1905 Ford Model F

Henry Ford made about One Thousand Model F Fords in 1905 & 1906. It is understood, maybe, thirty-five remain in the world. Two Model F Fords can be found in Bill Erskine’s barn. Bill is pictured testing the cornering abilities of this Model F!

It was over thirty years ago that Bill Erskine found his Model F Ford in Western New York, in a town named Angelica and not far from where he grew up. But, the Model F was not the focus of his attention then. The gent who owned the Ford also had a 1903 Rambler and an International High Wheeler that caught his eye.

An example of a 1905 Model F Ford

So, in normal “Bill Erskine fashion”, he made a deal with the old-gent owner of the Model F. Bill would restore the Model F to running condition in exchange for the other two vehicles. The gent agreed to the exchange, BUT, Bill could only take pieces of the Ford at a time, never the whole vehicle. Bill went home with the Model F engine that day, while the Rambler and the International waited for him to complete his deal.

Some time later, Bill returned the engine. It was restored, after many hours, and boxed very nicely in a wooden crate. He went home next, with the frame. Shortly , after beginning the frame work, Bill had a call from the NY police, it was found that someone had stolen the Rambler.

So, all work on the Ford stopped and in exchange for the work he had completed to date (plus some cash), Bill came home with the International High Wheeler and a 1916 Franklin.

Some twenty years later, Bill was visiting his family (not far from Angelica, NY) and decided to stop by a junk yard in the area. Guess what he found in the junk yard… you guessed it… he found the stolen 1903 Rambler! The Rambler was later purchased by someone (not Bill) from the junk yard and a settlement was made with the original owner.

Now, fast forward 27 years. Bill had stopped by a few times over the years, hoping to make a deal on the old gent’s Model F, but besides a nice conversation, he always went away empty handed… until three years ago. A deal was finally made and Bill became the proud owner of the ‘05 Ford. The engine was still in the crate that he had made for it but the body had deteriorated to the extent that it was unusable. A lot was missing and what was left could only be used as a pattern.

Bill made body patterns after taking many measurements from a Model F at the Ford museum. He then combined his measurements with two partial sets of patterns he had borrowed from people in Texas and Ohio and started building the wood body. About 120 hours of work in his wood shop produced his first body. It is important to note ’his first body’ because someone in the Midwest had heard about the project and Bill agreed to build a body for him also. The second body is what you see on the front page. When the gent who wanted to buy the body changed his mind, Bill decided to continue, and build a frame for the second Model F, and close to 100 hours of work later, the steel work was completed. That is what you see him sitting at on the front page. He has found a second engine and most of the parts needed for a complete 2nd vehicle.

Maybe the model F count is now 37, because of Bill Erskine’s creativity!

His plan is to use the first body for the original frame and engine. He hopes to sell the second Model F Ford to help lesson the amount he has invested in the two projects. There might even be a Model F for sale in his Hershey space next October. Some of us will need to travel South next Fall to find out!

1929 Chevrolet Roadster

Gael and Judy Boardman’s 1929 2-Door 2– passenger Chevy Roadster 

  • We know from the bill of sale, in 1999 Gael purchased the roadster from F.E.Rambo of Saginaw, Michigan. 
  • We believe, Steve Dana with his truck and trailer, joined Gael and brought the Chevy home to Vermont. 
  • We know, there was something else that Judy was suppose to remember, but she does not remember what is was. 
  • We also know, from the picture below, that is in the “VAE 50th Anniversary Book”, that the car was “on the road” and operating. He was ‘touring’ with his two granddaughters. 
  • We know, at some point, there was some engine work done and that Gael was ribbed by many VAEers with “When do you think you will get that Chevy running again Gael”. His response was usually close to…” All I have to do is tow it down the road a bit to break-in the engine and it will be ready”. 
Gael Boardman and his granddaughters in his 1929 Chevy Roadster

Gael died a few weeks ago and left these un-answered questions and thousands more. Just focusing on the Chevy, can any of you help with the car’s history? The car is now running, thanks to Fred Gonet and Wendell Noble’s recent work. 

The bill of sale has lead to an obituary of Frederick Earl Rambo passing in 2008 in Saginaw, Michigan. Mr. Rambo left his wife and three sons, so there might be some roadster history found there, with some research. 

