1937 Ford Flatback Sedan

Is this the same #67 in both pictures?  Ken Gypson’s ‘37 Ford has been around creating history for 81 years and still going strong.  Hal Boardman’s diorama proves the car still inspires…

Hal Boardman and diorama of Ken Gypsom's '37 Ford Flatback racecar
Editor’s note…. Ken Gypson will learn about this diorama for the first time, when he gets this issue of Wheel Tracks, in his mail box.

From VAEer, Hal Boardman …

Two years ago the VAE ventured south to Bennington for a Hemmings cruise-in and a visit to our hosts, Ken and Nancy Gypson, in New York. After morning coffee, juice and muffins-to-die-for, we went out to wander through Ken’s barn. The barn holds a collection of autos, large and small. A must see. Among the full sized cars was a ‘37 Ford 2-door sedan. Ken was in the process of restoring the former round track race car. I took a few pictures and then we hit the road.

A while later the VAE had it’s annual holiday party and I chose an exchange gift of a hot-rod model A Ford 2-door sedan. Walking by Ken’s table he said “glad you got that, you are the only hot-rodder here”. By chance, I happen to see a picture of Ken’s restoration project on line, and I put the two together, the beginning of the diorama idea.

1937 ford racer

The following year I campaigned for another Hemmings tour, it was a great time and… I needed more pictures of Ken’s garage and his race car restoration project. Once again, we had a great cruise-in, and visit at the Gypson’s. I wonder if Ken noticed my mission of taking pictures of every square inch of his garage. I got more pictures when #67 made it to our August show in Stowe last year and then, my winter project began.

While my ‘39 Ford project sat in the corner of my garage, I spent time working on the smaller project of a 1937 race car. I gathered models and parts saved from my youth and began the diorama. I found an old 49 Ford kit in my collection that provided wheels, tires, trophies and even that small dog you see lying on the floor, in front of the car. As my project started coming together, an artist friend offered to paint the number on the car and the walls to match Ken’s garage. Pam even made a small leather belt, that was used to wrap around the passenger door post, to keep it closed during a race. Thank you Pam.

I hope Ken can find a small space in his vast collection for the diorama. I hope, also, that he enjoys it as much as I have building it.

pine bowl raceway troy NY
Pictured here, the Pine Bowl Raceway in Troy, NY where the front page image of a race-wreck was taken.

Some history now of the racing #67, from a story Ken Gypson had written earlier…

1937 ford flatback 2-doorIn about 1985 my family and I moved to Poestenkill, NY. Just down the road (to my delight anyways) was Wait’s Junkyard. The Waits had a bunch of old stock cars scattered about and a particular ’37 Ford sedan caught my eye. For 2 years I tried to buy the car…no go. In April of ’87 we had an ice storm that knocked down trees and power lines. While I was in the road clearing debris with my chain saw John Wait Sr. asked if he could borrow the saw. I told him he could have the saw if I could buy the stock car. He grunted and left with the saw. Two weeks later I came home from work and there, the ’37 sat in my driveway!

1937 ford flatback sedan racecar

I have been fortunate to be able to get the complete history of #67 from the day it was built. In 1961, Paul Leinbohm paid $50 for the body and chassis from Slovak’s Junkyard in Stuyvesant, NY, and a 1953 Merc engine from Lou Hacker of Rt 20 in Nassau, NY. Before he could drive the car, he was drafted into the army, and sold the car to Paul Visconte of Schodack, NY. Visconte had George Henderson of Niverville, NY, drive it with number 300D at Rt 66 Speedway in Poestenkill, NY.

ken gypsum 1937 ford flatback racerIn 1963, Visconte renumbered the car to 67 (as it is now) and raced it at Victoria Speedway outside of Albany, NY. Ironically, Visconte also ended up in the Army and left the car behind his mother’s house. Gordy Film of Wynantskill, NY, bought the car in 1964 for $300 and raced it at Pinebowl Speedway in Poestenkill, NY, during the ’64 and ’65 seasons. #67 ended up in Wait’s Junkyard across the road from the speedway’s entrance.

