Peveril Field Peake – A founder of the VAE

I didn’t know the man, he died in 2007 at the age of 79, but after talking to many of his friends I wish I had. The first Wheel Tracks newsletter in May 1953 contained a three page written by Pevy about a trip with his friend to Pennsylvania in his Model T. A good beginning to get to know Pevy. Here are the first two paragraphs:

an uneventful journey - peveril field peakeThe fun part of this project was listening to the ’Pevy stories’ from his friends, some I can not print. Doris Bailey told about the day that Pevy and his friend John Keefer was on a trip to Boston in his Model T (from Bristol no less). While driving through a village they spotted a neat pile of leaves on someone’s lawn and decided to drive the ‘T’ through them. The leaves went flying everywhere. On their way back the same leaves were again raked into a neat pile but this time an anvil had been hidden in them. Yes, you guessed it….they drove through the leaves the second time and the anvil did a job on the car while someone was watching through a curtain slit in the house. The car made it home but you could tell the ‘T’ has issues. Lloyd Davis tells about the day Pevy sold his 46 Caddy to Adrian West but found he had mistakenly agreed to sell it for way less than its value. While Pevy drove the Caddy to it’s new home with Adrian following he was still mulling over his mistake taking many detours on the way. Adrian finally took the lead and the Caddy made it to Morrisville. Bill Sander has the car today, a picture of it can be seen on page 16. Lloyd also tells about the used VW Beetle that was delivered to Pevy back when the car was first introduced to this country. It had stayed in the driveway for a number of days before Pevy figured out how to get it into reverse. I am told Pevy had quite an Irish temper. He had been known to ‘beat-up’ a car when it refused to start. In one mid-winter story the car actually started after its tires and hood got a thrashing. VAE member Joe Kailin is originally from the New York City area. Joe tells about the day he heard a recent story about some New Yorker running Pevy and his Model T off the road. Meeting Pevy for the first time, Joe pretended he was the New Yorker but seeing the Irish temper come across Pevy’s face Joe immediately told Pevy he was joking. Later when the two became good friends, Joe invited Pevy to go with him to visit family in the city. New York City found out what real snoring was that first night Pevy went to sleep!

Pevy was a serviceman for the Oldsmobile dealer in Middlebury for some time and spent many years working as a quality control person at GE in Burlington. Pevy was a very intelligent man and had an encyclopedic memory. All whom I talked with remembers his ability to recall the smallest details of anything including cars.

1928 willys knight model 56Pevy owned a 28 Willys Knight and in 1957 he entered the car in the first Stowe Antique and Classic Car Show. The main reason, I am told, that he bought the car was because it had a ‘hot water heater’ and that was good for the Vermont winters. The car also has a 9 quart oil sump because it has a sleeve valve type engine and Pevy found out all that oil gets thick when it is cold out and starting the engine is a task. He could be heard a mile away when the car would not start. The car was passed around and traded among VAE members over the years and today sits in a barn in northern Vermont. Pevy paid $35.00 for the car in 1953 when he bought it from someone in New York, the present owner paid Pevy $12.00 in the early 60s for it. VAE names like Chuck Hill, George Farr, Gael Boardman and Lloyd Davis come up as either owning or ‘using the car a lot’.

valve sleeve engine diagramThe valve sleeve engine was invented by Charles Knight in 1905 with smaller engines still using the technology today. Mr. Knight was annoyed by the noise the ‘puppet valve’ type engine made and developed this very quiet engine. The 6 cylinder engine has a ‘vacuum operated oil rectifier’ that recovers the oil before it gets burned and goes out the tail-pipe. One VAE member remembers a picture of a Willys Knight with a caption asking how one would know if the car was running or not. The hint in the picture was the plume of smoke that billowed from the rear of the car. The rectifier worked great but would get plugged easily thus causing the blue smoke. The big question I have now is….will I be seeing this 1928 Willys Knight in any future Stowe Car Show? I hope I do.

VAE Bridge Celebration

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

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

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

What is “A Survivor”

Being car people, we’ve all heard it, whether it be on one of those showcase auctions like Barrett Jackson, in a feature article in a major magazine such as Hemmings Motor News, or simply a word of mouth story from a friend of a friend with a special car. This automobile is a survivor. It’s all original. The car is an unrestored time machine! These words ring loud throughout the collector car hobby but can mean different things to different people.