Wheel Tracks has Saginaw obit. 

Hey Gael… Why are the hub-caps on the driver’s side different than the other side? 

What work was done to the engine? How long did Gael drive the car before starting the engine work? Why did he choose to purchase a Chevy roadster? 

Wheel Tracks has called and talked to or left messages to many VAE “old-timers” and the car remains a mystery. 

This is what we know about the Chevrolet Corporation’s 1929 model automobile. From the “Standard Catalog of American Cars”…… 

The 29 model Chevy had a more rectangle radiator shell with an up-right “bow-tie” logo at the top. There were fewer vertical louvers on the hood side panels and placed toward the rear. For the first year, there were one-piece full crown fenders and bullet-type head lamps. The rumbleseat sport roadster was a mid-year addition to the line. Which makes Gael’s roadster, with a huge trunk, an early 1929 model. 27,988 2-passenger roadsters were built that year. 

The engine is an overhead cam inline six with a cast iron block. Brake HP is 46 @2600RPM. There are three main bearings, solid valve lifters and a Carter one-barrel carburetor. The Chassis’ WB is 107 inches. 

There is a manual transmission, straight cut gear with 3F/1R. A single plate dry disc clutch, with 4-wheel mechanical brakes. All ’29s had disc wheels. 

Options…front bumper, rear bumper, Single or dual sidemounts, sidemount covers or a rear mount cover. A trunk rack, a steamer-type trunk, a heater and an outside rear view mirror. Also available options, a cigar lighter, runningboard step plates, wire spoke wheels, wind wings and a hood mascot. 

Total production in 1929 was 1,328,605 which includes 73,918 made in Canada. 

Advertised as “A Six for the price of a Four”. MPG approximately 19 

The Vermont Antique & Classic Automobile Show – 1957 to 2019

Not a lot was written about 1957 other than a race up the Mt. Mansfield Toll Road by a Stanley Steamer and a Model T. In the 1958 VAE Show, there were eleven cars registered. This year, we expect over 600 registrations in 34 classes. We have grown-up! 

1960 stowe vt antique car rally

The Stanley Steamer won the race in 1957. It turns out, steam does not care about elevation changes…but…Model Ts do care. Our 50th Anniversary book reported that the T did make it to the top of Mt. Mansfield’s Toll Road but it had to do it backing up the entire 4 miles! Back then, the August show was called the “Invitational Meet”. 

Around 1969 the VAE August show changed names to “Antique Car Rally”. One of the first car show reports showed up in the winter Wheel Tracks where it was reported there were 225 cars. A comment was made how in only 12 years they went from having a parade with only two cars to the 1969 parade with 180 vehicles. The “Friendliest Car category” went to Paul Dutton’s Cadillac Calliope. 

In 1971, Clark Wright had recently finished as Wheel Tracks editor and Larry Johnson took over. There was an ad for a 1946 Hudson, asking $695. A nice complete car but there was a knock in the engine. The 14th VAE Stowe Rally had 300 cars that year with the “Friendliest Car” being a 1902 Orient motorcycle. There were 11 venders in the flea market. 

The 1979 show moved from Mt. Mansfield parking lot to the Topnotch field. The move created some growing problems but they had 325 cars that year. It was reported in Wheel Tracks that a crow flew over the field at 1;04 PM when they found that some of the “johns” had run out of toilet paper. A white model T led the parade that year and it appears the “Friendliest Car Category” has been dropped. The classifieds had Gael Boardman looking to buy a 10-20 IHC tractor and he also had a 48 Chevy to sell (that was too good to scrap). 

Another move was made after being at Topnotch for 12 years. In 1991, the move was made to Nichols Field, just south of Stowe Village on Route 100. Christine Skinner was our editor then and glee was expressed, in the newsletter, of not having “lake-front” flea market spaces any longer. A 1980 Canadian wolf fur coat was for sale in the classifieds for $275 (requirement….the new owner had to be bilingual). Very little was reported about the Show’s first year at Nichols Field. There was mentioned in August of 1992 that show car registrations had passed 600, (like last year). There were some worried discussions about how many cars the club could handled at this ’larger field’ (discussions of 1000 show cars came up). The Vermont Chamber of Commerce had awarded our Stowe Show, the best summer event in the state. 

