1966 Ford Fairlane GTA

“I had just about given up, then I remembered my parents had a 1966 or 67 Fairlane. It was a nice car with a 289 and auto transmission. I found this good looking 1966 GTA S-code 2-door in Lynn, Mass.” 

Dave Carpenter, Addison, Vermont

I really enjoy reading articles, be it from Wheel Tracks, Hemmings Muscle Car Magazine or other publications about the men and women that have their first car. 

I am not one of them, although parts of that first ride are still with me, we shall get back to that later. 

It was the 2014 Stowe Show that got us to where we are today in the ownership of our 1966 Fairlane GTA. At the time, I was the Automotive Instructional Aide at Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury . The instructor was not able to use the tickets he had received from the Golden Wrench Award so he asked if I could use them. Not one to pass up a freebee I said: sure. When August rolled around, I said to my wife Mary, let’s go to the Stowe Car Show, I have free tickets. We made a day of it, going for lunch, site seeing and attending the show Friday afternoon. 

As we were getting ready to leave, she asked what was my first car? I responded, “a 1967 Chevelle Convertible”. Then she asked, “what does one look like”? Have you ever been to a car show and seen less than a dozen of that vintage? Well, wrong place and wrong time, as none were to be found, but fortunately I did spot a 1966 Hardtop as we were getting close to the parking lot, on our way out. To my great surprise, she stated, “if you really want to get another one, its OK with me”. Wow, what an offer! I thought I knew pricing on that vintage. Wrong! Want’s are one thing, but I did not need a car that badly to pay what asking prices were. 

I had just about given up, then I remembered my parents had a 1966 or 67 Fairlane. It was a nice car with a 289 and auto transmission. A few minutes on Craigslist and I found a good looking 1966 GTA S code 2-door in Lynn, Mass. We had already planned a trip to see our grandkids who at the time lived in Saugus, only minutes from the car. An appointment was set. We looked at the car, made an offer and two weeks later, Dave Welch and I picked the car up and returned home. 

What impressed me about this car is how complete it was. Sure, it needed a complete once over but it was basically rust free, all trim, emblems and interior original. Mary wanted a complete car, not a project car that would probably never see the road. Always listen to your wife! 

What we have done since 2015 is: a complete suspension rebuild including brakes, springs, shocks and new front end components. The rear end and drive shaft has been rebuilt with new bearings and gears. The engine has had head work done, a new cam and intake manifold. The transmission was totally rebuilt. 

Next on the agenda for 2022 will be new interior pieces such as seat covers and door panels. It will never be a show car but neither was that 67 Chevelle, just a fun car to drive and get an occasional ice cream in. And speaking of that first car, I do have the Motorola 8 track player that was once in the Chevelle. It now resides in the Fairlane, in great working order. So I guess in a small way, I still do have that first car, at least a small piece of it and a fond memory every time I play those 8 tapes ( the one I am listening to at the moment is by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band). 

Flowers – Pruning & Blooming

I have recently come to the realization that I’m not a very good gardener. When we first moved to Underhill, being very young and having started accumulating kids, we moved into a wonderful old house that once belonged to Gael’s grandparents. Gael’s Grandma Bessie was an amazing gardener and she started her flower beds in the late 1920’s. When we moved in, in 1961, there were well established beds. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember what flower was what, so I would have to invite Grandma Bessie’s friends over to, once again, tell me the names of the flowers. 

Fast forward a few years and we bought the old farm up the road and eventually built a house there. When we got around to sell our old house, I had to bring some of Grandma Bessie’s flowers with us. It was pretty much a clean slate at the new place, so we dug some beds to put the flowers (temporarily?) in. I moved as many plants as I could. Because there were a number of stones left over from the house, I started a big rock garden. By this time, we started having goats, pigs, ponies, a dog and cat or two. 

My time was limited, but I was young and had grand ideas. I moved phlox, hollyhocks, iris, lilies and probably some flowers that I couldn’t remember the names of. Some did really well and others didn’t. To this day I can’t get a hollyhock to last more than one season. The goats we had were “flying-goats” and could jump over or crawl under any fence we built and 

they loved to eat (prune?) my flowers. It was an ongoing battle for years. They were really fond of the first daffodils that bloomed in the spring. 