I’ve been obsessed with cars all of my life but didn’t get involved with the collector car hobby until 1995. As the result of an April fool’s joke by my wife that went terribly wrong for her, I purchased what I thought was an all original unrestored 1973 Mustang convertible. After a multi-year restoration process and thousands of dollars less in the checking account I had probably one of the nicest restored cars that I’ve ever set my eyes on. In fact, the car won first place in the Mustang class at the VAE Shelburne Museum show two years in a row. Unfortunately, the love for a restored car just wasn’t there. I sold the Mustang and then began my journey to find a truly un-restored all original survivor. That has led me to my current collection of Mustangs which include a 1969 Shelby GT350, a 1970 Boss 302, a 1973 Mach I, and a 1973 coupe. Are these all original ? Well, some may say yes, but in my opinion, I have to say no. They all had many of the characteristics that people tend to say make them survivors but a true survivor is very rare. What is a survivor ? Simply stated, I look for a car that has original paint and is as it was when it left the factory floor with the exception of minor consumables such as filters, battery, belts, shocks, etc. Obviously, the more consumables in place, the better. Let’s talk about how I would classify my cars.

1970 boss mustang 302 engineMy 1973 Mach 1 and 1970 Boss are what I will call survivors. They have original paint, original interiors, the drive trains are matching numbers, the glass is original, and all of the performance robbing pollution control piece parts are still in place. Okay, so I’m not being quite truthful. The Boss does have a small area on the hood that was repainted to repair a small dent that happened in a parking lot in 1970 ac-cording to the original owner. I’ll still call it a survivor. The repair is part of its history done by the original owner as maintenance.

david hillman ford mustangsNow, what would I call my Shelby? I can’t call it a survivor. It only has 45,000 miles on it, everything on the car is original, and I even have some of the factory belts and hoses. But alas, the car was re-painted back in the late 70’s by an owner who wanted to keep it looking flawless. I don’t care if the car is 100% original down to the air filter. Once repainted, a car is not a survivor. A repaint also leaves some doubt as to the originality of the body. I’d put this in the class I call unrestored, ie, if selling it I’d say unrestored with one repaint.

My 1973 coupe has only 7,000 miles on it. Wow ! She just HAS to be a survivor, right ? WRONG ! The car could be what I would call a SUPER survivor in that most of the consumables are still in place. When was the last time you saw an almost 40 year old car with original belts, hoses, shocks, exhaust, muffler, and air filter? I’ll better that, when did you last see a set of Trico wiper blades stamped Made In USA !

Unfortunately the original owner had a canoe drop on the hood when it was stored in his garage. That meant a new hood, right front fender, windshield, and the dreaded repaint. Unlike my Shelby, I can’t say the car is unrestored with one repaint. The sheet metal replacement knocks it down a notch. My classification would be preserved with one re-paint.

My passion with all of these cars is that the manufacturing history has not been wiped away by the restoration shop. They have essentially preserved the historic accuracy of factory production cars of the late 60’s and early 70’s. They also hold a story of each previous owner. These were owners that clearly must have had a special relationship with the car. How else would they have managed to survive !

John Vetter’s 1942 Stuart M3A1 Tank

american car and foundry co m3a1 tankThe tank is a 1942 M3A1 built by the American Car and Foundry Company (Berwick, PA). Their main production was in rail cars and like other heavy industry companies; they were selected to build the initial run of tanks before the start of WWII. These Stuart models (all were informally named by the British – Lee, Sherman) began with prototypes in the mid-thirties and continued with variations through 1945.

Power is supplied by a 670 cubic inch Continental 7 cylinder radial air cooled engine. These are twin magneto equipped and were simultaneously used in the Stearman trainer and a variety of other aircraft. The need in the Stuart and in the bigger tanks was for high horsepower with light weight, thus providing more opportunity for heavier armor. A rather large combination transmission and stick controlled steering differential, feeds into final drives on each side to turn the track sprockets. Not unlike an airplane there are lots of instruments to check and some vigilance necessary on the permissible engine revs. Twin tanks carry 70 gallons of fuel and an oil change is 24 quarts.

The tractor is a 1956 Diamond T (M52). It is powered by a 6 cyl Continental 602 cubic inch producing 225 HP.

john vetter stuart m3a1 tankRestoration:
Working on a tank is not for the faint hearted. Parts are not available at NAPA, manuals rare and there is a steep learning curve. I have been fortunate having friends in the hobby, including Jim Mandigo, a professional mechanic from Morrisville, who works at Majestic Auto in Waterbury. Countless weekend sessions have allowed us to redo the suspension, power train, turret, and hull fixtures back to original specifications that likely make this Stuart one of the most accurate restorations in the county.

