1918 REO Model F Speed Wagon

Mike Daigle and sons Domenico and Charlie have a new project at their home. The 1918 REO Model F Speed Wagon will be their winter project… And maybe beyond winter.

Asked why a REO Speed Wagon Mike Daigle said “Probably because of his neighbor Gene Towne.” 

Gene Towne died a few years ago, but he left a huge foot-print in our memories, especially Mike Daigle’s. It was visiting Gene’s place over the 16 years that Mike and his family lived as neighbors, that he caught the bug for ‘old stuff’. 

In fact, it appears Mike’s sons, Charlie, eleven years old and Domenico, 16, have also caught the bug. Domenico, recently, fired up his project in the family garage for the first time. A late 40s Oliver 66, wide-front-end tractor. Maybe that Oliver 66 could be a Wheel Tracks feature some day… We hope! 

Mike found the Speed Wagon in the back hills of East Wallingford. He said, after getting his trailer loaded, he had serious concerns if he was going to make it out. He did, as you can see, and the three have plans to get it, mechanically, in good shape but want to keep the same basic appearance that you see today. Mike’s background is mechanics while spending a number of years working at the VT. State Police garage in Colchester. So he knows his way around a tool box. 

The Daigle’s have the REO running. They were fascinated with the exposed valve tappets and the chain-driven starter. 

Chain-driven starter

The Speed Wagon is built for a top speed of 22MPH, while other trucks from that era was 5 to 10MPH slower. Its engine puts out 27 horse power. This is how the term Speed Wagon began. REO started building “Speed Wagon” trucks in 1915 and they advertised that their trucks “had long-term viability and theirs could go faster”. 

They were also known to go faster in stop and go city traffic because they had “Tall Gearing”. Tall Gearing (vs short gearing) simply means you do not have to spend as much time shifting because of the REO’s gear ratios. 

REO used the “Speed Wagon” term through 1939, they changed the term to one word in the later years. 

REO started making trucks in 1908, merged and became Diamond-REO in 1971 and went out of business in 1974. 

The Model F 1918 serial numbers started with #15000 and ended with #21543, which means REO built 6543 of these trucks in 1918. 

Another huge plus, if you purchased a REO truck, especially a Speed Wagon, it could be refitted for whatever special purpose was needed, and the REO Motor Car Company knew that was part of their appeal. They advertised the ease with which the Wagon could be customized and started building Wagons with bigger engines, heavier flywheels, and larger water pumps. If you needed something done, the Speed Wagon could do it. 

By 1925, the company had produced more than 125,000 Speed Wagons. 

1951 Ford Victoria

Allan Wright’s 1951 Ford Victoria is almost 70 years-old and has 80,000 miles on the odometer…..but, if you look closely, the car is in better shape than when it came from the factory. 

After a complete professional restoration and winning a number of national awards, Allan was able to purchase this Ford “Vic” from its owner in Manchester Maryland in March of 2017. 

Wheel Tracks met the car, and its owner for the first time during the club’s “Flash Parade” on the 8th of August. 

Allan Wright's 1951 Ford Victoria

The 1951 Ford Custom Victoria was Ford’s first hardtop, offered only in V-8 guise. It appeared in the last year of the 1949 styling generation. 

Styled by Gordon M. Buehrig, who originally worked at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg plant. When he came to Ford he had just left the Loewy team at Studebaker. 

A plus for this 1951 top-line model was the debut of Ford’s optional self-shift Ford-O-Matic this year. The war and being required to 

basically stop all domestic automobile production from 1946 through 1948, the 1949 Ford is credited with saving Ford. It ushering in the modern streamlined car design with changes such as integrated fenders and more. This design would continue through the 1951 model year, with an updated design offered in 1952. 

Ford built 110,286 Ford Vics in 1951. The 239 CID Flathead engine was one of the most reliable engines ever made and produced 100HP. The wheelbase is 114 inches, length is 197 inches and weighs 3188 pounds. New cost was $1925. 

When Ford began this line in 1949, the engine was moved forward to make more room in the passenger compartment and the antiquated “torque tube” was replaced by a modern drive shaft. 

Competition from GM and Chrysler great and in some ways the new design in 1948 was rushed into production. One example was the door mechanism design. It was found that the doors could fling open on corners. In the 1950 model there were some 10 changes in the door latching mechanism alone. Ford easily out-sold GM and Chrysler with assembly plants in six locations; Dearborn, Michigan  Chester, Pennsylvania Long Beach, California Saint Paul, Minnesota Australia Singapore, Malaysia.

