1929 Chevrolet Roadster

Gael and Judy Boardman’s 1929 2-Door 2– passenger Chevy Roadster 

  • We know from the bill of sale, in 1999 Gael purchased the roadster from F.E.Rambo of Saginaw, Michigan. 
  • We believe, Steve Dana with his truck and trailer, joined Gael and brought the Chevy home to Vermont. 
  • We know, there was something else that Judy was suppose to remember, but she does not remember what is was. 
  • We also know, from the picture below, that is in the “VAE 50th Anniversary Book”, that the car was “on the road” and operating. He was ‘touring’ with his two granddaughters. 
  • We know, at some point, there was some engine work done and that Gael was ribbed by many VAEers with “When do you think you will get that Chevy running again Gael”. His response was usually close to…” All I have to do is tow it down the road a bit to break-in the engine and it will be ready”. 
Gael Boardman and his granddaughters in his 1929 Chevy Roadster

Gael died a few weeks ago and left these un-answered questions and thousands more. Just focusing on the Chevy, can any of you help with the car’s history? The car is now running, thanks to Fred Gonet and Wendell Noble’s recent work. 

The bill of sale has lead to an obituary of Frederick Earl Rambo passing in 2008 in Saginaw, Michigan. Mr. Rambo left his wife and three sons, so there might be some roadster history found there, with some research. 

Wheel Tracks has Saginaw obit. 

Hey Gael… Why are the hub-caps on the driver’s side different than the other side? 

What work was done to the engine? How long did Gael drive the car before starting the engine work? Why did he choose to purchase a Chevy roadster? 

Wheel Tracks has called and talked to or left messages to many VAE “old-timers” and the car remains a mystery. 

This is what we know about the Chevrolet Corporation’s 1929 model automobile. From the “Standard Catalog of American Cars”…… 

The 29 model Chevy had a more rectangle radiator shell with an up-right “bow-tie” logo at the top. There were fewer vertical louvers on the hood side panels and placed toward the rear. For the first year, there were one-piece full crown fenders and bullet-type head lamps. The rumbleseat sport roadster was a mid-year addition to the line. Which makes Gael’s roadster, with a huge trunk, an early 1929 model. 27,988 2-passenger roadsters were built that year. 

The engine is an overhead cam inline six with a cast iron block. Brake HP is 46 @2600RPM. There are three main bearings, solid valve lifters and a Carter one-barrel carburetor. The Chassis’ WB is 107 inches. 

There is a manual transmission, straight cut gear with 3F/1R. A single plate dry disc clutch, with 4-wheel mechanical brakes. All ’29s had disc wheels. 

Options…front bumper, rear bumper, Single or dual sidemounts, sidemount covers or a rear mount cover. A trunk rack, a steamer-type trunk, a heater and an outside rear view mirror. Also available options, a cigar lighter, runningboard step plates, wire spoke wheels, wind wings and a hood mascot. 

Total production in 1929 was 1,328,605 which includes 73,918 made in Canada. 

Advertised as “A Six for the price of a Four”. MPG approximately 19 

Don’t put off………

The phrase “Don’t put off ’til tomorrow what you can do today” keeps going through my head lately. 

Gael and I talked about becoming plus members of the 251 Club for years. We joined in the early 60’s, so it’s been over fifty years. Well, this sum-mer we were going to do it. Fred Gonet got the Locomobile in good running order last summer, Brian Aros (a new VAE member) gave Gael two new knees and we were going to tour this summer. Well, it was not to be. I could do it by myself, but I don’t want to do it alone, and I couldn’t use the Locomobile because I haven’t a clue about how to drive the thing and it’s way too big for me….out of the question. Who would I go with if I went “modern”. 

Chainsaws! I’ve been thinking about getting a small battery operated chainsaw to trim some branches that I run into when mowing the lawn. Gael would always tell me he would do it the next time he had his chainsaw out (which is ancient and weighs a ton). It never was done. Well, a few weeks ago, I bought a small battery operated chainsaw and finally cut down those branches, that I kept hitting my head and ripping my shirt on when mowing the lawn. 

