been to our August car show in Waterbury yet, but watch for it in 2021. It is a beauty! 

1926 Chrysler Model 25

This is a test… is Fred Gonet’s automobile, pictured here, really, a Chrysler or is someone playing a joke on us, and it is really a Maxwell?
Answer… in 1925, this exact model would have had a Maxwell badge on its hood.

That same year, Chrysler bought out Maxwell, named this car the Model 25 and in 1926, slapped the Chrysler badge on it.

Chrysler was responding to other car company’s reduced pricing. They had no low-end model to offer their customers, so the Maxwell became it. The model 25 continued through 1928, when they began to call it a Plymouth.

1926 chrysler model 25 grill

At $695, Chrysler could compete with this five-seat car. It had high-tension magneto ignition, electric horn and (optional) electric starter and headlights, and an innovative shock absorber to protect the radiator.

Fred and BJ Gonet became the proud owners of this 1926 Chrysler in 1982. Fred’s Dad was visiting from his home in Long Island, NY and the two went the little ways down the road to Springfield and brought it home to Proctorsville. Fred and BJ purchased the car from Harry Olney, which was stored in a barn, in the woods, behind an area church.

There was a surprise, for Fred, when the “Chrysler” arrived in Proctorsville. He noticed there were NO hydraulic brakes like other Chryslers of the era. That was when he realized it was, really, a Maxwell, built in 1925, and one of the ‘transition’ cars that Chrysler had basically just slapped their badge onto the radiator.

The car had another odd feature when Fred took a closer look. It has a 4-cylinder engine, and interestingly, when Fred took the engine head off, there was one piston at its lower position and three at the top position! Most car buffs know, that is not quite correct. It turned out the crank shaft and all of the connecting rods were doing their job fine, its just that one piston had broken in half, explaining the “tardy” half parking at the top of the cylinder.
The car needed engine work, new Nichol trim, a paint job, upholstery, the wood and head-liner was rotted and lots of body work. So Fred, BJ and their two young children went at it, with the grand plan of driving the car to Long Island for his Dad’s birthday.

Fred was working full-time for a company in town, so the body-off restoration had to happen on weekends and during the hours of 4PM and midnight during the week.

He would take parts off the car during his evening “shift” and the kids and BJ would clean and paint them while he was at work the next day. There were not too many other ’surprises’ with the car, just lots of work.
Oh, and did we mention this small detail? The time between the start of the restoration and Mr. Gonet’s 70th birthday celebration in Long Island was 6 weeks. Amazingly, the Gonet family made their 6-weeks-restoration deadline. In fact, the maiden journey for the Chrysler, just hours after putting away his tools, was the 275 mile trip to Mr. Gonet’s house.
The car made the trip in fine fashion with its, replacement, ’27 Chrysler engine and shiny new paint. Fred’s Dad could not believe it was the same sorry car he had helped pull from a barn just a few weeks earlier.
The old Chrysler is used regularly today. It is Fred and BJ’s going-out-to-dinner car, on rainy days.

1926 chrysler model 25 back

Fred was working full-time for a company in town, so the body-off restoration had to happen on weekends and during the hours of 4PM and midnight during the week.He would take parts off the car during his evening “shift” and the kids and BJ would clean and paint them while he was at work the next day. There were not too many other ’surprises’ with the car, just lots of work.

Oh, and did we mention this small detail? The time between the start of the restoration and Mr. Gonet’s 70th birthday celebration in Long Island was 6 weeks. Amazingly, the Gonet family made their 6-weeks-restoration deadline. In fact, the maiden journey for the Chrysler, just hours after putting away his tools, was the 275 mile trip to Mr. Gonet’s house.
The car made the trip in fine fashion with its, replacement, ’27 Chrysler engine and shiny new paint. Fred’s Dad could not believe it was the same sorry car he had helped pull from a barn just a few weeks earlier.
The old Chrysler is used regularly today. It is Fred and BJ’s going-out-to-dinner car, on rainy days.

1960 Chevrolet Impala

VAEer Richard Spitzer has a project on his hands with this 1960 Chevy Impala. 

This from Richard Spitzer…

When my dad told me he saw a 1960 Impala for sale, I had no clue what one looked like. 

Fins and a bubble top. What? I was 17 and driving a SAAB 99. I liked old cars, but had no idea what the models were back then. We drove over to Hyde Park to check it out. I was caught off guard a bit, it was big and turquoise! But we drove it around and it sold it-self. 

My friends rode in the car my last few years of High School at People Academy. Everyone liked it. Even my mom would borrow my car to run errands. 