But the flower beds did really well considering the fact that I had lots going on and couldn’t tend to them properly. I would read articles about perennial flower beds and the need to separate or divide things. I just didn’t have the time! But the plants bloomed anyway. 

I don’t know why but friends were always bringing me plants and because my flower beds were getting a bit cramped for space, I would stick these gifts wherever I could. I also had a rock problem, I couldn’t dig a hole without uncovering rocks. Everywhere!!! 

There was one summer when oldest daughter worked at a landscape nursery. In the fall, they were going to toss the perennials out, so she brought home all she could fit in her car, not once but many times. Gael tilled up yet another bed to put them all in (temporarily). 

Well, time flies and here we are in 2021. The flower beds are a mess, crowded and diseased. It starts with little green worms on my azaleas. Then. spider mites appear and soon after the powdery mildew. So, I spray everything with whatever I have on hand and hope for the best. Then there are the weather extremes, hot/cold, dry/wet and so on. I’m overwhelmed. It is much easier to mow the lawn, just sit and steer, than to tackle the perennial flower problems. 

Flowers still bloom, sort of, and not everything makes it through the winter, but I can’t do much about it anymore. I just enjoy the flowers and weeds that do bloom, and that’s about all I can do. A gardener like Chris Sears, I’m not. 

1967 Austin Healey 300 Mk III

A love story for the “VAE Books”. 

jane spender & 1967 austin healey BJ8

When John Spencer sent pictures to Wheel Tracks, he was asked about the young lady. 
He replied, “That is the girl I chased with my Healey!” 
The young lady is Jane Spencer.  John purchased this Austin Healey 3000 Mk-lll in 1970 and his plan worked… what a car… what a catch! 

This from John…… 

austin healey 3000

I bought the 1967 Austin Healey BJ8 in August 1970 from a family in Johnson, Vermont to chase a girl. I still have the Healey and the girl. 

I must give credit to Ed Rotax, an original member of the VAE. He had a vast collection of Dodge Bros vehicles. I had bought a 1924 Screen Side delivery truck from him. I drove it to Stowe that year. At the end of the show, he said let us go see this car you keep talking about. I said it is in Johnson. No problem we can go over the notch to Jeffersonville. That we did with my old Dodge Bros with only rear brakes and not too good ones either. 

john spencer - austin healey 3000

The Healey was my only car, and I was still milking cows on our dairy farm. I put snow tires on the rear and fought the snow drifts on my way to Burlington to see the girl, Jane by the way. It never failed me, but it was not the best in the snow. The car survived the many trials of our life including spending the winter outside. The exhaust was always being repaired. The fenders were patched, and the rocker panel replaced. It finally was retired to the shed for 10 years. 

Eight years ago, I figured I would get it going again and pulled the motor and transmission to repair the overdrive. I keep finding things to fix and I ended up going all the way to the frame. It took me six years to complete it with some help from some great people especially Rally Sport in New Haven. I did all the mechanicals and some body work. Others did the upholstery and paint. 

This is a driver as I am driving around Vermont to find other Austin Healeys. Jane and I are also doing the 251 club in the Healey. 

Any sharp-eyed Healey person will look at the picture of my Healey and say it can not be a 1967 because it does not have dual parking lights. But it is by the serial number and other features. I discovered after buying the car, it had been in an accident and the front shroud was replaced by one from an older model. I decided to keep it that way. It is a pleasure to drive and we plan to put some serious miles on it. See you on the road. 

austin healey 3000 front

I am now restoring my 1931 Ford Tudor, which I bought when I was 14. But that is a story for another time. 

There are twelve Austin Healeys listed on our VAE website, under “Member Vehicles”. 

Some listings might be old, we are sure the vehicles still exist, but their owners might have changed. 

We know of two Healeys not included, they belong to VAE members Dave Sargent and Ken Gypson

The Spencers are doing two things with their Healey that we all could adopt as nice adventures. One is to drive their car to the homes of the other VAE Austin Healeys for a friendly visit. What a great idea! 

The second is something other members have done and should be a club-wide challenge. 

