1906 Orient Buckboard

The 1906 Orient Buckboard continues to make history in its quiet way.  Pictured here is the Orient introducing itself to the school children of Island Pond in May of 2015. Sorry, but Wheel Tracks has no name for the pretty young lady, seated. Left is the Orient’s engine being restored today in a machine shop in East Fairfield. Will we see the Orient under its own power in 2020? 

Indeed, the 1906 Orient Buckboard  continues to make history in its quiet way. 

It was July, 2010, Gary Olney’s Orient Buckboard made its way to Wheel Tracks. At the time the Buckboard had a lonely corner of a rented barn in Derby, Vermont. There was a visit to a small car show in Island Pond, the front page pictures a young lady sitting in the vehicle’s 114 year old seat.

Today, the Orient has a place of honor at Gary and Nancy’s home in Derby Line. The tires are still flat but there is a plan! The engine has been removed and sits in Dennis Dodd’s shop in East Fairfield. There is a plan to get it run-ning, on the shop stand, then the rest of the vehicle will be retrieved to reinstall the engine. From there, the other small problems will be tackled and the Orient will have a new life of car shows and short parades. 

The engine has a carburetor but most of its innards are missing. Dennis will be making new valves since it is impossible to find factory valves, also a cracked exhaust valve seat needs to be addressed. He has found the ignition timer is still in good condition and has it set for running. The bottom end and the cylinder/piston also seems to be in working order so he has decided to go after the other items that need attention. That attention will cover the exhaust routing, new gaskets, possibly the valve sleeves and what has already been mentioned. He says the hardest task is to follow Mr. Olney’s instructions and leave the engine’s patina as is. We all love to make things look brand-new, but Gary’s hope is the Orient will basically look the same when the restoration is complete. 

Dennis has also found the engine is a late 1905 model. It is most likely the original engine, it is just that the factory had probably not made the switch to the newer engine when they sold this vehicle. Most manufacturers of the time added changes throughout the year and was not into today’s New-Model-Year mentality of today. 

This is a part of the Wheel Tracks story from 2010….. 

There are some mysteries we have been unable to find answers to but isn’t that exactly how it should be? 

The “friction drive” can easily be seen here. 
A rubber disc, mounted, and touching, 90 degrees to this disc, allows the speed variations 

This Orient Buckboard was built by the Waltham Manufacturing Company on Rumford Avenue in Waltham, Mass. Thanks to Bill Sherk’s article in ’Old Autos’, a publication printed in Bothwell Ontario, a few of the mysteries have been solved. The auto…with it’s Massachusetts number plate…… made it’s way from Waltham to Antigonish Nova Scotia when a jeweler purchased it (date unknown). The story goes that the jeweler would often turn to swearing as he turned the crank because the car was so hard to start. 

At some point the jeweler made arrangements to store the Orient Buckboard and a 1912 Studebaker in an area barn owned by the grandfather of Mr. Gordon Penny. When the Studebaker was removed it is said the Orient was left as payment for storage. When Gordon was 14 years old in 1945 he found the Orient in his grandfathers barn, the Massachusetts plate was still attached. He pulled the Orient out and got it running. 

The story continues……..in the early 1950s Gordon sold the Orient, in running condition, to Mr. Harry Olney of Springfield, Vermont. 

Mr. Gordon still resides in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and when he was interviewed by Bill Sherk he said he thought the Orient was now in Maine someplace. Well, guess what, the Orient resides in Derby, Vermont and is owned by Harry Olney’s son Gary… the Orient still has it’s Mass.1908 plate #0237K. 

There were about 2500 Orient Buckboards built and it is estimated 57 exists today, of which 45 are in the United States. The 1906 Orient was sold new for $440 and was the first to have what is called Friction Drive, a wheel and disc that allows an infinite variation of speeds forward and reverse also allowing for much less vibration when driving. Top speed is 35 MPH and if you want to enter a race, special ’racing’ sprockets can be installed to reach up to 40MPH. The engine produces 4 horsepower and is air cooled. The car weight is 525 pounds with a wheelbase of 80 inches. The wheel track is 42 inches but can be changed to 56 inches which would allow it to fit into the ‘standard wagon tread’. 

Christmas Past

Most of us have just ‘signed off’ on another Christmas and are packing away the decorations and ornaments and dragging the tree to the curb. 

We were late with the tree and decorations this year, so we will leave them in a bit longer. Can’t wait too long, as a lady at church today said that Walmart has all it’s Easter candy and related stuff already to put out this week. I refuse to buy Easter eggs in January! 