Conception Conti was our club secretary in 1993 and in his September Wheel Tracks report, he told of “gorgeous weather” for the August show that year and over 800 show cars. He witnessed car tags from 10 U.S. states and 4 Canadian provinces and one of the best shows, ever. Bob Jones, the president that year, said he would not have survived the show without all the wonderful volunteers (also true to this day)! Bob does not mention the owner, but the President’s Award that year went to a 1947 Ford convertible painted Monsoon Maroon. Bob also discusses a mistake in the recently published VAE’s 40th Anniversary Book, claiming he had been in the Navy. “The closest I ever got to the Navy, was the troop ships, that transported myself and a few thousand others to Korea in the early 50s….as US Army soldiers, not sailors!!!.” 

Jumping to September 2001, when the August show was mentioned by President Fred Cook ( many of the years, Wheel Tracks had no written show after-report). “There can be little doubt, everything came together for the 2001 Stowe Show. VAE’s 44th year, was one of the best!.” Tom Maclay and Dick Currier were the show chairs that year. 

Fred had a special “tip ‘o the hat” for Tom Mchugh that year. It was Tom’s 35th year as the Flea Market Chair….(lets see, it is 2019 now…emm, 35 plus 18 makes it an amazing 53 years that Tom McHugh has been doing his magic in the Flea Market!) 

Ray Tomlinson wrote a note to Wheel Tracks at 5:45AM the Monday after the show. He and his brother, Richard, had co-chaired the car corral for the past 9 years and he spoke about the “amazing show” that year. Ray spoke about being a part of the huge group of show volunteers and listed the many jobs involved in creating a successful show. Les Skinner was the VAE treasurer in 2001, it was noted Les had a huge failure as “The weather Chairman” and he was quietly let-go. Sandy Lambert was the Wheel Tracks editor. 

VAE car show farrs field sign

Fast forward to 2019…. Farr’s Field is waiting for us, the army of volunteers have spent the past 12 months working on this year’s show and we are only days away from pulling the trigger for the 62nd year. It was sad for many of us to leave Nichols Field in Stowe after those many years but the leap to Waterbury was the BEST-EVER outcome. Waterbury is a progressive city and we are now a big part of its great future. 

We need help in these categories if you have an hour or part of a day to spare. Call Duane Leach so he can pencil you in so he knows he has help. 802-849-6174 

The categories……Field set up……Parade lineup……Award lineup…..Someone in charge of speakers….Help with announcing on the field (Gael Boardman’s job) and field take down. 

1926 Ford Model T Speedster

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

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

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

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

26 ford model t speedster

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

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

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

1926 ford model t speedster

The Classic Auto Festival at Shelburne Museum

A collaboration between the museum and our VAE, June 15 & 16.

The first was in 1969 and it was called the “Shelburne Vintage Automobile Exposition”. Different name, same great fun. 

classic auto show shelburne museum

June of 1995 was the 17th VAE Annual Vermont Auto Expo at the Essex Jct. fairgrounds and it’s last. From old Wheel Tracks archives, the weather was great but for some reason Les Skinner was forced to leave his position as ‘The Weather Chairman’. (We will not ask Les about this, as we doubt we will get an accurate answer). 

The January 1996 Wheel Tracks announced, a successful contract was complete, and the June show will change addresses to the Shelburne Museum. Bill Erskine recounted his negotiations with the museum in a one page announcement and description of the new expo in Shelburne. He and Tom McHugh had been co-chairs at Essex and would continue. Bill commented on successfully convincing the museum of the importance of a flea market and a car corral, a well attended show depended on them to draw the public. Bill reported in the July Wheel Tracks that the show was a total success. He reported there were a few “unplanned stops” in the parade from Battery Park. There were countless comments about the museum’s “spectacular setting” and the owner of the ‘Best of Show’ was quoted as saying during the 20 years of going to car shows, this had been the best one. Financially, the club broke even the first year. 

July 1997 Wheel Tracks, Mary Mazur reported a bit of a problem in the Shelburne show parade. The 150 cars in the parade down Church Street was too much for the Police Department to handle!….Yes, one hundred and fifty cars!! The 1996 car count at the museum was 246 and this year it was over 300. There were over 3300 people who went through the museum gate that year. Dick Messier combined three expo shows in Essex and the two in Shelburne on a video tape and made them available for $5.00. (Does anyone have one of these tapes for one of our gatherings?) 