That is to join the “251 Club” and visit all the 251 towns in Vermont, with your favorite “Old Vehicle”. 

Shuffle off to Buffalo? No, silly. Your list!

Have you ever noticed how things get lost in the shuffle? 

From the extra sock in the laundry room that hasn’t found its mate, to the health savings card sitting on your desk that needs verification on how much money is left on it, to the pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs that needs to go upstairs and find their home. Those are just a few of the things in my life that need to be taken care of. Do we call it procrastinating or ignorance, or are we just bored with the vagaries of life? 

Boredom is defined as the state of being bored; tedium; ennui. Ignoring something can be interpreted as refraining from noticing or recognizing. And of course procrastination is defined as deferring action or delaying. 

How would you define those items in your life? I think most people would say any or all of the above would apply at different times. 

So many things have changed in the last 18 months: how we socialize, learn, work, play. And how much time have we had on our hands that we could’ve dealt with our own personal “shuffle” category? But we’ve found creative and energizing ways to fill that time: Zoom meetings, getting outdoors and enjoying nature, taking online cooking classes. Our own personal lists are endless. 

But now with Vermont past the 80% vaccination rate, things are opening up for all of us to come together. We’re celebrating at a hurried clip. The 4th of July just passed and we got out and celebrated like it was the first 4th! Which brings me to our famous car show that is right around the corner. 

I know the committee has been working diligently through Zoom meetings and finally in person to make this a grand reopening of our wonderful VAE. You can’t say they’ve been procrastinating or ignoring the details. So it’s now up to all of us to put the finishing touch on the show by bringing our cars and that neighbor/friend/relative who has never been to the show. How cool would it be to have a record attendance? Pray for good weather so no one can find a reason not to come. 

Do not procrastinate, become bored or ignore things in your life. Look at the rest of this year and beyond as a whole new time to get those socks matched and clear the path up the stairs! 

What’s on your personal shuffle list to finally deal with? 

Life Changes

For as long as I can remember, the previous generation or generations have had changes, that they were very vocal about, said changes not being right or not needed. 

“Things had never been done that way and it makes no sense to change them now”. 

One of the ‘biggies’ was the automobile. Stories have been written about how much chaos they caused with the noise and how they would scare the horses and pedestrians. I am sure there was a learning curve that was or was not followed many times. 

Many changes seem to appeal to the younger set, as a rule. Probably when you are young, everything is thought of as possible and all the fear that goes with change is not there. I, personally, have never cared for change but I have some definite ideas about what ones are good and ones that are not. 

I remember several years ago, schools started changing to “open concept” classrooms. Several grades in one big room, partitioned off with bookcases, student cubbies and movable blackboards. At first, I thought, ‘this is crazy’ only to remember I was in a one room schoolhouse for 1 – 6 grades, one teacher and we did well. Several students went on to Jr High and High school and graduated top of the class. 

Another change was bus pick up. In my time you had to live more than a mile from school to be able to ride the bus. My children had to walk to the main road (about ½ mile) and catch the bus. Now, the bus comes to each house on our street. 

One of the changes I really could not believe, when I first heard, was that cursive writing would no longer be taught in the schools. 

I had kind of forgotten it until recently when I sent my 16-year-old grandson a card. 

I had written him a quite lengthy note enclosed with $20 and he called to thank me (and Grandpa). 

I asked what he thought of what I had written to him and he said ‘have to wait and have my dad read it to me, I can’t read cursive’! 

Now I know this is a bad change, but I am not sure what I can do to change it. I would like to know the reason for the change. Is it because almost no one writes notes anymore? They email, tweet, Facebook, text and other methods that I do not know anything about. I understand that ways of communicating have changed but who would rather receive a tweet than going to your mailbox and finding a note, written in cursive, from a friend, giving you the news in their life. 

I vote we go back to cursive. Or printing and some times called Technical Writing. One vote per person please.

The Auto Technology Program at Cold Hollow Career Center

Meet a few of the folks in the Auto Technology Program at Cold Hollow Career Center in Enosburg Falls: Baxter Weed, pictured 2nd from left, is the instructor in the Auto Technology Program at Cold Hollow Career Center in Enosburg Falls. Pictured with him are four students of the 14 in his junior level class (he has an additional 13 students in his senior class). From the left… Preston Snyder, Baxter, Jacob Hulbert (the winner of the 2021 Golden Wrench Award), Matt Kirkpatrick and Devon Badger. 