What I wanted to talk about is the change I have seen in the Christmas season since I was really ‘into it’. I remember the real highlight was the stockings that Santa left on Christmas Eve. I have a picture of my brothers, sister and I up at 3AM holding our stockings. I believe my mother took our picture and sent us back to bed! The stockings were, for sure, the most important part of the ‘gift getting’. I have often thought about why, but can just say, they were always fun. 

Gifts under the tree were great too but we could almost always predict what would be there. If you needed PJs, they were under the tree. The same with other clothing, shoes, school supplies, etc. The key word is ‘needed’. I am sure most of you reading this can relate to that. Santa saw to it, that things in the stocking, were fun and not necessarily needed. Probably some candy, socks, books, always a box of lifesavers (one item this Santa still gives everyone) and in the toe – a beautiful, large orange. 

When I tell my grandchildren about the orange and how it was so eagerly welcomed, they look at me like I have two heads! I must realize that in their lifetime, oranges have been available and affordable all year round. The orange has now been replaced with a gift card to Xbox. What’s an Xbox? A box with a X on it?? I dare say most things given at Christmas now are not on the ‘needed’ list and maybe that is good if it means families can afford the wanted list. 

So what I am saying, is that waiting for Christmas for some needed things is just fine, especially if Santa supplies the fun things right along with the needed. Wishing you a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

1930 Packard Standard Eight

Gene and Gina Wescott gets a visit from Hemmings. Hemmings wanted all the details on the Wescott’s Beautiful 1930 Packard Standard Eight. 

1930 packard standard eight unrestored

Gene and Gina Wescott’s Packard looks a little different in one of its former lives. She is pictured here in 1996 when the couple purchased her from the estate of Dr. Carlos Otis. The Doctor practiced for many years in Townshend, VT. and was the founder of Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend. 

Max Brand was an auto appraiser and a friend of the Wescott’s through “The Yesteryear Car Club”. Max let Gene know about the upcoming Packard sale and that began the next chapter in the life of this wonderful car. 

One of Gene’s first tasks was to remove the original lacquer paint and after many hours using paint stripper and sand blasting, the task was complete. The beautiful paint job you see on the front page was done by Eric Lanning of King Ferry, New York. 

Many of us know the Packard’s upholsterer, and that is Dick Hurd of Springfield, VT. Many additional hours have been spent during the last 24 years to bring the Packard into its current life, witnessed by the picture on our front page. 

1930 packard standard eight gene wescott

Then along came “Hemmings Classic Car” magazine! 

“Hemmings Motor News Concours d’Elegance” began in 2003 in Lake George, NY. The Wescott’s thought it would be fun to enter their Packard for the 2018 gathering and that was when Hemmings first heard about the car. As Gene said, the car could never compete with the “big boys” in a competition from all over the nation like this but, they did get the Reliable Carriers Award Classic Trophy that August. The three day event was a lot of fun for Gene and Gina. 

In 2019, Hemmings Classic Car Magazine contacted the Wescott’s and asked if they could feature the 1930 Packard in the magazine. Their photographer, Dave Conwill arrived on October 4th for the three hour photo shoot and the rest is history. You can find the Packard story on page 44 of the January 2020 issue. One of Gene’s comments about the photo shoot was how Dave Conwill didn’t mind getting dirty. The very low shots that you see, were taken with the photographer lying in the dirt road on his stomach to get that ‘magic shot’! 

1930 packard standard eight hilton head

This 1930 Seventh Series Packard Standard Eight 7-33 Phaeton. 

7-33 means the 7th series Packard on a 133 inch wheelbase. 

The Hemmings story, very interesting, compares the car with all of the other comparable cars of that year, that were competitors. The story also does a great job placing the Packard into the great 1930 stock market crash. According to “ The Standard Catalog of American Cars” the company had built over 41,000 cars in 1928 and another 43,000 in 1929. The 1930 production showed the affects of the crash with only 28,000 built. 

The 733 came in ten different body styles from the roadster to the limo. The engine produces 90 HP and the car weighs about 3900 pounds. The Wescott’s have put 3000 to 4000 miles on it and Gene says it loves to travel 40 to 45 MPH. They have basically done nothing to the engine. It is believed some engine work was done back when the doctor had it and it still climbs the hills like a champ today. 