The May 1998 business meeting minutes, as reported by Fred Cook included a request from show co-chair, Bill Erskine, urged everyone’s help with the weather aspect. Fred added…”I think he means pray”. Mary Mazur reported in July the show was, again, a success. The weather was cloudy and a bit chilly but the car and spectator attendance was similar to the previous year. The parade was sorted out and “a good one”. It had been reported the flea market vendors and car corral had been unhappy the first two years because of location and a dusty parking lot. This year nothing had changed that we can find but Mary reported everyone was happy. She explained that it might have something to do with Mr. Rick’s Chuckwagon and Ben & Jerry’s vendors were added to the flea market area. Mary reported that Carol Lavallee’s fashion show was “fabulous”! 

August 1999 Wheel Tracks reports the May board minutes and the decision to change the Shelburne show name to “The Vermont Vintage Auto Exhibition”. 

The July 2000 Wheel Tracks has some of Avery Hall’s ‘observations’….. The weather was great! The 300 car number was added upon by 45 tractors for “The Antique Tractor Pull”. Frank Mazur and his crew greeted and got the cars to the right places in the upbeat spirit of the event. Tom McHugh had successfully “grown” the flea market. Fred Cook and Willis Spaulding & crew manned the Courtesy Tent and he had never seen it more busy. Rick and the Ramblers with Shana Antoniuc entertained the crowd with Western and Auto related music. Steve Dana gave rides and thrills to lucky folks in his Kissel Speedster. From Avery…” Speaking for myself, I had a great time driving around the grounds in my Packard Phaeton…I truly think the moving cars added, a new spirit to the event since people love to see them in operation”. 

November 2006 Wheel Tracks. It appears the June 2006 show at the Shelburne Museum was the end of that eleven run. The VAE board minutes simply noted, “ Since the Shelburne Museum venue, no longer appears to be available, discussion turned to other possibilities…..” 

So..this year, 2019, our show at the Shelburne Museum will be Number 14….a very good number! 

A Celebration of Family

For eighteen years, the Austin extended family have toured the Northeast U.S in their old cars. Above is part of their 2006 tour that included the Champlain Transportation Museum in Plattsburg. The young-ones are “trying out” the museum’s pedal car collection.There is something always planned for everyone, young and older.  

A Celebration of Family, from Jim Austin and The Austin, Danahey and Jarvis Families. 

As a family we have been touring for 18 years. This is a quote from one of our nieces who went on to describe our annual family vintage car tour this way: “The antique cars take us back to simple times when family was more important than careers, electronics and social media.” 

The tours start at different locations throughout New England depending on the area we will be visiting. Usually we all get together some time in the afternoon on Thursday. At this time, we prepare a buffet lunch because everyone shows up at different times. This is the time when we are handed an agenda for the weekend activities. It describes the places we will visit as well as the driving route, and places we will eat. 

First thing Friday morning, after breakfast, we have a short meeting telling who will lead the tour and who will be last in case of breakdowns. Thanks for cell phones. We also go over the rules of the road so as not to make other drivers dislike our slower moving vehicles. We do not travel as a bunch, traveling in groups of three or four leaving room for others to pass. 

At 8:30 we are on the road. One tour in 2006 started in Chazy, NY at a sister and brother-in-law’s place on Lake Champlain. Having a large lawn backed up to a huge apple orchard made it ideal for camping. So out came the tents, travel trailers and motor homes. Naturally we also took over their house as well. 

Our tour started from their home to visit a gentleman’s collection of John Deere farm tractors. From there we traveled to the Plattsburg air base to visit the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum. This was a small collection of vehicles featuring the Lozier automobile which was made in Plattsburg. There was also a collection of model cars and trains. The kids really liked the pedal cars to drive around the parking lot. Next was a trip down to Ausable Chasm,the Grand Canyon of New York. The trip would not be complete without a raft ride down the river. There were many views of the Chasm bottom from the top. Next, we headed back to the base at Chazy for our social gathering and dinner. 