 

1937 ford racing

 

Time is Money

My Chrysler minivan got a little rusty over the winter. This vehicle is too old to be worth much, but still practical and useful. It is a great vehicle to make the weekly dump run, go to Home Depot and to run errands with. It is also fantastic in the snow with the all-wheel drive system. With these duties, and with two teenage boys in the house it makes sense to keep it, and I can’t justify replacing it.

The lift gate is really too rusty to feasibly repair. A new lift gate is unjustifiably expensive. At the salvage yard I was told a decent used lift gate would be $275, and unless I got lucky and found a silver one, I would still have to paint it.

I found a van with a totally rust free lift gate, but it had a large dent in it. I asked how much they wanted for this one and was given a price of $50.

I had to buy paint to fix the rocker panels, one quarter panel and the front fender anyway. With a couple hours of work, the dent was removed and the lift gate is ready for paint. A couple hours of work saved me over $200.

Above,

Cat Tales, etc.

Spring! It will come, better late than never! Also, VAE car shows – Shelburne Museum, July 16th and 17th; , The Vermont Antique and Classic Car Meet (formerly, Stowe Car Show) now taking place in Waterbury, August 10th 11th and 12th, just in case anyone has forgotten!

Our Colorado daughter, Martha, has set us up for a trip to Alaska the first week and a half in July. I hope to be able to get some vegetable gardening done before we leave, as we are out of relish and pickled jalapenos – now that is serious. We (hopefully) will be back before the Shelburne Show. My brother and his wife, will be going with us, and Martha.

A friend will be staying here while we are gone as our three cats will need food and company. By the way, I really enjoyed Nancy Olney’s “cat tales”; she and Gary do need more than one cat, of course. We could help with that since we have one that needs taming. Two of our cats go outdoors and back in, about 20 times a day – guess that is my exercise. I’ll just mention cat pans which they use before going out.

Our third cat is really, really elderly and mostly eats and sleeps, first on Wendell’s chest, then my head. O.K., enough about cats. It’s about time to clean up the yard – Wendell has almost all the logs he’s been splitting and stacked in the shed for next winter, so there is now a project for getting ready for lawn mowing – lots of chips and bark to rake up – and haul out. I am hoping the asparagus will do better this year – maybe getting the weeds out would help. I also hope the horseradish will be doing well, as we need to make horseradish sauce for the shrimp Wendell and others (not me} like a lot. That’s it for cats and gardening – for now!

1957 Dodge D200 Pickup

Paul & Barb Wagner’s 1957 Dodge D200

“For 43 years it was our Every-day farm truck. Today it is our car-show truck”

1957 dodge d200Back in 1967, we decided to purchase a truck to support our small family dairy farm in Methuen, MA. The search led us to a gentleman who had a sewing machine business, and a 1957 Dodge 3/4 ton pick-up with 59,000 miles on the odometer. The truck sold for $1,750 brand new, he was asking $200.00 for it. I countered with $175.00 and drove away with the truck.

It was put into use on the farm immediately. We used it to haul milk, cattle, sawdust, manure, it was a great, all purpose vehicle.

1957 dodge d200 interiorIn 1969, my father and I bought a larger dairy farm in Bridport, Vermont. That was 200 miles away from Methuen. The Dodge was a godsend for hauling furniture and farm equipment to Vermont, and then take hay back to Massachusetts to feed our animals there. I would load sixty, forty-pound bales on the truck (2400 lbs.) and drive the 200 miles on ten gallons of gas. Not bad mileage with that kind of a load. Once the move to Vermont was complete, we put 700-800 ‘farm’ miles on the truck each year. The transmission was not right for slow field work so we rode the clutch a lot. After 11 years of this, we had to replace the clutch and when we did that, we put a four speed transmission in. The move from 3-on-the-tree to 4-on-the-floor made it a real farm truck! It was parked in the shop in 2003 when a gale wind came through and knocked the shop down. The shop roof landed in a tree across the road, while the old Dodge just sat there, with only the scratches it had when we parked it there. The truck did its work until 2005 when it would not pass inspection any longer. For the next five years it sat in the machine shed getting dusty. I started it up a couple of times a year to make sure the engine did not seize.