1951 ford victoria

Allan Wright first put eyes on this car at the AACA Hershey car coral in October of 2016. From talking to him, he decided at that time, he wanted this car. Like most of us, we go to Hershey with a little stash of cash, but need to do a little “banking” for the bigger purchases. 

So, Allan decided to give the owner a call when he returned to Vermont, after the show. When he did, he found the car had not been sold and better yet, the price had decreased! After making arrangements to travel to Maryland and most likely bring the car home, he had a small health problem and had to cancel the trip. Then came time for their normal wintering in Arizona, so the Ford Vic was put on the back burner. 

While poking through Ebay the following February, Allen “found” the Victoria one more time and decided it was an omen he could ignore no more. 

Another plus…the price had come down even more. 

He then flew to Vermont in March (2017)to get his truck and trailer and headed south. The trip was rewarded to find the same beauty he had seen in Hershey four months earlier. He had to go through some winter weather on his trip back to Vermont resulting in a complete ice covered Ford on his trailer, but he successfully stored it in his garage and escaped back to Arizona to wait out the Vermont mud season. 

Allen’s Ford has not been to our August car show in Waterbury yet, but watch for it in 2021. It is a beauty! 

1926 Chrysler Model 25

This is a test… is Fred Gonet’s automobile, pictured here, really, a Chrysler or is someone playing a joke on us, and it is really a Maxwell?
Answer… in 1925, this exact model would have had a Maxwell badge on its hood.

That same year, Chrysler bought out Maxwell, named this car the Model 25 and in 1926, slapped the Chrysler badge on it.

Chrysler was responding to other car company’s reduced pricing. They had no low-end model to offer their customers, so the Maxwell became it. The model 25 continued through 1928, when they began to call it a Plymouth.

1926 chrysler model 25 grill

At $695, Chrysler could compete with this five-seat car. It had high-tension magneto ignition, electric horn and (optional) electric starter and headlights, and an innovative shock absorber to protect the radiator.

Fred and BJ Gonet became the proud owners of this 1926 Chrysler in 1982. Fred’s Dad was visiting from his home in Long Island, NY and the two went the little ways down the road to Springfield and brought it home to Proctorsville. Fred and BJ purchased the car from Harry Olney, which was stored in a barn, in the woods, behind an area church.

There was a surprise, for Fred, when the “Chrysler” arrived in Proctorsville. He noticed there were NO hydraulic brakes like other Chryslers of the era. That was when he realized it was, really, a Maxwell, built in 1925, and one of the ‘transition’ cars that Chrysler had basically just slapped their badge onto the radiator.

The car had another odd feature when Fred took a closer look. It has a 4-cylinder engine, and interestingly, when Fred took the engine head off, there was one piston at its lower position and three at the top position! Most car buffs know, that is not quite correct. It turned out the crank shaft and all of the connecting rods were doing their job fine, its just that one piston had broken in half, explaining the “tardy” half parking at the top of the cylinder.
The car needed engine work, new Nichol trim, a paint job, upholstery, the wood and head-liner was rotted and lots of body work. So Fred, BJ and their two young children went at it, with the grand plan of driving the car to Long Island for his Dad’s birthday.

Fred was working full-time for a company in town, so the body-off restoration had to happen on weekends and during the hours of 4PM and midnight during the week.

He would take parts off the car during his evening “shift” and the kids and BJ would clean and paint them while he was at work the next day. There were not too many other ’surprises’ with the car, just lots of work.
Oh, and did we mention this small detail? The time between the start of the restoration and Mr. Gonet’s 70th birthday celebration in Long Island was 6 weeks. Amazingly, the Gonet family made their 6-weeks-restoration deadline. In fact, the maiden journey for the Chrysler, just hours after putting away his tools, was the 275 mile trip to Mr. Gonet’s house.
The car made the trip in fine fashion with its, replacement, ’27 Chrysler engine and shiny new paint. Fred’s Dad could not believe it was the same sorry car he had helped pull from a barn just a few weeks earlier.
The old Chrysler is used regularly today. It is Fred and BJ’s going-out-to-dinner car, on rainy days.

1926 chrysler model 25 back

Fred was working full-time for a company in town, so the body-off restoration had to happen on weekends and during the hours of 4PM and midnight during the week.He would take parts off the car during his evening “shift” and the kids and BJ would clean and paint them while he was at work the next day. There were not too many other ’surprises’ with the car, just lots of work.