We then traveled to Canada through customs and on to Park Safari. This is a big wild animal park with many things to do, we spent the day there. Going back thru customs wasn’t too bad, then back to home base for another wonderful meal. 

The Shelburne Farm tour in 2016 was also memorable. We were treated to a guided tour of the grounds in our antique cars. A nice thing was having our cell phones and speakers in each car so we were connected to the guide who explained each event as we traveled around the grounds. 

Another time we started in North Conway, NH. We were privileged to visit a wonderful collection of horse drawn vehicles and wagons. There were over 90 wagons including two from the Queen of England’s stable, 6 Concord Coaches, Military Wagons, hearses, Peddler’s wagons and many more, of all kinds. 

Other places we went to, included Six Gun City in Jeffersonville, NH. There we were invited to drive our vehicles into the old western town village and park them on their main street while visiting all the other sites inside Six Gun City. Many tried their skills in the mini auto racing cars. 

Visiting Clarks’ Trading Post, in Lincoln, NH was a real treat for the kids as well as the adults, especially watching the trained bears and the steam train ride. The Wright War Museum in Wolfeboro, NH was very interesting. While in Wolfeboro we visited two exceptional private auto collections. At one of these collections, one young boy, 5 years old was fascinated by a high wheel bicycle. He looked it over many times and then had a question. He went up to the owner and said “Sir, how do you put training wheels on that bicycle?” 

We visited the wonderful ABC auto collection in Chocorua, NH. Today, it no longer exists. Another wonderful collection of cars located in Newport, NH has been sold and is not available any more. It was in a restored brick factory building holding the Rugar auto collection. 

What a great ride our family has had. Every year is a treat, from the places we stay, events, the museums, car collections, displays, parks, card games, you name it, they are all amazing and enjoyed by all ages. We are very fortunate to have a family that enjoys being together. Young and old we all look forward to the next family tour celebration. We usually have 32-35 family members on the tour, the most we have had is 44. They come from Oregon, Arizona, South Carolina, New York, MA, NH, and VT. 

To quote my daughter-in-law: “I now understand why my kids were so excited every year about the car tour and learned the attraction, fun and adventure. We all have built relationships with the family that they never would have without the tour. The family has become great friends.” 

Shelly Nolfi, Needham, MA. “What my father created is truly a legacy that I hope will continue on for generations. We’re so lucky to have a family, that takes the time every year, to be together for 3 days for a family reunion on antique wheels.” 

M37 Military Truck

Bob Chase seems the happiest when he is around Military vehicles, like this moment when he was unloading an M37 truck at the show field. 

He has been a co-chair of our August show since 2004. 

Duane Leach joined him in 2010 and together, they have exceeded all our expectations. The two live on opposite sides of Mount Mansfield and in the hundreds of phone calls they make to one another, Bob usually starts his conversation with…. 

“Hello, from the other side of the hill.” 

1937 Dodge MC Pickup

Mike Felix’s 1937 Dodge MC Pickup

From the build sheet I obtained from Historical Services at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, I have determined: 

My 1937 Dodge MC was built on June 23, 1937 at the Chrysler Corporation, Dodge Truck Division, Hamtramck plant in Michigan. When it left the factory it was shipped to Perth Amboy, New Jersey with the following options installed: shock absorbers, front and rear ($9.50), interior sun visor ($2), auxiliary windshield wiper ($4), a tire lock ($2.50) and a rear chrome bumper ($8.50). These accessories are still with the truck except for the tire lock, but the hole where the tire lock shackle would be locate is present in the hub where the spare attaches to the fender assembly. 

1937 dodge mc pickup profile

Curiously, two items on the build sheet remain unresolved at this time. The first is the abbreviation, “sov”, in the list of options contained in the build sheet. Accordingly, the truck was built with three “sov” and I currently have no idea what the “sov” abbreviation identifies. Secondly, I can not determine if the truck left the factory with the utility box. The build sheet indicates the rear body as a “2”, unfortunately I am unable to determine what the “2” refers to, when describing the rear body. And the “rear fender” option is left unchecked on the build sheet. As you might expect, the truck has no rear fenders. If you know of anyone with knowledge of the coding used in Dodge build sheets from that era, I would appreciate their contact information. 

