1929 Whippet Engine project

After much deliberation, we decided that the “spare” engine should move into the “boat anchor” category. You can see on the front page, we have installed the anchor chain.

Pictured is Charlie Thompson and Rosie’s engine. They are discussing the future and singing their tune

Despite being rebuilt in its past, the “anchor” appeared to have run many hours since. The deciding issue was the unacceptable amount of out-of-round and taper of the cylinders. They had already been bored 0.030” oversize and to correct this issue, they would have to be bored again to 0.040” or more oversize. One of our experts noted that .040” oversize pistons are not available and would have to be custom made at exorbitant cost.

If you recall, Gary’s suggestion in last month’s Wheel Tracks was to equip Rosie with a nice air-cooled Franklin engine. You would think if air-cooled was so great, they would have put them in airplanes. Oh, that’s right, they did!

So, back to the Whippet’s (Rosie’s) original “lunch” engine. It is, by the way, not original to the car. Based on serial numbers, it is a 1929 engine in a 1930 car. No problem, those two years of Whippets were identical. Having pulled the engine from Rosie, it now sits in Gary’s shop next to the boat anchor. The bad bearing that we had surmised was a main bearing based on the sound – thump, thump – turned out to be a rod bearing. All else looked acceptable with a bit of adjustment of the bearing clearances. The bad rod bearing was repaired by using a rod from the spare engine.

According to the 1933 Motor’s Repair Manual, the main bearing clearance should be 0.002” and the rod bearing clearance should be 0.001”. Adjustments to remedy bearing clearances greater than that are made by filing the bearing caps. Most of Rosie’s bearings were close, needing only a little filing to achieve the desired clearance. We preferred to stay in the range of .0025—.002.

Of greater concern was the worn timing chain which was “toast” according to Dennis Dodd. (I’m not sure if that is a technically correct term, but you get the picture.) I just happened to have, in my garage, a cigar box with 3 timing chains.Been there for years. One was new, but only 71 links instead of the required 85. A second chain was worn. Both had “master links”. So, we set about cannibalizing extra links from the worn chain to bring the new chain up to 85. We learned how these chains were made and the difficulty of disassembling them.

Gary found a beautiful new 85 link chain on the internet, but unfortunately it was a “center guide” instead of an “edge guide” required by Rosie. These chains are one inch wide. A center guide has links in the center which ride in a groove in the gears. The edge guide has similar links on each edge which capture the gears between them. I still have two more parts engines here which might have better chains but must get out in the cold to disassemble them. We have been cleaning engine parts and Gary has applied paint to the engine block and head. I had been told that the original engine color was a grayish green. Without that color available, Gary bought a can of “racing green” from NAPA. With that Rosie will feel pretty sporty as she cruises along at her usual 35 to 40 MPH!

1930 whippet “rosie”

From Wendell Nobel:

Let’s introduce the Franken-engine syndrome. We have two fatally disabled engines which were identical when new. They are disabled for different reasons. Therefore, it should be possible to assemble one good flawlessly working engine from judiciously selected parts, leaving the other as a boat anchor. I’ve got my fingers in two of these cases right now. One is Charlie Thompson’s ’30 Whippet and the other is my own ’29 Plymouth. The judicious decisions are driven by the economics of expensive outside specialist machine shops, if they are to be found, and new parts. Meet Miss Rosie. Ain’t She A Beauty?

Swapping a good crankshaft to another engine means rebabbitting bearings and line boring, if available within driving distance. Regrinding out of round or damaged crankshaft journals can’t be done in Vermont. Getting correctly sized pistons for oversized rebored cylinders is doable but expensive. With help from a faithful lab assistant, Igor, we will ultimately breathe new life into both car’s engines. We’ve got a good supply of Igors, but a limited supply of funds.

From Gary Fiske:

Like Wendell, we all have engine “stuff” going on. I might have mentioned something about a Franklin I recently brought home from Toronto. I got a good deal on it, and I am glad I have it, but… I need to find out why I have low compression in three cylinders. These old cars always have surprises!

