1957 Pontiac Clipper

Lee and Geri Carpenter’s 1957 Packard Clipper Has VAE club history at its best.

This 1957 Packard Clipper was originally owned by the parents of one of the VAE’s founding members. Peveril Peake. We are the second family owner having bought it from Pev in 2004.

The 1957 Packard Clipper Town Sedan was the next to last year of Packard; 3,940 cars built in South Bend, Indiana. It has a Studebaker 289-cu.in. supercharged V-8; 275 bhp; 333-lb.ft. torque; Borg-Warner three speed automatic; twin traction differential; 0-60- mph: 11.0 seconds ( 1957 Road & Track )

1957 packard clipper dashboard

This was Pev’s mother’s car, purchased new from Archie Myer’s Studebaker in Winooski, Vt. on January 2, 1957 ( from the original bill of sale ). The fly swatter hanging on the heater dash knob was the dealership’s free gift with purchase! This car was rarely out in the rain, never in the winter and never slept under the stars. 1957 packard clipper princessPeveril began calling it ” Princess”. When we acquired it in August of 2004, our daughter was then 9 years old and she donated her “purple ” Princess” pillow, to the car. And it has lived in the back window since!

Lee grew up in the same town as the Peakes in Bristol, Vermont. He and Pev were friends and had many adventures together. When Packard and Studebaker announced there were to be no further productions of this car Peveril purchased a used one exactly like this one, for a parts car. In 1968, Lee, at 16 , bought that parts car as his first car under the condition that it be returned to Pev when Lee was finished with it, in whatever shape it was in. Lee drove it until the transmission and super charger died. We now have, from that car, a spare dash, trunk lid, four doors, and all the glass from it stored in the garage attic !

Peveril saved many things including the original bill of sale and registration. At every registration renewal he would document the mileage of the car. He also saved the owner’s manual ,shop manuals and accessories booklet.

In 1969 Peveril and Lee, along with two others, drove this car out to South Bend, Indiana to the home of Studebaker for the Second International Meet. The judges were about to deduct points for the windshield wipers and spare tire, until Pev pointed out they were the originals! There it was awarded second place. That same spare is in our trunk today.

It remains in all original, unrestored condition. The engine has 121,000 miles on it, not rebuilt. The paint, trim, carpets, headliner and upholstery are also original . It has been in the VAE’s Stowe Car show every year since 2004, and in the Senior Class since 2013. It has chauffeured a number of brides and grooms, including the Carpenter family and Gale and Judy Boardman and their daughter, then our son’s first prom. It was invited to be a part of the Hemmings Motor News’ Concours D’Elegance, twice. ( 2010 and 2015 ) As well as being a feature in their Classic Car ( Feb 2010 ) magazine. It has been awarded first place in the Studebaker International meets of 2007, 2008, 2014, 2016 as well as first place in other Studebaker zone meets.

57 packard clipper

 

 

Our trip to South Bend May 2017

From Geri Carpenter

To quote Peveril Peak , the original owner of our Packard ( and one of the founding members of the VAE) this was a trip that was “fraught with danger and emotion” We didn’t get started on time as planned. Leaving a day late due to rain, we couldn’t even make it out of the garage! The Packard’s battery was dead, so we made a quick trip to Interstate Battery, for a new one. Lee opted to not take the bright lime green one they brought out to the counter, and asked for one in black.

Twelve miles from home the left front hub cap popped off while going around the clover leaf highway! I quickly watched where it rolled along the edge of the road. It was on an overpass and could have gone through the guard rails down onto Interstate 89 but didn’t. This was a blessing in disguise as I picked up an 18″ bungee cord along with the hub cap ( which was undamaged). This bungee cord came in handy later in the trip.

About ten miles down the road we got stuck in Route 7 construction. In the rain and mud the car got plastered and appeared like a two toned painted car. Black on top, brown on the lower half. Covered with mud.