1937 dodge mc pickup back

I have had several automotive professionals analyze the utility body to determine who manufactured it. In addition to being unable to locate a makers mark, these individuals all concluded that the box was made by a manufacturing concern and not a one-off built by a local craftsman. The gauge of the metal and the accuracy of the stampings indicate to them, that the box was built by, an unnamed industrial manufacturer. The wiring and fittings used to secure the box to the frame rails also indicate the truck probably left the factory, with this box attached. If you know of anyone with knowledge of utility boxes and their manufacturers, I would appreciate their contact information. 

1937 dodge mc pickup interior

The history of the truck from the time it left the factory until somewhere in the 50’s is unknown to me. The individual from whose estate it was purchased, in the 50’s, is identified in the faded black paint on both doors – Hans Kuhn, Builder, Grand Gorge. Grand Gorge is located in rural New York as is the farmer I pur-chased it from in 1977, who worked a dairy farm in Franklin, New York. During my college years I had seen the truck occasionally moved around the farm and noticed it did not have license plates on it. The story goes that the farmer bought the truck to use on the farm and for his boys to learn how to drive. The boys had no interest, so the farmer did not register it for the road. He used the Dodge to drive around the farm for approximately 20 years. So a few years out of college I got enough courage to ask him if it was for sale, we struck a deal and I towed it home a week or two later. 

When I purchased the truck it was not drivable, the engine was seized, the interior was unusable, the windshield was delaminated, the rear window was broken and it had 107,960 miles on the odometer. I intend-ed to restore the truck and have fun with it. Over the years I never had the time or resources to devote to the truck. Fast forward from 1977 to 2015, the spring of ‘15, my son motivated me to get the truck running and usable again. Each of the trucks systems were evaluated and all parts that needed to be replaced were, so it would become a reliable driver. The Dodge passed Vermont state inspection in October of 2015 and I have been using it since. It does not have special antique plates, but regular truck plates, so I can enjoy it whenever possible and not have to worry about the restrictions imposed on vehicles with antique plates. 

The truck is as original as I could keep it and still be a reliable driver. The inner surfaces of the utility box has its original paint as does the fenders and firewall. Some-where in the 50’s a previous owner hand brushed the light green paint over the stock dark green paint. Inside one of the utility box compartments are the two remaining original sliding wood trays used to hold tools. 

The Dodge is used for weekend chores and has successfully taken me on one 320 mile round trip excursion in under 24 hours. What fun it is to experience the response of people as I pull into a shopping area. Most rave about the originality and patina of the truck, the uniqueness of the utility box and implore me not to change it. Double clutching to and from my weekend destinations has become something I very much look forward to and hope to continue enjoying for years to come. 

1968 Ford Mustang Coupe

The Mustang was the right car at the right time

Hello fellow enthusiasts, 

I know what you’re thinking, oh great another story about a Mustang. A dime a dozen at the car show, just like a Model A or Camaro. We’ve seen them before and there’s nothing more to see and I suppose for some people that’s true, but we all have our preferences and interests. Which is why attending shows is so important, every car has a story behind it and every owner likes to share it. 

1968 ford mustang

Most of you grew up during the muscle car era of Detroit, so you recall seeing a Mustang on every street corner and parking lot, which is true. Over 1.9 million units were built between 1964 and 1968. With over 10 million built to date, you can’t deny the appeal of this American icon. The Mustang was the right car at the right time. Styling and performance that the baby boomers wanted. Gone are the huge land yachts, no more fins and massive chrome bumpers, the American car culture was changing. Everybody has a story about a Mustang whether they bought one new or had a family member that owned one. The automotive icon has touched the hearts and imagination of car enthusiasts nationwide since it’s inception. 

In March of 1985 I purchased this 1968 Mustang with 62,711 miles from the original owner in Essex. I was a senior in high school at the time and my friends were all driving VW Rabbits, Volare’s, and Delta 88’s. I remember looking at a 1959 Oldsmobile Super 88, baby blue, with a missing head, quite the car, but my dad talked me out of it in favor of the Mustang. I think it was largely because he owned a Mustang while in the service back in ‘67. Little did I know that this decision would lead to a lifetime hobby. I have the original build sheet from the car which was taped to the wiring harness under the dash. This is the birth certificate and lists all of the options that the assembly line workers would add to the vehicle as it rolled down the line. My Mustang was born with a black vinyl top, white wall tires, hub caps, am radio, 3 speed transmission, and a 200 cubic inch six cylinder engine. The color was Sunlite Gold. Pretty sparse on the option list, especially since Ford offered over 40 options for the consumer. 

