A Drop in the Bucket List

About a year ago during a visit with our daughter, Martha in Colorado, she guided us on a trip to the Grand Canyon. On the way back she commented, “Mom we should go on another trip”. Where would you like to go? I suspect that she was thinking along the lines of a bucket list. I rather reluctantly responded the first place that came to mind “Uh, Alaska”, maybe because it starts with an A. I think I also suggested Hawaii.

Being of the digital social media generation, she immediately was on her smart phone and started the arrangements. Therefore, for a couple of weeks in June this year, we were in Alaska, landing in Fairbanks where we were met by our tour guide and bus driver, who were awesome with information about flora, fauna and wild life.

In Fairbanks we had an up close view of the oil pipeline, that runs from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. We also had a paddle boat cruise on the Chena river where we were able to visit an authentic Athabaskan village and see a lady working her sled dogs. We took a tour bus to Denali National Park, a beautiful ride. While touring through the park, we were privileged to see plenty of moose, Dahl sheep, fox, hares and a mother grizzly bear with her two cubs.

We then took a train (first class with vista cruise type car and great dining car service) to Anchorage and then on to Seward by bus. In Seward we cruised the fjord to see sea otters, orca whales, humpback whales and a close up of a calving glacier (not an animal but a hunk of ice). The weather was beautiful and the only wildlife we didn’t see were mosquitos.

I would strongly encourage a trip to Alaska. I do think you would want to have a good guide, and would recommend Trafalgar. With twenty-two hours of daylight, seeing the sights is a given.

Our daughter is now suggesting that our next tour be Africa. That starts with A also, but I’m not so keen on that. Maybe too much wildlife.

1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stringray

This is Len & Jeanne Pallotta’s 1966 Stingray Corvette.

This is part of the Corvette story written by Len Pallotto in 2005 for Wheel Tracks….

“Our Corvette”

1966 stingray corvetteMy interest in Corvettes probably started back in 1954 when some friends and I attended the General Motors Motorama Show in Boston where the highlight of the show, for me, was the fairly new Chevrolet Corvette display. However, it would be 21 years later that I would become the owner, of one of these cars.

One day a family friend, told us that a relative of his, was going to sell his 1966 Corvette convertible and asked if we might be interested. The next thing I know, the car is in our drive, with instructions to drive it a few days. This we did and after looking the car over and considering the condition of the paint and body and how badly it seemed to handle, we sent the car back and with a definite no answer.

During the time I had the car, I had rolled the driver door window down several times, the last time, the thing failed, I ended up replacing the entire assembly inside the door. (I guess you could say this was the start of the restoration of this car, though I didn’t even own it yet.) About a week later, we were on our way to the airport in Burlington, to catch a plane to Disney World with the kids. As we turned off Williston Road, parked in the lot of the gas station on the corner, was this same Corvette with a For Sale sign on it. I don’t know what sort of chemistry took place, (I think I actually felt sorry for the car, it looked like it never had any TLC) but when we arrived at the airport, I found myself in the phone booth calling the owner and telling him we would take the Corvette.

len palotta 1966 corvette stingray
Len & Jeanne Pallotta’s son Greg is shown behind the wheel of the ‘Vette.

When we returned, the long road to this year started. My first project was to get the handling, to a point, where I could at the very least, keep the car in my lane of the road. Someone had put wide Craggar alloy wheels and tires on the car, which was a misfit. I replaced them with OEM wheels and tires with original wheel covers and spinners. Wow, what a difference! Little did I know this was to be the beginning of my continuing Corvette education.