Oh, and did we mention this small detail? The time between the start of the restoration and Mr. Gonet’s 70th birthday celebration in Long Island was 6 weeks. Amazingly, the Gonet family made their 6-weeks-restoration deadline. In fact, the maiden journey for the Chrysler, just hours after putting away his tools, was the 275 mile trip to Mr. Gonet’s house.
The car made the trip in fine fashion with its, replacement, ’27 Chrysler engine and shiny new paint. Fred’s Dad could not believe it was the same sorry car he had helped pull from a barn just a few weeks earlier.
The old Chrysler is used regularly today. It is Fred and BJ’s going-out-to-dinner car, on rainy days.

1960 Chevrolet Impala

VAEer Richard Spitzer has a project on his hands with this 1960 Chevy Impala. 

This from Richard Spitzer…

When my dad told me he saw a 1960 Impala for sale, I had no clue what one looked like. 

Fins and a bubble top. What? I was 17 and driving a SAAB 99. I liked old cars, but had no idea what the models were back then. We drove over to Hyde Park to check it out. I was caught off guard a bit, it was big and turquoise! But we drove it around and it sold it-self. 

My friends rode in the car my last few years of High School at People Academy. Everyone liked it. Even my mom would borrow my car to run errands. 

I was jealous of the new 5.0 Mustangs and my buddy’s Camaros. So of course I tried flipping the air cleaner lid to make it sound powerful. I tried a big 4 barrel on the 283. No more power, but sounded great. I did get a dual exhaust system on it and some new Cragar Wheels and white letter tires. She rolled really good then. I would rev the car in first forever, then shift the Powerglide into high, and it would make a great exhaust note. It was big, heavy and slow. We even got stuck in the parking lot at the Stowe Car show. But with no seat belts, we could load it up with teenagers and cruise town in style. 

Those were the good days. When the front seat broke out of the floor and ended up in the back seat going up Quarry Hill, I new I had a rust problem. Bondo was falling off daily and the right front tire went 100 yards further than I did in Keene, NH. It was 1988, I was in the military and the Impala was pushed to the side. But soon misguided motivation and a side order of hair band music, led to the biggest mistakes many car guys make, and I disassembled the whole car. With the help of a few friends, the car was in pieces. I had the frame repaired, and the body was on its side in my garage while I repaired the floor. Pieces of that car are scattered from Enosburg to Jericho to Williston over six plus moves and I doubt I have all of them. I have miles of trailering and tons of wasted effort pushing it in and out of the garage, and now it still sits sadly waiting for repair. 

Bring in the new life, with a new wife, and a garage that makes most men jealous. I am just a few projects away from getting back on track with the Impala. I always say it has been more of a resurrection then restoration. It will move again under its own power. It is a little ugly right now. I am not a detailed body guy, just a mechanic. So hopefully there will be progress on this project each month. I am not sure yet what the car will look like in the end except the color, 1960 turquoise and a white top. I have kids that have never rode in it, so I hope to get the car done so everyone can enjoy it. See you on the road soon!! 


A question for everyone……Which vehicle would you say is the one you would like? 

This 2020 Chevy Impala? 

There have been 10 generations of Chevrolet Impalas, starting in 1958. 

Richard’s Impala is the 2nd generation. Chevrolet made 490,900 Impalas in 1960, with many variations. 

Or, this 1960 Chevy Impala? 

There was the Sedan, the Hard Top Sedan and the Hard Top Coupes. Along with the Convertible Couples and the Station Wagons. There were 2-door and 4-door variations and “Sport” packages. 

Engine choices were the 235 cu in “Blue Flame I6”, the 283 cu in “Turbo Fire V8”, and the 348 cu in “W-series Turbo Thrust V8”. A “Speedminder” was an option where the driver sets a needle at a specific speed and a buzzer would sound if the pre-set was exceeded. 

Right-hand drive cars were made in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, for New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. All the rest were built in Baltimore, Maryland, St. Louis, Missouri, South Gate, California. 

A two-door Hardtop Sport Coupe cost $2,597 in 1960, $19,425 in todays dollars. Regular gasoline in 1960 was $.31 per gallon, in today’s dollars that comes to $2.71 per gallon. The Impala with the 283 engine is reported to get 12MPG. 

So, yes, it will cost you more to drive a 1960 Chevrolet Impala, but there is no question which is more preferable. If you say the vehicle on the left, we need to talk. 

McCormick-Deering Type M 6HP

The Right Power for the Bigger Jobs

Wherever power is needed, the practical and careful man buys a McCormick-Deering 6HP engine to do his work. The 6HP engine has water-cooled cylinder head and belt pulley can be put on either side. 

