1954 Chevy 210 “The Inliner”

1954 Chevy 210In high school, my car was a 1950 2-door Ford painted black, and had dual exhaust. Two of my classmates had ‘49 Chevies with split exhausts (one of which was done in shop class.) This is when the envy started. How could I make my Ford sound like the Chevies? The answer is: you cannot!

Transportation for the next 45 years consisted of a VW, 3 Chevy wagons, a Nova, a Buick, an Omni, two K-cars, two Tauruses, and a Mercury, before we became a two-car family.

One day while getting gas for our return trip home from South Hadley, MA, we saw a really nice 1954 Chevy 210 2-door with the sweetest sounding pipes. I was hooked again. On another visit to South Hadley, my cousin said that “my” car was for sale and did I want to take a look. Of course I did. Off we went. But the owner wanted too much money. The next time we were in South Hadley was for our 45th high school reunion, Thanksgiving weekend, 1994. My cousin said the Chevy owner wanted to see me; he had become more reasonable. A test drive, a handshake and the deal was made.

The following weekend my son and I went to bring the car home along with a box of some 38 trophies, various moldings, speedometer, a bumper, and several boxes of small parts.

Since owning the Inliner I have made some enhancements. Visually, it has been painted black suede, rims painted red, with caps and rings and whitewall tires. The engine was rebuilt some years ago and mildly modified. The transmission, a Power-glide, was replaced with a TH350 with a shift kit. (Boy, does that car love second gear!) We also replaced the rear end with a ‘57 that came with 3.36 gears.

The first show for the Inliner was the last VAE show at the fairgrounds in Essex. There I met Conception Conti, he signed me up, and gave me a handful of old dash plaques. I have been collecting them ever since.

That same year was our first time at Stowe. As I was heading down the hill looking for my registration number, I heard, “What are you doing with Ray Faginski’s car!?” And that is how I met Barry Rickert, apparently a friend of the man I bought the Inliner from.

Marty and I have become good friends with Barry and Ginny Rickert from Wilbraham, MA. Over the years together we have put many miles on our Stovebolts.

We meet great people who share our interest in the old car hobby!

Editor’s notes….Andy tells me there are over 3000 members in the world wide “Inliner Car Club”. For you folks just learning, like me, the term inliner means the cylinders are inline and not like a v8 or v6. Although in Europe the term inliner can include V configurations. An Inliner can be two, four, six or twelve cylinders but the Chevy inline six engine is where the term resides most of the time.
What does stovebolt mean? Well I asked that too and it seems if you want to tear down a Ford you can do most of it with a 9/16 inch wrench…..but when it comes to Chevies they used half inch ‘bolts’ just like they use to build stoves….you know, with quarter inch slotted bolts and the square nuts. Many non-Chevy folks have some fun with that but mostly there are no smiles on the Chevy guy’s face when the term is used.

1910 Sears Motor Buggy

1910 Sears Motor BuggyMany VAE members have seen Bill Erskine’s Sears Motor Buggy. Some have even seen him arrive at a VAE meet with the crated motor buggy just like it arrive by train from Sears, Roebuck in 1910 and watched him assemble the vehicle.
Bill has had this Motor buggy since 1999.

Reprinted from old publications Wheel Tracks found that…..Lincoln Motor Car Works was an automobile company in Chicago, Illinois. It produced cars for Sears Roebuck from 1908 until 1912. Nine models were offered, priced between US$325 and $475. They were sold by mail, out of the Sears catalog. Sears had a very lenient return policy: cars were sold on a ten-day trial basis.

The cars had an air-cooled, two-cylinder, horizontally-opposed engine, similar to that later used on BMW motorcycles. The engine was located under the floorboards, beneath the drivers feet, and started from a hand crank in the front. Early cars were rated at 10 hp, and later models developed 14 hp.

In the interest of simplicity, all models used a friction-drive transmission. A roller (a metal wheel with a rubber surface vulcanized to increase its grip) on the front sprocket shaft was pressed against the machined rear surface of the engine flywheel, thus driving the sprocket shaft, the drive chains and the rear wheels. Moving the shift lever set the drive roller to various positions on the flywheel, either nearer the center or nearer the edge, effectively changing the “gear ratio” for climbing hills or driving on level roads. Moving the roller past the center point spun it backwards to give reverse gear. The “clutch pedal” worked differently from most other cars, in that the operator had to hold their foot on the pedal to keep the roller pressed against the flywheel (the catalog claimed that the weight of the operators foot was sufficient to provide forward motion). Removing the foot from the pedal allowed the roller to spring back from the flywheel, effectively providing “neutral” so the car could be cranked without moving forward.

