Enthusiast of the Month: Rod Rice

Rod Rice 2003Hopefully our readers have followed the monthly “Big E” (E for enthusiasm as in the VAE) awards and have enjoyed remembering or meeting just a few of the outstanding people that have made our club the super organization that we all enjoy. All awarded are deserving… and many others are as well, but there can be no disputing this month’s winner.

From founding father to dependable cheerleader, this month’s winner tops any list. To find out “who” and “why” read now what Founder and First VAE President Ken Gypson has to say about our Enthusiast of the Month, Year, Decade, Golden Anniversary and hopefully for life.

Ken writes:

“As we go through life we, of course, meet and get to know many individuals. Some that in all honesty we could do without and others that make you glad knowing them and make life pleasurable. Happily, there are also those who, in knowing them, become extra special and close friends.

When Anne and I moved to Vermont – my taking a job with the now long defunct Burlington Daily News and Vermont Sunday News; we of course, severed geographic ties with the Automobilists of the Upper Hudson Valley. One day when seeking to sell some display advertising space to a concern I somehow got introduced to a local automobile enthusiast who happened to be there.

After all these years I can’t recall the details of how it all came about, but it was to become the meeting of one of those extra special individuals.

As time passed and the friendship grew, the most interesting events began to unfold. One of the first, of course, was this gentleman’s help getting a birthday party organized by inviting fellow automobile enthusiasts. As most know, the party gave birth to the VAE. This camaraderie, naturally paved the way for even greater indulgence in the hobby.

Immersion in the hobby is bound to get one involved in all kinds of goings on – frustrating, humorous, expensive, interesting (to say the least) and rewarding – all to be shared with fellow enthusiasts. The gentleman I noted earlier and who became “extra special” had a keen sense of humor. When sometimes I would be deep in trying to sort out a problem on the Franklin, the silence would be broken by this gentleman proclaiming “Glad to see you doing something even if it’s wrong”.

As time passed I got blamed for being the one that got him interested in British machinery. Noting the Brit entanglement, one evening our family dined with the gentleman and his family. It was in the middle of winter and after dinner the kids were bedded down for a nap. Being a dutiful father I ventured out to warm up the Hillman Minx.

The Minx had a pull cable to engage the starter… so I pulled the knob on the facia (Brit for dashboard) and lo and behold, the cable just kept coming out! Our gentleman (smart too) despite the sub-zero weather got things hooked back up and soon we were able to head home.

Handling the fledgling VAE as its first President offered many challenges and fortunately this gentleman was always at hand to help give advice and step up to any given task. Every club has need for a newsletter. Our gentleman helped recruit the needed workers and spent many hours at the Daily News offices to put together the printed communications. (At this point I’ve got to add in reference to the newsletter – “You’ve come a long way baby”).

This gentleman had a bit of land and buildings in Starksboro. During one winter he wanted to “check” things there so off we went – I knew snow could get deep – but that deep?! It took so long just to navigate in and out of the territory that we needed nourishment. Finding a local shop open we regained our spirit eating Fig Newtons. It’s the one time in my life I’ve been able to stomach them but our gentleman relished them! One happening that clearly shows the mettle of this man began one evening…

Once again we were there for dinner when a phone call came from a mutual friend. It seems the friend had spotted a vehicle in a Vergennes commercial car shop that he believed was one that our gentleman had purchased – but was supposed to be still with the seller and to be picked up later. This vehicle was not one that could be called “mint” by even the slickest used car salesman but this was a situation that demanded action.

Rapidly collecting spares that might be needed, our gentleman, the mutual friend and I headed for Vergennes. It seems that one of those individuals we could do without had told a “cock and bull” story to the seller and had the Vergennes garage retrieve it–bringing it to the garage where our mutual friend had spotted it.

Arriving at the garage our (honest) gentleman tried to convince the garage proprietor that it was his car – not the fellow who had given him the order to tow it in. The proprietor was not about to agree with our gentleman but during the ongoing discussion feverish work on the vehicle was in progress. The proprietor finally went charging out noting he was going to get the gendarmes! With all quickly in order and our gentleman at the helm it was like the green flag dropped for “go”.

Naturally, nothing like this could take place unless the weather was bad. It was raining real hard, but our intrepid gentleman put on his leather helmet and goggles and headed for back roads. This vehicle had no top and if I recall correctly, no doors. It really was a parts car, period! We followed to provide some light for navigation. The sight from our dry comfortable seats was something to behold. Here, a picture would be worth a thousand words. I never knew so many back (and muddy) roads existed.