I very soon learned that mid-year Corvettes have a parking brake system that was unique to them at the time. Although this design is used on many GM models currently, back then they were not compatible with Vermont weather and when they fail, the procedure in the service manual didn’t really help. When I finally was to the inside where the working parts resided, I couldn’t believe what I found; it was one solid mass of corrosion. Thankfully, I learned of a supplier who produced these parts in stainless steel. Great, the parking brake now works but the jubilation was short lived, as I found more problems, and all went down hill from there. As I drove the car, it seemed that every couple of weeks I would have to bleed the brakes. This led to research and learning, because of the design, using solid mounted calipers with constant contact pads to rotor, plus corrosion caused by moisture absorbed alcohol based brake fluid, pumps air into the system. This required a complete disassembly of all four calipers and master cylinder, which I did, and sent them to a vender to be sleeved with stainless steel. One more problem solved, but the list continued. Over the next few years I replaced ball joints, springs, shocks, stabilizer links, all front and rear rubber bushings, rotor and pads.

1966 chevrolet corvette stingraySince the very beginning the engine ran smoothly, but smoked moderately, however, eventually I detected a slight noise in the lower end. Before things got worse, I pulled the engine and transmission. It took a year to complete engine and transmission overhaul. A new radiator and rebuilding the wiper/washer, the carburetor, the distributor and the fuel pump was also done at this time.

During this one-year period, the inspection sticker had expired, so the day we completed the project, I made an appointment for an inspection. On the way a trooper stopped me for the expired sticker and gave me a ticket. It took a while but an assistant D.A. later dropped the charge.

1966 corvette stingray interiorOne thing that always bothered me about this car was that the electric clock never worked. So one day I took it apart and found the manufacturer’s name. To my surprise, I was able to purchase parts (at a car show). I had the face silk-screened and reinstalled it. This was great, but it made the rest of the dash look terrible. You guessed it, out came the main dash, matter of fact, out came the whole interior, seats, carpet, belts… every-thing. This was the point where we decided that we could not reinstall a new interior unless we had the body repaired and painted. Since I didn’t really have a place to do the work or the paint and my own body was now needing some restoration of it’s own, we had no choice but to have this done by an outside source. While this was being done I totally restored the seats and recovered them. In 1966 some of the options available were seat headrests and shoulder belts. These were available through Corvette restoration parts suppliers so I added these two features.

While my car was being worked on, we found the frame was very weak in some key areas, so the decision was made to remove the body and restore the frame. Again, the parts were available through suppliers.

We completed this phase of the restoration in mid May of this year (2004), as you can see, this was an on going project from day one. However, we did ,on occasion, have periods when we could drive and enjoy the car. Even when the car was off the road being worked on, we still attended Corvette shows to search for parts and network with other Corvette people to learn and exchange information. In spite of all the pitfalls, it’s been a great ride. Many thanks to my wonderful wife Jeanne, the kids Wendy and Greg, and a lot of other people, who all have either bought parts or pawed through many boxes of used parts at car shows. Thanks for just being there when I needed you for support on this project. Right now, there are left over parts still in each of our bedrooms.

Editor’s notes….

Ray Tomlinson was president in 2004 and presented the Pallotta’s with the “President’s Restoration Award” that year.

That engine that was rebuilt had the factory engine pressure gauge on the dash that was fed by a tiny plastic tube from the engine. In 1984, when Greg and his date were in high school, in formal dress on their way to an event, that tiny tube burst. The engine ceased after losing its oil. A replacement 350 Chevy engine was found and installed. The car’s proper engine is a 327 and about 12 years ago, Leonard and Greg found the engine that belonged in the Corvette. It will be going into the shop soon to make the swap.

Thank you Leonard for your story. This teaches all of us who have an old car that needs “tweaking”, to have patience….. and fun, for that short time that we are in that old car’s life. Your story is why the Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts have been around sine 1953 with a very bright future. Old vehicles keeps us all young.