1910 Sears Motor Buggy advertisementThe engine was lubricated by an “oiler”, essentially a tank mounted under the seat which had several adjustable drip feeds with separate lines to the engine bearings and other areas. All components of the transmission were exposed, so several bearings and pivots had to be oiled or greased manually from time to time.

Despite Sears’ solid financial bases and great marketing ability the Sears Motor Buggy was doomed from the start. Sears competitors were making many advancements and by 1912 Sears automotive division had lost $80,000. After selling around 3500 Motor Buggys in four years Sears decided to stop. Lincoln Motor Works continued into 1913 to make vehicles under their name until they also stopped.

1910 Sears Motor BuggyToday we call the vehicles “High Wheelers” but the term very likely will confuse any ‘old timers’. Sears had it’s Motor Buggy and International Harvester had its “Auto Buggys” and “Auto Wagons” like the picture to the left. Auto Buggys had a back seat and Auto Wagons did not. IHC made this type auto wagon from about 1909 through about 1915 when the term motor truck slowly took over. IHC made many models of vehicles during this period: from the auto wagon and auto buggy to the roadster and the touring car, in all over 11,000 vehicles were built.

Have you ever seen a Sears Motor Wagon and an IHC Auto Wagon race?
Watch here, or go to this address on the web, it is a hoot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qLpBv4qm6A

If somehow we could take ourselves back to visit 1910 when the Sears and IHC were trying to make a buck building motor vehicles you will find a few competitors. No wonder Sears stopped and IHC went to trucks! Here is a partial list of the other car companies.

1910 auto manufacturers
By 1910 there were 290 auto manufacturers in the U.S. with over 458,000 cars on the road.

My 1963 Austin Mini

1963 Austin Mini Following WWII, the British auto industry was under the mandate of “Export or Die”. As a result, the most popular imported cars in the States after the War were British. According to Ward’s Auto World, the British had a 96% share of the U.S. imported car market in 1952. Today it is less than 1%. Popular post-war British cars were the MG TD and the Jaguar XK120. When most “car people” think of British cars, sports cars come to mind. Indeed, at the British Invasion of Stowe car show, Austin Healeys, MGs and Triumphs are the most popular entries among the hundreds of cars that show up.

But the highest volume product ever made by the British auto industry was the Mini. With 5,387,862 units produced from 1959 to 2000, the Mini outlasted several of its corporate owners. Though Minis were never imported in great numbers to the U.S., they were highly innovative when introduced and set the style of transverse engine design for practically all front-wheel drive cars that followed. The concept was exceptional:
a practical sub-compact car 10 feet long, 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall that would seat 4 adults. Over 80% of the car’s volume is for its occupants. Its 10″ wheels are located at the corners of the body. Originally called the Austin Seven, the car came equipped with a 38 h.p. 4 cylinder en-gine of 850cc. capacity. By 1964, some were factory-modified with a 1275 cc, 78 h.p. engine by Formula I car designer John Cooper. Thus was born the Austin Cooper, aka Austin Mini Cooper. These cars went on to win rugged European rallys with boring regularity in the 1960s, including the Monte Carlo Rally in 3 separate years. A highly modified Mini from New Zealand recently clocked over 200 mph at Bonneville.

Most Mini enthusiasts don’t recognize the current BMW-made Mini offering as a “proper” Mini: It weighs almost twice as much and is a full 2 feet longer. It is available in styles that are even heavier and longer yet. That being said, the new Mini is a car better suited for American conditions than the original Mini ever was. In standard form, the old Minis suffered from the usual British car maladies: overheating, leaking oil, weak engine internals, poorly shifting transmissions and generally poor quality control. But an old Mini is so light and small that it can corner at frightening speeds if you keep your right foot into it. It has been described as a go-cart on steroids, with (as the Brits would say) cheeky good looks to boot.