Finally our gentleman came to a friend’s farm – pulled in and tucked it behind a barn. We found out later that there was a search for our gentleman by the gendarmes – but obviously to no avail. There were many, many other times and events that could be recounted but it would need more space than Wheel Tracks can provide. The events described here, as with the unwritten ones, have a very special meaning because of sharing them with our gentleman.

He is a true enthusiast having served the VAE very well over the years and is extra special in every other way. I, of course, am talking about none other than Rod Rice.”

Lots of other members could share many interesting and fun things about Rod. Doris Bailey (Burlington’s first commercial lady automobile mechanic – story later) is a neighbor of the Rice Autoworks and offers the following:

“To me, Rod Rice has always been the quintessential automobile enthusiast. Over many years he has acquired a number of wonderful cars, from a 1913 Stevens-Duryea Phaeton (my favorite) to the 1954 MG-TF and including his redoubtable 1933 Harley. Being a good, careful mechanic, he has maintained his collection well. If you talk with Rod about your own automotive trials and triumphs, he will always bring a fund of relevant information or an anecdote pertaining to your particular vehicle. Our members are very grateful to both Rod and Ken Gypson for creating the Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts in the format that has endured til today.”

Take a tip from Doris and when given the chance to talk with Rod do so. He is at many VAE activities and is knowledgeable, interesting and has a great sense of humor. And now from all the members, officers, and board let us join Ken and Doris, and with three cheers and one cheer more, award our 50th Year “Biggest E” Award to our friend and founder, Rod Rice. We really mean it.

Enthusiast of the Month: Tom Maclay

[ November 2003 ]

Tom Maclay in 1989VAE records seem a little hazy in establishing the exact date that this month’s Big “E” winner joined our organization. Who would have thought on that date that this new member would bring so much to our hobby and club? This committee has been too embarrassed to ask Tom himself just when he handed over his first dues… but we are sure glad he did. This is what long-time member Mary Jane Dexter has to say about Tom…

“Maclay” is now synonymous with the Stowe Show. Scotsmen for centuries made enormous contributions to the modern Western world. And we have our own Scotsman in our midst who has an uncanny sense of how to make something work well at the Stowe Show. You can call him hardworking, able to organize, knowing how to systematize ideas, capable of getting people to work for him, and you would not be far from the mark.

Tom began his Stowe Show chairmanship with a vacation atmosphere, pressing his family into service for a “week in the country” on the show field! Members of the club were drawn by this kind of Maclay inspired fun/work plan, and the project was up and growing. He seems to be able to keep things under control, except the weather. Yet, even through the mists and showers, dust and mud, Tom always manages to keep his calm and finds the best possible solutions for the problems.

Hats off to Tom Maclay for his many contributions to the VAE, but most of all for his success in steering the cars in the right and proper direction during the Stowe Show.

Mary Jane has known Tom for years and years and knows where of she speaks. Fred Cook has known Tom for a lot less time but his following conclusions seem much the same. Fred is not usually known as being a man of few words… but he’s nailed Tom pretty well with the following 15…

Consensus builder
dedicated family man
seeks no glory for himself
highly respected

Board Member, meet organizer, planner and general all around Big “E” guy. To quote him from our 50th year book he has requested that his last ride be in his White-Kress fire truck which is always in the Stowe parade with him at the wheel. Tom… the White has a lot of good miles left in it, and so do you. Thanks for all you have done, are doing and will do. Thanks for being a VAE Big “E”.

Enthusiast of the Month: Tom McHugh

Tom McHughRegular readers will know that during our 50th year (2003) Wheel Tracks has been sharing information on some of our most special members… those that have by their time, ability and continued work, have won our “Big E” award. We all are Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts and the Big E is for Super Enthusiasm.

This month’s nod goes to a two time president who is still young enough to do it again… except he has been so busy doing so many other things for the club that there hasn’t been time. Our 1979 President, Gen Morgan, endorses this Big E as follows:

Who is Mr. Flea Market of the VAE? It’s Tom McHugh of course. Tom has been doing the flea markets for all shows for many years. Before completing requests for vendor spots for the Shelburne show, he is also receiving requests for the Stowe show. It is now small task to handle the correspondence, phone calls and emails.

Tom goes to Stowe a week previous to the event to get everything organized. For instance, he draws a good size map, which shows the location in the field of every vendor. It is a most convenient sort of reference. The trailer has become an information center.