I sold the farm to my son in 2010 and entered semi-retirement. I had talked so much about fixing up the truck, over the years, that my wife, Barb told me there would never be a better time, than now to do it. I guess she had heard it enough….so I did. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

Three miles south of here, my friend Kevin has a body shop. I pulled everything off the frame. All that was left was the engine, transmission and wheels, which I pulled to Kevin’s with my old John Deere. This had taken me about fifty hours at this point, all my labor and no money. I soon found out this would get reversed! Just finishing the prep work, Kevin had used eighty-five, 100 pound bags of blasting sand.

When I removed the cab from the frame, I found it was set up for both left and right hand drive. There are pop-outs on the floor for the clutch and brake pedals. The dash is the same on both sides. There is an aluminum plate on the right side where I thought was meant for a radio. When I removed it, I found framework for the speedometer and gauges. I considered changing to the right side but then I thought, “Who is going to drive it?”….Not me!, so I left it the way it was.

1957 dodge d-200 pickup

The next challenge was finding body parts. In 1957, 340,000 Ford pickups were made and GM made 360,00. Dodge made 50,000 pickups that year. So, finding the parts I needed, ended in very short phone calls…no we don’t have any. Then I heard about Desert Valley Auto Parts in Arizona. They had three corpses! My luck had changed, I found the two rear fenders, the right front fender and the grill that I needed. It took three months to get the parts but the wait was worth it. Being a life-long New Englander, I was utterly amazed at the condition… no rust at all! I found two box sides in Rhode Island and used Hickory boards for the floor. I chose not to use oak, as I wanted something with knots, but pine was too soft.

There were two safety problems with vehicles from this period that I wanted to correct with my restoration. The single reservoir master brake cylinder and no seat belts. I went to the ‘68 Dodge split system and had to add a regulator to balance the pressure. Lap seat belts took care of the second problem. The paint color is forest green with two coats of epoxy primer, two coats of filler primer and two coats of enamel. The paint alone was $2000.00…welcome to restoration.

The whole process took ten months to complete. Kevin had 300 hours, I had that many and more, but no charge for me, it’s a LABOR OF LOVE! I kept a notebook of the expenses, even after being told not to because ‘I did not want to know’. The project ended up costing $23,380.00. the high-level break-down was $13,000 in labor, and $10,380 for parts ( I did not rebuild the engine or drive train).

In May of 2014, the steering shaft broke in a restaurant parking lot. The steering wheel was in my hands not attached. I decided it was time for power steering, my age demanded it! Driving is much more enjoyable now. My friend, Ed James, did some research and found the steering system from a ‘79 to ‘86 Toyota pickup would work. I added a pump from an ‘84 Camaro and I was in busi-ness.

The old Dodge gets a lot of attention in parades and car shows. We were at the local soft serve ice cream place when a fella came up and said, “ I bet you think more of this truck, than you do your wife!” I replied, “The only thing I can say, the truck does exactly what I ask it to do.” I always say, there is high tech and there is low tech. My truck is NO TECH!

1957 dodge d200 pickup truck

1957 Dodge D200 Specs:

  • Engine, Chrysler 230 cu. In. L-head (flat head) 6 cylinder.
  • Horse power, 110
  • Wheels, 16 inch split rims-8 lug (750X16)
  • Rear-end, 3/4-1 ton set-up for duals
  • Present mileage, 111,028

Editor’s notes… Paul told about his daughter slinking down in the seat, out of view of her friends, in the old days when he would leave her off at school. She recently asked if she could possibly get the truck when he made out his will. Thank you Paul for letting us feature your truck and your history with it.