 

1966 corvette stingray (back)  1966 corvette stingray (back)

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

 

1913 Board-track racing Indian and 1910 Harley Davidson Model-F motorcycles

On the left we have a 1913 Board-track racing Indian motorcycle  – On the right, a 1910 Harley Davidson motorcycle

1913 indian board track racing motorcycleThis beautiful 1913 Indian board-track racing motorcycle is owned by Skip Weeks of Collinsville, Connecticut. He found a few parts of the engine for sale and decided to pass. Then a call came and he was told 95% of the rest of the engine parts had been found and it was more than Skip could say no too. A friend helped him put most of the engine together and Fred Gonet was given the task of the final tweaking. Fred has a restoration shop in Proctorsville, Vermont. Then, Skip found a business in Canada that built reproduction chassis and asked Fred to put it all together… and this is the results.

1913 indian board track racing bikeThe neat thing about the machine’s destination is not a board-track but Skip’s living room where Wheel Tracks understands it will join a few other motored antiques. Track racing served as the principle venues for motorcycle racing in America. By 1910, rival companies had started to overtake Indian on the wooden speedways. Oscar Hedstrom who designed the Indian motorcycle in 1900, returned to his drawing board. His goal was to design a new motor capable of regaining the lead for Indian. The result of the engineer’s effort was an overhead-valve design; however this could not withstand the extreme temperatures of a high-speed race. Hedstrom’s solution was to decrease the size of the valves and add more of them. Instead of the usual two valves in each cylinder, Hedstrom calculated that four smaller valves would be better able to dissipate the heat. His theory turned out to be correct, and the overhead-valve configuration also proved to be more efficient.

1913 indian board track racing motorcycle engineThe Indian 8-valve debuted in 1911 and was immediately successful on the pine-board tracks. In 1920 an Indian 8-valve set an official world record for the mile, achieving a speed of 114.17 mph, and in 1926 an updated version of Hedstrom’s landmark design was clocked at 132 mph, setting another world record, which would remain for the next 11 years. It is not known how many Indian 8-valves were produced, but approximately six are known to have survived.

1910 harley davidson model-fWheel Tracks had the great opportunity of having these two motorcycles in one place, on a sunny afternoon and wanted to pass a little about them, on to our VAE members. On the left is a 1910 Harley Davidson motorcycle. This is not a racer, but a beautiful road bike. It is a perfect replica of the original owned by Fred Gonet.

Harley-Davidson, Inc. is an American motorcycle manufacturer, founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1903. In 1910 there were 110 motorcycle brands in the United States and 107 years later, Harleys are still alive and well.

1910 harley davidson rear brakeThis Harley is a 1910 Harley-Davidson 30ci Model F. It has 28 X2.5 tires with an Eclipse Knockout front hub that allows the tire removal by taking only one nut off. You start the 4hp engine by pedaling with your feet until the engine fires then engage the rear wheel by pushing a hand control forward to tighten the leather belt. The brakes are the normal “coaster type” on the rear wheel.

vintage harley davidson motorcycleThe new price was $210.00 and you could order one with one-quarter down payment and the balance due on delivery.

 

1937 Ford Flatback Sedan

Is this the same #67 in both pictures?  Ken Gypson’s ‘37 Ford has been around creating history for 81 years and still going strong.  Hal Boardman’s diorama proves the car still inspires…

Hal Boardman and diorama of Ken Gypsom's '37 Ford Flatback racecar
Editor’s note…. Ken Gypson will learn about this diorama for the first time, when he gets this issue of Wheel Tracks, in his mail box.

From VAEer, Hal Boardman …

Two years ago the VAE ventured south to Bennington for a Hemmings cruise-in and a visit to our hosts, Ken and Nancy Gypson, in New York. After morning coffee, juice and muffins-to-die-for, we went out to wander through Ken’s barn. The barn holds a collection of autos, large and small. A must see. Among the full sized cars was a ‘37 Ford 2-door sedan. Ken was in the process of restoring the former round track race car. I took a few pictures and then we hit the road.

A while later the VAE had it’s annual holiday party and I chose an exchange gift of a hot-rod model A Ford 2-door sedan. Walking by Ken’s table he said “glad you got that, you are the only hot-rodder here”. By chance, I happen to see a picture of Ken’s restoration project on line, and I put the two together, the beginning of the diorama idea.