Tom joined the club in 1971, did the offices and served as president in 1974 and again in 1989. He has hosted home meets with chicken BBQs, planned mystery tours, and worked on Wheel Tracks to name a few activities. In other words, you name it and he has done it for the club.

With his committee, he has just finished the Book of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Club. A lot of hours were spent on this project. As a result, we have a wonderful book of VAE history, which also includes many fine photos. The membership is gratefully appreciative of all the work and effort involved. Tom is retired from General Dynamics but has gone back to work for the company again.

Besides his interest in Antique Cars, of which the Oldsmobile is his favorite, he also collects antiques and is interested in genealogy. Somehow he finds time to be a volunteer tour guide for Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington.

Tom is a busy person, but never too busy to help or chair an event for the VAE. Oh, and don’t forget his bean hole beans!

The Club extends condolences to Tom and his family on the recent death of his granddaughter, Jennifer.

Congratulations Tom for work well done and thanks Gen, for reminding us that it is people like Tom McHugh that keep the “E” in the VAE.

Enthusiast of the Month – Hugh Durnford

Fifty years can generate quite a lot of history but like any history there are defining moments. As the VAE reflects on our past 50 years there have been a number of things and people that have shaped our direction and progress. We have mentioned several of these people here in Wheel Tracks during out golden anniversary… all true great Enthusiasts. This month’s task is harder than usual because of the size and scope of the subject.

We wish to recognize our “Canadian Connection” and the help and support we received from our Northern friends in our beginning and as they continue to be a big part of our major car shows.

Thanks to one and all of you enthusiasts. That said and meant, history reveals that there were a group of really outstanding Canadians who contributed to the VAE very early on. They showed us how to organize our fledgling Stowe car show and what to do to attract participants and the public. They taught us about classes and judging and lent a general sophistication that we might have never developed without them.

They also had some outstanding cars. The following may bring back memories for some of our older members: Ian Jameson, Ian Hodge, Hugh Jockel, Don Kelso, Louis Gravel, Diddie Dunn, George Stead, Steve Weid, Ron Pickering (still an active member) and Hugh Durnford.

Hugh DurnfordIt is the latter that gets this month’s Big E Award, however. Hugh Durnford got a lot of hands-on car club experience as a founding member of the Vintage Automobile Club of Montreal and was eager to help out the new Vermont car club, the VAE. At the time his “driver” was a ’29 Packard roadster and the project was an early Dodge Brothers touring car. There was also a Kissel Gold Bug 1923 and a 1919 McLaughlin (think Buick) in the wings. Hugh went on to become the authority on McLaughlin. (VAE member Ray Unsworth has one of these sturdy cars.) At the age of 12 Hugh wrote an essay on Vintage cars; at 16 he owned his first example.

He co-authored the book “Cars of Canada” and made many major contributions to the hobby. Hugh’s death at 48 in 1979 was a shock. The old car hobby in both the US and Canada owe Hugh a lot… but the VAE and its members owe him even more. Recognizing Hugh Durnford with our Big E is little and it’s late but it’s truly deserved.

Hugh Durnford, managing editor of the book department of the Reader’s Digest Association (Canada) and for 20 years, a Montreal Star reporter, writer and editor, died suddenly Friday at the Montreal General Hospital. He was 48.

Hugh Mckenzie Elliott Durnford was born in Montreal in 1931, the son of Col. And Mrs. Elliott Durnford. He was educated at St. George’s School, Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario and McGill University, where he graduated in 1953.

Hugh served the Star in various capacities from 1954 to 1974 and then joined the Digest as a book editor. An ardent lover of Canada, he took special delight in heading the team that over a two year period produced Heritage of Canada, a popular history that was subsequently published in French as Heritage du Canada.

Mr. Durnford was a founding member and former president of the Vintage Automobile Club of Montreal and for years edited its magazine, Le Chauffeur.

He is survived by his wife Nancy, three daughters, Sally, Megan and Kendra, his mother, Mrs. Amy Durnford and a sister, Mrs. Jacis Stead, all of Montreal.

Funeral service will be at 2pm Tuesday at St. George’s Anglican Church, thence to the Mount Royal Crematorium.

It is interesting to note that both Lloyd Davis (VAE President in 1958) and Marion Saxby (Treasurer in the same year) who signed Hugh’s membership card for that year, are also both “Big E” award laureates. Hugh was in good company when he joined us in 1958. Ron Pickering with some help from Graham Gould and Hugh Durnford’s widow, Nancy, have agreed to work on an additional article about our Canadian Connection. Look for this interesting history in upcoming Wheel Tracks issues. If you have anecdotes or information about our Canadian friends, the VACM, or events we shared, please send them along to Ron, Ellen Emerson or Gale Boardman. We’d love to share the information. And look for another “Big E” (for super enthusiasm) in next month’s newsletter.