I believe it was the 2006 Shelburne Vt car show where I first met Gael. I was involved setting up a display of my Galloway engine belted to a Papec Silage blower. 

I had no idea who this gentleman was that ventured into the display but we introduced ourselves to each other and struck up a conversation. He seemed quite mesmerized by the displays our club was beginning to get operational. As words unfolded, he mentioned he had a few of these engines. Of course as with any hobbyist my ears then really “perked up” with the prospect of a new find. As memory serves me, he did not know what or how many he had or at least that was what he was leading me to believe. 

Eventually, the fateful question was asked by Gael Boardman. “Would you be interested in getting a couple of them running?” Somehow my nature of: shoot first ask later, did not kick in. The more rational Dave, answered Gael, “maybe but I would like to see what they are and what you have in mind.” He answered with if you get one running then I will give you the other as payment. That inner voice said: how could I go wrong? To this day, I am still amazed I stuck with my first response that I would need to see the engines before making a commitment. 

Again, memory is fuzzy but I remember that it took until November for me to get to Underhill for my first preview. As many of you know, visiting Gael and his collection was not a quick venture. Maybe it was a teachable moment, that it is not about the trip but the journey. I was beginning to understand Gael’s love for so much of our past through his diverse collection. I viewed his air-cooled Same tractor, Army Truck, WW2 bulldozer, memorabilia of all sorts, and a Chevy Coupe with overheating issues which was really perplexing him. Each piece Gael seemed to know where it came from, and what it had done, how long he had owned it, and a justification of it. 

Eventually, we got to the two engines he had in mind he wanted me to work on. Both were larger than anything I had or laid a wrench to. One was a McCormick Deering 6 HP (pictured above). I knew that, as I owned the smaller 1 ½ and 3 HP models. The other I was unsure of, other than it had a Fairbanks Morse tag. Both pieces were very complete and original engines from the local area according to Gael. It sure seemed like a sweetheart deal. Again, it happened, reason over excitement. My response, Gael let me think about it and I will call you. 

Needless to say, I soon called back and said sure I will get both going and Gael you decide which one you keep. It was not until the following summer that I made the second Underhill trip to retrieve both engines. My thinking that the loading process would be simple, quick and somewhat effortless, proved to be flawed as no tractor or other powerful machine Gael possessed was used. I soon realized Gael has ancestors dating back to the pyramids as we moved both engines onto my trailer using pipe as rollers and a come-a-long all the while he was saying: work like the Egyptians. 

I decided to work on both engines simultaneously but really concentrate on the McCormick as it appeared the quicker of the two since the Fairbanks had a serious issue with rust. 

My employment journey had taken me to be an instructor/aid role at Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury. The perfect situation, a great place to work, students to help and teach basic engine operation and the detail needed to restore an 80 year old piece and the use of tools I do not possess. Although to complete the engine still required a bit of work, in reality a lot of work. Tasks included; complete disassembly of all components, magneto rebuild, gas tank replaced, igniter refurbished, rings unstuck from the piston, valves and seats refaced plus the springs replaced, fuel pump and lines replaced, mixer rebuilt and the governor repaired. As most of you know, projects tend to take on a life and direction of their own. I decided this project should not just be a “just get it running” one but, a complete restoration including repainting and a period correct horse drawn cart to mount and move the engine on. 

Finally in the spring of 2012, Gael got a call from me asking if he would enjoy being at Hannaford for startup day. I think you all know the answer and the smile Gael had when he heard the engine run for the first time since he owned it. Later that spring, the engine returned home to Underhill where it still resides. 

Thanks Gael. 

The IHC/McCormick Deering Type M gasoline engine was debuted in 1917 and built until 1937. All M engines were throttle governed and both low tension ignitor and high tension spark plug ignition systems were used. A unique feature of these engines was a completely enclosed, but dry crankcase. The crankshaft main bearings and rod were still greased by mechanical grease cups and the cylinder oiled by a drip oiler. All timing gears were inside, while the remaining parts, including the cam, were outside the crankcase. No oil was stored inside the engine. 

“Right Power for the Bigger Jobs” was IHC’s motto. 
It furnishes plenty of power for the hay baler, feed grinder, corn sheller, buzz saw, cane mill, deep well pump and other hard work. 

Ford N Tractors 1939-1952

First there was the 9N, then the 2N and finally the 8N. Our history and the history of at least one of the 350,000 N-tractors made, have most likely crossed paths at some time 

ford n tractor drawing

When the idea of doing a story on the iconic Ford N tractors came to Wheel Tracks, the idea seemed great and the task seemed easy. Who does not have one of these tractors parked in their barn or retired to the stone wall, out back? We could find only two N-tractors, are they that scarce? 