Sounds Good – A Bright Idea

led headlightsOne of the headlights recently burned out on one of my Saabs. No big deal, this happens every so often. A set of premium brighter bulbs costs almost fifty bucks, and I have noticed they do not last as long as the regular bulbs. A pair of LED bulbs is only fifteen dollars more, and these will outlast the car. I decided to order the LED bulbs and try them. They are a direct fit replacement for the standard halogen bulb. Unlike many LED bulbs on the market, these bulbs are an engineered replacement for the incandescent bulbs.

On some vehicles, like my Chrysler minivan, the headlight needs to be removed to replace the bulb. This requires removing five bolts and takes time.

In addition to lasting much longer, the LED bulbs do not generate heat, takes far less energy, and you can actually touch the bulb without destroying the bulb. Interestingly, I noticed both old headlight bulb pigtails were partially melted when I installed the LED bulbs.

I will drive with these bulbs for a few weeks to make sure they work, at least, as well as the incandescent bulbs.

I bought these bulbs from superbrightleds.com. I am very impressed with their quality, selection service and price. They list replacement LED bulbs for virtually every bulb in the car.

A Page from “The Willy Chronicles”

As I was rummaging among our winter coats the other day looking for something to wear to run errands, I was thinking how winter clothing has changed over the years.

50s pea coatWhen I was young, a hundred years ago, I remember pea coats, knit mittens and galoshes. Gael still has a coat from the ’50’s that must weigh a ton, corduroy with some kind of fur collar. Our first trip to Freeport, Maine to the LLBean store in 1969 when it was on the second floor of an old building with creaky floors, I purchased a great coat which I wore for years and then our oldest daughter took it over. It was heavy, but not as heavy as Gael’s coat.

My mother knitted the kids hats and mittens to match their winter coats and snow pants, and they wore bread bags over their feet, inside their rubber packs to keep their feet dry. Down filled jackets probably had been around for quite a while but they arrived at our house in the 1970’s. Gael still wears one our son discarded, many years ago. It is looking a bit worse for wear and there are feathers everywhere when Gael wears it, but he isn’t ready to give it up yet. It must be on it’s second zipper by now.

LL bean great coatI’m not sure when fleece arrived on the scene, but it changed my way of thinking. Gone is “the heavier, the warmer” phrase and jackets now are light weight and as warm as their predecessors and good for washers and dryers. I have so many heavy sweaters that I hardly ever wear anymore. Were our houses that much colder back when? I can’t part with them, some I spent hours knitting and have fond memories wearing them. I must admit I do really like the fleece jackets, vests, hats and mittens that are hanging on our coat rack. Most of the time they are adequate, for most of our weather and with good heating systems in cars these days, who needs a heavy, bulky coat to drive in.

Winter footwear has changed over the years too. Gone are the days of heavy leather boots. We’ve moved on to lightweight winter shoes, LL Bean boots and Muck shoes. Moriarty (sp?) hats, remember them? We probably have a few still kicking around in back of the cupboard, along with the knit hats and mittens the kids wore many years ago. I just can’t get rid of them yet.

Another kind of coat that we have is the waxed jacket. I bought several of these on one of my trips to England many years ago and they are great. I happened to visit England a few years later in the Fall and picked up liners for the jackets. Queen Elizabeth even has one of these. Hopefully, by the time you read this, you will have put your winter jackets, etc., away, all cleaned and ready for next fall, perhaps with a few moth balls thrown in for good measure. You might even have left a dollar bill in one of the pockets.

1930 Chrysler CJ Roadster

Wendell & Mary Noble’s 1930 Chrysler CJ Roadster

A Lot Of Money Goes A Long Way – from Wendell Noble

1930 chrysler cj roadster wendell nobleA funny thing about my doing a car restoration, although I’m working toward a goal, when I get there, it’s a bit of a let down. I am happy with the results. If I weren’t, it wouldn’t be done yet.