Enthusiast of the Month – Lloyd Davis

You may have noticed that rewards are not always immediately following performance just as punishments don’t necessarily happen right after crimes. It would be nice, however, to think that in the long run we all got at least what we deserve. Some of our “Big E” awards are a little late in coming but this month’s award is undisputedly deserved.

Lloyd Perkins Davis gets a BIG E for his 50 years with the VAE. Years ago some wag said that the L.P. in Lloyd P. Davis was for “long playing” (it might have been Bob Jones). Lloyd has been long playing, in its best sense, with our car club.

His own interests are wide and included in his personal collection are a Chalmers Detroit, Franklin, Ford T, a Packard and a very unusual Davis car. Like many members he probably also has a secret stash hidden away somewhere. As a charter member Lloyd has had a long and significant career with us.

He has held office, organized meets, helped us plan and has brought us help and experiences from some of his other affiliations: The Franklin Club (where he is an active and respected member) and the AUHV (the Automobilists of the Upper Hudson Valley). The latter were a lot of help to the VAE in its early years and recently we have tried to involve them in our activities once again.

It was Lloyd that really helped got us going with our first “film night” in years last February and it was from his personal collection of old film that we got another look at Oliver and Hardy and other assorted mechanical mayhem from the silent film era. Many an early VAE meet came out of Lloyd’s archives of film and many a member came and stayed with the VAE because of his interests and example.

We don’t see Lloyd at as many meets as we used to… Rutland is quite a commute. But our older members know that Lloyd is just a call away for help and advice. We know that he will turn up, often a little late because of “chores”. We recommend that newer members get to know Lloyd. No one has more old car “enthusiasm” and Lloyd’s sense of humor makes any conversation a lot of fun.

Just ask him about the dog, the flat tire and the jack; all in greater Hardwick some years back… an adventure with Lloyd Davis Commentary. Lloyd could also tell you all about the Bomoseen Auto Museum, now closed and gone, as he was its advisor. Or some Glidden tours… or almost anything else.

Thanks Lloyd for our first 50 years of help and friendship.

We’re looking for many more. Here is a great BIG E for you.

Enthusiast of the Month – Avery Hall

Adding to our roster of Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts, this month the “BIG E” goes to someone who is already a “Hall” of Famer… R. Avery Hall. When you stop and think about it for a minute there are few who have devoted as much time and effort to the VAE as Avery. In addition to his club contributions, he has also managed to pretty well preserve several worthy vehicles.

His work is an inspiration for us all and having a national prizewinner at many of our meets is a big plus for members, guests and the hobby. None of this happened overnight. R. Avery (think “our” Avery) has had the bug for some time. Although he now tends to deny it, there is evidence in the 40th anniversary publication of an early interest… Avery appears in print in a Model A Roadster.

He denies a Ford-inspired old car career but we know better… Ford has always outsold Packard, Avery and look what a used Model A has done for you! This writer remembers Avery first attending VAE meets in 1954 at the Lincoln Inn in Essex Junction… often in the inspiring company of John (Hawkeye before Alan Alda) Hawkinson. Avery had a military crew cut, wore a black sweater and smoked a curved-stem pipe. Sort of a cross between Marlon Brando and Albert Einstein. John Hawkinson was revered as an auto guru and drove the cars to prove it. Avery was his quiet and wise sidekick. Time has confirmed the wise part. I wonder what happened to the quiet?

Avery grew up in the Charlotte / Burlington area and has long-term connections here. As a younger enthusiast he drove his “old car” as daily transportation. I remember running across Avery in the ’28 Packard sedan on a back road somewhere in south-central Chittenden county as he was transporting folding metal chairs… the Packard was stuffed with them… off to a church supper or wake somewhere. Always the organized and helping volunteer.

As I saw more of Avery, and Mahlon Teachout joined our car interest group, we had some interesting times together. Avery told us one time about moving back to Vermont with the family vehicle (think old Packard). The weather was very warm and Avery had questionable tires. Always the engineer, Avery told us that out on the highway in the daytime (it was cooler at night but then there was the issue of headlights), he always tried to drive so as to keep at least 2 of the tires on the white line.