We less experienced mechanics, with confidence issues, are always looking for early ways to test our engine before completing assembly. A few of Rosie’s valves were found to leak a bit by using compressed air and Windex bubbles. Those bubbles were also used to find over-worn valve guides. Some simply put the engine upside-down and squirt a little gas into the backside of the valve head. A good valve and seat will hold the gas back very nicely. A compression check is also planned the minute Rosie’s engine head is fitted in place.

Do you think we give enough credit to the early 19th century engineers and mechanics who had no “experts” guiding them?

1914 Cadillac Touring

Bill Fagan’s beautiful 110-year-old Cadillac has some stories to tell. That includes being found in this Maine barn, to the left, when the 2nd owner came along in 1943 to buy it.

There is a picture of the Caddy (below) when Bill became the 4th owner.

Do you remember the Cadillac engine story from the March 2020 Wheel Tracks? It was about an engine that Fred Gonet restored. There is even a video, on our VAE website, of Fred starting the engine for us. I remember the sound was fantastic!

1914 Cadillac Touring in the barn
When the 1914 Cadillac came to Bill’s Barn

That engine is now back in its home of Bill Fagan’s 1914 Touring Cadillac, and Bill has completed his multi-year restoration project. The second owner had driven the car until the mid-1950s when it was put into storage for many years. The family had tried, unsuccessfully, to get it running when they damaged the rear engine seal, so it continued to languish until it made its way to Bill’s barn in 2007.

Bill told how he was on a Brass Era Frostbite Tour in Massachusetts when a friend said he had just run across this barn find ‘14 Caddy.

“I was interested, needless to say, and drove to his place in NH the day after the tour to make the deal. Because the car sat in the barn with a damp floor, the fenders, splash aprons and wheel rims were quite rusty and had to be repainted. The body and upholstery are original and in excellent condition. I’ve gone through the running gear and the frame, painted them and the wheels and nickel plated all the bright work.”

1914 Cadillac Touring

The car made its debut at our Waterbury car show this past August, winning 1st place in the brass category. You could purchase this car for about $2000 in 1914 when a Ford Model T touring car sold for about $500. That was when Henry Ford was in his second year using an assembly line to build his cars. Henry often bragged how he could build a model T in 33 minutes at his factory. 202,667 Ts came off the assembly line that year.

There was no assembly line for these beautiful Cadillacs. They were hand built in 1914. A total of 14,000 Cadillacs were built that year.

1930 Ford Model A Pickup

1929 Ford Model pickup Travis Cook

Travis Cook found this 1929 Ford Model A pickup, with a blown engine, listed for sale in Wheel Tracks six years ago. Since he had a fine “pickled” engine at home, he bought it. Here, you see the model A 3000 miles later, at our 2023 Waterbury Show.

Evidence indicates this Model A might have begun its life in Mississippi. Travis speaks of a windshield inspection sticker from that state. There is also a gas ration sticker on the truck from October 1st, 1942. It’s interesting how these old vehicles can “talk” to us!

Travis answered a Wheel Tracks ad in 2018, and that is when the truck found a new home in his Connecticut garage. It had been owned by VAEer, John Gray of Proctor, our VAE president in 1982. How many have heard of a “pickled engine?” That was a new term for me. When Travis explained, I could only see a huge crock, full of oil, with an emerged engine sitting in it. Wrong… the engine was simply well oiled while waiting to pull a vehicle down the road again.

Travis said all he had to do was install the engine, replace the rusted aprons and buff the old paint. Last year he did do a major revamp of the front end, and the braking system. The pickup sits with two other Model As, a 1930 Murray bodied 4-door sedan, and a 1931 slant-windowed A. It seems like “that old car thing” also exists down country. One old car is good, but more than one is even better!

1929 Ford Model pickup bed

Travis says he and his buddy of 40 years, Pete Johns, will be coming to next year’s VAE car show with a 1977 Chevy Caprice Classic. He describes the car as having a lot of horsepower and maybe a bit more noise than normal. I can’t wait to see it. He has been a club member for 20 years and speaks of his many adventures in Stowe and Waterbury. Over the years he has become friends with Stowe restauranter, Franke Salese, thus the “Salute” advertisement on the Model A’s door, in honor of his friend. Sign making and advertising has been Travis’ career, and his handywork is evident. BTW, friend, Pete Johns, can be seen, on the front page, sitting at the rear of the pickup. The easy banter between the two was what drew me to the Model A that day in Waterbury. I remember saying that I hoped they were friends, which caused another round of funny cross-comments between the two.

