1926 Ford Model T Speedster

There is a new “muscle car” in town and hang-on Lucy if you want to race! 

This Ford Model T Speedster is the creation of VAEer, Dennis Dodd of East Fairfield, Vermont. Dennis has the Patience of Jobe, as this #7 is his 2nd version of the same speedster and has just recently exited his garage, complete and ready to run. He had completed his project a number of years ago but was not happy with the result, so, some 14 months ago, he started over. You have to admit, the car is stunning! 

In the days of old, these Model T Speedsters were built with three transmissions and a more powerful engine and could race at 90 to 100 MPH. This “Number Seven” is built for only 50 to 52 MPH……… 

Number Seven is built on a 1926 platform and the same year engine. The engine has “60-over” pistons with a “domed-head” and a “3-needle” carburetor. The horse power has increased from 22 to around 32HP. 

26 ford model t speedster

Dennis has added a Warford truck transmission which is inline with the original T transmission and gives him five gears forward. The truck model allows both “under-drive” and an “over-drive” gear ratios. He spoke about the folks who drive speedsters with three transmissions and how difficult it is to remember the shifting sequences. The wrong shift usually leaves parts on the road behind you. His 2-transmission combo, is a bit easier, although it takes practice to shift on the fly successfully. 

Dennis is the fabricator and quality control part of the organization and his wife Linda is the aesthetics-control person. The car did not leave the garage until she approved the public ready-ness. Linda also had to push the speedster project along as her bug-eyed Sprite is next in-line……she hopes. 

The “number-7 Speedster will be at the Shelburne Show this June and hopefully at our August show in Waterbury. 

1926 ford model t speedster

The 12,806 Mile Quest for Old Cars by a couple of VAEers….

Gary Olney and Vin Cassidy have “the old car syndrome” that most of us have. Our level might be called a “melody”, theirs might be called a “fever level”….just an opinion, mind you. 

Here is an attempt to track their travels that took place in about a period of one month. Please excuse us if this sounds like envy. 

#1…Gary leaves his home in Derby Line the first part of March to meet Vin in Rowley, Massachusetts (2). They are heading out early because a snow storm is heading in and they need to be in New Jersey (3) to meet Fred Hock and check out all his Mercers. 

Then off to Mitch Gross’s garage in New York (4). Mitch is in a deadline race to finish his White steam car and get it on a ship bound for China. The steam car will be the first to do the 9300 mile Peking to Paris race, that will be taking place this June to August. You can watch the race progress on the internet. 

Then, off to Richmond, Virginia (5) and Reggie Nash’s Nash collection. The truck/tractor museum in Southern Virginia was next. A needed break for sleep happened in Kingsland, Georgia (6) then on to Amelia Island in Florida (7) and their big annual auction. A couple of $800,000 old cars sold and a couple of others for only one million and oh, did we say the two VAEers are pulling a trailer? The trailer was handy when someone asked if they could haul a 1906 Pope Toledo back to New Jersey. So the two, head back to New Jersey (3) for the delivery and back to Rowley (2). 

In Rowley (2), they load the trailer up for the Chickasha show and head for a stop in Buffalo, New York (8) and Pittsburgh, PA. (9) for a ‘few car-parts purchases” of the show. Next, a sleep-over in Perrysburg, OH (10) and then on to St. Roberts, MO (11) and Edmond, OK (12) for a few more purchases. And….finally their destination, Chickasha, Oklahoma for the Annual Spring pre-war show and parts sale (13) Sadly, next year is the last Chickasha Swap Meet. A spring shackle breaks and the trailer is stopped in its tracks. Along comes a gent by the name of Ryan Ersland from the swap meet. A welder is produced, the repairs are made and they are on the way again. Ryan would not accept proper payment for his work because “he will not take advantage of someone broken down”. Vin and Gary both agree there are really good people everywhere in this world. 

There were a few more stops over the next three days before arriving back in Rowley , Mass. (2). The end of their east-coast motoring….but there is still a little more….they were not done yet! 

They got on an airplane and headed for another car show and swap meet in Bakersfield, California (14). There was also a ‘luxury break’ in Hermosa Beach (15) to view the pacific and remove some road-dust. They then went home to their respective homes,……and they were done! All 12,806 miles contained antique cars and parts that were picked up and delivered all over the United States that only Vin and Gary can keep track of. Can you imagine the stories that can be published from these adventure; maybe if we had 100 more pages! 

25th Anniversary Milestone

Anne was unavailable this month for her column, so instead, we have gone back in the Wheel Tracks archives to the 1980s. Enjoys…… 


Al Ward’s 1982 “25th Anniversary Milestone” Poem. 