I was jealous of the new 5.0 Mustangs and my buddy’s Camaros. So of course I tried flipping the air cleaner lid to make it sound powerful. I tried a big 4 barrel on the 283. No more power, but sounded great. I did get a dual exhaust system on it and some new Cragar Wheels and white letter tires. She rolled really good then. I would rev the car in first forever, then shift the Powerglide into high, and it would make a great exhaust note. It was big, heavy and slow. We even got stuck in the parking lot at the Stowe Car show. But with no seat belts, we could load it up with teenagers and cruise town in style. 

Those were the good days. When the front seat broke out of the floor and ended up in the back seat going up Quarry Hill, I new I had a rust problem. Bondo was falling off daily and the right front tire went 100 yards further than I did in Keene, NH. It was 1988, I was in the military and the Impala was pushed to the side. But soon misguided motivation and a side order of hair band music, led to the biggest mistakes many car guys make, and I disassembled the whole car. With the help of a few friends, the car was in pieces. I had the frame repaired, and the body was on its side in my garage while I repaired the floor. Pieces of that car are scattered from Enosburg to Jericho to Williston over six plus moves and I doubt I have all of them. I have miles of trailering and tons of wasted effort pushing it in and out of the garage, and now it still sits sadly waiting for repair. 

Bring in the new life, with a new wife, and a garage that makes most men jealous. I am just a few projects away from getting back on track with the Impala. I always say it has been more of a resurrection then restoration. It will move again under its own power. It is a little ugly right now. I am not a detailed body guy, just a mechanic. So hopefully there will be progress on this project each month. I am not sure yet what the car will look like in the end except the color, 1960 turquoise and a white top. I have kids that have never rode in it, so I hope to get the car done so everyone can enjoy it. See you on the road soon!! 


A question for everyone……Which vehicle would you say is the one you would like? 

This 2020 Chevy Impala? 

There have been 10 generations of Chevrolet Impalas, starting in 1958. 

Richard’s Impala is the 2nd generation. Chevrolet made 490,900 Impalas in 1960, with many variations. 

Or, this 1960 Chevy Impala? 

There was the Sedan, the Hard Top Sedan and the Hard Top Coupes. Along with the Convertible Couples and the Station Wagons. There were 2-door and 4-door variations and “Sport” packages. 

Engine choices were the 235 cu in “Blue Flame I6”, the 283 cu in “Turbo Fire V8”, and the 348 cu in “W-series Turbo Thrust V8”. A “Speedminder” was an option where the driver sets a needle at a specific speed and a buzzer would sound if the pre-set was exceeded. 

Right-hand drive cars were made in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, for New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. All the rest were built in Baltimore, Maryland, St. Louis, Missouri, South Gate, California. 

A two-door Hardtop Sport Coupe cost $2,597 in 1960, $19,425 in todays dollars. Regular gasoline in 1960 was $.31 per gallon, in today’s dollars that comes to $2.71 per gallon. The Impala with the 283 engine is reported to get 12MPG. 

So, yes, it will cost you more to drive a 1960 Chevrolet Impala, but there is no question which is more preferable. If you say the vehicle on the left, we need to talk. 

Ford N Tractors 1939-1952

First there was the 9N, then the 2N and finally the 8N. Our history and the history of at least one of the 350,000 N-tractors made, have most likely crossed paths at some time 

ford n tractor drawing

When the idea of doing a story on the iconic Ford N tractors came to Wheel Tracks, the idea seemed great and the task seemed easy. Who does not have one of these tractors parked in their barn or retired to the stone wall, out back? We could find only two N-tractors, are they that scarce? 

Two N-tractors were found in our roster and one more revealed itself from the Wheel Tracks request in the April issue, which has resulted in two short stories. With our stay-at-home rules, the front page came from published pictures, Our photographer could not travel. 

Ford *N tractor

A coincidence did happen! On Wheel Tracks dead-line day, when our man with a camera had to make a trip to the village. There on a deserted main street, was a live 8N. A gent from Hinesburg had just purchased it in Montgomery and was heading home. The poor little Ford, pictured here, seemed to struggle under the weight of its over-sized bucket burden. Hopefully, it was heading for a nice new life, in the big city! 

Al and Judy Faust, of Winterport, Maine are long time VAE members and started coming to our August show 40 years ago. They, along with some neighbors and friends, in their old cars, make their way to the Vermont show every year. 