It all started back in 2010 with a call from Dave Maunsell. He had been assembling an inventory of parts for a 1930 Chrysler CJ roadster for years with the intention of ultimately turning it into a completed car. However, I think Dave had become skeptical about ever getting to it, and came to feel some money, would be of more use to him. He was concerned that the project car go to someone who would complete it to his satisfaction. Dave had familiarized himself with my 1929 Plymouth and the work I had done on it. Structurally, it’s very similar to the Chrysler CJ and I think this satisfied him that I might do right by this project.

I’m told that “CJ” stands for Chrysler Junior. It was the smallest Chrysler at the time and, in fact, is the same size as the Plymouth but has a six cylinder engine instead of the Plymouth four.

Once the deal was struck, Gael Boardman, Gary Olney and I headed over to Dave’s place in Greensboro. We pulled parts from all corners of his garage and loaded up Gael’s truck, my truck and my trailer. Upon arrival at my place, Gael asked if I had any doors on my load. None of us remembered seeing any car doors. I gave Dave a phone call and he assured me that there should be two doors. A day or two later, he called back to announce that he had found the doors… in his hall closet. I can’t understand why it didn’t occur to us to look there in the first place.

1930 chrysler cj roadster restorationThe restoration has been enjoyable. The frame and drive train were in good order and required very little attention to fundamentals. Electrical system, brakes, and steering needed to be done from the ground up. The big efforts were needed on the body and upholstery. The body had to be built completely, starting with the interior wood skeleton and then a lot of “tin knocking” to get the sheet metal patched, smoothed and properly aligned. Many parts had to be made from scratch. These included seat cushions from seat parts of other cars, mounting hardware for the side-mount spare tires, top irons and bows for the folding top, door hinges, bumper clamps and correct running boards. The car came with an original front bumper, but no rear bumper. I discovered that model A Ford bumpers are the same width and length, but are not curved like the Chrysler’s. Bailey Spring in Essex Junction did a great job of perfectly arching the Ford bumpers without so much as scratching the Chrome. I think I know my skill limits, so the finish painting was done by Mountain View Auto Body of Enosburgh, upholstery and top were done by Coggio Upholstery of Richmond and plating was done by Anthony Cook of Shaftsbury.

The car is now ready for it’s debut, just as soon as the frost is out and our road is dry. I’ve concluded that the secret to a decent car restoration is to spend a lot of money on it. I’m not talking about a rattle can and pop rivet job here. Once you’re prepared to do that, you’re on your way.

1930 chrysler cj roadster frame restoration

Sounds Good

sounds goodI recently lost the radio in my every day Saab. I went to crutchfield.com to look at a replacement stereo. I wanted something inexpensive that would simply replace the radio in my car. I was surprised to see the many options and reasonable prices.

For less than 200 dollars, I can fit a replacement radio, with a CD/DVD player, Bluetooth, a video screen and a touchscreen. For a couple bucks more I can add a back up camera.

A unit with all of these features and GPS is roughly the same cost as a stand alone portable GPS unit. Of course, buying the unit from a place like Crutchfield includes plug and play wiring and all hardware needed to make the installation look factory original.

I am amazed at how many features these aftermarket stereos have, and at how much the cost has come down. Now, if I can figure out how to add side curtain air bags, collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control I would never need to buy a new car again.

EASY OIL SEAL INSTALLATION TOOL

easy oil installation toolAnyone who has replaced oil seals without removing the shaft that seals against the seal knows what a struggle the seal installation is. Think of replacing the front main crankshaft seal in place without removing the timing cover or the crank shaft. This job requires applying equal pressure around the circumference of the seal, or it will warp or bend.I have taken several pieces of scrap PVC Schedule 40 drain pipe and cut it in lengths of three inches or so. Interestingly, the diameter of many grease seals is the same diameter of PVC drain pipe. The thickness of the PVC pipe is the perfect thickness to use as an oil seal installation tool.