As always, we had a little water in the cellar a few weeks ago and I sucked it up with our ancient shop vac. I finally got all the water gone, then went and bought a new, small, shop vac. Wow, is it nice. 

One thing I’m not going to do today is to drive the VW Thing. It’s needed some attention for a few years and taking a closer look at it the other day, I think I’ll find somebody to do some work on it, work that should have been done a few years ago but we put it off. The kids and I drove the Thing off and on for a number of years, and we all have good stories to tell (the day I hit a bear) that I’m just hearing about now, so it’s a keeper. It’s just beat up enough that I don’t have to worry about dents and scratches. My kind of car. 

There are definitely some things that shouldn’t be put off…that trip to the dentist office, the annual visit to the doctor for a physical, changing the oil in the car and getting a new inspection sticker for the cars. That one, the inspections, could cover a whole Softer Side article. Mowing the lawn before the grass gets so high it clogs the mower. Sharpening the blade on the brush cutter before you start cutting. I’m sure you can think of a few things to add to the list. 

So, the next time you wake up during the night and think of things that need to be done, get up the next morning and do them, please…..don’t put off….well, you know what I am talking about. 

A Franklin Automobile Enthusiasts

Do you remember the TV series Mash? 

Did you know those helicopters that flew in wounded soldiers were Bell 47s units….and the engines they used were Franklin engines

The Franklin O-335 air-cooled aircraft engines were six-cylinder, horizontally-opposed displacing 335 cu in with a power output of around 225HP. 

When the Franklin auto company went bankrupt in 1933, two of Franklin’s employees purchased the rights to the engine and continued to use the name Franklin. The engines were used in trucks and as stationary units, until WWll began and then went into production for use in over 15 U.S aircraft and helicopters. 

Republic Aviation Inc. purchased the Franklin engine rights in 1945 and produced the Franklin engines for light amphibious aircraft. This company was short-lived with the war ending that year. 

In 1947, the Tucker Car Corporation purchased the engine rights, where the 50 cars that Tucker produced, were powered by Franklin engines. The home of the Tucker Car Club is now at the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA. Tucker reworked the engine from air-cooled to water-cooled and many examples can be seen on the museum floor today. 

In 1961, the Tucker family sold the engine rights to a company called Aero Industries and from there to the “Government of Poland” in 1975. The Polish engine manufacturer is today called “Franklin Aircraft Engines” and are manufactured in Grudziądz city in Poland. 

The Vermont Antique & Classic Automobile Show – 1957 to 2019

Not a lot was written about 1957 other than a race up the Mt. Mansfield Toll Road by a Stanley Steamer and a Model T. In the 1958 VAE Show, there were eleven cars registered. This year, we expect over 600 registrations in 34 classes. We have grown-up! 

1960 stowe vt antique car rally

The Stanley Steamer won the race in 1957. It turns out, steam does not care about elevation changes…but…Model Ts do care. Our 50th Anniversary book reported that the T did make it to the top of Mt. Mansfield’s Toll Road but it had to do it backing up the entire 4 miles! Back then, the August show was called the “Invitational Meet”. 

Around 1969 the VAE August show changed names to “Antique Car Rally”. One of the first car show reports showed up in the winter Wheel Tracks where it was reported there were 225 cars. A comment was made how in only 12 years they went from having a parade with only two cars to the 1969 parade with 180 vehicles. The “Friendliest Car category” went to Paul Dutton’s Cadillac Calliope. 

In 1971, Clark Wright had recently finished as Wheel Tracks editor and Larry Johnson took over. There was an ad for a 1946 Hudson, asking $695. A nice complete car but there was a knock in the engine. The 14th VAE Stowe Rally had 300 cars that year with the “Friendliest Car” being a 1902 Orient motorcycle. There were 11 venders in the flea market. 

The 1979 show moved from Mt. Mansfield parking lot to the Topnotch field. The move created some growing problems but they had 325 cars that year. It was reported in Wheel Tracks that a crow flew over the field at 1;04 PM when they found that some of the “johns” had run out of toilet paper. A white model T led the parade that year and it appears the “Friendliest Car Category” has been dropped. The classifieds had Gael Boardman looking to buy a 10-20 IHC tractor and he also had a 48 Chevy to sell (that was too good to scrap). 