One of the two N-tractors in our roster is Al’s, a 1948, 8N Ford. Al said it is a “working tractor”, not pretty but ready to go anytime day and night. Its main job is unusual, it is used mainly to mow orchards of Chestnut trees. Al is the chapter president of the “Maine American Chestnut Foundation” and that is why he purchased his 8N about 12 years ago from an Uncle Henry’s classified ad. The tractor has had a few repairs over the years, a change from 6 volts to 12 and an engine rebuild. Al has used a brush-hog in the orchards in the past and this year will be changing to flail-chopper, in the hopes of better getting through the narrow rows without causing damage to the trees. 

chestnut tree orchard

The picture here, found on the net, is a Chestnut orchard in Maine, that Al and his Ford might be mowing this summer. The foundation sells seedlings and is the go-to group for advice on how to start your own Chestnut orchard. Just type www.acf.org/me into your computer, and see the great work the Maine chapter is doing. 

welcome to eden vt

The second Ford N tractor was found in Eden, Vermont. Ken Kelly has a 1952 8N that he purchased in Barre. It worked for him for 39 years until he semi-retired it 2 years ago. It raked, tilled, cut hay with its cutter bar, scraped with its back blade and brush-hogged faithfully over the years. Ken said he could think of only one task his 8N was not quite up to and that was bailing hay, but it tried. The bailer was just too heavy. 

Another tractor has taken over the duties of the 8N but Ken believes only one turn of the engine with the starter, and it would be ready to go back to work, any time. 

1946 Ford Tudor

“I just really like Fords” was Dave Martin’s response to “Why a Ford?” 

1946 ford tudor show card

Dave Martin is a retired carpenter and now has the extra time to work in his home shop in Newbury, Vermont. He is very close to finishing up a 1940 Ford Tuder that started out with a broken frame and seized engine. Maybe we will see his restoration at our next Waterbury Show in August. 

He has been involved with old vehicles since fishing his first car out of stream bed, back when he was in high school at Bradford High. His friend had a 1931 Pontiac and the friends parents were not very happy about their son driving it. When the friend rolled the Pontiac into a stream along the road, the parents said that was it. Dave then bought the car, as is, for $5.00. Dave and his Dad rolled the car back on its tires and pulled it home. He never registered the car for the highway but later made a doodlebug out of it. 

Dave Martin's 1946 ford tudor
Dave Martin ‘s 1946 Ford Tudor is something he purchased only 2 years ago

He found it for sale at a restoration shop just down the road from his home at Darlings Auto in South Ryegate. 

He added directional lights, rear shocks and did a bit of engine tuning before driving it the 45 miles to the Waterbury Show last August. As you can see, it is a beautiful car. 

The Ford Motor Company shut down its automobile production line in Detroit and at its assembly plants across the country early in February of 1942 to take on the war effort. In the three month period after the US entered WWII, due to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, a stockpile of cars was set aside for essential uses during the war; military staff car production continued. 

It would not be until three years later in July of 1945, and the war had ended, when the first 1946 Ford would roll off the production line ahead of its main competitor, Chevrolet. 

1940s ford motor company-factory-lot

“There’s A Ford In Your Future”, the sales promo that Ford created, when WWll came to an end.  Ford had a number of left over 1942 body parts that went into 1946 Ford models.

Henry Ford II got the first postwar car into production, and the very first one — a white Super DeLuxe Tudor sedan assembled on July 3, 1945 — went to President Harry Truman. Alas, only 34,439 more were assembled during the 1945 calendar year. However, there was no end of problems with the War Production Board, which controlled output and material supplies, and the Office of Price Administration, which put many controls on the price of parts and cars. Henry Ford II claimed that he was losing $300 per car because he couldn’t achieve volume production, and indeed the company was hemorrhaging about $10 million per month at one point. 

1946 ford tudor nose

The only notable mechanical change to the new 1946 Ford, from the 1942 model, was the adoption of the larger 239 c.i., 100 h.p. V-8 engine used in prewar Mercury and Ford trucks. The outward appearance of the revamped 1942 model, was essentially the same, except for a newly designed three-bar horizontal grille capped with a heavy tapered trim bar below the hood. In the rear, the deck lid received two added horizontal trim strips below the license plate. Roughly 450,000 of the new Fords were manufactured during the production run which ended part way through 1948. 

Some specs……. Rear-wheel drive, manual 3-speed on-the-column, V8 gasoline engine with displacement of 239.4 cui, advertised power:100 hp. Outside length: 196.2 in, width: 73.3 in, wheelbase: 114 in, 3370 lbs. estimated curb weight.  p speed:80 mph, fuel consumption average 18.7 mpg.