I bought my Austin Mini around 1977, but family responsibilities kept me from getting it on the road until the late 1990s. I had wanted one since I was a kid in the 1960s. Knowing the mechanical shortcomings of the original car, I knew I was fated to perform an engine swap. The Japanese small car field could provide the powerplant needed to make my Mini a durable highway performer. Equipped with a tape measure, I checked the junkyards for a donor vehicle with an engine/transmission of suitable size, such that I wouldn’t have to cut the Mini body. I found such a front-wheel drive power unit in a 1993 Geo Metro. I was a bit wary at first since this car has a computer on board to control the fuel injection system. But then I reasoned that it’s only wiring and I should not fear. I was right – with a factory wiring schematic I could tell where each wire had to go and it all worked out well.

This Geo Metro engine is made by Suzuki and it is “the Little Engine that Could”. It is a 3 cylinder, 993 cc. 55 h.p. unit coupled to a 5 speed transmission that shifts as smooth as silk and weighs 100 pounds less than the original 38 h.p. engine. My car weighs in at just under 1300 pounds without the driver. The powerplant swap necessitated some tricky surgery on the front subframe but it, too, went well. My Mini looks absolutely stock. But its a sleeper that will elicit a loud chirp from the front wheels when you shift into 2nd gear with a little extra throttle. Its a blast to drive. A recent 210 mile trip was accomplished using 4.1 gallons of regular gas. Prius owners, eat your hearts out!

Have Buick Will Travel

Vin Cassidy 1915 Buick Tourer Vin Cassidy, the tale is told, purchased this 1915 Buick Tourer in Iowa last year (2011) but did not have the room to haul it back to his home-base in Rowley, Massachusetts. Vin and his family operate Cassidy Brothers Forge in Rowley where some very beautiful architectural wrought iron is manufactured. Along with running the sales department, Vin also buys and sells vintage auto parts throughout the U.S. If you are ever in his neighbor-hood you really need to stop by and tour the many garages and containers of old car parts in the rear of the forge business. Many VAE members have bought some of Vin’s treasures at surprisingly low prices.
Now back to the tale and travels of Vin’s Buick…. Earlier this year Vin returned to Iowa and hauled his Buick home. Then in August, deep inside of our Stowe Car Show vendor area we could all hear an engine cough a couple of times then take off with a bang or two. It was Vin’s 1915 Buick looking about what it looks like in the picture to the left. Someone could be seen stand on the trailer feeding fuel to the engine and working the carbure-tor….Vins Buick had arrived in Stowe! No one at the show was interested in buying the car so Vin hauled it back home. During the return trip one of the doors fell off requiring Vin to back-track to Stowe looking for it. This reporter forgot to ask Vin if he found it so you can ask when you see him next.

1915 Buick TourerFast-forward to the Fall Hershey Car Show…. And guess what is making it’s appearance? ….The 1915 Buick sitting rather lost on it’s trailer! About the second day of the show some ‘higher old-car power’ kicked in and yup you guessed it…a person from Iowa appeared and was interested in buying the Buick. It is told the Buick is now residing in Forest City, Iowa with a possible bright future.

Buick made around 42,000 cars in 1915, 19,080 of them were touring cars like Vin’s and the car pictured to the right. They were also still making carriages in 1915, in fact a completed carriage would come out of their factory every ten minutes, some 25,000 each year. The company started around 1850 as McLaughlin Carriage Company not far from Oshawa, Ontario and made it’s first automobile in 1907. In the beginning the cars were known as “McLaughlins”. Later the name changed to “Mclaughlin-Buick” then became simply “Buick” when the company became General Motors of Canada in 1915. Interestingly, until 1914 the cars were finished with the same paints and varnishes the company used on their carriages…some fifteen coats on every car.


Shelburne Area Tour

Showing our stuff at Shelburne Farms  Gael Boardman’s 1918 Locomobile

Lake Champlain  There was an international bicycle race in Burlington on the 18th of August with many roads closed to cars. That only meant the VAE had to get up earlier for our tour start at Wake Robin at 8:30AM. After a grand welcome and breakfast treats from the Wake Robin folks the tour started with many Wake Robin residents joining us. The tour included Shelburne Farms and a wonderful loop into Charlotte where we even found the ‘shortest covered bridge in the world’. The pictures will tell the rest of the story.Charlie Thompson doing “donuts” with his Whippet

Veteran Stowe Vendors

Stowe Show Vendors… here are four of the 250 who brought their wares to this year’s Show. What makes them so special? They have been coming to our show for nearly 40 years.