Another move was made after being at Topnotch for 12 years. In 1991, the move was made to Nichols Field, just south of Stowe Village on Route 100. Christine Skinner was our editor then and glee was expressed, in the newsletter, of not having “lake-front” flea market spaces any longer. A 1980 Canadian wolf fur coat was for sale in the classifieds for $275 (requirement….the new owner had to be bilingual). Very little was reported about the Show’s first year at Nichols Field. There was mentioned in August of 1992 that show car registrations had passed 600, (like last year). There were some worried discussions about how many cars the club could handled at this ’larger field’ (discussions of 1000 show cars came up). The Vermont Chamber of Commerce had awarded our Stowe Show, the best summer event in the state. 

Conception Conti was our club secretary in 1993 and in his September Wheel Tracks report, he told of “gorgeous weather” for the August show that year and over 800 show cars. He witnessed car tags from 10 U.S. states and 4 Canadian provinces and one of the best shows, ever. Bob Jones, the president that year, said he would not have survived the show without all the wonderful volunteers (also true to this day)! Bob does not mention the owner, but the President’s Award that year went to a 1947 Ford convertible painted Monsoon Maroon. Bob also discusses a mistake in the recently published VAE’s 40th Anniversary Book, claiming he had been in the Navy. “The closest I ever got to the Navy, was the troop ships, that transported myself and a few thousand others to Korea in the early 50s….as US Army soldiers, not sailors!!!.” 

Jumping to September 2001, when the August show was mentioned by President Fred Cook ( many of the years, Wheel Tracks had no written show after-report). “There can be little doubt, everything came together for the 2001 Stowe Show. VAE’s 44th year, was one of the best!.” Tom Maclay and Dick Currier were the show chairs that year. 

Fred had a special “tip ‘o the hat” for Tom Mchugh that year. It was Tom’s 35th year as the Flea Market Chair….(lets see, it is 2019 now…emm, 35 plus 18 makes it an amazing 53 years that Tom McHugh has been doing his magic in the Flea Market!) 

Ray Tomlinson wrote a note to Wheel Tracks at 5:45AM the Monday after the show. He and his brother, Richard, had co-chaired the car corral for the past 9 years and he spoke about the “amazing show” that year. Ray spoke about being a part of the huge group of show volunteers and listed the many jobs involved in creating a successful show. Les Skinner was the VAE treasurer in 2001, it was noted Les had a huge failure as “The weather Chairman” and he was quietly let-go. Sandy Lambert was the Wheel Tracks editor. 

VAE car show farrs field sign

Fast forward to 2019…. Farr’s Field is waiting for us, the army of volunteers have spent the past 12 months working on this year’s show and we are only days away from pulling the trigger for the 62nd year. It was sad for many of us to leave Nichols Field in Stowe after those many years but the leap to Waterbury was the BEST-EVER outcome. Waterbury is a progressive city and we are now a big part of its great future. 

We need help in these categories if you have an hour or part of a day to spare. Call Duane Leach so he can pencil you in so he knows he has help. 802-849-6174 

The categories……Field set up……Parade lineup……Award lineup…..Someone in charge of speakers….Help with announcing on the field (Gael Boardman’s job) and field take down. 

Driveshaft Fail – Don’t Ignore the Warning Signs

Absent any questions this month, I will share a story about how costly it can be to ignore warning signs and delay needed maintenance

0819 broken driveshaft

A friend of mine has a towing and recovery business. He recently picked up a Subaru from out of state after it broke down on the interstate. The owner told him to keep the car. Why did the Subaru break down? The center drive shaft bearing failed, and the driveshaft came undone from the carrier bearing, flung around, came out of the transmission, hit the pavement, and punctured the floor. The drive shaft punched through the floor and up between the front seats, at highway speed. 

Fortunately, nobody was injured. This problem most likely made considerable noise for some time before it catastrophically failed. This could have been a $100 repair, taking less than a half hour to fix. Someone decided to ignore the warning signs, and ended up walking away from the car. 