Travis was married to Pauline for 47 years whom he lost her four and a half years ago. She was mentioned many times as he told me of their old car adventures over the years. He is also a proud Army vet. Thank you for your service Travis.

Model A production ended in March 1932, after 4,858,644 had been made in all body styles since 1928. From that total, there were about 482,000 pickup trucks built. Travis said the Model T line ended in 1927, and that Ford used many of the leftover model T parts in the 1928 models. By 1929, the pickups used no leftover parts.

Ford’s 1929 Model A pickup truck was based on its Model A car. It used the same four-cylinder, 40-horsepower engine. Ford’s pickup was available in open and closed-cab versions. Factory price for the open-cab pickup was $430, while closed-cab trucks started at $445. Ford sold more than 212,000 trucks in 1929.

The road manners of these trucks are surprisingly nimble, thanks to stiff suspension and quick steering. Speeding tickets probably won’t be a major concern, as a Model A feels happiest running along at around 45 MPH.

1980 MGB Mark IV

This MGB beauty is owned by VAEer Jim Adams of Jericho, Vermont.

Jim Adams writes:

Jim Adams and his 1980 MBG

In the spring of 1983 on my daily drive to my office, I drove by Al Martin Motors which then was on the Williston Road. In the showroom was a reddish orange sports car just begging me to stop and look at her. One day I could no longer resist and thus started a 40-year odyssey with a 1980 MGB MK IV.

My experience with cars began in 1960, when I was 15. My neighbor was a car salesman and one day he brought home a 1936 Chevy 2-door sedan and parked it in front of my house. A good sales pitch! After persuading my parents to lend me $25, I was the excited new owner for a total sum of $50.

Needless to say, I learned much about mechanics and body work. That 1936 Chevy was followed by a 51 Ford, a 55 Chevy and then back to a 51 Chevy which was my daily driver in 1970!

By 1983 I was married with 2 children and was ready for another car adventure. Growing up in the 50s and 60s I became interested in British sports cars such as MGs, Austin Healeys, and Triumphs, and their successes on the European race tracks. In 1962 I had the thrill of driving my oldest brother’s newly acquired Austin Healey Sprite. The car was quick and responsive and a blast to drive with a 4-speed transmission. I knew then that at some point I needed to have a sports car! MGs have a history going back to the 1920s when Morris Motors was in its infancy building primarily sedans. A group of the workers began experimenting with building more sporty models and soon spun off another company with the famous MG moniker. In the 1940s MG sports car models took off with the MG TCs, MG TDs, MG TFs, MGA and finally the MGB.

From the model year update in 1975 until its demise in 1980, the MGB was looked down upon by MG purists. In mid -1974, US regulations required the original MGB to have better crash protection which resulted in raising the car 1 inch and adding rubber bumpers. In addition, new pollution regulations caused MG to add a quirky emission system of air pumps, a catalytic converter, and a single Zenith carburetor. This emission system caused a real decline in performance and purists actually expressed hatred of the rubber bumpers.

My 1980 MGB has 95H, a 4 -speed transmission and an electronic overdrive. I believe the overdrive has been instrumental in reducing the wear and tear of high RPMs on the engine allowing it to effortlessly reach 100,000 miles. During the 40 years I have had my MGB, it has been well maintained with the expert help of Arlo Cota and his team at Imported Cars in Williston. The IC team performs mechanical magic! The car has been annoying at times and has needed some emergency intervention. I have had two gas line leaks which have been the demise of many MGs. I was fortunate to catch them early before flames erupted! Once the catalytic converter literally fell apart at the top of Smugglers Notch after becoming fiery red. Recently the engine quit coming down the east side of the Notch. Cause was Lucas electrical!

1980 MBG interior

Quoting from the April 2013 Wheel Tracks page 15, I consider my car “Perfect but not Correct”. In order to improve the performance from its original configuration, a Weber downdraft carburetor along with new headers and a Triumph Trophy exhaust from Moss Motors was installed. Just recently my B was upgraded with a Pertronix electronic distributor resulting in a marked increase in power.