Cold Hollow Career Center serves the high schools from Richford and Enosburg in the supervisory district of the five towns of Bakersfield, Montgomery, Berkshire, Richford and Enosburg. This relatively small center, along with Automotive Technology, also has programs in Agricultural Science, Business Leadership, Construction Technology, Digital Media, Diversified Ag, Forestry and a Medical Program. 

The two vehicles pictured here are projects in Baxter’s classes. The “Covid Year” presented lots of challenges for him but his students were able to complete much of the school year’s requirement with remote work at home and modified classes at the center. He created how-to videos for his students to view from home and even sent brake drums to the students homes to be worked on. The can-do atmosphere in his class is really something to witness. 

The 1976 Jeep CJ5 is a long-term project they have had in the program over the past 8 or 9 years. The vehicle was “loaned” to the program by another teacher with the understanding it would take a long time. Baxter says “maybe not this long”. The normal arrangement, when the program works on community vehicles, is for the owner to pay for all material with no charge for labor. 

Baxter says many students have worked on this vehicle over the years, it has been good to have a project like that on hand, that way if a student has time there is always something to do. 

It was in very rough shape when they started, the body was rotten, the engine smoked, there were no brakes, and lots of electrical problems with a ratty interior. The owner grew up learning to drive with this Jeep and was willing to slowly repair it. 

Here is the work/repair list the students have accomplished on the Jeep over the years…….. 

Rebuilt the engine, stripped frame and sent it out for sand-blasting and paint, replaced clutch, new fuel and brake lines, replaced the whole body except the grill shell, hood and windshield frame, customized bumpers, rebuilt the winch, rebuilt the 3-speed transmission and customized the front disc brake setup using Geo Tracker front rotors and calipers. 

The list goes on to adding a custom stereo with subwoofer, LED fog lights, seat upholstery and repair, lots of wiring repair and diagnosis, steering box, 4” lift kit, new soft top and doors. side steps, Holley Sniper EFI system and electric fuel pump, Mojave heater box and wiring, aluminum radiator, drum brake rebuild, front and rear axle reseal and Engine tune-up. 

The shop car is a 2007 Toyota Camry. Baxter needed to have an in-house project during the “Covid Year” where his students could work individually and he said this worked out great. The “project” was to add a turbo to this little 4-cylinder engine and a few things for general appearance. Adding a TURBO must have raised the excitement level for the students, even for those times during remote learning at home! 

Here is the Toyota work list….. 

Installing an Ebay turbocharger kit, added custom turbo piping and intercooler with straight-pipe electric exhaust cutout (donated from former student), front air splitter, modified stock bumper, added fender flares and 18” wheels and tires (donated by instructor (wheels) and a former student (tires). 

They also modified the fuel system, added new seat covers with some interior work, added a tach/gauge cluster and strobe lights, plus the cool rear wing. 

The class hopes to “dyno-test” the Toyota during their next school year to see the results of their turbo project. 

1931 Buick Series 91

Editor’s note….The B&W picture of the body, on the front page, was taken during a visit to the Auto Shoppe in June of 2011. It was a bit of a shock when I walked into Bill’s garage for this story. I knew I was going to see something very nice but the reality was unbelievable! I hope the rest of the club will see this beautiful Buick, in real-life, someday. 

From what you see to the left… To the “Buick Beauty” above…. With just two flicks of Bill Billado’s fingers! Well, maybe not just 2-flicks of Bill’s fingers…. 

Bill Billado’s Buick project really started, some 40 to 45 years ago. Dale Lake was a VAE member from the early 50s. He lived in the house he was born in, on a mountain road in Ripton, not far from Middlebury, VT. Over the years, Mr. Lake had accumulated a good number of old vehicles in and around his barns, across the road from his home. One of those vehicles was Bill’s 1931 Series 91 Buick (sitting outside). Dale Lake’s VAE titles back then was “Mr. Buick”. 