 

 

1914 Cadillac Engine

rebuilt 1914 cadillac engine

“It is way too nice to put in my car, I am going to make a coffee table out of it…..” The words of engine owner, Bill Fagan, after seeing Fred Gonet’s beautiful work. Fred’s business is G&G Restoration of Proctorsville, Vermont. Many years are needed to reach this level of restoration ability and Fred has them.

According to “The American Cars” standard catalog, Cadillac’s engine numbers ranged from 91005 to 99999 in 1914. Does this mean Cadillac made 8,994 of these pieces of art that year? Bill Fagan’s engine number is 99618.

The engine is an in-line, Vertical L-head engine with cast iron cylinders and copper water jackets. Displacement is 366 cu. inches and produces 40 to 50 brake HP. The publication also notes that 1914 was the last 4-cylinder engine that Cadillac produced in the next 67 years. The company went to the 70 HP V-8 in 1915.

This 1914 Cadillac engine was started and ran for the first time in 65 years just recently. The sound is unbelievable!

Bill Fagan’s plan is to take the car to Fred Gonet’s Proctorsville shop in March to have the engine installed. Here is Bill’s “barn find” story…

A friend of mine in NH has the exact same Phaeton, being the rarer Sport model 4 passenger body, as opposed to the larger 5 passenger body with 2 jump seats in the back.

The story is, my friend was working with the Boy Scouts on a Soap Box Derby with another guy, got to talking about old cars and the guy said his father died and left him a very low mileage ‘14 Cadillac. It was in the barn and had not run since the mid ‘50’s when they tried to start it and burned up the rear main bearing. The father had bought the car in the late ‘30’s from the original owner in Maine and drove it all through the ‘40’s until the early ‘50’s when he got involved in Sports Cars, so the Caddy was parked in the barn and there it languished until 2006 when my friend struck a deal for it and some parts.

On a Brass Era Frostbite Tour in Mass. a few days later, my friend told me he had just run across this “barn find” ‘14 Caddy, and was I interested? Needless to say I was and drove to his place in NH the day after the tour and made the deal. Because the car sat in the barn with a damp floor, the fenders, splash aprons and wheel rims were quite rusty and had to be repainted. The body and upholstery are original and in excellent condition. I’ve gone through the running gear and the frame, painted them and the wheels and Nickel plated all the bright work.

1914 cadillac engine in the shop

Ten years ago I had pulled the engine, dismantled it and cleaned all the parts and painted where needed. After this 10 year hiatus, I brought everything to Fred and he started to work his magic, as I tried to remember what I had and had not done! The heads had to be removed from the jugs with a special high torque tool my friend made up and Fred modified. New valves and guides had to be made down in Mass. and the heads remachined. Fred pulled the copper jackets off the jugs, pounded out the dents and buffed them. Its a very delicate operation. 100 years of rust and sediment gets trapped in there and is the cause for these copper clad jugs to overheat, a notorious Cadillac problem.

Most owners are too nervous to try and pull the copper jackets off. Fred made up a jig to hold the iron ring that holds the copper jackets in place. The ring has to be heated up with a torch and slid down over the copper jacket. You have only one chance to get it right before it cools and contacts around the base of the copper. You will inevitably damage the copper jack-et trying to get it back off if you mess up! I had gotten new Arias Aluminum Pistons made 10 years ago, but got side tracked on other projects, so everything had come to a stand still. At this juncture, I am waiting for new tires and tubes back ordered from Coker, then I can get the car to Fred and hopefully get it on the road this Summer.

Fred Gonet told about the other items that he needed to do, to get the engine ‘sorted’. Part of the engine was together but he needed to be sure all tolerances were correct, so everything was disassembled. Once the copper jackets were removed, he used heat to anneal the metal and then hammered out the dents, then smoothed and polished them to what you see in the pictures.

The old coil was unusable so he re-engineered a motorcycle coil to fit into the factory assembly.

New plug wire ends were built to factory specs, the distributor was completely gone-through, all lower end bearings were re-shimmed and the timing was setup. Interestingly, the oil pan is built with two compartments but only one has a drain plug for removing the old oil. With Fred’s “modern touch” the ’14 engine now has two drain plugs and also oil-level plugs installed for both compartments.

1914 cadillac engine cone clutch
1914 Cadillac cone clutch

Surprising to many is the size of the cone-clutch. It can be seen in the picture to the left. The disc that you can see has an angled edge (cone shape) with a matching disc/cone outside of it. As the two cones are pressed together, the material in-between allows smooth vehicle movement. Originally leather was used, in this case a Kevlar material is used.

Some, have heard how drivers of these old cars have felt a weird jump while driving down the highway. When they look back “there is a snake in the middle of the road!”

The “snake” is the leather material that was kicked out by an unhappy automobile.