Our trip went uneventful thereafter except for the geese around Syracuse, NY. While passing a Wildlife Preserve, two Canada geese, decided a good place to land was in the middle of our lane on the highway! With only a couple of car lengths of road ahead of us Lee honked the horn, which they ignored. He then had to swerve quickly to avoid hitting them! We could imagine the dented grill if we were not able to swerve around them. They stood a good 2 1/2 feet tall! When we were 20 miles from South Bend we hit stop and go construction traffic which took us an hour to get through. Then, 890 miles from home we arrived at our hotel.

The next day, in the rain, we headed for the host hotel. We gassed up about one block from our hotel and at the very next stop light the car started spewing steam !!! It was raining and about 45 degrees. We pulled under the next hotel’s canopy and to our good fortune, it was the host hotel of the Avanti Club! Almost immediately people came out to help! Lee opened the hood and found anti-freeze spitting all over the engine compartment. Once the steam cleared Lee found the radiator cap had loosened. We added about a gallon of water and we were on our way……. ooops but the hood wouldn’t latch ! Here’s where that bungee cord came in to good use.

We registered at the event hotel and made our way, in the rain, to the fairgrounds where the judging was taking place in the swine barn. The wait was quite long even though three judging lines had been set up. The delay was because the ‘trailered’ car owners were unloading in the judging barn instead of outside, and taking up a lot of time and space.

Once inside the long barn we did have time to wipe the car down and replace the hub cap. They said they would not deduct points for the rain. Our poor engine compartment had antifreeze splattered all over it. They took quite a while looking over the car, we were there for an hour and a half.

Thursday evening was the member’s meeting/buffet. It was down-right awful! 500 people were seated with three food stations. Nachos, a potato bar (yes, a potato bar where they put a scoop of mashed potatoes in a martini glass and you added your toppings) and lastly the slowest pasta serving bar in the country. They individually heated up our chosen sauce in an omelet pan, then added the pasta. A very slow process. And NO desserts! The Studebaker band played loudly throughout the whole dinner. We could hardly speak with others at the table. We did not stay for the evening auction.

Friday we woke to a beautiful day. Sunny and dry, but cold and windy. We headed for the museum. The parade was at 3 pm and it was poorly organized, not marked and there was no one directing traffic. Once finally downtown, it was a very nice event. There was a great turnout of cars and people. All of downtown had been cleared out and it was curb to curb Studebakers for about 4 blocks! The Studebaker band played again over a PA system.

Saturday was another bright sunny cold windy day. We arrived on time at the Proving Grounds and sat around the tarmac waiting an hour and a half. We were grouped with 14 cars in each pack. We had 2 laps around the 3 mile banked cornered track. We made it up to 70 MPH. This was fun, and I dare say, it made Lee’s day. Then on to the fairgrounds where they had reserved the front three rows of the field for those of us who were at the Proving Grounds. This was a nice gesture and well appreciated as we arrived later in the morning. Throughout the show there was the huge projector showing old Studebaker TV ads from the 1950s. This was cool and entertaining. (I believe they are available for purchase at the Studebaker Museum.) During the awards presentation the winner’s pic-tures were up on the screen with their name and points. We were award-ed a second place plaque. Perhaps the splattered antifreeze deducted points from our score! We checked off a list of state license plates and counted 29 different states with a Studebaker plate!!! As well as 2 Canadian Provinces.

Our traveling adventures were not over, as we had not yet parked in our own driveway. Coming home, as we were getting on I87 North we rounded a cloverleaf entrance ramp and TWANG!!! That same left front hub cap went flying across the 3 lane highway, across the median, into the next three lanes. A car had to brake, but got around it, then the car in the next lane…. Ka-thunk.

Damn. Good thing our spare tire has a matching hub cap!

So, if anyone doesn’t believe their car has a personality, think again. We think that Princess (the Packard came pre-named) did not want to go on this trip and showed us!!!

Happy motoring everyone,
Geri and Lee Carpenter

A 1949 Indian Roadmaster makes it back on the road.