A very common question is what do you do with a tank- answer is similar to the enjoyment of any antique vehicle; learn about its history, look for parts, regularly skin some knuckles and drive it in meets and shows. There is a Vermont Chapter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association (, with like minded restorers that features an open to the public annual July show in Waterbury (12th-14th).


Editor’s Notes…The tractor is a 1956 Diamond T (M52). It is powered by a 6 cyl Continental 602 cubic inch producing 225 HP. It has a 2-speed transfer case with auto front wheel drive engagement, using todays terms that means ALL-WHEEL-DRIVE….impressive!
In the smaller picture, John is pictured left on the tank. Dan Murry and Ryan Liszewski to John’s left. Bob Hargrove and Liszewski from left on the ground. I wonder if the bag contains secret enemy position maps or lunch?
Throughout my conversations with John another gentleman was often mentioned, that was Jim Mandigo. I needed additional information and when I called he and Jim had just finished dropping an engine into their latest project that might be ready for the next Stowe Show. That is a 6-ton 1945 Ford M20 Armored car. It is a 6X6 with a 140HP Hercules engine and carries a crew of six when used in recogni-zance. The British were so impressed with it’s maneuverability that their nickname of ’Greyhound’ took the place of M20.
You will always find John and the rest of the Green Mountain Military Vehicle Club at the Stowe Show, just walk into the main gate and they are right there on the right. It is tough to talk to them long and not want to go shopping for something in Army colors. Check out their website

1936 Citroen Traction Avant 7C

The Citroen ‘Traction Avant’ (French for ‘front wheel drive’) wowed the crowds when it first appeared in 1934. Its production ceased in 1957, replaced by the legendary and luxurious DS with its hydraulic suspension. The technical innovations on this 1930’s car are dazzling – all steel monocoque welded body (structural – no subframes), hydraulic brakes, rack and pinion steering, torsion bar independent suspension, and, most of all, front wheel drive. It’s low on the ground, with no running boards, and has a wheel at each corner for excellent handling. The 4 cylinder overhead valve engine has wet liners, so there are two alternative displacements, achieved easily by inserting different sized cylinder sleeves. The drive shafts to the front wheels include CV-joints at the hubs consisting of double universal (Spicer) joints with an intermediate ball joint.

ian stokes citroen 7cI saw this 1936 model 7C advertised seven years ago in New Hampshire and went down to take a look. Good news: essentially everything was original (including fabrics) and almost no rust. This is a late 1936 model that included several design improvements. Bad news: basically nothing worked and the engine block was cracked.

So the next 18 months produced many problem solving challenges and successes. First, I got the crack in the engine block successfully welded. I made numerous tools and parts, re-sleeved suspension bushings, rewound the fuel gauge meter and sender, replaced most of the original natural rubber, rewired the entire car. I kept the original interior fabric, though countless washings of the headliner never produced clean rinses.

Now the car has been on the road for 4 years, covering over 1000 miles per year, including three round trips to Saratoga Springs for the annual Citroen Rendezvous (and the Stowe meet, of course). It can still achieve its originally specified 100 km/hour (60 mph) and fuel consumption 10 liters per 100 km (24 mpg).

1936 citroen 7c traction avantOvercoming the challenges to keep this car running is hugely rewarding; then driving is a blast; most of all, you meet great people you’d never have met otherwise. I spent a delightful afternoon in the Swiss village of Cormoret chatting with a former owner who owned the car briefly in the 1970s. He told me about the crazy American who insisted on buying it and shipped it to Virginia, and he gave me copies of photos of the car. The previous owner was in the nearby village of Gray, in Haute-Saone, France. Somehow this car survived the war – the ‘Traction’ was a favorite car to be commandeered by the German military, and it became the preferred transport for the Free French Army and Resistance. If only mine could tell its story.

You can see more, including photos, at

Editor’s notes…. Wendell Noble accompanied me to Ian’s home to meet him and his 7C on a 20 degree Vermont Monday. I know some would not understand how three grown men would not be freezing to death after an hour at that temperature, standing in a garage goggling over this beauty of a car, but we understand. It is amazing the features this car has and it was built 76 years ago. Ian is in the process of rebuilding the four universals on the two drive shafts…and doing a fine job at that. There are no stores that sells the parts he needs so he is ‘making’ them himself, right down to the individual needles of the needle bearings. When you see this car next, make sure to say Hi to Ian, he is a very inspiring person and his approach to car restoration is wonderful.

