The Auto Technology Program at Cold Hollow Career Center

Meet a few of the folks in the Auto Technology Program at Cold Hollow Career Center in Enosburg Falls: Baxter Weed, pictured 2nd from left, is the instructor in the Auto Technology Program at Cold Hollow Career Center in Enosburg Falls. Pictured with him are four students of the 14 in his junior level class (he has an additional 13 students in his senior class). From the left… Preston Snyder, Baxter, Jacob Hulbert (the winner of the 2021 Golden Wrench Award), Matt Kirkpatrick and Devon Badger. 

Cold Hollow Career Center serves the high schools from Richford and Enosburg in the supervisory district of the five towns of Bakersfield, Montgomery, Berkshire, Richford and Enosburg. This relatively small center, along with Automotive Technology, also has programs in Agricultural Science, Business Leadership, Construction Technology, Digital Media, Diversified Ag, Forestry and a Medical Program. 

The two vehicles pictured here are projects in Baxter’s classes. The “Covid Year” presented lots of challenges for him but his students were able to complete much of the school year’s requirement with remote work at home and modified classes at the center. He created how-to videos for his students to view from home and even sent brake drums to the students homes to be worked on. The can-do atmosphere in his class is really something to witness. 

The 1976 Jeep CJ5 is a long-term project they have had in the program over the past 8 or 9 years. The vehicle was “loaned” to the program by another teacher with the understanding it would take a long time. Baxter says “maybe not this long”. The normal arrangement, when the program works on community vehicles, is for the owner to pay for all material with no charge for labor. 

Baxter says many students have worked on this vehicle over the years, it has been good to have a project like that on hand, that way if a student has time there is always something to do. 

It was in very rough shape when they started, the body was rotten, the engine smoked, there were no brakes, and lots of electrical problems with a ratty interior. The owner grew up learning to drive with this Jeep and was willing to slowly repair it. 

Here is the work/repair list the students have accomplished on the Jeep over the years…….. 

Rebuilt the engine, stripped frame and sent it out for sand-blasting and paint, replaced clutch, new fuel and brake lines, replaced the whole body except the grill shell, hood and windshield frame, customized bumpers, rebuilt the winch, rebuilt the 3-speed transmission and customized the front disc brake setup using Geo Tracker front rotors and calipers. 

The list goes on to adding a custom stereo with subwoofer, LED fog lights, seat upholstery and repair, lots of wiring repair and diagnosis, steering box, 4” lift kit, new soft top and doors. side steps, Holley Sniper EFI system and electric fuel pump, Mojave heater box and wiring, aluminum radiator, drum brake rebuild, front and rear axle reseal and Engine tune-up. 

The shop car is a 2007 Toyota Camry. Baxter needed to have an in-house project during the “Covid Year” where his students could work individually and he said this worked out great. The “project” was to add a turbo to this little 4-cylinder engine and a few things for general appearance. Adding a TURBO must have raised the excitement level for the students, even for those times during remote learning at home! 

Here is the Toyota work list….. 

Installing an Ebay turbocharger kit, added custom turbo piping and intercooler with straight-pipe electric exhaust cutout (donated from former student), front air splitter, modified stock bumper, added fender flares and 18” wheels and tires (donated by instructor (wheels) and a former student (tires). 

They also modified the fuel system, added new seat covers with some interior work, added a tach/gauge cluster and strobe lights, plus the cool rear wing. 

The class hopes to “dyno-test” the Toyota during their next school year to see the results of their turbo project. 

1931 Buick Series 91

Editor’s note….The B&W picture of the body, on the front page, was taken during a visit to the Auto Shoppe in June of 2011. It was a bit of a shock when I walked into Bill’s garage for this story. I knew I was going to see something very nice but the reality was unbelievable! I hope the rest of the club will see this beautiful Buick, in real-life, someday. 

From what you see to the left… To the “Buick Beauty” above…. With just two flicks of Bill Billado’s fingers! Well, maybe not just 2-flicks of Bill’s fingers…. 

Bill Billado’s Buick project really started, some 40 to 45 years ago. Dale Lake was a VAE member from the early 50s. He lived in the house he was born in, on a mountain road in Ripton, not far from Middlebury, VT. Over the years, Mr. Lake had accumulated a good number of old vehicles in and around his barns, across the road from his home. One of those vehicles was Bill’s 1931 Series 91 Buick (sitting outside). Dale Lake’s VAE titles back then was “Mr. Buick”. 

In a 2003 Wheel Tracks column, Gail Boardman writes about Dale Lake and quotes Bill Billado…….. 

“As time passed, things changed in Dale’s remote neighborhood. Folks from “down-country” started buying up parcels of the beautiful acreage and when in sufficient numbers, they decided that they were not impressed with Mr. Lake’s hobby interest, so the battle began. As you can surmise, Dale was not the victor in this legal scrap.” 

The story goes on to describe a VAE gathering where Mr. Lake made a “tearful plea for the membership to ’come and get ’em’ before the crusher deadline arrives. Bill described the summer where every single weekend, good and bad weather, the gang was at Dale’s place, competing and negotiating for his “Old Iron”. The gang included Bill, Tom Beebe, Larry Johnson, Doug Kelly, Roy Martin, Kip Matthews, Tom McHugh, Rod Rice, Gardner Spencer, Ray Unsworth, Al Ward, Ed Welch, Clark Wright, and probably others. Gail’s column describes a side benefit for the “gang” that summer was Dale Lake’s story telling and tips on caring for old vehicles. Mr. Lake always drove old vehicles, some that might not be pretty to look at, but they were all in tip-top mechanical condition. Bill said Dale Lake’s property was cleared of “old Iron” when the gang was finished. Gail Boardman’s 2003 Wheel Tracks column was written after Mr. Lake’s passing. 