With a little help from Wendell Noble and an assist from Fred Gonet

For as long as I have known him, my friend and neighbor, Dallan Baker, has owned an all original 1948 Indian Roadmaster motorcycle. That’s at least 30 years and I only recall seeing him ride it once. When he recently mentioned that he wanted to sell, I found it merely interesting. I’m not a motorcycle guy so the thought of buying it didn’t immediately spring to mind. I did ride a little motorcycle briefly in the ‘70s but I gave it up. Unfortunately, I was going around a corner at the time. However, the idea of owning this wonderful piece of motoring history did gnaw at me. I finally made him an offer which I thought was reasonable and better than any offer he had had at the time. We are both very happy with the results.

1949 indian roadmaster motorcycleIt’s great to acquire something like that which comes with plenty of provenience information. The first owner, who bought it new in the Springfield, Vermont area, put 194 miles on it before he took a spill and then put it in his bedroom for the next 10 years. Dallan, who was 18 at the time, bought it from the deceased owner’s estate in 1958. He rode it regularly until he went into the service a couple of years later. We don’t know the actual amount of mileage on it now because the speedometer drive gear has been broken for a while. The odometer now reads 5,413 miles. Owning it is one thing, learning to ride it is another. Wendell Noble

Editor’s notes…… A nice phone conversation with Dallan Baker uncovered a few other details in the life of this Indian. Asked if he had ever taken a spill on the bike, Dallan recalled a day when he was a passenger while his cousin was slowing down on wet pavement to enter his driveway. A little too much rear brake was applied and they went down. He recalled how his cousin jumped up, pulled the bike back on its tires and quickly pushed the Indian into the garage. All the time leaving Dallan lying, unhurt, in the middle of the road. He guessed he might have put 15,000 miles on the bike, with his longest ride being the 300 miles from Arlington to Essex and back one day many years ago. He had done very little to the bike during the time he owned it. The seat was changed to allow room for a passenger. Before that, the passenger sat on a blanket on the fender rack with one foot resting on the kick starter and the other on a part of the frame….that was where he was when his cousin hit the rear brake too heavy. He also said because the bike had sat for 10 years when he bought it, the engine compression was very low. He had the engine overhauled with new rings and etc.

Dallan Baker's 1949 indian roadmasterAnd where does VAE’er Fred Gonet of Proctorsville fit into all this? Soon after Wen-dell purchased the Indian, Fred got word and was anxious to make his way North to see it…..he has this huge “thing” for Indian motorcycles. In the mean time Wendell and Dal-lan had spent some time unsuccessfully getting the bike to run. Fred did come North and found the main culprit was a bum condenser and the bike was soon making it’s beautiful sound.

The bike controls are…. Left hand throttle, right hand spark, left foot clutch and right foot brake. When asked, Fred explained how to stop at an intersection with your left foot occupied and not tip over. It goes like this….You hold the brake with your right foot, the clutch with you left foot and keep the bike from tipping over with your

1948 indian roadmasterThe Indian Chief, built in Springfield, Massachusetts by the Hendee Manufacturing Co. and the subsequent Indian Motocycle Co. from 1922 to the end of the company’s production in 1953.

The Chief was Indian’s “big twin”, a larger, more powerful motorcycle than the more agile Scout used in competition and sport riding.

Engine is a four-stroke 42 degree V-twin, 1210 cc, 40HP. Top speed 85MPH.

Transmission, 3-speed hand shift, chain final drive.

Suspension, girder fork, weight 550 lbs., fuel capacity 3.7 gal., new price, $800 without sidecar.

A Good Mechanic Is Hard to Find

On St. Patrick‘s Day 2009, my man arrived on the scene and after I over-did myself, yesterday (March 17th). It was such a great weather day. A sudden stroke of good luck came my way in the morning when my ‘61 Triumph TR3A‘s electrical wizard called to say that if we could get my TR up to his shop, about three miles from here, he’d do a few things that have been nagging me. However, before that could happen he would have to diagnose why my Triumph wouldn’t start. I had experienced difficulty last November in attempting to start it one last time before “hibernation”.
On the fateful day, after keeping the starter engaged for a spell, all power suddenly died.