1937 ford racer

The following year I campaigned for another Hemmings tour, it was a great time and… I needed more pictures of Ken’s garage and his race car restoration project. Once again, we had a great cruise-in, and visit at the Gypson’s. I wonder if Ken noticed my mission of taking pictures of every square inch of his garage. I got more pictures when #67 made it to our August show in Stowe last year and then, my winter project began.

While my ‘39 Ford project sat in the corner of my garage, I spent time working on the smaller project of a 1937 race car. I gathered models and parts saved from my youth and began the diorama. I found an old 49 Ford kit in my collection that provided wheels, tires, trophies and even that small dog you see lying on the floor, in front of the car. As my project started coming together, an artist friend offered to paint the number on the car and the walls to match Ken’s garage. Pam even made a small leather belt, that was used to wrap around the passenger door post, to keep it closed during a race. Thank you Pam.

I hope Ken can find a small space in his vast collection for the diorama. I hope, also, that he enjoys it as much as I have building it.

pine bowl raceway troy NY
Pictured here, the Pine Bowl Raceway in Troy, NY where the front page image of a race-wreck was taken.

Some history now of the racing #67, from a story Ken Gypson had written earlier…

1937 ford flatback 2-doorIn about 1985 my family and I moved to Poestenkill, NY. Just down the road (to my delight anyways) was Wait’s Junkyard. The Waits had a bunch of old stock cars scattered about and a particular ’37 Ford sedan caught my eye. For 2 years I tried to buy the car…no go. In April of ’87 we had an ice storm that knocked down trees and power lines. While I was in the road clearing debris with my chain saw John Wait Sr. asked if he could borrow the saw. I told him he could have the saw if I could buy the stock car. He grunted and left with the saw. Two weeks later I came home from work and there, the ’37 sat in my driveway!

1937 ford flatback sedan racecar

I have been fortunate to be able to get the complete history of #67 from the day it was built. In 1961, Paul Leinbohm paid $50 for the body and chassis from Slovak’s Junkyard in Stuyvesant, NY, and a 1953 Merc engine from Lou Hacker of Rt 20 in Nassau, NY. Before he could drive the car, he was drafted into the army, and sold the car to Paul Visconte of Schodack, NY. Visconte had George Henderson of Niverville, NY, drive it with number 300D at Rt 66 Speedway in Poestenkill, NY.

ken gypsum 1937 ford flatback racerIn 1963, Visconte renumbered the car to 67 (as it is now) and raced it at Victoria Speedway outside of Albany, NY. Ironically, Visconte also ended up in the Army and left the car behind his mother’s house. Gordy Film of Wynantskill, NY, bought the car in 1964 for $300 and raced it at Pinebowl Speedway in Poestenkill, NY, during the ’64 and ’65 seasons. #67 ended up in Wait’s Junkyard across the road from the speedway’s entrance.

 

1937 ford racing

 

1957 Dodge D200 Pickup

Paul & Barb Wagner’s 1957 Dodge D200

“For 43 years it was our Every-day farm truck. Today it is our car-show truck”

1957 dodge d200Back in 1967, we decided to purchase a truck to support our small family dairy farm in Methuen, MA. The search led us to a gentleman who had a sewing machine business, and a 1957 Dodge 3/4 ton pick-up with 59,000 miles on the odometer. The truck sold for $1,750 brand new, he was asking $200.00 for it. I countered with $175.00 and drove away with the truck.

It was put into use on the farm immediately. We used it to haul milk, cattle, sawdust, manure, it was a great, all purpose vehicle.