One interesting call has come from California because of the Hemmings story. The gent who called had moved West in 1951 and told about his dad being the bookkeeper for the Packard dealership in the Burlington area while he was growing up. He had a chance to drive many of the Packard’s from this 7-33’s period. He remembered a local musician traveling to Rutland for a concert in his Packard phaeton. His memory of the musician driving up to the concert hall and retrieving his huge base instrument from the car’s back seat stays with him today. We VAEers are lucky, as we will be seeing the Packard in many of our upcoming events. Now that we know a bit of its history, we will be looking a little closer at her beautiful lines. 

Father Spears’ St. Christopher

In 1991 I bought a new car, a brand new car, all by myself. I was driving a 1986 VW Golf, but Gael needed a car to drive, so I decided to give him mine and buy a new one. For some reason I wanted a car with a diesel engine and it had to be a VW, so I found a Jetta in Augusta, Maine and we went to get it. I loved it. 

We had a neighbor who was a retired priest and he and his elderly housekeeper and their cats were great neighbors. They also had a barn that Gael used occasionally. Father Spears was a farm boy from Enosburg and he loved to garden. He had about 100 acres which he kept up well. Gael used to like to visit with Fr. Spears and Alice and spent many happy hours “visiting”. 

One day Gael was there and asked Fr. Spears if he blessed cars. Yes, he did. So, a date was picked for me (us) to take my new car there, to be blessed. It was one of those warm, sunny spring days, a Saturday. I got up early, gave the Jetta a good wash, and at the appropriate time, we drove a mile down the road to Fr. Spears’ house. He was quite elderly and had trouble going up and down his porch steps, so we drove the car over the lawn and got as close to the porch as we could. 

Alice had picked a bouquet of wild flowers and placed it on the hood of my sparkling car. Fr. Spears came out onto the porch with his prayer book and some holy water, and proceeded to bless the Jetta. He handed Gael the small bottle of holy water and Gael sprinkled it on my new car. Alice, then, invited us into their kitchen and got out a small bottle of brandy which they kept for medicinal purposes. We then toasted the Jetta. But what was most meaningful to me, was the small statue of St. Christopher that Fr. Spears gave to me. It was in the car that he drove for many years, a huge white four door sedan, that navigated our road well, winter and summer. I proudly put it in the glove box of the Jetta and we went home. 

I drove the car for years until Gael needed a replacement for the 1986 Golf that he had been driving. I passed the Jetta on to Gael and got a replacement car for me…another VW Golf. For anyone who has been at our house in recent years, you probably passed the black Jetta that was parked next to the military truck in the barn yard. Gael couldn’t let it go. Well, this fall, after looking around the yard at all the stuff??, I decided that it was time to call a salvage yard and have them take the Jetta away. The day the truck was due to come, I went down to the Jetta to say goodbye. I removed the floor mats (you can always use them in some car) and I removed the St. Christopher statue that Fr. Spears gave me so many years ago. 

It now sits in my everyday car, another VW Golf, where I see it every time I go anywhere. Thank you Father Spears. God Bless You. 

Father Spears’ St. Christopher from Judy 

Saint Christopher’s most famous legend tells that he carried a child, who was unknown to him, across a river before the child revealed himself as Christ. Therefore, he is the patron saint of travelers, and small images of him are often worn around the neck, on a bracelet, carried in a pocket, or placed in vehicles by Christians. 

Frozen Calipers

Recently I have seen a lot of frozen caliper slides while replacing brakes. Some of these calipers were relatively new. 

Usually I can free up rusty frozen calipers with an ATF/acetone mixture, wire brush the pins, clean and lubricate the slides and reassemble the caliper. Sometimes, the slides are so rusty I can’t free them up without breaking them. 

New calipers usually come with a light grease on the slide pins. I have found this grease is insufficient to keep the slides from seizing, especially on cars exposed to road salt. 

When I do a brake job I always remove and lubricate the caliper slide pins with caliper grease, even with new calipers. I also lube the contact points of the pads with caliper grease to prevent them from being seized in the calipers. Sometimes I have to dress the tabs on the brake pads with a file to open the gap enough to provide a slide fit in the caliper. 

It is also important to use never-seize on all the hardware when reassembling the brakes. 

1905 Ford Model F

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

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

An example of a 1905 Model F Ford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whack! Windshield Repair

Broken windshields are not fun. Left unrepaired, chips easily, turn in to cracks, which requires windshield replacement. Windshields for older cars are becoming harder to find. Modern windshields are glued in place, requiring professional installation.

Windshield chips can often be easily repaired at glass shops. Some insurance companies will cover 100% of the repair. Insurance companies consider a windshield chip repair as a claim and may use this as a justification to increase your rates, just ask me how I know this.