I considered buying the vehicle and repairing it. I probably would have, but looking at the car it was very clear the car had never had any maintenance. I don’t think it was ever washed or vacuumed out. 

I can not understand how anyone can invest thousands of dollars in a vehicle and not maintain their investment. 

Been there, done it in a Probe

I admit it. I’m not that into cars. If it has 4 tires and a steering wheel and can get me to where I want to go safely, I’m happy. My husband, on the other hand, is what you’d all call “a car guy.” Over the years he’s purchased antique (I say old) cars and trucks. He does a little bit of general maintenance on them himself, but the big stuff he leaves to the professionals. That I’m happy about. I liken it to, if I want a new electric outlet installed, or want that damned breaker fixed that keeps tripping, when I run my laptop, printer and label maker all at the same time……well, let’s just say I’m still waiting for him, and not the car mechanic, to get around to fixing it. 

All that said, it was somewhat surprising to me what happened one day of a month-long camping trip, we took beginning mid June with the end result of arriving in Salt Lake City, for the International Barbershop Singing Convention and then returning home by July 15. We were driving our F-350/camper and towing a 1997 Ford Probe acquired last fall. We traveled down through the eastern U.S. and then over to Branson, MO, and then continued going west by way of Pueblo, Durango, Moab, and finally 

ending up on the correct date at the KOA in Salt Lake City. 

The biggest highlight of our trip (not necessarily the best) for me: We drove up Pikes Peak in Colorado, which is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in North America. It comes in at 14,115 feet above sea level. (To put it in perspective, Mount Mansfield is 4,393 feet above sea level.) The drive is approximately 19 miles from visitor center to the summit. 

Don was driving. It was a gorgeous day with blue skies and puffy white clouds. We were informed that we’d have to leave the car, at the lot, at mile marker 16, and we’d be shuttled to the summit. 

As we got to mile marker 16, Don casually remarked, “Uh-oh, I think there’s something wrong with the clutch.” Ya think? What the heck does that mean? Get me out of this car. How are we going to get down? I’m going to die on Pikes Peak! All of those thoughts raced through my mind. 

Don casually maneuvered the car into a parking spot, turned it off and started getting out of the car, all the while I’m internally panicking, thinking about calling AAA for help or my mother to say goodbye and to take good care of our kitty, Millie. But, no, I too made my way to the shuttle and up and away we went. 

I must say the peak was awesome! spectacular! breathtaking! gorgeous! No words can capture the magnificence of that part of our American landscape. I am truly glad we made the trip up, but now we had to get down off this damned peak. 

We were shuttled back down to 16 and got in the Probe. Don started the car, and it “appeared” that things were OK. He then finally said something about somebody telling him about hydraulic clutches, and how they can overheat and not work and need cooling off, which did nothing to calm my nerves of possibly going off one of those S-curves at 95 mph. All I thought about was clutch/brake, clutch/brake, clutch/brake – they’re right next to each other. Maybe the brakes won’t work either. 

As we started the drive down, though outwardly calm, my stomach was in a knot, and every time he stepped on the gas I wanted to throw up. I think the door handle needs replacing as I was gripping it so hard; either that or the floor where my feet were. Suffice it to say it was the longest 16 miles of my life. 

We did make it down the mountain. When we stopped for the mandatory “brake check” by a Park Ranger, he let us know the tires were great, and all I wanted to say was, “Yeah, but what about the &*%$!@$ clutch? 

OK, so I can say I learned a little about hydraulic clutches that day, but I can also say with regard to Pikes Peak: Been there, done that, in a Probe! 

Been there, done it in a Probe from Anne 

Saab 900

Absent any questions this month, I will briefly discuss some cars in my shop this month. Both of my sons now have cars. I wanted their first cars to be something durable, safe and inexpensive. Somehow, each of them ended up with a Saab 900 four door. 

When I learned how to drive, people maintained their own cars. Times have changed. Today, people don’t work on cars; they either take it to someone to have it repaired, or they replace it with another car needing less work. 