On St. Patrick‘s Day 2009, my man arrived on the scene and after checking all known electrical suspects, discovered the clamp on the positive ground terminal had corrosion. How embarrassing, especially for yours truly who prides himself on maintaining a clean engine compartment and a spotless battery. So he cleaned the terminal and then gave me the ?thumbs up?. After a few tries, the engine kicked over and ran quite smoothly. It seemed to run a tad better after he reconnected a spark plug wire we‘d over looked. Oops!

Needless to say I was jubilant as I never, in my wildest dreams, ever expected to get a technician to work on my Lucas Space Ship in the middle of Sugarin‘ Season. Never. But here he was.

So then I noticed the red dash light indicating perhaps a ?charging? problem. Right away he suggested that it was less than two years ago that he installed a new generator for me. Yep, he was right. June of ‘07.
Red light or no red light, he felt I could easily ?nurse? the ailing Tri-umph up to his shop, only about three miles. Trouble was, I did this . . . with the top down! Bad move, Fred! Lungs objected. Yep, it‘s been a rough two months of the new year!

About three years ago, Steve Miracle had replaced the complete wiring harness in the TR as well as performing work since, like installing a new starter and later the new generator, in ’07. Once inside his comfortable shop (with two double bays) he confirmed it was a faulty generator and immediately phoned Moss Motors, from whence the genera-tor had been purchased. The best news of the day was that their records indicated that the warranty on the ’07 generator was still valid. So he ordered a replacement along with a new emergency brake cable and we were off and running. Well, only a figure of speech, you know! Later the same day, the defected generator was shipped back to Moss Motors as part of the exchange.

It took less than 24 hours for the shipment to arrive at my door-step. Picked up by Steve the following morning, the car was completed and back in my garage by noon on Thursday (March 19). That included some welding to correct an e-brake cable guide attached to the frame! Oh yes, he is licensed to do State Inspections, too.

I may have mentioned him to a few of you before. He’s a expert on building and/or converting hybrid gas-electric vehicles to all electric. His name is reflective of what I believe him to be, i.e., a miracle! Steve Miracle is a good friend of Steve Skinner, Les’ son. In fact it was Steve Skinner that initially steered me in Steve Miracle’s direction.

But what Steve doesn’t know about electric/battery-powered vehicles isn’t worth knowing, or so I became convinced. He gave me a ride home in a Toyota Echo that he had earlier converted from gas to all electric. Last Fall he converted a customer‘s Honda Insight gas/electric hybrid to all electric. Over the last several years he’s been awarded contracts to work with E-Vermont on electric-powered vehicles to determine their worthiness in Vermont weather. He is a one of a kind, as far as I can observe.
Anyone considering a new Chevy Volt?

But back to more conventional power plants. Right now he’s re-building a Porsche 356 engine for a customer having completed the work on the TR. A ?70s something ?clean as a thistle? SAAB awaits his mechanical expertise next. Purchased off e-Bay for around $300, it is destined for Steve‘s soon-to-be 16 year old daughter.
The good news is that he‘s available to work on your car preferring British, German, Italian, and Swedish marques of recent vintage.
You can reach Steve Miracle at 802-223-3524. Shop is in E. Montpe-lier just off the County or Center Roads. Skilled, competent, trustworthy and a no-nonsense type of individual, Steve is definitely my type of professional.

Welcome to Spring, fellow enthusiasts!