dave stone

For the next year and a half, I used the Mustang back and forth to work and cruising around town, plus a few trips down to Saratoga for summer concert events with friends. Every Thursday night you could find me at Thunder Road watching the Lamells’ race their two Mustangs, they were one of the few who carried the blue oval. Like any teenage car guy you need to modify and make the car your own. One of the first things I did was purchase a set of gold nugget rims. I didn’t want to keep chasing down the hub caps, every time I spun the tires, managing only wheel hop. The fat tires put an end to this antic, the increased traction was dominate over the 110 horsepower. So it was off to the salvage yard with a friend and his station wagon to locate a 302 V8. We found one out of a van and loaded it in the back of his Volare and off we went. The engine needed a rebuild so I spent the next few years putting the engine together. I ported and polished the heads, installed a performance camshaft, plasma rings, high volume oil pump, Offenhauser intake with Edelbrock 4 barrel carb. I didn’t want to deal with headers so I located a set of 289 hipo exhaust manifolds. These manifolds bolt right up and provide unrestricted flow. I soon set off for college leaving the 302 in my bedroom, serving as my bedside stand for the next few years. 

Four more years would pass before the 302 found its new home. In 2000 the 302 was finally mated, to a toploader, 4 speed transmission. I removed the little engine that could, detailed the engine compartment and installed the V8. I had driven close to 50,000 miles with the six cylinder and three speed and now had mixed emotions about the swap. No longer a teenager, the rational side of me was coming out. Should I keep the car original? Well, the first turn of the key with the 302 quickly erased any of that nonsense. Just the sound of the dual exhaust made it all worth while. I enjoyed the new power and 4 speed, it was a new car for me. The feeling of wide open throttle in second gear is awesome, the little Mustang moves! The only down fall was the lack of overdrive, which many cars from the sixties needed. In 2006, I installed a Borg-Warner T-5 transmission out of a late model Mustang. The fifth gear was basically an overdrive and made driving the interstate comfortable. 

1968 ford mustang

Summer of 1986 I decided to replace the battery apron because of rust. I pulled off the fenders and front end sheet metal and soon realized that I was in over my head. I didn’t have a welder or the knowledge to tackle it. One of the good things about our hobby is the resources and experiences of fellow enthusiasts. A knowledgeable Mustanger provided me with the guidance and welding help that I needed. I made cardboard templates of the patch panels and had a local metal shop cut and bend them up for me. Back in 1986 there was a lack of reproduction sheet metal, not like today where everything is available. I ended up replacing the front frame rail, torque box and battery apron, this helped to restore the unibody strength. With the welding done and body panels back on, it was time for a new coat of enamel Sunlite Gold paint. The paint job came out ok for a teenager’ ability with no experience, plus it was painted in my parents garage. Enamel paint over spray everywhere! 

thunder road pit pass

Now fast forward to 1996, I had been driving the Mustang for another 20,000 miles, still with the 200 cubic inch. I had made many trips back and forth to college in southern New Hampshire plus Connecticut for work. The 302 still sat in the corner of my bedroom, but not for long. I located a V8 rear axle and front spindles to make a drivetrain upgrade. Ford had two different suspension set-ups for the Mustang, six cylinder cars had a four lug pattern with 9 inch drum brakes, whereas V8 setups had the traditional 5 lug pattern and 10 inch drum brakes. I was use to brake fade on hot summer days with the 9 inch brakes, an unsettling feeling in traffic and I don’t miss that at all. Another benefit to the V8 set up is the number of after market upgrades available. 

By now it’s been 25 years since the garage enamel paint job. It was dull, tired and worn out. I was in a parking lot one day just getting out of the car when I heard a couple talking about my Mustang. “Yeah, nice car but it needs a shine” I stepped back and looked at the old girl and concluded the same. Now 2011, I stripped off the Sunlite Gold enamel and started an exterior restoration replacing a door and rear quarter. It was repainted with a modern urethane metallic gold, from the 2009 Ford lineup. The color is a little more brighter than the original but it still pays homage to its roots. Hopefully this paint will be as durable as the enamel. 