Recently I tried my luck at do-it-yourself windshield repair. The results were very good. I had 7 chips in my Saab windshield and two on my Subaru. Having these fixed at a glass shop would have been expensive. I tried a $10.45 “Rain-X” windshield repair kit from Amazon.

The kit came with a surprisingly high-quality suction cup, mounted resin injection tool, very clear instructions, a bottle of repair resin and a good supply of materials to make the repairs.

The tool mounts to the glass with four suction cups, and the directions were very clear and helpful. The resin is activated with sunlight. I highly recommend doing this repair on a dry, sunny day. The repair cannot be done in direct sunlight.

The instructions recommend the actual repair be made in the shade, then placed in direct sunlight to cure. The repair only needs about ten minutes of sunlight to cure. I found doing the actual repair in the garage, then moving the vehicle in to the direct sunlight worked well. I did my repairs in the afternoon and was able to move the car to directly face the sunlight.

So, how did it work? Surprisingly well. The repairs were at least as good as professional repairs I have had done. Some of the chips virtually disappeared. It was very hard to see them after the repair. Some of the larger chip repairs were still visible, but much less noticeable.

Christmas Memories to Last One’s Lifetime

As I’m writing this, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and with that comes the Christmas holiday season, which has me feeling a bit nostalgic for past Christmases.

My earliest memories, when I was a child, were spent Christmas Eve “tracking” Santa Claus (through the voice of weatherman Stuart Hall on WCAX-TV) as he made his way around the world heading, I just knew, directly to our house. Then before being herded off to bed, my two brothers and I would make sure there were milk and cookies waiting for Santa and Rudolph.

Come Christmas morning, the three of us would head to the tree to find, yes, Santa had arrived and marveling at the gifts and that the cookies and milk were gone!

After opening presents and having breakfast, we’d get dressed in holiday clothes and head off to my Dad’s parents’ home in Burlington, where there would be relatives and food (especially tourtieres) and more presents!! And then by late afternoon, we’d be on the road to Milton to my Mom’s parents’ house where, you guessed it, there’d be more relatives, food and… presents!!

Even today my brother Tom reminisces, not about what presents we may have gotten, but the fact that we were on the road again to see what lay in store for us. Can you tell that we were the only grandchildren on one side of the family and we had just two cousins on the other for so many years?
Now I could tell you about one of my Mom’s earliest memories when we kids were little – oh, like the time she and her best friend, Deedee, who lived next door to us, got shnockered on the Brandy Alexanders that my Dad had made. It was Christmas Eve, and they barely got toys wrapped and under the trees for us all – but that’s a story for another time!

As I grew older, one Christmas stands out in my mind. In my high school years, after my third brother, David, arrived, my oldest brother, John, and I went to Midnight Mass with my Mom while my younger brothers would go to church at 8 a.m. on Christmas morning with Dad. Well, one year John, Mom and I got home around 2 a.m. after Midnight Mass, and my Mom asked if we would help her get the presents out and under the tree. John and I looked at each other like, Okay, but where the heck are they? We hadn’t found her hiding spot, ever, in 15 years. Well, Mom beckoned us downstairs to the basement where there was an old (and I mean old!) sofa, and she proceeded to lift up the seat portion, and there, to our wondering eyes, was this very large storage area with gaily wrapped Christmas presents! She laughed and told us how we would bounce, jump and play on the sofa all year round, yet we never discovered her hiding place.
As time has moved on, I’ve lost my dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, yet I’ve seen the addition of in-laws, nieces/nephews and, most importantly, my husband, to my family. Each Christmas season brings with it transitions – as one person steps out of my life, a new tradition is created, however small, to try to fill that void, and with that, I’ve said to myself many times: Everything is new again.

What are some of your earliest memories of celebrating the holidays? Do you remember the special people, long gone, you celebrated with? Is there one particular sight or sound today that brings back a pleasant memory for you?

Don and I together wish all of our VAE friends a Merry and Joyous Christmas and holiday season, however you may celebrate it!

1917 Studebaker Tourer

A Saturday Journey… “We are going to Hong Cong and then to the zoo.”
A ride in an old friend! Ken Cota’s ‘17 Studebaker is still in service at 102 years old!

1917 studebaker cota

This 1917 Studebaker Touring was the feature car in the March 2013 Wheel Tracks. Gene Towne of Milton had purchased the car from Dave Maunsell in Greensboro that January. You can still find the Wheel Tracks issue on our website if you would like to re-read the article. Dave, Gene, Wendell Noble, Gael Boardman and Gary Fiske were involved in getting the Studebaker to it’s new home that day.