1957 dodge d200 interiorIn 1969, my father and I bought a larger dairy farm in Bridport, Vermont. That was 200 miles away from Methuen. The Dodge was a godsend for hauling furniture and farm equipment to Vermont, and then take hay back to Massachusetts to feed our animals there. I would load sixty, forty-pound bales on the truck (2400 lbs.) and drive the 200 miles on ten gallons of gas. Not bad mileage with that kind of a load. Once the move to Vermont was complete, we put 700-800 ‘farm’ miles on the truck each year. The transmission was not right for slow field work so we rode the clutch a lot. After 11 years of this, we had to replace the clutch and when we did that, we put a four speed transmission in. The move from 3-on-the-tree to 4-on-the-floor made it a real farm truck! It was parked in the shop in 2003 when a gale wind came through and knocked the shop down. The shop roof landed in a tree across the road, while the old Dodge just sat there, with only the scratches it had when we parked it there. The truck did its work until 2005 when it would not pass inspection any longer. For the next five years it sat in the machine shed getting dusty. I started it up a couple of times a year to make sure the engine did not seize.

I sold the farm to my son in 2010 and entered semi-retirement. I had talked so much about fixing up the truck, over the years, that my wife, Barb told me there would never be a better time, than now to do it. I guess she had heard it enough….so I did. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

Three miles south of here, my friend Kevin has a body shop. I pulled everything off the frame. All that was left was the engine, transmission and wheels, which I pulled to Kevin’s with my old John Deere. This had taken me about fifty hours at this point, all my labor and no money. I soon found out this would get reversed! Just finishing the prep work, Kevin had used eighty-five, 100 pound bags of blasting sand.

When I removed the cab from the frame, I found it was set up for both left and right hand drive. There are pop-outs on the floor for the clutch and brake pedals. The dash is the same on both sides. There is an aluminum plate on the right side where I thought was meant for a radio. When I removed it, I found framework for the speedometer and gauges. I considered changing to the right side but then I thought, “Who is going to drive it?”….Not me!, so I left it the way it was.

1957 dodge d-200 pickup

The next challenge was finding body parts. In 1957, 340,000 Ford pickups were made and GM made 360,00. Dodge made 50,000 pickups that year. So, finding the parts I needed, ended in very short phone calls…no we don’t have any. Then I heard about Desert Valley Auto Parts in Arizona. They had three corpses! My luck had changed, I found the two rear fenders, the right front fender and the grill that I needed. It took three months to get the parts but the wait was worth it. Being a life-long New Englander, I was utterly amazed at the condition… no rust at all! I found two box sides in Rhode Island and used Hickory boards for the floor. I chose not to use oak, as I wanted something with knots, but pine was too soft.

There were two safety problems with vehicles from this period that I wanted to correct with my restoration. The single reservoir master brake cylinder and no seat belts. I went to the ‘68 Dodge split system and had to add a regulator to balance the pressure. Lap seat belts took care of the second problem. The paint color is forest green with two coats of epoxy primer, two coats of filler primer and two coats of enamel. The paint alone was $2000.00…welcome to restoration.

The whole process took ten months to complete. Kevin had 300 hours, I had that many and more, but no charge for me, it’s a LABOR OF LOVE! I kept a notebook of the expenses, even after being told not to because ‘I did not want to know’. The project ended up costing $23,380.00. the high-level break-down was $13,000 in labor, and $10,380 for parts ( I did not rebuild the engine or drive train).

In May of 2014, the steering shaft broke in a restaurant parking lot. The steering wheel was in my hands not attached. I decided it was time for power steering, my age demanded it! Driving is much more enjoyable now. My friend, Ed James, did some research and found the steering system from a ‘79 to ‘86 Toyota pickup would work. I added a pump from an ‘84 Camaro and I was in busi-ness.

The old Dodge gets a lot of attention in parades and car shows. We were at the local soft serve ice cream place when a fella came up and said, “ I bet you think more of this truck, than you do your wife!” I replied, “The only thing I can say, the truck does exactly what I ask it to do.” I always say, there is high tech and there is low tech. My truck is NO TECH!