1947 Hudson Big Boy

mervin wells hudson pickupWhen I called Mervin Wells to ask if I could feature his Hudson Big Boy Pickup for Wheel Tracks this month, all I knew was what is entered in our 2011 Roster. A couple of phone calls later and a visit to Marshfield and presto, I have met some of the nicest folks you can find in all of Vermont.
Merv and his wife Clara live in the Winooski River Valley just south of Marshfield in the farmhouse his folks had and where he grew up; a beautiful valley, even in the middle of winter without our normal snow. Merv is 90 years old and they have been married 67 years, he was a plumbing and heating specialist and Clara a bookkeeper at Goddard College for many years. Their daughter Betty claims the reason for her parent’s great health is Clara’s cooking skills, she has a degree in nutrition. Merv was a drummer in a band back in the 40s and even though Clara’s folks wanted her to “stay away from that drummer”, they finally did marry and raised a family of four boys and two girls, which has led to some 33 around the Thanksgiving table with 5 missing.

1947 hudson big boy pickupNow to the Hudson… Merv purchased the Big Boy in Florida 27 years ago from Ralph Adell. The truck needed a lot of work and restoration but Ralph told Merv he would have no problem driving it home to Vermont and that is what he did, with his son following behind. Years earlier Ralph had found the Hudson in a Connecticut woods and needed to clear trees that had grown up around the truck to get it out. Once the Big Boy was pulled out of the woods Ralph added a battery, gas and oil; started it with no problem and drove it to his home in Pennsylvania, a tribute to 262 flathead 6 cylinder engine. I also heard that engine running and some could say the sound could be close to music.

Merv has since painted the truck in the beautiful two tone grey that you see in the picture, reworked the wood and added many new parts including all new tires. Parades in the area have included Merv and his Big Boy for years but since a small stroke a few years ago has limited his use of the clutch, he has decided to sell. Someone will end up with quite a treasure and the day it leaves that valley, I am sure, will be a sad day. You will see the listing in the classifieds for the contact information.

It was a great pleasure to meet you Merv and Clara, I wonder if there is a day in the future when you could attend a club meeting.

1947 hudson pickup truck

A.K. Miller’s Famous Collection Reappears

I decided to attend the now famous Christie Auction in East Orange in September 1996. I convinced Ross Anderson, a new acquaintance to go to East Orange on the day before the auction to see the cars and possibly partner with me in buying one. After viewing the dust covered and neglected relics of another time we decided we would bid on at least one of the cars. I had met A.K. Miller back in the 1950s driving an HCS touring car and had visited him with John Hawkinson (Hawkeye) a few years later. This early contact had introduced me to the HCS brand and to A.K Miller’s personality which could only be described as odd.

Due to my early contact with A.K. Miller and some further research I became most interested in the HCS cars. Since HCS cars were built by Harry Clayton Stutz (thus HCS), after he had lost the Stutz Motor Car Company in a stock takeover, they were now considered to be Stutzes.

There were several HCS cars in the Miller collection. There were 3 or 4 four cylinder cars with wire wheels and one six cylinder car with disc wheels. It was very difficult to determine the condition of the over fifty cars in the short time available but we developed a list of the cars that we felt might be within reason and how much we would bid. On the next day (auction day) only I was able to attend the auction so it became my responsibility to do the bidding.

HCS touring car restorationThe auction was very well attended due to much publicity and the reputation of the Stutz name as well as the long standing anticipation of the break-up of this most unusual collection. The bidding was brisk. I was successful with my bid for the six cylinder HCS which was numbered lot #22. I made bids on a second HCS but was out bid to my relief.

A great deal of mystery surrounded A.K Miller and his wife, Imogene. They had moved from East Orange, New Jersey to East Orange, Vermont in the late forties, early fifties, bringing with them a huge collection of Stutz cars and other significant cars as well as an autogiro. They lived very frugally even though they had considerable wealth! Occasionally A.K. would agree to sell a car but he would withhold a crucial part for which he was the only source.

harry clayton stutz touring carWe brought our prize HCS and several hundred dollars of Stutz ephemera home to Burlington in my trailer and proceeded with the restoration. A few years after the purchase and the initial restoration, I purchased Ross’s share of the car and continued with the restoration. One can see from the photos that there was plenty to do. This year at Stowe Car Show this car received a first place indicating the restoration was a good one and a fitting tribute to Harry Clayton Stutz and to Alexander Kennedy Miller.