He reasoned that the highway temperature would be lower on the reflective white line and that would be easier on the tires. Fortunately for all involved he made it back and has stayed to become VAE President, Board Chairman, Director and Meet Co-chair of major events at Essex and Shelburne.

Avery has raised money, written advertising, represented us to the media, judged, and attended hundreds of meetings. In odd moments he has operated Avery’s Garage, taken driving courses, attended technical schools for engine rebuilding, and produced some really nice restorations.

He has an additional interest in old boats and I saw him looking with considerable interest at an old airplane at Basin Harbor awhile back… and then there are sports cars. We have many great Enthusiasts in our VAE but few have proved it like “Our” Avery. A big collective thank you comes with this “BIG E” award.

Enthusiast of the Month – Willis Spaulding

This month’s big “E” award goes to Willis Spaulding with kudos to wife and grandmother Shirley. Grandson Matt is also a budding Vermont Auto Enthusiast, obviously mentored by Willis. This writer tricked Willis into providing some personal history for our pending 50th Anniversary Book… it appears below in his own words. Thanks Willis.

“I learned to drive on the farm in a Model T. I have always been a “car lover”. I learned of a local car club and decided to go to a get-together. I was surprised at the number of members that I knew. We, my wife and I, joined VAE in the early fifties, probably 1954. We decided that we needed an old car. Pev Peake had a 1926 Studebaker Standard Six Coach for sale. Our regular car was a Studebaker so it seemed like a good choice.

Our meets were very informal picnics, tailgate parties, etc. We saw pictures and films from our prior meets. One car that I couldn’t get out of my mind was Jim McLaughlin’s 1930 Studebaker Tourer. I asked Jim about selling it but it wasn’t for sale. About this time, Cena Galbraith and I became editors for Wheel Tracks. It was then a 1 page mimeographed copy. We put it out quite regularly. It was printed at no expense! How? At this point and time our club was so poor that we had to take up a collection to have enough money to mail the next meeting notice and copy of the newsletter.

Jim McLaughlin called me out of the blue and said that for X amount of dollars I could have the touring car. We were able to arrange a loan/gift from my parents to finance the car. They were not convinced that it was a great bargain but love is strong. Our family had a number of great times in this car. Most car lovers have to have or think they have to have more than one car. I went with friends to buy literature (shop manuals, etc) and ended up buying the car, another 1930 Studebaker sedan.

Dale Lake had a 1932 Studebaker Convertible Coupe that I had been admiring for some time. Dale said that he planned to restore it. Dale had many cars and was forced to liquidate due to new state laws relative to unfenced cars. He would sell me the convertible but I would also have to take a 1930 Studebaker sedan. A deal was arranged and I had more vehicles. When I towed the convertible home with a 1960 Studebaker Lark Wagon my kids comment was “Mama, did you let him pay money for that?”

We restored the convertible and were awarded the President’s trophy by President Alden Champan. I was honored to be the President of VAE for 1965. We have met many great people, made some great friends and have had many great times. My grandson Matt and I have spent the last few years restoring the 1930 Tourer to show status. We have been fortunate to win awards in VAE and SDC shows. Matthew is now a member of VAE and enjoys going to the meets and judging with me.”

Willis has only touched the surface of his enthusiasm with the above… The year he restored his convertible coupe he tore the end off the porch of his lovely Essex Junction home so as to be able to drive the car into the enclosed porch for winter restoration… and Shirley let him do it. And I can’t resist mentioning that some day when we are all telling stories, Willis, Pev Peake, and I could give you some fascinating history of the first “old car” that Willis mentions, the Studebaker coach. Willis… it’s been a great 49 years with your enthusiasm helping the club. We are counting on you, Shirley and Matt for many more.

Enthusiast of the Month – Dale Lake

Mr. Buick, before Bob Jones saw the light and stopped restoring Model T Fords, was Dale Lake. Dale lived in the house he was born in on a rural road in Ripton. I suspect Pev Peake got him involved formally with the “old car people” but Dale’s interest had always been there.

Dale gets this month’s “BIG E” award, again, after his death. Many of us remember Dale, as does Bill Billado in the following recollection…

“Dale Lake had collected a whole lot of cars and parts and it was Dale that came up with what I needed to put my 1935 Buick 69-C back on the road. This car gained its collector car status at Dale’s in the mid-fifties and eventually found its way to St. Albans in the hands of two other early icons: Gael Boardman and Lanny McHall.
Dale provided the parts and also teased me with his extensive collection of “old iron”, none of which was for sale at that time.

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 interests, so the battle began! As you can surmise, Dale was not the victor in this legal scrap.