1957 dodge d200 pickup truck

1957 Dodge D200 Specs:

  • Engine, Chrysler 230 cu. In. L-head (flat head) 6 cylinder.
  • Horse power, 110
  • Wheels, 16 inch split rims-8 lug (750X16)
  • Rear-end, 3/4-1 ton set-up for duals
  • Present mileage, 111,028

Editor’s notes… Paul told about his daughter slinking down in the seat, out of view of her friends, in the old days when he would leave her off at school. She recently asked if she could possibly get the truck when he made out his will. Thank you Paul for letting us feature your truck and your history with it.

1930 Chrysler CJ Roadster

Wendell & Mary Noble’s 1930 Chrysler CJ Roadster

A Lot Of Money Goes A Long Way – from Wendell Noble

1930 chrysler cj roadster wendell nobleA funny thing about my doing a car restoration, although I’m working toward a goal, when I get there, it’s a bit of a let down. I am happy with the results. If I weren’t, it wouldn’t be done yet.

It all started back in 2010 with a call from Dave Maunsell. He had been assembling an inventory of parts for a 1930 Chrysler CJ roadster for years with the intention of ultimately turning it into a completed car. However, I think Dave had become skeptical about ever getting to it, and came to feel some money, would be of more use to him. He was concerned that the project car go to someone who would complete it to his satisfaction. Dave had familiarized himself with my 1929 Plymouth and the work I had done on it. Structurally, it’s very similar to the Chrysler CJ and I think this satisfied him that I might do right by this project.

I’m told that “CJ” stands for Chrysler Junior. It was the smallest Chrysler at the time and, in fact, is the same size as the Plymouth but has a six cylinder engine instead of the Plymouth four.

Once the deal was struck, Gael Boardman, Gary Olney and I headed over to Dave’s place in Greensboro. We pulled parts from all corners of his garage and loaded up Gael’s truck, my truck and my trailer. Upon arrival at my place, Gael asked if I had any doors on my load. None of us remembered seeing any car doors. I gave Dave a phone call and he assured me that there should be two doors. A day or two later, he called back to announce that he had found the doors… in his hall closet. I can’t understand why it didn’t occur to us to look there in the first place.

1930 chrysler cj roadster restorationThe restoration has been enjoyable. The frame and drive train were in good order and required very little attention to fundamentals. Electrical system, brakes, and steering needed to be done from the ground up. The big efforts were needed on the body and upholstery. The body had to be built completely, starting with the interior wood skeleton and then a lot of “tin knocking” to get the sheet metal patched, smoothed and properly aligned. Many parts had to be made from scratch. These included seat cushions from seat parts of other cars, mounting hardware for the side-mount spare tires, top irons and bows for the folding top, door hinges, bumper clamps and correct running boards. The car came with an original front bumper, but no rear bumper. I discovered that model A Ford bumpers are the same width and length, but are not curved like the Chrysler’s. Bailey Spring in Essex Junction did a great job of perfectly arching the Ford bumpers without so much as scratching the Chrome. I think I know my skill limits, so the finish painting was done by Mountain View Auto Body of Enosburgh, upholstery and top were done by Coggio Upholstery of Richmond and plating was done by Anthony Cook of Shaftsbury.

The car is now ready for it’s debut, just as soon as the frost is out and our road is dry. I’ve concluded that the secret to a decent car restoration is to spend a lot of money on it. I’m not talking about a rattle can and pop rivet job here. Once you’re prepared to do that, you’re on your way.

1930 chrysler cj roadster frame restoration

1902 Curved Dash Oldsmobile

Dennis Dodd, of East Fairfield, Vermont

“Kids, College & Work kept this 1902 Curved Dash Oldsmobile waiting for 28 years… Finally, with a new paint job on its way, it will be finished”.

1902 curved dash oldsmobileDennis Dodd purchased the ‘02 Curved Dash Olds in ‘89 from a Massachu-setts gent while at the VAE Stowe Show. It was completely original but needed a lot of work. Over the past 4 years, he rebuilt the engine and along with restoring every other item of the vehicle. A paint booth has been reserved for later in this Spring for the last piece of the restoration. A long time friend of Dennis’s who had earlier built a replica of the same car, has helped in the restoration, he is Skip Minor of Milton. Asked the number of hours spent on the project and Dennis guessed a minimum of 500 hours, not counting his friend’s time.