In a 2003 Wheel Tracks column, Gail Boardman writes about Dale Lake and quotes Bill Billado…….. 

“As time passed, things changed in Dale’s remote neighborhood. Folks from “down-country” started buying up parcels of the beautiful acreage and when in sufficient numbers, they decided that they were not impressed with Mr. Lake’s hobby interest, so the battle began. As you can surmise, Dale was not the victor in this legal scrap.” 

The story goes on to describe a VAE gathering where Mr. Lake made a “tearful plea for the membership to ’come and get ’em’ before the crusher deadline arrives. Bill described the summer where every single weekend, good and bad weather, the gang was at Dale’s place, competing and negotiating for his “Old Iron”. The gang included Bill, Tom Beebe, Larry Johnson, Doug Kelly, Roy Martin, Kip Matthews, Tom McHugh, Rod Rice, Gardner Spencer, Ray Unsworth, Al Ward, Ed Welch, Clark Wright, and probably others. Gail’s column describes a side benefit for the “gang” that summer was Dale Lake’s story telling and tips on caring for old vehicles. Mr. Lake always drove old vehicles, some that might not be pretty to look at, but they were all in tip-top mechanical condition. Bill said Dale Lake’s property was cleared of “old Iron” when the gang was finished. Gail Boardman’s 2003 Wheel Tracks column was written after Mr. Lake’s passing. 

Bill Billado

The next period of the Buick’s history was Bill Billado’s description of its ride north, from Ripton. Tom McHugh had purchased the Buick from Dale and a few of his friends had helped him load the many parts and pieces of the Buick onto a trailer. Bill writes…… 

“It was so fragile that it was necessary to tie the rotted wood body to the chassis with rope before setting out on the trip north on the back roads (fewer cops) to Burlington. The car made it all the way to Charlotte (just north of Mt.Philo) when the web of rope called it quits. All hell had broken loose with 4 doors and the rest of the body panels spilling out all over the road. The crew consisting of myself, Tom, Tom’s brother Joe, Clark Wright and Kip Matthews managed to re-load the pieces, haphazardly, back on to the chassis and we then re-tied the whole mess. We decided at that juncture to take the car to my place in Shelburne (without wife’s approval). The chassis was dragged into the woods and the body pieces were then transported to Tom’s place. The car then did a Rip Van Winkle number until many years later.” 

Bill says, to this day, some great memories come back every time he passes that area near Mt. Philo, the day the Buick was spread onto the roadway. 

After many years with part of the car at Tom McHughs house and the rest in Bill’s woods, Tom asked Bill if he would like to take ownership of the Buick. That is when the restoration phase began. 

1931 Buick Series 91

General Motors in the Port Elizabeth plant in South Africa had reconfigured one Series 91 Buick into a “dual-cowl phaeton in 1930 and that is what Bill decided he would like to do to his ‘31. The only difference is theirs was based on the 6-cylinder engine and Bill’s is based on the newer 1931 straight-8 model. 

He drew one eighth scale drawings of his dual-cowl idea to see what it would look like, then began the project. Fourteen inches was added to the frame and the body was shortened by 1/4 of an inch to accommodate the “close couple” rear seat area. He said there were too many great businesses involved to list, that helped him create the Buick that we see today, but one key business was the Auto Shoppe in South Burlington. 

The level of detail in this automobile is amazing, and we doubt there is not a detail or measurement that Bill can not give you from memory today. 

Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

There were 7,853 Series 91 Buicks built in 1931. They weigh 4340 pounds and cost $4340 (over seven times the cost of a Model A Ford). 

* In-line 8-cylinders 
* Overhead valves 
* Cast iron block 
* 3.31x 5 bore & stroke 
* 344.8 CID 
* Compression ratio– 4.5to 1 
* 104 HP @ 2800RPM 
* Main bearing-5 
* Mechanical valve lifters 
* Marvel Carburator 
* 3F/1R sliding gear transmission 
*Rear-end ratio 
* Double dry-plate clutch 

The Shafer 8 Buick in 1931 qualified in the Indy 500 and came in 12th place. 

Fix Your Old Starter

Guest W. Jones this month shows you how to….. 