It was Chuck Haynes’ birthday on the 10th of August, the first day of the 2012 Stowe Car Show. It was also his 37th time coming to the Stowe Show to sell his wares. Chuck, pictured on the right, has been a long time VAE member and was president in 1970. He has seen many changes in our club and has helped guide the VAE to the great club that we are today. Chuck’s son, Paul (on the left) has plans to carry on when his dad decides to slow down.

Chuck specializes in Ford parts and has a 5000 sq. foot warehouse in Montpelier. He sells mainly on Ebay where he renews his listings every Friday, his Ebay handle is vtcarnut.

A car delivery in 1966 started him on his Ford journey. While working for a dealership in Haverhill, NH the owner sold a Model A to a customer in Chicago. The buyer wanted it ‘driven’ to Chicago to be sure the seller was telling the truth about the car and Chuck was chosen to make the 1000 mile drive. While driving through Detroit he decided to stop at the Ford plant with his Model A to see if he could get a fifty-cent tour. This led to a job offer and employment at Ford Motor Company. The big city and big business did not mix well with Chuck’s country background and he soon returned to New England where he was involved in many other adventures in his 68 years. Some of us might remember an auto parts store by the name of Daltons on Hoyt Street in St. Albans. The store opened in 1922 and closed in 2005….Chuck purchased the inventory and spent 14 months moving it all to his warehouse. Can you imagine visiting Chuck’s warehouse?

walter rodiman stowe showWalt Rodiman (left) became a Stowe Show vendor in 1976. A retired Air Force gent and a dealership parts man is most likely what led Walt into his vendor journey. In years past, Walt has spent his summer traveling to as many as 16 car shows. He claims the Stowe Car Show is one of the best. When asked why, he points to the people passing by and says “look at the big crowd and there are no fights…everyone is happy”. Walt has 6 spaces and makes three trips from Piermont, NH to fill them before the show…and full they are. It didn’t take long to discover that Walt ‘knows his parts and his cars’ as customers had all kinds of questions for him. It also didn’t take long to find that Walt is as honest as they come. Customers would have a part in their hands ready to purchase and Walt would be telling them they would be wasting their money by buying the item because it would not fit on their car. Walt has two sons, Michael and Wayne. We all hope his Stowe vendor tradition will continue another 36 years. When asked if he could do something better than the sober expression when his picture was taken he replied if we want him to smile we should wave a one hundred dollar bill in front of him. We all had a big laugh. Good luck to you Walter Rodiman.

denise labrecqueOur next feature vendor is Denise Labrecque from Lyndonville, Vermont. This might be the last Stowe Car Show for Denise unless her son Richard decides to continue. Denise and her husband Rene started coming to our show many years ago and some-times covered 20 others in one summer. Denise lost Rene seven years ago and thinks this might be her last year. She has continued these last seven years by loading her car with only what treasures she can lift and with a little help from her vendor neighbors, she has stayed in business. In fact her Stowe Show neighbors have become such good friends over the years they insist that she spend the nights with them. The only comment from them when asked was how great of a lady Denise is. We hope to see you next year Denise….you can’t quit now!

davey nadeauDavey Nadeau has never missed a Stowe Car Show and 2012 was no exception. Mr. Nadeau had been there to set up their booth but was not there on Saturday, he had driven home to Surry, NH to tend his two dogs. His son Bryan and grandson Davey II was holding the fort. This was the five-year-old’s second time at the show and he knew the ropes. A customer asked if they had a certain item and dad Bryan didn’t have a chance. Davey II yelled “I’ll get it dad…I’ll get it” and all dad could do was stand and watch. People would walk by the booth and yell to ask Davey how he was doing and he of course would run out to greet them. Dad said he knew everyone around. Davey II was all business until a little blond girl his age walked by with her parents. When she asked if she could have one of the display balloons a new race began, the little blond girl got 100% of his attention. Brian has been helping his dad Davey for many years and says the Stowe Show is one of their best. He said other shows charge much more and very few allow them to stay the night on the grounds. He said they had done very well so far into the weekend. Brian’s business when there are no vendor shows is restoring cars for resale. One last Davey II story…. During the interview dad Bryan started laughing and pointed out one of his son’s ways to start a conversation with strangers. He had just gone up to some passersby and asked if they had seen his father.
They of course were ready to help when he points toward Bryan then asked how they were doing.

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 (www.GMMVC.org), 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 http://www.gmmvc.org