Gary Hoonsbeen died in 2016 but during his lifetime, he was the country’s lead expert in these unique vehicles. Soon after Dennis brought the car home, he was in contact with Gary, asking all the normal question of a newly minted antique car owner. The big mystery was finding the correct year that this car was manufactured. So as Dennis and Gary went down the list while on the phone, Gary was confirming the vehicle was built in 1901with some parts from 1002. Then came Dennis’s description of the water pump. Gary informed him that he had made a mistake in his notes, because “that” Curved Dash water pump did not exist. It turned out, it did exist, it was the only known original Curved Dash water pump known and it was on this vehicle! The car club later borrowed the water pump to use as patterns to build 15 new ones.

Recently, some officials from the Curved Dash Club made their way to England, where they inspected an original, in a barn that had never been modified. They discovered the serial numbers that have been used for years by the club, to determine the “built year”, most likely has to be changed. The Oldsmobile company had two places where they stamped the built number, on the engine head and on the compression release pedal. Dennis’s number is 6631 and even though Gary Hoonsbeen said the car was mostly a 1901, the serial number was 1902. The England trip will most likely confirm this vehicle is a 1901 car.

This from “Wikipedia” and “The Standard Catalog of American Cars”…….

The gasoline-powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as being the first mass-produced automobile, meaning that it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile company in 1901 and produced through 1907; 425 were produced the first year, 2,500 in 1902, and over 19,000 were built in all. When General Motors assumed operations from Ransom E. Olds on November 12, 1908, GM introduced the Oldsmobile Model 20, which was the 1908 Buick Model 10 with a stretched wheelbase and minor exterior changes.

The Curved Dash car was a runabout model, could seat two passengers, and sold for US$650. While competitive, due to high volume, and priced below the US$850 two-seat Ford Model C “Doctor’s Car”, it was more expensive than the Western 1905 Gale Model A Roadster at US$500. The Black sold for $375, and the Success for US$250.

The flat-mounted, water-cooled, single-cylinder engine, situated at the center of the car, produced 5 HP, relying on a brass gravity feed carburetor. The transmission was a semi-automatic design with two forward speeds and one reverse. The low-speed forward and reverse gear system is a planetary type. The car weighed 850 lbs. and used Concord springs. It had a top speed of 20 mph.

The car’s success was partially by accident in 1901, a fire destroyed a number of other model prototypes before they were approved for production, leaving the Curved Dash the only one intact.


1902 oldsmobile

When it inspires a song (below), you know it’s popular. This Olds was the bestselling car in America from 1902 to 1905. Automobiles had an emotional appeal. A driver in 1901 said that controlling a car satisfied “an almost universal sense, the love of power.” Despite the attraction, cars were not a significant player in the transportation world. In 1903, 4000 people bought Oldsmobile’s, but more than 900,000 bought buggies and carriages.

With its one-cylinder engine and horseless carriage looks, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash didn’t seem particularly rugged. Olds Motor Works proved its runabout’s mettle with a number of elaborate stunts. Here the car is driven up a steep hill, over uneven ground. Far more extravagant was Roy D. Chapin’s 820-mile drive, from Detroit to New York, in an Oldsmobile in 1901.

Young Jonnie Steele has an Oldsmobile,
He loves a dear little Girl.
She is the queen of his gas machine,
She has his heart in a whirl.
Now when they go for a spin, you know,
She tries to learn the auto, so,
He lets her steer, while he gets her ear,
And whispers soft and low:

Come away with me Lucile
In my merry Oldsmobile
Down the road of life we’ll fly,
Automobubbling you and I.
To the church we’ll swiftly steal,
Then our wedding bells will peel,
You can go as far as you like with me,
In my Merry Oldsmobile

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.

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