It was at a VAE Meet at the Lincoln Inn where Dale made a tearful plea for the membership to “come and get ‘em” before the crusher deadline arrived. Well, that summer consisted of a season-long VAE hallmark event. Every single weekend, in good weather and bad, the gang was there, competing and negotiating for “who got what”. Among the regulars that I can recall were Tom Beebe, Larry Johnson, Doug Kelly, Roy Martin, Kip Matthews, Tom McHugh, Rod Rice, Gardiner Spencer, Ray Unsworth, Al Ward, Ed Welch, Clark Wright and myself. A lot of man hours were invested, but we got the job done and many treasures were spared the axe.

Anyone who visited Dale’s old iron mecca understood that it was an all day event. He had many a yarn to spin and plenty of sage advice on how to keep our cars in tip-top condition. On one such visit Dale admonished that if one ever had occasion to do a motor job on an Isotta Fraschini, one should seriously consider flipping the car onto its roof somehow, because that would afford the easiest access to the “innards”. He swore he’d done it from the bottom up and it worked real slick.

Although Dale was cordial to all who came to see him, he would always step outside as you approached, never allowing anyone into the house where he lived with his very elderly mother. You can imagine our surprise when during one of the last visits to Ripton, Dale invited our small group of “regulars” into his home. We all looked at each other with expressions of amazement and disbelief… We had finally arrived.“

Dale was Vice President and VAE President in 1959. He made almost all the meets in his only transportation, “an old car”. His “Well, you know…” preceded some of the most interesting and entertaining automobile comments I ever heard. He was a great guy and a 14-carat Enthusiast.

Enthusiast of the Month – The Saxbys

In this, our 50th year, the VAE is recognizing people, past and present, who have really exemplified our name – Enthusiast. In recent months we have cheered people, both living and dead, but this month our award goes to a couple who we have lost track of completely.

It is our loss, as Dr. Robert and Marion Saxby were super Vermont Auto Enthusiasts. In our early years, from their home on Brooks Avenue in Burlington, they were a steady force: keeping our records, arranging meetings and holding us on track.

With a young family of their own and all the pressures of a young doctor, the Saxby’s really helped us when they might have been honestly excused from such efforts.

Marion was club secretary for a number of years and Bob lent stability to the Board of Directors. Later the family moved to the spacious Beeman house on High Street in St. Albans, with its grand carriage house. Having this neat space, they bought (from Peveril Peake) their outstanding ‘33 Lincoln Double Windshield True Dual Cowl Phaeton.

It was a beautiful and quite original 12-cylinder Lincoln of real classic status. They deserved the car and we all enjoyed it at meets. We lost track of the Saxbys when they moved to upstate NY some years ago. There was a rumor that the Lincoln had been sold… we hope to another good home.

But most of all, we want to thank them more properly than we did when they were here with us… to do so, we award Bob and Marion Saxby a Great Big E. Thanks for everything you did for all us Enthusiasts.

Enthusiast of the Month – Peveril Peake

In keeping with our interest in identifying some of the most enthusiastic VAE member over the 50 year history of our club, it’s with that same enthusiasm that this month we recognize Peveril F. Peake.

Older members will remember Pev as a charter member and a super supporter of all our early activities. His picture appears all through our 40th year book, in a wide variety of cars over many years of events.

We could probably have a meet, or maybe a series of them, just to get together to tell Pev Peake stories. He even told a few to early Wheel Tracks editors… but the best ones are the ones you get while on an old car hunt with Pev himself.

Pev has lived and breathed old cars since birth and has probably owned over one thousand cars personally. He can discuss in detail the molding differences between models and years of any make that caught his interest… and that was most of them. Best, for the VAE, however, was his regular attendance at meets with his new “find”.

He had a nose for cars and would produce one great original condition car after another. Then, not only would he share his new prize by giving you a ride or letting you drive around the block… often he’d sell you the “last month’s” car. In this way Pev was a regular supermarket for us poorer hunters.

Even today when you look around at cars owned by club members, there are still quite a few that have those Peake transferable license plate traces and that famous “Peake Quick Restoration”.

Pev used to joke that a Peak restoration (usually on a really good original car) was to polish the dash, the left side of the hood and the top of the left front fender. Very satisfying for the operator… and he was one of the best operators we know.

Thanks, Pev, for being an early, strong and dependable enthusiast. Thanks for saving untold cars from worse fates… and thanks for your enthusiastic sharing. You brought many club members into the VAE and you will always be a part of our club’s success.