Two N-tractors were found in our roster and one more revealed itself from the Wheel Tracks request in the April issue, which has resulted in two short stories. With our stay-at-home rules, the front page came from published pictures, Our photographer could not travel. 

Ford *N tractor

A coincidence did happen! On Wheel Tracks dead-line day, when our man with a camera had to make a trip to the village. There on a deserted main street, was a live 8N. A gent from Hinesburg had just purchased it in Montgomery and was heading home. The poor little Ford, pictured here, seemed to struggle under the weight of its over-sized bucket burden. Hopefully, it was heading for a nice new life, in the big city! 

Al and Judy Faust, of Winterport, Maine are long time VAE members and started coming to our August show 40 years ago. They, along with some neighbors and friends, in their old cars, make their way to the Vermont show every year. 

One of the two N-tractors in our roster is Al’s, a 1948, 8N Ford. Al said it is a “working tractor”, not pretty but ready to go anytime day and night. Its main job is unusual, it is used mainly to mow orchards of Chestnut trees. Al is the chapter president of the “Maine American Chestnut Foundation” and that is why he purchased his 8N about 12 years ago from an Uncle Henry’s classified ad. The tractor has had a few repairs over the years, a change from 6 volts to 12 and an engine rebuild. Al has used a brush-hog in the orchards in the past and this year will be changing to flail-chopper, in the hopes of better getting through the narrow rows without causing damage to the trees. 

chestnut tree orchard

The picture here, found on the net, is a Chestnut orchard in Maine, that Al and his Ford might be mowing this summer. The foundation sells seedlings and is the go-to group for advice on how to start your own Chestnut orchard. Just type www.acf.org/me into your computer, and see the great work the Maine chapter is doing. 

welcome to eden vt

The second Ford N tractor was found in Eden, Vermont. Ken Kelly has a 1952 8N that he purchased in Barre. It worked for him for 39 years until he semi-retired it 2 years ago. It raked, tilled, cut hay with its cutter bar, scraped with its back blade and brush-hogged faithfully over the years. Ken said he could think of only one task his 8N was not quite up to and that was bailing hay, but it tried. The bailer was just too heavy. 

Another tractor has taken over the duties of the 8N but Ken believes only one turn of the engine with the starter, and it would be ready to go back to work, any time. 

1946 Ford Tudor

“I just really like Fords” was Dave Martin’s response to “Why a Ford?” 

1946 ford tudor show card

Dave Martin is a retired carpenter and now has the extra time to work in his home shop in Newbury, Vermont. He is very close to finishing up a 1940 Ford Tuder that started out with a broken frame and seized engine. Maybe we will see his restoration at our next Waterbury Show in August. 

He has been involved with old vehicles since fishing his first car out of stream bed, back when he was in high school at Bradford High. His friend had a 1931 Pontiac and the friends parents were not very happy about their son driving it. When the friend rolled the Pontiac into a stream along the road, the parents said that was it. Dave then bought the car, as is, for $5.00. Dave and his Dad rolled the car back on its tires and pulled it home. He never registered the car for the highway but later made a doodlebug out of it. 

Dave Martin's 1946 ford tudor
Dave Martin ‘s 1946 Ford Tudor is something he purchased only 2 years ago

He found it for sale at a restoration shop just down the road from his home at Darlings Auto in South Ryegate. 

He added directional lights, rear shocks and did a bit of engine tuning before driving it the 45 miles to the Waterbury Show last August. As you can see, it is a beautiful car. 

The Ford Motor Company shut down its automobile production line in Detroit and at its assembly plants across the country early in February of 1942 to take on the war effort. In the three month period after the US entered WWII, due to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, a stockpile of cars was set aside for essential uses during the war; military staff car production continued. 

It would not be until three years later in July of 1945, and the war had ended, when the first 1946 Ford would roll off the production line ahead of its main competitor, Chevrolet. 

1940s ford motor company-factory-lot

“There’s A Ford In Your Future”, the sales promo that Ford created, when WWll came to an end.  Ford had a number of left over 1942 body parts that went into 1946 Ford models.

Henry Ford II got the first postwar car into production, and the very first one — a white Super DeLuxe Tudor sedan assembled on July 3, 1945 — went to President Harry Truman. Alas, only 34,439 more were assembled during the 1945 calendar year. However, there was no end of problems with the War Production Board, which controlled output and material supplies, and the Office of Price Administration, which put many controls on the price of parts and cars. Henry Ford II claimed that he was losing $300 per car because he couldn’t achieve volume production, and indeed the company was hemorrhaging about $10 million per month at one point. 