Some 25 years ago at a lovely place called Stowe 

Stood five old cars pushed all in a row. 

The occasion of which was a picnic, I’m told.

And started the VAE as a club to take hold. 

Each year we have prospered under super direction 

Now each gathering held in close perfection. 

Our meets take place in august as we all know 

And features flea markets and a wonder show. 

The town is jam packed with enthusiasts galore 

Who arrive from Canada and the New England shore. 

They keep coming back year after year 

To take part in the show and give us a cheer. 

Who would have thought that from such a small start 

This club would have grown and we all could take part. 

In putting on tours and sponsoring meets 

Or just milling around while munching on sweets. 

Over the years, the scenes have change 

The designs of the cars have greatly ranged. 

At first they were mostly all in the teens 

But now it’s the fifties and in-be-tweens. 

The success of our club is due in part 

To those dedicated few who gave it a start. 

And also to those who have carried on, 

Through there 25 years we look back upon. 

And now on the anniversary of our very small start 

It give us great pleasure and comes from the heart 

To thank all those who through these glorious years 

Are most deserving and have earned these three cheers. 

Cheer, cheer, cheer! 


1980 Glidden Tour with, 1929 Silver Annie 

“She’s not much to look at” by Cliff French 

After being on the 1968 Glidden Tour in Pocono, Penn., I wanted to go again in 1980 in the White Mountains. I pulled the motor out, and out of 4 motors, took the best of each and made a motor that sounds like a bucket of bolts. This motor runs nice and uses no oil. With a 1927 Marvel brass carburetor, I get 14 miles to a gallon of gas. 

I was accepted on the 1980 Tour with number 67 out of 341. 

Esther and I left Bradford in the rain, September 14th, arriving in Brenton Woods at the Mt. Washington House about 3:30PM. We were to stay across the road at the Bretton Woods Motor Inn. We spent the rest of the day visiting and admiring the other many cars arriving, coming from across the United States and Canada. 

Editor’s notes…. Taken from the 1981 Spring issue of Wheel Tracks. Cliff’s column goes on describing their eight days on the tour. We do not have the room to print the complete article but if you make a request, we will mail it to you.

Cliff ends his column with this……. 

When I saw and heard about the many fine cars that threw rods, clutches and rear ends, to name a few, it made me feel good that Silver Anne made the 775 miles and the only problem was a leaky manifold gasket. 

1911 Flanders Roadster Banner

The Shelburne Museum/VAE Father’s Day Auto Festival Award…..
Most Original (Unrestored ): 1910 Flanders, owned by Vin Cassidy

1911 flanders roadster vin cassidyVin Cassidy, pictured left, has had the Flanders for a number of years. Wheel Tracks understands that Vin found the chassis and running gear in Massachusetts from Carl Weber. The body was found in Iowa some seven years ago.

Vin and his family own Cassidy Bros. Forge in Rowley, Mass. where they create some of the most amazing work you can fine. Just one example is pictured here. One of the company’s long-time employees is Al Murphy and it is also Wheel Tracks understanding that Al was the main person who put all the Flanders parts and pieces together to make what you see here.

cassidy bros forge fence
Cassidy Bros Forge Fence

The Flanders Automobile Company was around for only three years, from 1910 to 1913, while 31,514 vehicles were built. The Flanders name comes from Walter E. Flanders (1871–1923) born March 4 in Rutland, Vermont. He was educated in Vermont and left school as a teenager to begin working as a mechanic and machinist. In 1905 he obtained a contract to produce 5,000 crankcases for Henry Ford, which lead him to a production manager job at Ford for two years. Flanders left Ford in 1908 to co-found the E-M-F Company. “E” for Barney Everitt, “M” for William Metzger for “F” for Walter Flanders. EMF autos were built from 1909 to 1912 and during the three years 49,807 vehicles were built.walter flanders

Flanders died in Newport News, Virginia and is buried at Williamsburg Memorial Park in Williamsburg.

1911 flanders roadsterVin Cassidy’s Flanders has a 4-cylinder L-head engine that produces 20.3 hp and was sold for $750.00 when new. The engine has two main bearings with a splash lubrication system and a 2-speed “progressive “ transmission with cone clutch. The tires are 32X3. It is called a Series 20 Runabout and weighs about 1200 pounds with a wheel base of 100 inches.

The little car was a multi-purpose vehicle, performing duties as a passenger transporter and a delivery vehicle. The body section could be removed and replaced with a slip-on fully enclosed salesman’s body. This made it very practical for all situations.

1911 flanders runabout advertisementThe picture left is from a 1911 advertisement.

The ad below claims the delivery wagon has a carrying space of 43 by 49 inches and is built by Studebaker. The Studebaker company distributed the Flanders automobile nation wide and eventually purchased the complete Flanders Motorcar Company.

