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 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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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….
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!
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 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
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!
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).
When 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”
*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
*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
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.
David 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.
The 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.
Wheel 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.
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….
My interest in Corvettes probably started back in 1954 when some friends and I attended the General Motors Motorama Show in Boston where the highlight of the show, for me, was the fairly new Chevrolet Corvette display. However, it would be 21 years later that I would become the owner, of one of these cars.
One day a family friend, told us that a relative of his, was going to sell his 1966 Corvette convertible and asked if we might be interested. The next thing I know, the car is in our drive, with instructions to drive it 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.
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.
Since the very beginning the engine ran smoothly, but smoked moderately, however, eventually I detected a slight noise in the lower end. Before things got worse, I pulled the engine and transmission. 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.
One 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.
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.
On the left we have a 1913 Board-track racing Indian motorcycle – On the right, a 1910 Harley Davidson motorcycle
This 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.
The 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.
The 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.
Wheel 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.
This 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.
The new price was $210.00 and you could order one with one-quarter down payment and the balance due on delivery.