The starter motor is heavy, sturdy and unlikely to get much attention, but a faulty one will be a real headache. Often located in the depths of the engine bay, making it hard to access even in a workshop, it’s not the sort of component that you want to be trying to remove and dismantle at the roadside. There are two types of starter motors: inertia and pre-engaged. Inertia units are common to most 1960s (and earlier) classics, and work by spinning a Bendix gear that drives itself up the main shaft and engages with the ring gear. If it doesn’t engage, you’ll hear a distinctive metallic grating sound – it cranks the ring gear around. As the engine fires, the excess speed forces the Bendix gear out and a spring re-turns it home. 

Pre-engaged starters are more sophisticated, with a solenoid that pushes the Bendix to engage with the ring gear, before another solenoid supplies power to the starter and gets it to turn over. We’re focusing on the inertia version here, but the procedure is largely similar for either variant. With a tear-down, a cleaning and inspection, plus a fresh set of bushings and brushes, your starter should be good to crank away for years to come. 

First take off the brush cover plate and pry the brush spring clips from their posts in the brush cage. Two brushes will be connected to the backplate and another pair to the coil windings. Undo the nuts from the electrical connection tower and make a note of any insulator collars for reassembly. 

Remove the two long bolts on the rear of the starter and both cover plates and casing should come away from the arma-ture, which will be secured to the front plate. Be sure to mark with a prick punch for reassembly. Take it apart carefully and make a note of the number and location of any shims, thrust washers or nylon collars that come out with the shaft. 

Compress the Bendix spring using grips and pry out the retaining circlip and locating pin. The assembly should slide off, but may have a Woodruff key that can fall out. Note the order of assembly for later. The armature should now be removable through the front plate. Thoroughly clean off any grease. 

Inspect the condition of the insulation on the coil windings, which should be intact and free from moisture or corrosion. A specialist can re-varnish the windings if needed. The pole shoes around the coil should be clean and rust-free, and can be bead-blasted, but take care not to damage the windings. 

If there’s any movement between the armature shaft and the bushings, then the latter need to be replaced. Carefully drive out the old bushings with a socket that’s roughly the same size. Soak the new ones in oil for 24 hours before gently pressing them in with a vice. Ensure that the shaft spins freely in the new bushings. 

Using emery paper, clean the surface of both the winding ‘pack’ (the shiny steel area towards the center of image left) and the commutator ring (to the right). Spinning them in a lathe is best, but be careful not to take off more than light surface corrosion. Clear the end casings of any grease or oil. 

Brushes often have a maximum wear mark, typically about 1/3 inch deep. They need to be unsoldered from the terminal post, with the brushes often paired. They’re identical, but ‘earth’ brushes usually go on the end casing and don’t need to be insulated, while the ‘field’ coil brushes are on the main casing. 

Carefully inspect the Bendix gear. It’s a wearable item (made from mild steel, unlike the hardened flywheel ring gear), but the teeth should all be intact. You can clean worn edges on a grinder, but replacement is best. 

Spring Anxiety

It’s that time of year again, when I feel overwhelmed with chores. This happens every year about this time. What few spring cleaning chores I feel I need to do in the house always have to wait until mud season is over. 

Muddy boots and muddy dogs make it difficult to accomplish much in the house and I usually want to wait ‘til I’m not running the wood stove 24/7. So, I put these housecleaning projects on the back burner and go back to my book. The problem with that is, once mud season is over, I wander outdoors and here is where I am overwhelmed. The yard is a mess, with leaves that never got taken care of, thanks to the oak trees that don’t drop their leaves until I’ve put the rakes, etc., away and little branches that have come down when the wind blew. 

Then there are the ruts from vehicles driving over soft spots and leaving a nice mess on the lawn. There is the remainder of the wood on the back porch that needs to be moved so I can put the furniture back on the porch, but I can’t do that until the wood wagon gets welded or the manure is removed from the back of the truck. Can’t do that until the lawn dries up a bit more. The weather becomes a factor. We get four inches of snow and the wood stove is back in use. The snow then melts but the lawn, once again, is too wet to drive over. On a warm sunny day I’ll start to notice all the things that need doing…another list to start. 