 

flanders gasoline delivery wagon ad

 

Your Car Engine on an Oscilloscope

Guest mechanic this month started with an article from Ken Barber and finished by Wheel Tracks

0818 engine oscilloscopeWhen an oscilloscope is used by a mechanic to tune your engine, the picture to the left is what one good cylinder looks like during one firing cycle.

An oscilloscope allows you to see the voltage pattern of anything that uses voltage. They were first developed in 1932 and can be great for tuning your old car, even if your car is a 1901 vehicle.

The pattern to the left tells you how well your equipment is working, that produces the spark that explodes the fuel in your cylinders, that gives you car the power to drive down the road.

A…. Indicates the level of voltage the coil produces to make the spark at your plug. That little flat part just below and to the left of ’A’ is the moment your points close.

B…. Is called the “Spark Line” where if working properly as in this picture, should decrease in a smooth action to zero. The little wiggles to the right of ’B’ is the final remnants of the spark being absorbed by your condenser. When this does not happen, people radios and tvs get lots of interference, plus your engine can not be properly ready to begin its next firing cycle.

D… This show when the points close to allow voltage back to your coil and be ready to make the next 25,000 volt spark. That little oscillation between D and C is normal and show the voltage settling down while your coil initially starts it’s recharge.

The distance between D and E is called Dwell and is simply the time adjustment for your points to be closed allowing voltage to your coil.

The distance between A and E is simply a time period that one cylinder needs during one cycle. During that one cycle, four things happen.

  1. The gas and air mixture explodes from the spark at the plug.
  2. The exhaust is pushed out the exhaust pipe.
  3. The next mixture of gas and air is pulled into the cylinder.
  4. Then it is all compressed to be ready for the next big spark.

8 cylinder engine oscilloscopeThe picture on the left shows an 8 cylinder engine, all cylinders doing what they are supposed to be doing with the spark plugs firing with 14,000 volts. If a mechanic sees the 3rd vertical lines at, say, 5,000 volts, then he might pull the spark plug from #3 cylinder to see if it is defective.

If the little condenser oscillation is not there like we can see between B and D above, the mechanic can suspect a bad condenser.

On the right is a normal set-up for connecting a scope to your engine.

Scopes are inexpensive these days and you should not let yourself get duped into thinking this is complicated… it is not. The more you use it and the more you see the patterns, the easier it is to find problems and make your engine run as smooth as possible.

A scope can even be used in one-lungers, so hit Napas and ask some questions.

connecting oscilloscope to engine

 

1921 Franklin Runabout

1921 franklin runabout lloyd davis
Longtime VAEer, Lloyd Davis (pictured here), and club member Carl Thompson now own this Franklin.

“Do you want to buy that Franklin Runabout?” 

“I don’t need it.” 

“Yes, you don’t need it, but do you want to buy it?” 

That is how the ‘partnership’ started for the owners of this 1921 Franklin Runabout. Lloyd Davis and Carl Thompson first met while working at the Quebec Cigar Company in Rutland in 1973, and have been friends since.

1921 franklin runabout carl thompson
Carl Thompson in the Franklin Runabout the day they took possession.. November 3rd, 2014

Carl tells Wheel Tracks this little story from 1975……… I had to shop for a new “used” car and Lloyd helped me find a 1973 Plymouth 4-door sedan, with air condition-ing. Lloyd pointed out AC was not necessary, and a waste of money, in Vermont. That summer, working in the old brick building with one small window, and 104 degrees inside the warehouse, it got hot. At the end of the day Lloyd asked if I could give him a ride to Rupert, Vt. He said he had forgotten to leave the order slip on a delivery that had been made earlier in the day. He commanded that the AC be turned on!

I told him the AC was not needed and was a wasteful expense, we could just as well put the windows down. He looked at me with a stern face and said “put the air condition on NOW!”

The conversation quoted on this issue’s front page happened in 2014 and Kate West sold the new partnership, the 1921 Franklin, soon after. Kate and Adrian West lived in Morrisville, Vermont and after Adrian passed, she had the job of finding new homes for most of the collection, that included the Runabout.

Another VAE member remembers a story about the Franklin from the mid 1950s when VAEer Rod Rice owned the car. Rod had owned it from the mid 1940s and as his family was getting larger he had decided to look for a larger car. He must have liked air-cool Franklins because he had his eye on a 5-passenger Franklin that the Fuller family owned in St. Albans Bay. Another piece of 1950s information is that Gael Boardman of St. Albans at the time, had eyes for the Franklin Runabout. So, a deal was struck where ,if, Gael could buy the Fuller car then he and Rod would make a trade and everyone would be happy. The deal never happened but the story places the Runabout in Rod Rices possession at that time and stored in a garage in Starksboro.