I have diameters of inch, inch and a half, two inches, two and a half inches, three inch, etc., sitting on my tool shelf, standing in the ready to use for seal installation.By placing the appropriate diameter pipe over the seal the seal can be easily tapped in to place with a mallet. For larger diameter seals, and pipe installation tools, I have a piece of 2 by 4 to place over the pipe before tapping with a hammer.

A Page from “The Willy Chronicles”

‘Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…..’

No, this article isn’t about who sang this song. If you know it was Janis Joplin you are probably about the same age as me and you would know that I just turned 70. This isn’t bad, but it is when I’m sure that I don’t look a day over 69!

Sorry I’ve gotten off track.

Willy, if I haven’t mentioned him before is a cat that used to come to our door at 6 AM and would scratch for food. He started this about 5 years ago. We would put food and water out twice a day for about 6 months. He wouldn’t have anything to do with us and would even wait to eat until we had gone inside. Once he thought Gary was too slow putting his meal down and he raced forward, bit Gary, and then raced out of reach! That is another story: The Rabies Watch.

the willysWith winter coming on, we started encouraging Willy to come in the house. After several weeks of moving his food closer to the inside (and the fact that winter had arrived, and he was living under our car trailer) he finally came in. Willy would eat, bed down for the night, wake up, eat and demand to be put out for the day. After, a couple more weeks, he would let us touch him but never hold him.

He did get used to us enough, so one day, armed with a big towel, we caught him, stuffed him in a cat carrier and we all went off to visit the Vet. He had an infected tail and it was amputated. The doctor said it had gotten broken (probably in a fight) and his ears had been torn. We brought him home with a 2-inch stub, all his shots on board and decided he would become an inside cat. But Willy had other ideas, he begged to go out almost immediately and as ‘good’ parents, we let him. Several hours later he returned, well after dark and wanted to come in. He was soaking wet and had a head injury. We figured his friends, who were still enjoying their freedom, had laughed at his shaved butt and stubby tail and he had to defend himself.

That did it, we did not let him out no matter how much he begged. It took months, but he seemed to settle into a life of tasty food, treats, and a warm place to sleep. I should mention he has 2 servants who cater to almost every wish and go out of their way to please him. And he stopped begging to go out. About 3 months ago when Gary didn’t realize Willy was near by and the door was open about 5 inches, he scooted through and out on the porch. He walked around the porch and went right back in. Hallelujah! I was close to a panic but could now calm down.

Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago, same scenario, door open a bit and gone! He sure can move fast but this time he explored about 15 minutes before he decided to come back, I’m in panic mode this time!

Now 3 days ago, someone came to the door and Gary answered it. Willy snuck through and again gone! We watched him taking his old route from years ago, across the front of the house, under the car trailer, to the first neighbor’s house, around the shrubs in front of neighbor #2 and out the back (which takes him to the next street). Full panic mode!! I couldn’t stand waiting to see if he was Gone-Gone, so I told Gary I was going out. I needed to exchange some of Gary’s clothes and get his medicine. In about 45 minutes, my cell rang, and Gary says, ‘did you find Willy?’ and I said,’ no I am not looking for him, I am at Tractor Supply’. Gary thought I was so upset that I had gone out on a search, but I was doing errands! Gary said Willy was in the kitchen, muddy and wet, but home! Hallelujah!!!

We have been trying to figure out why after the plush life we have given Willy, he would want to escape and the only thing we can come up with is that he has seen a former friend (namely girlfriend) and is willing to throw it all away for Love! Gary has noticed a lot of cat prints in the yard lately.

1902 Curved Dash Oldsmobile

Dennis Dodd, of East Fairfield, Vermont

“Kids, College & Work kept this 1902 Curved Dash Oldsmobile waiting for 28 years… Finally, with a new paint job on its way, it will be finished”.

1902 curved dash oldsmobileDennis Dodd purchased the ‘02 Curved Dash Olds in ‘89 from a Massachu-setts gent while at the VAE Stowe Show. It was completely original but needed a lot of work. Over the past 4 years, he rebuilt the engine and along with restoring every other item of the vehicle. A paint booth has been reserved for later in this Spring for the last piece of the restoration. A long time friend of Dennis’s who had earlier built a replica of the same car, has helped in the restoration, he is Skip Minor of Milton. Asked the number of hours spent on the project and Dennis guessed a minimum of 500 hours, not counting his friend’s time.