Clean gutters, reseed places that got dug up because of the snow plowing, rake stones that are on the lawn by the side of the road, repair things, paint things, replace things. 

The list goes on and on. Is the lawn mower ready for mowing? Does my little tiller start? Is the tire flat on my garden cart? Are my garden tools sharp? 

Do I start bringing in the bird feeders (bears)? Snow tires taken off? Suddenly the spring housecleaning chores get crossed off the list. They can wait until next year. Again. 

Then, one day I notice the colts foot along the road is in bloom and I start looking for the dutchman’s breeches. A neighbor stops by and tells me that her daffodils are ready to bloom and I discover the trillium in bloom. 

My wandering around outside often finds me in the old chair down in front of the barn where I’ll sit while organizing my thoughts. This is where I meet neighbors out walking and enjoying those early warm sunny days and everyone’s dogs are out wading in the pond and puddles. If I can cross one thing off one of my lists, no matter how small, that makes my day. My spring season anxiety diminishes and everything starts looking a little better. 

The mud on the couch from the dog’s feet will dry and get vacuumed . 

No big deal. 

1967 Plymouth Belvedere II Convertible

A new addition in the family of Angle and Jeff Vos. One of 1552 Belvedere II Convertibles now lives in St. Albans, Vermont.

Jeff Vos 1967 Plymouth Belvedere II Convertible

You can see the pride in Jeff Vos’ face anytime he mentions his ‘67 Belvedere. Most likely, when he was growing up in the North East Kingdom of Vermont, this red convertible was on his mind.

After many years as a carpenter and his present career with his own house inspection business, he finally owns one. Thanks to the Hemmings publication, he found the rust-free Plymouth in Florida.

Chrysler made the Belvedere from 1954 to 1970. The Belvedere name was first used for a new hardtop body style in the Plymouth Cranbrook line for the 1951 model year. In 1954 the Belvedere replaced the Cranbrook as the top trim and became a full model line with sedans, station wagons and convertible body styles. The Belvedere continued as Plymouth’s full-sized car until 1965, when it became an intermediate, and was replaced after the 1970 model year by the Satellite, a name originally used for the top-trim level Belvederes. Jeff’s Belvedere is a II. The Belvedere I was the lower sub-model in 1967 and the next two up from Jeff’s was the Satellite and the high performance GTX added just that year.

1967 Plymouth Belvedere II engine bay

When first meeting Jeff’s Plymouth, especially if the engine is running, “high performance” is what you hear. Most likely because the 440 engine is telling you “it is ready to go! The smaller engine the car came out of the factory with, was replaced by the former owner, along with the normal carb and exhaust additions that come with a major change like that.

Jeff’s understanding is the Florida owner made a really good decision when he decided to sell the vehicle, but a very unfortunate outcome came from it. The carburator and intake manifold was replaced to better match the engine.

During the inspection that Jeff commissioned, the car performed wonderfully, and the decision was made to purchase it and have it shipped to St Albans. During the unloading in St Albans, the car’s engine started to show signs there was something wrong. When Jeff took the car to an engine shop, the first thing they did was take the oil filter off and the problem was found. The engine had been destroyed because someone had not removed a cloth rag in the manifold when they installed the new carburetor. If you have been part of discussions among VAEers over the years, you will hear similar stories of close calls. One story comes to mind of a mouse nest that was swallowed by an engine.

Jeff’s Plymouth is fine now and better than ever. The engine has been rebuilt by one of the top shops in Vermont. While he was at it, Jeff decided to add power steering and front disc brakes. So, the Belvedere Con-ertible that he has dreamed about is now in his garage and purring.

1967 Plymouth Belvedere II Convertible tail
1967 Plymouth Belvedere ad

The pilot episode for the television show
Adam-12 featured a 1967 Belvedere as the standard LAPD police cruiser.
Belvederes were used in police service from the 1960s to the early 1970s, when they were replaced by the Plymouth Gran Fury. They were prominent in both the LAPD and New York Police Department.

It uses the Plymouth B-body platform, 3120 pounds, 116 inch Wheelbase, 203.4 inches long, the 440RB 7.2L engine produces 375 HP at 4400 RPMs.
New price $2695