Other “not-correct” changes include aftermarket wheels with 185×14 tires mounted (original were 165×14). Ongoing maintenance during its life have included a clutch replacement, engine seals, suspension and brake repairs. The MGB’s body and frame is solid with no rust . The only body repair was the need for a new hood resulting from a sled dropping down on it from my garage rafters.

I have enjoyed this MGB even though I think an Austin Healey 3000 is the ultimate in English sports cars! With all the performance changes made throughout its life, this car is fun to drive through Vermont’s beautiful countryside with the top down and its 4-speed gear box and overdrive.

I recently spent some time on the VAE’s web page “Member Vehicles.” Interestingly, the brand with the greatest representation is Ford with 437 entries. I found 11 English brands totaling 114 and 44 of them are MGs. I also agree with Jim as my daily driver, for 12 years, was one of these 11 marques. To this day, SU carbs and even Lucas electric holds, almost, good memories for me.

From the editor

Happy Birthday Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts!

Lloyd Davis’s Antique Car in 1953 was a 1925 Davis, one of 692 made that year in Richmond, Indiana.

Lloyd is pictured above, not because of his car, but because he is one of the 29 Charter Members of the VAE.

The VAE began 70 years ago, in 1953, with these 29 Members.

Bradford Benson, Hyde Park
C.M Broadwell, Morrisville
Alan Burr
William Cole
John Cummings, Essex Jct.
Lloyd Davis, Middlebury
Ruie DuBois, Rutland
William Egger, Essex Jct.
F.W, Fredette, Barre
Rodney Galbraith, Essex Jct.

Kenneth Gypson, Essex Jct.
Clifton Havens, Burlington
Robert Jones, Morrisville
Walter Jones, Morrisville
Dale Lake, Ripton
Charles McNally, Katonah, NY.
David Otis, Burlington
Peverill Peake, Bristol
Roderick Rice, Burlington
Al Romano, Rutland

Edward Rotax, Ferrisburg
Robert Russel, Underhill Ctr.
P.A. Ryder, Wolcott
Steve Scott, Burlington
Kenneth Squier, Waterbury
Bert Sweetland, East Hardwick
Robert Sweetland, East Hardwick
Paul Taplin
Ronald Terrill, Morrisville

Llyod Davis, Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts

I mentioned Lloyd Davis’s antique auto that he had in 1953, on the front page. He still has it! Like all of us, once we get our hands on an old car, we do not let go. I sat down with Lloyd recently and was able to get a little of his history, I hope I took good notes, Lloyd.

He used his GI Bill for college when he got out of the Army in 1954 and graduated from UVM with a degree in Ag Economics. The “old car” fever might have begun at UVM when he became friends with people by the name of Pevy and Hockeye, to name just two.

He was drafted in the Fall of 1950 when Korea started heating up, but luckily he never left the states. He was assigned to the 980th 1st Engineer Army Battalion, Company B, at an ammo depot in Virginia called Camp Pickett. He was trained as a plumber, an electrician, low pressure boilerman, plus a number of other skills and became an Army Utility Repairman. The jobs he had could fill all the pages of this publication.

The one job that is the most memorable for him was being a part of building a movie set on the Army base for the 1953 movie “Battle Circus”. The movie was about a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit that later was used to base the weekly TV series. The movie stars were Humphrey Bogart, June Allyson, Keenan Wynn and Robert Keith, all of whom Lloyd met while the movie was being made.

Lloyd and a couple of GI friends were actually in the movie… well “in” meaning involved. There was a scene where a jeep had crashed and while on its side, you can see a front tire still spinning. Lloyd and his pals were assigned to pull a long piece of clothesline, off camera, to make that tire go around. I have found the movie online and when I finish this column, I plan on finding that spinning jeep tire.

As mentioned, Lloyd went to UVM after being discharged, and after college, spent much of his career working for Eastern States Co-op and The Agway Corporation. He was born and brought up in the Rutland area where he still resides. Like many of us VAEers, his love for old cars has lead him to many adventures over the years and he has met and become friends with an amazing group of people.

One brand of automobile in Lloyd’s garage is the air-cooled Franklin. Lloyd is the ‘go to’ person for those first-time Franklin owners, and for those of us who have had Franklins for a while. He was the librarian for the H.H. Franklin Club for many years. Beside his knack for details and extensive personal library, I am sure those years as librarian also helped in his knowledge of the car.