1946 ford tudor nose

The only notable mechanical change to the new 1946 Ford, from the 1942 model, was the adoption of the larger 239 c.i., 100 h.p. V-8 engine used in prewar Mercury and Ford trucks. The outward appearance of the revamped 1942 model, was essentially the same, except for a newly designed three-bar horizontal grille capped with a heavy tapered trim bar below the hood. In the rear, the deck lid received two added horizontal trim strips below the license plate. Roughly 450,000 of the new Fords were manufactured during the production run which ended part way through 1948. 

Some specs……. Rear-wheel drive, manual 3-speed on-the-column, V8 gasoline engine with displacement of 239.4 cui, advertised power:100 hp. Outside length: 196.2 in, width: 73.3 in, wheelbase: 114 in, 3370 lbs. estimated curb weight.  p speed:80 mph, fuel consumption average 18.7 mpg.

 

 

1914 Cadillac Engine

rebuilt 1914 cadillac engine

“It is way too nice to put in my car, I am going to make a coffee table out of it…..” The words of engine owner, Bill Fagan, after seeing Fred Gonet’s beautiful work. Fred’s business is G&G Restoration of Proctorsville, Vermont. Many years are needed to reach this level of restoration ability and Fred has them.

According to “The American Cars” standard catalog, Cadillac’s engine numbers ranged from 91005 to 99999 in 1914. Does this mean Cadillac made 8,994 of these pieces of art that year? Bill Fagan’s engine number is 99618.

The engine is an in-line, Vertical L-head engine with cast iron cylinders and copper water jackets. Displacement is 366 cu. inches and produces 40 to 50 brake HP. The publication also notes that 1914 was the last 4-cylinder engine that Cadillac produced in the next 67 years. The company went to the 70 HP V-8 in 1915.

This 1914 Cadillac engine was started and ran for the first time in 65 years just recently. The sound is unbelievable!

Bill Fagan’s plan is to take the car to Fred Gonet’s Proctorsville shop in March to have the engine installed. Here is Bill’s “barn find” story…

A friend of mine in NH has the exact same Phaeton, being the rarer Sport model 4 passenger body, as opposed to the larger 5 passenger body with 2 jump seats in the back.

The story is, my friend was working with the Boy Scouts on a Soap Box Derby with another guy, got to talking about old cars and the guy said his father died and left him a very low mileage ‘14 Cadillac. It was in the barn and had not run since the mid ‘50’s when they tried to start it and burned up the rear main bearing. The father had bought the car in the late ‘30’s from the original owner in Maine and drove it all through the ‘40’s until the early ‘50’s when he got involved in Sports Cars, so the Caddy was parked in the barn and there it languished until 2006 when my friend struck a deal for it and some parts.

On a Brass Era Frostbite Tour in Mass. a few days later, my friend told me he had just run across this “barn find” ‘14 Caddy, and was I interested? Needless to say I was and drove to his place in NH the day after the tour and made the deal. Because the car sat in the barn with a damp floor, the fenders, splash aprons and wheel rims were quite rusty and had to be repainted. The body and upholstery are original and in excellent condition. I’ve gone through the running gear and the frame, painted them and the wheels and Nickel plated all the bright work.

1914 cadillac engine in the shop

Ten years ago I had pulled the engine, dismantled it and cleaned all the parts and painted where needed. After this 10 year hiatus, I brought everything to Fred and he started to work his magic, as I tried to remember what I had and had not done! The heads had to be removed from the jugs with a special high torque tool my friend made up and Fred modified. New valves and guides had to be made down in Mass. and the heads remachined. Fred pulled the copper jackets off the jugs, pounded out the dents and buffed them. Its a very delicate operation. 100 years of rust and sediment gets trapped in there and is the cause for these copper clad jugs to overheat, a notorious Cadillac problem.

Most owners are too nervous to try and pull the copper jackets off. Fred made up a jig to hold the iron ring that holds the copper jackets in place. The ring has to be heated up with a torch and slid down over the copper jacket. You have only one chance to get it right before it cools and contacts around the base of the copper. You will inevitably damage the copper jack-et trying to get it back off if you mess up! I had gotten new Arias Aluminum Pistons made 10 years ago, but got side tracked on other projects, so everything had come to a stand still. At this juncture, I am waiting for new tires and tubes back ordered from Coker, then I can get the car to Fred and hopefully get it on the road this Summer.