You can see why this visit with the old car was a bit of a reunion. We have lost two of the folks who shared that day. Gene died in 2013 and we lost Gael just a few weeks ago.

1917 studebaker touring interior

The Studebaker, however, is still going strong….and isn’t that exactly the way it should be? We all worry about what will happen to our old cars as time passes, maybe this old car is telling us NOT TO WORRY, just enjoy them today and they will take care of the future.

Another VAEer by the name of Pevy Peake and Dave had traveled to Michigan in 1995 to see the Studebaker and ended up bringing it home to Vermont. Gael and Dave did some engine work on the car and it traveled much of the Northeast Kingdom the next eighteen years. Gene was able to enjoy the car for just a short time, when he sold it to Ken, where it got a new cone clutch, a new windshield and a tune-up with some shiny new spark plugs. It is now, happily, traveling the Champlain Islands.

This 3000 pound Studebaker is one of only 39,686 cars the company made that year, according to the U.S. Automobile Production Figures manual. Commercial production had decreased drastically because of the war, the U.S. government had, by that time, taken over more than 85% of the South Bend factory. By Fall of 1918, all commercial production had seized, and 100% of the factory production was for the war effort. Ken Cota’s Studebaker is a survivor of only a few from 1917. There were only about 18,000 cars produced in the next, making 1918 Studebakers even more difficult to find.

1917 studebaker touring

Studebaker’s main business before 1908 was farm wagons and other related horse drawn equipment. Then a car company by the name of EMF began production in ’09 and Studebaker bought stock. Within four years they owned the EMF automobile company. For many years, the company continued their business in horse drawn equipment while building automobile the same time. In fact, in 1914, they accepted an order that was said to be the largest ever placed. WW1 had begun and Briton contracted Studebaker to deliver 3000 wagons, 20,000 sets of harnesses and 60,000 saddles. The order was completed and shipped out four weeks early. While this order was being filled, Studebaker also built and shipped 475 automobiles to Russia for the war effort.

If only Ken Cota’s Studebaker could tell us about it history……..

What’s On My Mind (the part I have left)

DUES ARE DUE
Are you an active member;
The kind that would be missed;
Or are you just contented
That your name is on the list?
Do you attend the meetings
And mingle with the flock;
Or do you stay at home
And criticize and knock?
Do you take an active part
To help the work along;
Or are you satisfied to be
The kind that just belong?
There’s quite a program scheduled
Which I’m sure you’ve heard about,
And we’ll appreciate it if you, too,
Will come and help us out.
So, come to the meetings often,
And help with hand and heart.
Don’t be just a member
But take an active part.
Think this one over, Brother;
You know right from wrong.
Are you an active member
Or do YOU just belong?

Reprinted from ‘SPLASH PAN’ winter issue 1961-62. Published by Profile Automobile League-P.A.L., The New Hampshire counterpart to the VAE.

I was under the impression that clubs, churches, actually any group relying on volunteers were having problems getting their member’s help with the projects, or starting new programs, was a fairly new problem. As you can see from the poem above, it was also a problem in 1960.

Of course, it was renewed in my mind before and after this last Waterbury event. I had no idea what needed to be done (which I have no excuse for except having a blind eye) because it always got done (and done extremely well, I might add) with little or no thanks to me.

It is a concern for those of us not getting any younger. I can think of several things we enjoyed over the years, that no longer are going on, because of lack of help. One was the summer baked bean suppers in Brownsville, Vermont. Every Saturday night in July and August we would go and wait in line for a wonderful meal of baked beans (3 kinds), potato salad, coleslaw, homemade rolls and pickles. All served family style with a choice of pie at the end. I was introduced to this when I met Gary in 1970. We looked forward to this for several years. Gary’s grandmother worked the suppers and most of that age group did a good share of the work. When these dear ladies and gentlemen could no longer do this, the suppers were cut back to just the month of July and now, I think, they have it just one Saturday in July. The point here is that the love of the suppers didn’t disappear – the workers did!

So, I would ask the VAE membership to be thinking of what you can do, to help make this organization, the kind of club that we are proud to hand down to our children and grandchildren and try to instill in them, a reason to ‘pick up the torch’ and carry it well into the future. Remember: MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK! And by the way, P.A.L. apparently had ‘ disappearing workers’, because it’s just a shadow of its former self – if it exists at all.