Lloyd went through the VAE’s 4-year process of being 2nd Vice, then 1st Vice, President and Chair. It appears from our history books that this happened twice as he was president in 1958 and again in 1971. We all try to do our part for our club and Lloyd has certainly done his.

I need to get one more thing into print so it will never get lost. I stopped at Lloyd’s home one afternoon unannounced and found him repairing shingles on the roof of his two story home. This was not too long ago. I reminded him how far the fall could be, but he didn’t seem concerned. I often ask, when we talk, if he has been on the roof lately and a couple of years ago he told me his southern roof was a definite no no, but the other sides were OK to be on. Asked why, he told me his doctor lived next door to the south, and he didn’t want to have deal with him if he got caught. Sorry, my friend, but this had to be written.

1941 Dodge 1/2 ton Pickup WC

Jim Shover Always Wanted a Show Pickup. He Found This One in a Field in 1973.

jim shover 1941 dodge pickup wc

Jim Shover has family all around him and they are very special to him. However, it does not take long to find another type of family in Jim’s life, and we believe if he could add the Shover surname to his Dodge, he would.

Jim’s “other” family member is a 1941, half ton, Dodge pickup WC. He found the truck, in a field, at the end of the drag strip in Milton 50 years ago. Jim paid $25 for the truck and paid someone $40 to haul it to his home in Burlington. He said the tires still held air, but mother earth was slowly reclaiming it with a tree growing through the frame. The frame was shot along with many other items on the truck, and years were spent collecting what he needed to bring the Dodge back, including the replacement frame.

Jim has “brought” this truck back in very fine fashion. A quick count of trophies over the years was in the neighborhood of 46 and counting. The person who sold the truck to Jim all those years ago was Claude Racine. We wonder how he would react to seeing the Dodge today.

1941 half ton dodge pickup wc

Jim started his mechanical training in the automotive program at Burlington High School for part of his school day, with the other part at his home school at Rice for his academics. After graduation he decided to continue his automotive track at Franklin Institute in Boston. He was amazed at the level of detail that was taught there. He speaks of having to learn the amount of oil flow for each gear of an automatic transmission, as an example. This training lead to a career with the phone companies, New England Tel & Verzon, as a mechanic. You wonder what Jim could teach us shade-tree mechanics.

So what is this Dodge WC all about?

1941 half ton dodge pickup wc interior
Simple & Efficient

WC might mean something totally different to a non-old-car person who might have traveled Europe a bit. Dodge had another idea. They made over 380,000 truck and called them WCs, VCs and VFs for the military. Another category of the same truck was “job rated” for the civilian market.

These trucks ranged from Jim’s Dodge, a 2-wheel drive, 92 HP pickup to the one & a half ton 6X6 vehicles the military needed. All the trucks shared many common parts that could be easily interchanged.

1941 half ton dodge pickup wc front
Remember that Garfield in-your-face cartoon? Nothing compare to this Dodge.

Some say the WC stands for “weapons carrier”. Others say the W simply is Dodge code for 1941 and the C for the 1/2 ton rating. Books on the subject are still disagreeing on these designations It might have to do with the confusion of WWII.

The military use for Jim’s 2-wheel drive version of the WC Dodge varied. Some had bench seats for carrying troops, and others were simply called a “Carry All”. Some were set up as a panel van, while other were used for telephone installation and repair trucks.

The sweep of those fenders, however, lets us know the truck did it with class.

1930 Plymouth Roadster

Rita Codling and Alden Chapman owned this beauty, a 1930 Plymouth Roadster

Our 1930 Plymouth Roadster
By Alden Chapman (Written in 1980
)

Having had three roadsters previously and selling them for various reasons, we decided it was time to find another one, this time to restore and enjoy. At the 1974 Gypson Tour, mention was made of a Plymouth Roadster up for bid in an estate sale. Asking a few questions, it turned out that another member of VAE, Steve Stepheson, had been trying to purchase the car for a number of years from the original owner, but had been put off each time.