My older son has a strong interest in cars, and has a nice 900 Turbo. It needed some work when we got it, and while fixing it he was able to learn some basics on how things work and how to maintain a car. My younger son was just looking for basic transportation, and he found it with a base model 900 with an automatic transmission. This car needed a lot of work, and he and I have been working on it for the past year or so. This car was not really worth saving, but was almost too good to scrap. 

These projects are teaching basic auto mechanic skills, like brakes, suspension, electrical and exhaust and also more advanced body work skills with rust and dent repair and painting. They will not only learn skills to maintain a car, but also will have some personal investment in their cars. 

These projects also provide an opportunity to spend time with them. Cars come and go, but quality memories last a lifetime. 

1926 Ford Model T Speedster

There is a new “muscle car” in town and hang-on Lucy if you want to race! 

This Ford Model T Speedster is the creation of VAEer, Dennis Dodd of East Fairfield, Vermont. Dennis has the Patience of Jobe, as this #7 is his 2nd version of the same speedster and has just recently exited his garage, complete and ready to run. He had completed his project a number of years ago but was not happy with the result, so, some 14 months ago, he started over. You have to admit, the car is stunning! 

In the days of old, these Model T Speedsters were built with three transmissions and a more powerful engine and could race at 90 to 100 MPH. This “Number Seven” is built for only 50 to 52 MPH……… 

Number Seven is built on a 1926 platform and the same year engine. The engine has “60-over” pistons with a “domed-head” and a “3-needle” carburetor. The horse power has increased from 22 to around 32HP. 

26 ford model t speedster

Dennis has added a Warford truck transmission which is inline with the original T transmission and gives him five gears forward. The truck model allows both “under-drive” and an “over-drive” gear ratios. He spoke about the folks who drive speedsters with three transmissions and how difficult it is to remember the shifting sequences. The wrong shift usually leaves parts on the road behind you. His 2-transmission combo, is a bit easier, although it takes practice to shift on the fly successfully. 

Dennis is the fabricator and quality control part of the organization and his wife Linda is the aesthetics-control person. The car did not leave the garage until she approved the public ready-ness. Linda also had to push the speedster project along as her bug-eyed Sprite is next in-line……she hopes. 

The “number-7 Speedster will be at the Shelburne Show this June and hopefully at our August show in Waterbury. 

1926 ford model t speedster

What Things Have Changed?

Every time I go to Williston and pass by Friendly’s restaurant, I remember my days in X-Ray school when we would collect our paychecks (second year students were paid $80/month plus call pay, usually amounted to about $160) and we would head out for Friendly’s for a cheeseburger deluxe and milkshake. The burger used bread for the ‘bun’ and added lettuce and tomato and of course, cheese. 

I can’t figure out if it was really that good or that we ate hospital food for 3 meals a day and going out was a once a month treat. I haven’t tried to order one, in about 15 years, but at that time they had stopped making them the way I was use to. So, the question is – has my memory been playing tricks on me? 

Another food item that has changed – the tomato. I know that you can buy them year-round, but my advice is not to. It seems that the last great tomatoes were in my garden 18 years ago (haven’t had a garden since). I do most of my shopping at the Farmer’s Market from May to October and I buy pounds and pounds of tomatoes, but rarely get the fabulous taste, that once was (or at least what my memory says). The only exception is the Heirloom tomatoes which are scarce in the NEK. I will have to branch out to larger markets this summer in search of the heirlooms and pay premium for the experience. 

This brings me to what I really wanted to talk about and that is the change in Vermont’s gold crop – Maple Syrup. I am not talking about the silly names they want us to use – Golden Delicate (think that was called Fancy in my day) and so on, but what I noticed was the taste. Unless you can find someone, who taps, uses buckets, gathers, boils (no osmosis) with wood fire – you aren’t getting the true taste that is real Vermont Maple. 