Fred Gonet told about the other items that he needed to do, to get the engine ‘sorted’. Part of the engine was together but he needed to be sure all tolerances were correct, so everything was disassembled. Once the copper jackets were removed, he used heat to anneal the metal and then hammered out the dents, then smoothed and polished them to what you see in the pictures.

The old coil was unusable so he re-engineered a motorcycle coil to fit into the factory assembly.

New plug wire ends were built to factory specs, the distributor was completely gone-through, all lower end bearings were re-shimmed and the timing was setup. Interestingly, the oil pan is built with two compartments but only one has a drain plug for removing the old oil. With Fred’s “modern touch” the ’14 engine now has two drain plugs and also oil-level plugs installed for both compartments.

1914 cadillac engine cone clutch
1914 Cadillac cone clutch

Surprising to many is the size of the cone-clutch. It can be seen in the picture to the left. The disc that you can see has an angled edge (cone shape) with a matching disc/cone outside of it. As the two cones are pressed together, the material in-between allows smooth vehicle movement. Originally leather was used, in this case a Kevlar material is used.

Some, have heard how drivers of these old cars have felt a weird jump while driving down the highway. When they look back “there is a snake in the middle of the road!”

The “snake” is the leather material that was kicked out by an unhappy automobile.

1906 Orient Buckboard

The 1906 Orient Buckboard continues to make history in its quiet way.  Pictured here is the Orient introducing itself to the school children of Island Pond in May of 2015. Sorry, but Wheel Tracks has no name for the pretty young lady, seated. Left is the Orient’s engine being restored today in a machine shop in East Fairfield. Will we see the Orient under its own power in 2020? 

Indeed, the 1906 Orient Buckboard  continues to make history in its quiet way. 

It was July, 2010, Gary Olney’s Orient Buckboard made its way to Wheel Tracks. At the time the Buckboard had a lonely corner of a rented barn in Derby, Vermont. There was a visit to a small car show in Island Pond, the front page pictures a young lady sitting in the vehicle’s 114 year old seat.

Today, the Orient has a place of honor at Gary and Nancy’s home in Derby Line. The tires are still flat but there is a plan! The engine has been removed and sits in Dennis Dodd’s shop in East Fairfield. There is a plan to get it run-ning, on the shop stand, then the rest of the vehicle will be retrieved to reinstall the engine. From there, the other small problems will be tackled and the Orient will have a new life of car shows and short parades. 

The engine has a carburetor but most of its innards are missing. Dennis will be making new valves since it is impossible to find factory valves, also a cracked exhaust valve seat needs to be addressed. He has found the ignition timer is still in good condition and has it set for running. The bottom end and the cylinder/piston also seems to be in working order so he has decided to go after the other items that need attention. That attention will cover the exhaust routing, new gaskets, possibly the valve sleeves and what has already been mentioned. He says the hardest task is to follow Mr. Olney’s instructions and leave the engine’s patina as is. We all love to make things look brand-new, but Gary’s hope is the Orient will basically look the same when the restoration is complete. 

Dennis has also found the engine is a late 1905 model. It is most likely the original engine, it is just that the factory had probably not made the switch to the newer engine when they sold this vehicle. Most manufacturers of the time added changes throughout the year and was not into today’s New-Model-Year mentality of today. 

This is a part of the Wheel Tracks story from 2010….. 

There are some mysteries we have been unable to find answers to but isn’t that exactly how it should be? 

The “friction drive” can easily be seen here. 
A rubber disc, mounted, and touching, 90 degrees to this disc, allows the speed variations 

This Orient Buckboard was built by the Waltham Manufacturing Company on Rumford Avenue in Waltham, Mass. Thanks to Bill Sherk’s article in ’Old Autos’, a publication printed in Bothwell Ontario, a few of the mysteries have been solved. The auto…with it’s Massachusetts number plate…… made it’s way from Waltham to Antigonish Nova Scotia when a jeweler purchased it (date unknown). The story goes that the jeweler would often turn to swearing as he turned the crank because the car was so hard to start. 

At some point the jeweler made arrangements to store the Orient Buckboard and a 1912 Studebaker in an area barn owned by the grandfather of Mr. Gordon Penny. When the Studebaker was removed it is said the Orient was left as payment for storage. When Gordon was 14 years old in 1945 he found the Orient in his grandfathers barn, the Massachusetts plate was still attached. He pulled the Orient out and got it running. 