Kenneth F. Gypson

North Greenbush — Kenneth F. Gypson, 79 died suddenly Thursday, August 19, 2004 at his residence. Born in Albany, he was the son of the late Lowell H. Gypson and Janet (Dyer) Gypson. He was the loving husband of 56 years to Anne (Gutkowski) Gypson. He had resided in North Greenbush for 45 years and was a graduate of Milne High School in Albany and Pratt Art Institute in NYC. Mr. Gypson was employed as a communications officer for Key Corp. Holding Company in Albany for ten years, retiring in the late 70s. Prior to that he worked for the Burlington Daily News, Knickerbocker News and founded the public relations departments at Hudson Valley Community College and Samaritan Hospital. Ken was a former member off the Kiwanis Club of Troy and a member of the Disabled American Veterans.

Active in antique auto circles, he founded the Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts in 1953 and was a past president. A Gypson Trophy is still presented annually. Ken was co-founder and past president of the Automobilists of the Upper Hudson Valley. He was also a member of Atlantic Coast Old Timers, a vintage racing organization and Slow Spokes, a vintage car-touring group. He was an Army Infantry veteran of W.W.II, stationed in Italy and North Africa. Ken had a deep love of music, especially Hawaiian, and played several instruments. He actively participated in the Poestenkill jam group. Survivors in addition to his wife include a son Kenneth J. (and his wife Nancy) of Poestenkill, a daughter, Karen J. Patten (and her husband Davis) of Brunswick, and two grandsons, Joshua and Seth Gypson. He was predeceased by a brother, Lowell Gypson, II.

In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to Disabled American Veterans
Gift Processing Ctr
P. O. Box 14301
Cincinnati, OH 95250-0301

The Heine-Velox in Hemmings – Motoring Moment

It might be assumed that many old car “enthusiasts” probably see, and at least scan, Hemmings Motor News on a fairly regular basis. You may have caught the ad in the July issue on the top of page 501. Some person at a ten-digit phone number was offering a Heine-Velox for sale. The ad says it’s a 1921, 148” wheelbase, one of five made and it is “to restore”. He’ll trade for pre-war cars or trucks. Interesting ad. Heine-Velox – it sounded familiar somehow but how?

1921 Heine-VeloxMemory (senior moments aside) and some research recalled that the Heine-Velox was an early example of hydraulic brakes by Lockheed and probably why the name was a little familiar. Sort of like Rickenbacker, Jordan and some other early “juice brake people”.

But – the Heine-Velox story itself is really a lot more interesting than Lockheed brakes. It seems like the Heine Piano Company of San Francisco was doing well in 1903 when its owner got the car bug and became one of the first Ford dealers on the west coast.
In 1904 he added “Queen” to his agency and announced that he would build a car of his own design as well. In the next couple of years he planned cars priced from four to eight thousand dollars (what were his Fords selling for I wonder?) Actually he did manage to build and sell a few of the less expensive ones – and planned a big production run of 50 cars for late 1906… now called the Heine-Velox.

God stepped in and the great San Fran earthquake wiped out his plant, production and plans. The piano factory was lost as well and Mr. Heine went back to the key product, rebuilding the piano factory but having set aside his auto interests.

Time passed and it was now 1921. The Heine-Velox returned. This time it was no Ford or Queen… or even the earlier Heine-Velox. The new version was a 12 cylinder by Weidely to Heine specifications on a huge 148” wheelbase. Not only big… but this was an expensive car. The sport model was priced at $17,000 with the custom built versions priced up to $25,000! Wow – this was 1921 and the US was struggling with post war depression. According to the Standard Catalog of American cars only 6 of these giants were produced… a sporting Victoria, 3 sedans and an unfinished limo.

Mr. Heine gave away these cars… never keeping one for himself – he probably couldn’t afford it. In 1923 the Heine-Velox company was dissolved.

And now… here is a Heine-Velox in Hemmings on page 501. You could trade a pre-war car or truck and have an example of the most expensive American car offered for sale in 1921. If it were the sporting model it would be the biggest 4-passenger car offered as well. Boy… would you look slick at Shelburne and Stowe. Could the Hemmings car be the only “sport model”? Do you want the phone number? As May West said… “He who hesitates is last.”

Another motoring moment brought to you by your old car club.