Some say I’m crazy (a lot might agree on many levels), but I believe I’m right and am sticking to it. We found a man in Enosburg who still gathers with horses (that makes a difference I’m sure) and I have found another hold out from Brownington. He agrees I am right about the taste but he says he is fairly limited in how much he can make, doing it the ‘old fashion’ way, because as he ages it is getting harder and he may have to give it up all together. In a lot of things, change is good, but in Maple Syrup – not so good. The only remedy that I can see for me is to have Wendell (Noble) dust off his buckets, fire up the evaporator, and did I mention find plenty of help to assist doing it the right way?! 

The Classic Auto Festival at Shelburne Museum

A collaboration between the museum and our VAE, June 15 & 16.

The first was in 1969 and it was called the “Shelburne Vintage Automobile Exposition”. Different name, same great fun. 

classic auto show shelburne museum

June of 1995 was the 17th VAE Annual Vermont Auto Expo at the Essex Jct. fairgrounds and it’s last. From old Wheel Tracks archives, the weather was great but for some reason Les Skinner was forced to leave his position as ‘The Weather Chairman’. (We will not ask Les about this, as we doubt we will get an accurate answer). 

The January 1996 Wheel Tracks announced, a successful contract was complete, and the June show will change addresses to the Shelburne Museum. Bill Erskine recounted his negotiations with the museum in a one page announcement and description of the new expo in Shelburne. He and Tom McHugh had been co-chairs at Essex and would continue. Bill commented on successfully convincing the museum of the importance of a flea market and a car corral, a well attended show depended on them to draw the public. Bill reported in the July Wheel Tracks that the show was a total success. He reported there were a few “unplanned stops” in the parade from Battery Park. There were countless comments about the museum’s “spectacular setting” and the owner of the ‘Best of Show’ was quoted as saying during the 20 years of going to car shows, this had been the best one. Financially, the club broke even the first year. 

July 1997 Wheel Tracks, Mary Mazur reported a bit of a problem in the Shelburne show parade. The 150 cars in the parade down Church Street was too much for the Police Department to handle!….Yes, one hundred and fifty cars!! The 1996 car count at the museum was 246 and this year it was over 300. There were over 3300 people who went through the museum gate that year. Dick Messier combined three expo shows in Essex and the two in Shelburne on a video tape and made them available for $5.00. (Does anyone have one of these tapes for one of our gatherings?) 

The May 1998 business meeting minutes, as reported by Fred Cook included a request from show co-chair, Bill Erskine, urged everyone’s help with the weather aspect. Fred added…”I think he means pray”. Mary Mazur reported in July the show was, again, a success. The weather was cloudy and a bit chilly but the car and spectator attendance was similar to the previous year. The parade was sorted out and “a good one”. It had been reported the flea market vendors and car corral had been unhappy the first two years because of location and a dusty parking lot. This year nothing had changed that we can find but Mary reported everyone was happy. She explained that it might have something to do with Mr. Rick’s Chuckwagon and Ben & Jerry’s vendors were added to the flea market area. Mary reported that Carol Lavallee’s fashion show was “fabulous”! 

August 1999 Wheel Tracks reports the May board minutes and the decision to change the Shelburne show name to “The Vermont Vintage Auto Exhibition”. 

The July 2000 Wheel Tracks has some of Avery Hall’s ‘observations’….. The weather was great! The 300 car number was added upon by 45 tractors for “The Antique Tractor Pull”. Frank Mazur and his crew greeted and got the cars to the right places in the upbeat spirit of the event. Tom McHugh had successfully “grown” the flea market. Fred Cook and Willis Spaulding & crew manned the Courtesy Tent and he had never seen it more busy. Rick and the Ramblers with Shana Antoniuc entertained the crowd with Western and Auto related music. Steve Dana gave rides and thrills to lucky folks in his Kissel Speedster. From Avery…” Speaking for myself, I had a great time driving around the grounds in my Packard Phaeton…I truly think the moving cars added, a new spirit to the event since people love to see them in operation”. 

November 2006 Wheel Tracks. It appears the June 2006 show at the Shelburne Museum was the end of that eleven run. The VAE board minutes simply noted, “ Since the Shelburne Museum venue, no longer appears to be available, discussion turned to other possibilities…..” 

So..this year, 2019, our show at the Shelburne Museum will be Number 14….a very good number!