The story continues……..in the early 1950s Gordon sold the Orient, in running condition, to Mr. Harry Olney of Springfield, Vermont. 

Mr. Gordon still resides in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and when he was interviewed by Bill Sherk he said he thought the Orient was now in Maine someplace. Well, guess what, the Orient resides in Derby, Vermont and is owned by Harry Olney’s son Gary… the Orient still has it’s Mass.1908 plate #0237K. 

There were about 2500 Orient Buckboards built and it is estimated 57 exists today, of which 45 are in the United States. The 1906 Orient was sold new for $440 and was the first to have what is called Friction Drive, a wheel and disc that allows an infinite variation of speeds forward and reverse also allowing for much less vibration when driving. Top speed is 35 MPH and if you want to enter a race, special ’racing’ sprockets can be installed to reach up to 40MPH. The engine produces 4 horsepower and is air cooled. The car weight is 525 pounds with a wheelbase of 80 inches. The wheel track is 42 inches but can be changed to 56 inches which would allow it to fit into the ‘standard wagon tread’. 

1930 Packard Standard Eight

Gene and Gina Wescott gets a visit from Hemmings. Hemmings wanted all the details on the Wescott’s Beautiful 1930 Packard Standard Eight. 

1930 packard standard eight unrestored

Gene and Gina Wescott’s Packard looks a little different in one of its former lives. She is pictured here in 1996 when the couple purchased her from the estate of Dr. Carlos Otis. The Doctor practiced for many years in Townshend, VT. and was the founder of Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend. 

Max Brand was an auto appraiser and a friend of the Wescott’s through “The Yesteryear Car Club”. Max let Gene know about the upcoming Packard sale and that began the next chapter in the life of this wonderful car. 

One of Gene’s first tasks was to remove the original lacquer paint and after many hours using paint stripper and sand blasting, the task was complete. The beautiful paint job you see on the front page was done by Eric Lanning of King Ferry, New York. 

Many of us know the Packard’s upholsterer, and that is Dick Hurd of Springfield, VT. Many additional hours have been spent during the last 24 years to bring the Packard into its current life, witnessed by the picture on our front page. 

1930 packard standard eight gene wescott

Then along came “Hemmings Classic Car” magazine! 

“Hemmings Motor News Concours d’Elegance” began in 2003 in Lake George, NY. The Wescott’s thought it would be fun to enter their Packard for the 2018 gathering and that was when Hemmings first heard about the car. As Gene said, the car could never compete with the “big boys” in a competition from all over the nation like this but, they did get the Reliable Carriers Award Classic Trophy that August. The three day event was a lot of fun for Gene and Gina. 

In 2019, Hemmings Classic Car Magazine contacted the Wescott’s and asked if they could feature the 1930 Packard in the magazine. Their photographer, Dave Conwill arrived on October 4th for the three hour photo shoot and the rest is history. You can find the Packard story on page 44 of the January 2020 issue. One of Gene’s comments about the photo shoot was how Dave Conwill didn’t mind getting dirty. The very low shots that you see, were taken with the photographer lying in the dirt road on his stomach to get that ‘magic shot’! 

1930 packard standard eight hilton head

This 1930 Seventh Series Packard Standard Eight 7-33 Phaeton. 

7-33 means the 7th series Packard on a 133 inch wheelbase. 

The Hemmings story, very interesting, compares the car with all of the other comparable cars of that year, that were competitors. The story also does a great job placing the Packard into the great 1930 stock market crash. According to “ The Standard Catalog of American Cars” the company had built over 41,000 cars in 1928 and another 43,000 in 1929. The 1930 production showed the affects of the crash with only 28,000 built. 

The 733 came in ten different body styles from the roadster to the limo. The engine produces 90 HP and the car weighs about 3900 pounds. The Wescott’s have put 3000 to 4000 miles on it and Gene says it loves to travel 40 to 45 MPH. They have basically done nothing to the engine. It is believed some engine work was done back when the doctor had it and it still climbs the hills like a champ today. 

One interesting call has come from California because of the Hemmings story. The gent who called had moved West in 1951 and told about his dad being the bookkeeper for the Packard dealership in the Burlington area while he was growing up. He had a chance to drive many of the Packard’s from this 7-33’s period. He remembered a local musician traveling to Rutland for a concert in his Packard phaeton. His memory of the musician driving up to the concert hall and retrieving his huge base instrument from the car’s back seat stays with him today. We VAEers are lucky, as we will be seeing the Packard in many of our upcoming events. Now that we know a bit of its history, we will be looking a little closer at her beautiful lines.