Goodrich’s 1968 Jaguar E-Type

While spending the winter in Florida in 1995 my wife and I drove by a garage in St Petersburg where they did antique car restorations. It looked like an interesting place to visit so we stopped in to meet the owner who gave us a tour. Among disassembled Bentleys, Studebakers and the pieces of a 1939 SS100 Jaguar was a 1968 blue Jaguar E-type which was receiving the finishing touches of a refurbishing.

My wife, who usually is not enthusiastic about visits to car garages, thought that Jaguar was, as she put it “art in motion”. I seized the moment and immediately asked the owner if the car was for sale. It turned out that it was his wife’s car which they had reluctantly decided to sell. We left the shop, talked it over and decided that if he would repaint it red, we would negotiate to buy the car.

A few weeks later we were the proud owners of the ’68 Jaguar which we drove to our first car show in Tarpon Springs. After winning a first prize we were returning to our condo in Largo when true to Jaguar reputation, first the horn failed, then the radiator cooling fans followed by the car overheating. We pulled off the road and were soon passed by two model A’s and a model T!

I mentioned the car to my son who lives in Nashville, TN. He said that he had a friend who had owned a similar car years before but it was blue. The friend mentioned that he had sold it to an antique car restorer from St Petersburg, FL! On a visit to Nashville a few years later I met the previous owner who said that he had to sell the Jaguar to finance his new business. It was the same car.

jaguar e-type cutaway

Since then we have enjoyed the Jaguar, taken it to many shows where it really is: Art in Motion (at least most of the time!).

I grew up in Sheldon, VT & while in college I worked summers at the state park at Lake Elmore and the Tyler Place in Highgate Springs. At Elmore in the 1950’s I met Adrian West (deceased but long time VAE member) and we enjoyed our mutual interest in old cars.

After college and marriage, work took my wife and I permanently from Vermont in the late 1950’s. We kept a camp on Fairfield Pond in the family and have returned there for a few weeks each summer since. After retiring my wife and I became reacquainted with Adrian and joined VAE about 15 years ago. We have enjoyed attending the VAE shows.

We keep a house in Lake Forest, IL where the Jaguar E-type and my son’s 1967 Jaguar 420 currently reside; the 1963 MGB now being in Florida. My son and I brought his Jaguar 420 to the British Invasion at Stowe two years ago where it won second place in the Concours class.

Buick Reatta – A Car Forgotten

To start off with, I wanted to thank you for letting me adorn the front cover of Wheel Tracks with a couple of cars that may seem a bit out of character for such a publication. I say this because when you crack the door open on most feature article cars, the new car smell has pretty much worn off. But at the ripe young age of only 20, these babies are still wet behind the ears. Enter, the 1991 Buick Reatta coupe. I would also like to introduce my daughter Jessica (she has taken a special interest in the Polo green) and my son Jason (he’s got dibs on the Maui blue).

My first sighting of a Reatta seemed almost magical. It was in the spring of 1988 and I was stopped at a busy intersection. From my left came a white streak that as it passed in front of me, seemed to be moving in slow motion (you know the feeling). As the car traveled over the crest of the road, the chassis sprung up and the car appeared to be airborne. As it darted away, I was trying to guess what I had just seen. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I liked it. I would later find out it was an American made luxury two seat sport coupe that was hand built at the Craft Center in Lansing Michigan. With a price tag way out of my reach, It became a forgotten memory. As the years passed, I would make random sightings of this rare and elusive automobile.

Fast forward to the year 2000. On an annual trip back home (Maine), traveling early in the morning on Rt15 east out of Morrisville, we passed Morrisville Used Auto. As I took a casual glance at the car lot, my foot suddenly came off the accelerator (here goes that slow motion thing again). I looked at my wife and without either of us saying anything; she rolled her eyes to the left. This is good because that means “go ahead, you can turn around”. When they roll to the right, it means “you’re crazy, keep driving”. After turning around, we found a shiny 1991Maui blue Reatta in a long line of fine automobiles. Later the next week the car would be in my driveway. I have learned that this particular Reatta had only one twin in 1991. No wonder it was so hard to find.

I picked up the Polo green car in 2010. Its main intention was for parts, but I couldn’t resist, and completed the necessary repairs to get it on the road. July of this year, our family took both cars to the Buick Club of America’s national car meet in Danvers, MA. We had a great time touring the local area, seeing the Red Sox play, and listening to the Boston Pops during the 4th of July fireworks. While at the BCA show, both kids earned their Jr. judging credentials. Jessica helped with the 1940’s class and Jason kept the senior judges hopping in the Reatta class.