Gary Hoonsbeen died in 2016 but during his lifetime, he was the country’s lead expert in these unique vehicles. Soon after Dennis brought the car home, he was in contact with Gary, asking all the normal question of a newly minted antique car owner. The big mystery was finding the correct year that this car was manufactured. So as Dennis and Gary went down the list while on the phone, Gary was confirming the vehicle was built in 1901with some parts from 1002. Then came Dennis’s description of the water pump. Gary informed him that he had made a mistake in his notes, because “that” Curved Dash water pump did not exist. It turned out, it did exist, it was the only known original Curved Dash water pump known and it was on this vehicle! The car club later borrowed the water pump to use as patterns to build 15 new ones.

Recently, some officials from the Curved Dash Club made their way to England, where they inspected an original, in a barn that had never been modified. They discovered the serial numbers that have been used for years by the club, to determine the “built year”, most likely has to be changed. The Oldsmobile company had two places where they stamped the built number, on the engine head and on the compression release pedal. Dennis’s number is 6631 and even though Gary Hoonsbeen said the car was mostly a 1901, the serial number was 1902. The England trip will most likely confirm this vehicle is a 1901 car.

This from “Wikipedia” and “The Standard Catalog of American Cars”…….

The gasoline-powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as being the first mass-produced automobile, meaning that it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile company in 1901 and produced through 1907; 425 were produced the first year, 2,500 in 1902, and over 19,000 were built in all. When General Motors assumed operations from Ransom E. Olds on November 12, 1908, GM introduced the Oldsmobile Model 20, which was the 1908 Buick Model 10 with a stretched wheelbase and minor exterior changes.

The Curved Dash car was a runabout model, could seat two passengers, and sold for US$650. While competitive, due to high volume, and priced below the US$850 two-seat Ford Model C “Doctor’s Car”, it was more expensive than the Western 1905 Gale Model A Roadster at US$500. The Black sold for $375, and the Success for US$250.

The flat-mounted, water-cooled, single-cylinder engine, situated at the center of the car, produced 5 HP, relying on a brass gravity feed carburetor. The transmission was a semi-automatic design with two forward speeds and one reverse. The low-speed forward and reverse gear system is a planetary type. The car weighed 850 lbs. and used Concord springs. It had a top speed of 20 mph.

The car’s success was partially by accident in 1901, a fire destroyed a number of other model prototypes before they were approved for production, leaving the Curved Dash the only one intact.


1902 oldsmobile

When it inspires a song (below), you know it’s popular. This Olds was the bestselling car in America from 1902 to 1905. Automobiles had an emotional appeal. A driver in 1901 said that controlling a car satisfied “an almost universal sense, the love of power.” Despite the attraction, cars were not a significant player in the transportation world. In 1903, 4000 people bought Oldsmobile’s, but more than 900,000 bought buggies and carriages.

With its one-cylinder engine and horseless carriage looks, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash didn’t seem particularly rugged. Olds Motor Works proved its runabout’s mettle with a number of elaborate stunts. Here the car is driven up a steep hill, over uneven ground. Far more extravagant was Roy D. Chapin’s 820-mile drive, from Detroit to New York, in an Oldsmobile in 1901.

Young Jonnie Steele has an Oldsmobile,
He loves a dear little Girl.
She is the queen of his gas machine,
She has his heart in a whirl.
Now when they go for a spin, you know,
She tries to learn the auto, so,
He lets her steer, while he gets her ear,
And whispers soft and low:

Come away with me Lucile
In my merry Oldsmobile
Down the road of life we’ll fly,
Automobubbling you and I.
To the church we’ll swiftly steal,
Then our wedding bells will peel,
You can go as far as you like with me,
In my Merry Oldsmobile