Bill Billado

The next period of the Buick’s history was Bill Billado’s description of its ride north, from Ripton. Tom McHugh had purchased the Buick from Dale and a few of his friends had helped him load the many parts and pieces of the Buick onto a trailer. Bill writes…… 

“It was so fragile that it was necessary to tie the rotted wood body to the chassis with rope before setting out on the trip north on the back roads (fewer cops) to Burlington. The car made it all the way to Charlotte (just north of Mt.Philo) when the web of rope called it quits. All hell had broken loose with 4 doors and the rest of the body panels spilling out all over the road. The crew consisting of myself, Tom, Tom’s brother Joe, Clark Wright and Kip Matthews managed to re-load the pieces, haphazardly, back on to the chassis and we then re-tied the whole mess. We decided at that juncture to take the car to my place in Shelburne (without wife’s approval). The chassis was dragged into the woods and the body pieces were then transported to Tom’s place. The car then did a Rip Van Winkle number until many years later.” 

Bill says, to this day, some great memories come back every time he passes that area near Mt. Philo, the day the Buick was spread onto the roadway. 

After many years with part of the car at Tom McHughs house and the rest in Bill’s woods, Tom asked Bill if he would like to take ownership of the Buick. That is when the restoration phase began. 

1931 Buick Series 91

General Motors in the Port Elizabeth plant in South Africa had reconfigured one Series 91 Buick into a “dual-cowl phaeton in 1930 and that is what Bill decided he would like to do to his ‘31. The only difference is theirs was based on the 6-cylinder engine and Bill’s is based on the newer 1931 straight-8 model. 

He drew one eighth scale drawings of his dual-cowl idea to see what it would look like, then began the project. Fourteen inches was added to the frame and the body was shortened by 1/4 of an inch to accommodate the “close couple” rear seat area. He said there were too many great businesses involved to list, that helped him create the Buick that we see today, but one key business was the Auto Shoppe in South Burlington. 

The level of detail in this automobile is amazing, and we doubt there is not a detail or measurement that Bill can not give you from memory today. 

Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

There were 7,853 Series 91 Buicks built in 1931. They weigh 4340 pounds and cost $4340 (over seven times the cost of a Model A Ford). 

* In-line 8-cylinders 
* Overhead valves 
* Cast iron block 
* 3.31x 5 bore & stroke 
* 344.8 CID 
* Compression ratio– 4.5to 1 
* 104 HP @ 2800RPM 
* Main bearing-5 
* Mechanical valve lifters 
* Marvel Carburator 
* 3F/1R sliding gear transmission 
*Rear-end ratio 
* Double dry-plate clutch 

The Shafer 8 Buick in 1931 qualified in the Indy 500 and came in 12th place. 

1967 Plymouth Belvedere II Convertible

A new addition in the family of Angle and Jeff Vos. One of 1552 Belvedere II Convertibles now lives in St. Albans, Vermont.

Jeff Vos 1967 Plymouth Belvedere II Convertible

You can see the pride in Jeff Vos’ face anytime he mentions his ‘67 Belvedere. Most likely, when he was growing up in the North East Kingdom of Vermont, this red convertible was on his mind.

After many years as a carpenter and his present career with his own house inspection business, he finally owns one. Thanks to the Hemmings publication, he found the rust-free Plymouth in Florida.

Chrysler made the Belvedere from 1954 to 1970. The Belvedere name was first used for a new hardtop body style in the Plymouth Cranbrook line for the 1951 model year. In 1954 the Belvedere replaced the Cranbrook as the top trim and became a full model line with sedans, station wagons and convertible body styles. The Belvedere continued as Plymouth’s full-sized car until 1965, when it became an intermediate, and was replaced after the 1970 model year by the Satellite, a name originally used for the top-trim level Belvederes. Jeff’s Belvedere is a II. The Belvedere I was the lower sub-model in 1967 and the next two up from Jeff’s was the Satellite and the high performance GTX added just that year.

1967 Plymouth Belvedere II engine bay

When first meeting Jeff’s Plymouth, especially if the engine is running, “high performance” is what you hear. Most likely because the 440 engine is telling you “it is ready to go! The smaller engine the car came out of the factory with, was replaced by the former owner, along with the normal carb and exhaust additions that come with a major change like that.

Jeff’s understanding is the Florida owner made a really good decision when he decided to sell the vehicle, but a very unfortunate outcome came from it. The carburator and intake manifold was replaced to better match the engine.

During the inspection that Jeff commissioned, the car performed wonderfully, and the decision was made to purchase it and have it shipped to St Albans. During the unloading in St Albans, the car’s engine started to show signs there was something wrong. When Jeff took the car to an engine shop, the first thing they did was take the oil filter off and the problem was found. The engine had been destroyed because someone had not removed a cloth rag in the manifold when they installed the new carburetor. If you have been part of discussions among VAEers over the years, you will hear similar stories of close calls. One story comes to mind of a mouse nest that was swallowed by an engine.

Jeff’s Plymouth is fine now and better than ever. The engine has been rebuilt by one of the top shops in Vermont. While he was at it, Jeff decided to add power steering and front disc brakes. So, the Belvedere Con-ertible that he has dreamed about is now in his garage and purring.

1967 Plymouth Belvedere II Convertible tail
1967 Plymouth Belvedere ad

The pilot episode for the television show
Adam-12 featured a 1967 Belvedere as the standard LAPD police cruiser.
Belvederes were used in police service from the 1960s to the early 1970s, when they were replaced by the Plymouth Gran Fury. They were prominent in both the LAPD and New York Police Department.

It uses the Plymouth B-body platform, 3120 pounds, 116 inch Wheelbase, 203.4 inches long, the 440RB 7.2L engine produces 375 HP at 4400 RPMs.
New price $2695

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.