1968 ford mustang coupe interior

My future plans for the Mustang include power disc brakes, I think it is a wise upgrade from the 10 inch drums. The Mustang will continue to be my daily summer driver in a world of throw away cars. I hope to accumulate many more miles and memories through out my travels. Just another Mustang, too many yes, but now you know how this little Stang is a part of my life. It’s not how much they are worth or how well they shine but the story behind the steering wheel. When you ask a long time owner about their vehicle it will always include memories. 

Drive on…..David Stone 

1955 17 foot Shepard Runabout

Selby & Maureen Turners’ 17 foot Shepard Runabout. 

1955 shephard runabout

It’s winter, the snow swirls around my storage barn, just feet away from the Lake and safely tucked in among the cedars on Isle La Motte. I enter, almost tentatively because I’ve not been in for several weeks. I flick on the lights and suddenly the 35×75′ space is alive with all my summer friends: 3 antique cars ranging in age from 67 to 88 years and two boats ages 96 and 64 as well as two 61 and 67 year old tractors, several newer boats, carriages and assorted lawn machines etc. The 1955 Shepard mahogany runabout sits in the middle and I’m drawn to it because I’ve promised it a spring coat of varnish. I’m already imagining the task with a pad of 220 grit paper in one hand and a soft brush in the other. I try to remember to varnish before summer humidity so the drying won’t blush and think about maybe adding some japan dryer to hasten the process. 

The 1955 Shepard is a 17′ (all original) Canadian made mahogany boat built to compete with US made Chris Craft. It is a “runabout” as opposed to a “utility” because the engine is covered by a hatch and not a box which you need walk around. Runabouts are considered more of a “sporting” boat while the utilities would more likely be used for maybe fishing. Shepard built their products first class. The 17′ runabout has a double planked bottom and is designed to accommodate 5 passengers in the same cockpit. To achieve this, Shepard installed the engine with the flywheel facing the stern (back) of the boat and powered the prop with a V drive transmission. Thus the engine is in the back of the boat covered with a hatch. Most boats are the reverse and their engines are of necessity in the middle of the boat forcing a split cockpit arrangement and, in the Runabouts, a very wet ride for half of the passengers! The engine, original to the boat, is a Chrysler “Ace” which develops 95 hp. These very popular marine engines were available as well in 125 hp as the Chrysler “Crown”. The engine is a 6 cylinder, in line flat head. The exhaust is a straight pipe which develops a most seductive and powerful rumble that reverberates across our bay, bringing people to their doors in awe! Shepard had an arrangement as well with Chrysler to provide accessories such as the steering wheel (also used in the 1955 Chrysler cars) and knobs, etc. The dashboard gauge cluster is one used in both US and Canadian boats for several years. 

I purchased the Shepard, we named the M&M after my wife and daughter and alternately the candy (our candy ride), about 27 years ago. I found her in a field of vines and tall grass and covered with old carpeting and torn tarps sitting on an old hay wagon. The owner refused to uncover her until I paid for it. He claimed he didn’t want to sell…I bit. The fates must have been with me because when I uncovered my now purchased boat, the topsides, cockpit and engine were in fabulous condition. In fact, that year I didn’t even varnish! 

1955 shepard runabout stern

There are many stories to follow thru the years including a tornado that flipped the boat upside down and sunk her under her boat lift. We were able to restart the engine before any further damage and I spent the balance of that summer with goggles and mask retrieving fittings at the bottom of the Lake. 

I have another 1955 Canadian custom made, 36′ sedan cruiser that I rescued from the wrecking ball at a boat yard in Colchester. To my wife’s dismay, it resides in our driveway and necessitates some creative turning to negotiate around. 

v drive transmission
Upper left: Engine power into Transmission — Lower left: Power to propellor

V-drive is a propulsion system for boats that consists of two drive shafts, a gearbox, and a propeller. In a “V-drive” boat, the engine is mounted in the rear of the boat and the front of the engine faces aft. Connected to the rear of the engine is the transmission. The first drive shaft connects the rear of the transmission to a gearbox mounted in the center of the boat. The second drive shaft extends from the gearbox to the rear and out the bottom of the boat to where a propeller is mounted