Our family has gotten a lot of enjoyment out of the two cars, but the friends we have found in the VAE family and the Buick circle, have been the biggest reward. We look forward to many more stories and adventures within the VAE as our two Buicks motor on.

Fun facts: Years of production 1988 thru spring of 1991. Total number of cars produced 21,751. First 2 prototypes were built in England. Hand built at craft stations, no assembly line used. Cars were sold in house to the PPG paint group, body and paint completed and then sold back to Cadillac. Cadillac owned the Craft Center. Once the cars were completed, Cadillac sold the cars to Buick. 60% of all parts are shared with the Buick Riviera.

My Model T’s

I bought my first T from Herb Gallager of Lyndonville in the spring of ’46 for $20 and a single shot .22 rifle. It was a coupe made into a pickup with no top. My father was mad and later I figured out why. He had been a locomotive engineer from 1904 to 1926 and ‘Engineers’ drove Buicks, Jefferys. Etc., not T’s. Since it was spring Arland Noyes, Wally Davis, Charlie Ladue and I decided to try it out on back roads. When we got stuck Wally would pick up a rear wheel (no fenders) and we would put brush under it. We came to a downhill with a bridge at the bottom that no one had traveled all winter. I gave it full throttle in low. Well, the bands were worn so the low pedal stuck on the floorboard. A replacement push-pull switch was located on the right of the dash. It was all I could do to stay in the road using two hands, no chance to reach the switch or get the low pedal up. I decided to concentrate on not hitting the bridge while the mud splashed on the windshield and Charlie…we and the T made it safely. 30 by 3 ½ clincher tires were hard to find in WWII, so I made adaptors to use ford 600:16 rims on the rear, there were plenty of these tires in the junk pile of Blake’s Garage where I worked. The car was always going ‘uphill’ and I drove it this way through my senior year at LI and started UVM in Janu-ary of ’47. I took all of this last deer season off that year to put in new bands. All the old timers at the garage cautioned me about dropping a nut. I didn’t realize how slippery a well-oiled nut could be and that is exactly what I did…I dropped a nut. If there was a loose nut in the engine and you turned the engine over it would stick to the magneto and good by engine. So I pulled the engine and even though I thought I had it sitting nicely on blocks the engine fell off. When it hit the floor the nut rolled out the starter hole. I hope the old timers thought I knew what I was doing. The car had a water pump so while I had it apart I installed a heater. It helped some but with no top or side curtains it was not too effective. Arland and I hunted that season. One day I came back to the car on Hardscrabble Mountain and there was a deer in the pickup back. I knew Arland could not drive the T. It turned out that Herb Gallager came by and drove it down into the field, the deer was his.

Once the registration expired I had to get rid of the car for financial reasons and some scholarship wording. UVM had a scholarship called the Wilber Fund for Vermont students with a B average. The application was what does your father do? (he was a hotel janitor), does he have a car?, do you?, (no & no…good bye T). How much money do you need, how much have you got, subtract, and pick up the check from the president’s secretary the next day. Shortly after my last school payment in the spring of my senior year (1950) I bought a ’26 four-door sedan for $35 in East Montpelier while hitch hiking to Lyndon Center. This is the car you see in the picture above. There were not many cars at UVM then. If I could not park in front of the closest door of Waterman on Prospect Street things were bad. The President’s secretary saw my car and we ended up swapping rear ends (with $10 to boot) for his Ruckstell. I drove this car from Burlington to Lyndon Center on many weekends. When my folks came by bus for an engineering open house the plan was for them to ride home with me. The Ruckstell stuck in low range and it was a long hot ride, getting home at 1AM, at 20mph. I had an interview with the General Electric recruiter. His comment was that they could use anyone who could drive a Model T. Maybe the T had a bigger influence on my life than I imagined. I got the job and drove this Model T to work on my first day at GE Burlington in 1950, on many anniversaries and my Last day at work in 1988. The car was pretty ragged and not used from 1950 until I got married in 1959. It had been stored outside some. I put in a new battery, water, blew up the tires and drove it from Lyndon Center to Pittsfield Mass., where I started a frame up amateur restoration. I completed this with an engine job after retirement in 1988. Now it is time for another restoration, after all some of the work is over 50 years old.