1921 franklin runaboutThe next turn for the Runabout was when Rod Rice needed work done on his Bentley and Adrian West happened to own a body shop in Morrisville. The Franklin ownership then changed to Adrian in exchange for the Bentley work. This date is fuzzy, possibly in the 1960’s. The Franklin then began a complete restoration in Adrian West’s shop and is basically what you see today. Adrian died in January 2008.

If you check the VAE Roster, you will find that Lloyd Davis has owned another Franklin for many years. Along with being a charter member of the VAE, Lloyd has also been an important member of the Franklin Car Club where he was the long-time club librarian until just a few years ago. Lloyd is an authority on Franklin history, and the many mechanical nuances of these wonderful air-cooled cars, that were manufactured in Syracuse, New York. New Franklin owners over the years, throughout the country, have been able to more fully enjoy these cars with Lloyd’s detailed guidance and good humor.

1921 franklin runabout interiorYou might notice a slight difference with two photos on this page. It took Lloyd a while, but using his many Franklin connections, he was able to find and have restored the wire wheels you see. Lets hope we will see this “Lloyd/Carl partnership” Franklin at a show this coming summer.

Editor’s notes…. A total of 8961 Franklins were built in 1921 and 214 were Runabouts. 300 Roadsters were also built. Other models such as Coupes, Demi-coupes, Victoria coupes, Touring limousines, Touring car, Sedans, Broughams, Cabriolets and Town cars were also part of the line-up. There were even 99 chassis built….

Franklin make the 9B series from 1916 through 1922, of which this Runabout is one…a 9B. It has a 6 cylinder engine that produces 25 HP and gets about 20 MPG. It has a 3-speed transmission and full-elliptical leaf spring suspension.

Franklins were known as great desert cars because they could handle the high temps without overheating the engine.

VAE Bridge Celebration

ida wolcott wendellFrom Granddaughter Kris Trombley… ”My grandmother, Ida Wolcott Wendell, was 15 years old when she attended the Crown Point bridge opening in 1929. She has many memories of the day including having a picnic with her family. She remembers watching the parade at the foot of the bridge on the New York side and remembers seeing, then Gov. Roosevelt in the parade. She also recalls seeing soldiers and scouts in the parade. My grandmother grew up in Crown Point, NY and later moved to Ticonderoga. She married Thomas Wendell. They were married for 72 years before he passed away in 2006. My grandmother was a seamstress.
Long before the first Crown Point bridge opened, her grandfather, ran the sail ferry transporting passengers between NY and VT. I felt very proud and honored to spend the day with my grandmother as we rode in the parade celebrating the opening of the new Crown Point bridge. Thank you so much.
(This 29er and her Granddaughter rode with Gary & Nancy Olney)


bill james ford model TFrom Gary Fiske… I got lucky at the Bridge Celebration. Bill James of Bristol, VT. agreed to ride with me. I was able to learn just a little of this gentle-man’s 100 years and because of this I will remember him for the rest of my time. Bill will be 101 years old this July. He drives his pickup and Buick where he needs to go, in fact he told me he would be changing the oil in his Buick on Monday… himself! Bill told me while the 1929 bridge was being built he would come by after hours and walk the board cat-walks between the girders to get a close-up view. That is when he found he had no problems with heights and later spent his career as a lineman for the CVPS power company. Bill lost his wife of many years not long ago but has a daughter that he lovingly says ’bosses’ him around and watches over him. This was Bill’s first ride in a Model T.  I am not great in crowds but Bill is a natural, waving and smiling to everyone. Bill James made my day.


1929 plymouth Touring carFrom Wendell Noble… “Our participation in the Champlain Bridge celebration was a great experience for all of us. We wanted to get as many ‘20s vintage cars there as possible to contribute to the historic educational content of the event. Sometime during preparation I realized that my contribution would not be limited by the number of my cars, but finding people to drive them. By enlisting friends and neighbors, I got three cars successfully down and back. A wonderful couple of ‘29ers rode across the bridge in the back seat of my ’29 Plymouth touring car. The front passenger seat was empty though. My wife Mary was nowhere to be found. She had chosen to go up-scale and ride with Christina and Paul McCaffrey in their Bentley. For Lew Zeno, driving my ’29 Plymouth roadster, there were no ‘29ers left so he had a kilted bag piper riding in the rumble seat. Clark Wright did just fine with my ’28 Dodge Bros Coupe until the next day when it succumbed to vapor lock. On our way across the bridge, I heard one spectator say, “That’s amazing, none of them have broken down yet.” I scolded him for such talk.
crown point bridge opening

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