Steve would visit the owner several times a year, and the owner would have a different reason each time for not selling. I called Steve and related what I had learned. Steve said that he had enough cars and to go ahead and bid on it. A few minutes later, I called and made a bid of what I thought I could afford. I was told there were other bids from folks who had high hopes, but empty pockets. I was then told the car was mine, but that I had to get it off the property by 8 the next Saturday morning.

Having purchased the car, sight unseen, and wondering what I had bought Steve suggested that we go down Wednesday night and see the car. It turned out the car was basically complete and in not too bad shape. Some rust, but all wood was very good. The administrator had repeated that he wanted the car gone by Saturday morning with nothing fishy, make the check out to the estate and be gone by 8 AM. Saturday morning, Stephenson, Del Saben and I left Barre with Steve’s truck and a borrowed trailer long before sane people were awake and headed for West Rutland, arriving at the farm around 7. We loaded the Plymouth with no trouble and headed home, well before the deadline.

Back home again, we had a close look at the car in daylight. It would need a new engine, water had been left in and froze. Parts of the head were at least 1/4 inch above the rest with cracks around each plug hole and bolt. The rear wheel seals were gone with no brake linings, just metal against metal. We wondered how old Sam stopped?

The next evening Del Sabens stopped by. He had found an engine for me. Did I want it before the junkman got it….I sure did!

Now that I had a car and an engine, I needed to finish my garage to make a place to work on it. My nephew, Charles Codling, installed the ceiling and insulation and added a heater. I was now ready to start the restoration.

Bill Werneke straightened the fenders while they were still on the car and made a new rear fender from a collection of new and old pieces. With the fender basically straight the car was then dismantled.

Although most Chrysler-built cars had black fenders and undercarriage, this Plymouth has a green undercarriage and fenders in body color. As my sister and I are the second owners and the car had never been in an accident, this would have to be a factory job.

As finances permitted, work went on. The upholstery material was selected to come close to the green leather and compliment the original colors. Romania Grenier of Washington thought it would be an interesting experience to upholster an antique car compared to antique furniture. Sure is, isn’t it?

The engine was pulled out of the car and stripped of all usable parts and the rest junked. The engine that was to be used was sent off to the rebuilders for a complete rebuild. More about this engine overhaul later.

After having been disassembled for two years, the parts were stored in the attic, the cellar, my bedroom and everywhere else that you would find old car parts. The frame was cleaned, sanded and painted.

Then assembly started and things went slowly but smoothly. The engine came back from the rebuilders, was installed and given a short run. A new clutch was installed, but proved defective. Another new clutch was obtained and worked fine although I think I can take out the transmission and clutch and replace them blindfolded by now.

By April ‘79 things had progressed far enough to register the car and get it inspected. Early one Saturday morning we started the Plymouth up and headed for the inspection station 3 miles away. We never made it. In less than a miles a knock developed. Not knowing what was wrong, and not wishing to do any more damage, we rode home on the back of a flatbed wrecker.

We put the car in the garage up on ramps and I started to tear into the engine. All of a sudden, the car rolled off the ramps, out of the garage, and into the back of my everyday transportation. Minor damage to the Plymouth (no dents or scratches– just one bent bolt and a broken bar), but the Chrysler almost collapsed into a pile of rust. Getting the Plymouth back into the garage and properly secured, the engine was pulled. Number one rod was burned out for no apparent reason. The engine was further disassembled and it was found that the oil channels in the main bearings had not been opened up. No other damage was done. The rebuilder supplied a new rod and the engine was reassembled, installed and started. Still a knock. Good oil pressure, but still a knock. We pulled the engine apart again and still found nothing wrong. The third time, it was discovered that the wrist pin bolts were only finger tight.

Replacing the old bolts and torquing them properly, the engine ran just like a four cylinder Plymouth should.

Editor notes…

In 1980, when Alden wrote this story about he and his sister buying and restoring their Plymouth, Alden and Chris Barbieri were the editors of Wheel Tracks. Alden had also served as VAE president in 1977. I met Alden for the first time in 2013, when I took this picture for Wheel Tracks. It seems a hundred years ago. He told me in a very positive way that he missed his old cars and driving them, and had found collecting diecast cars was the next best thing. One of his two cats insisted on attention from me, the second just stood and stared at me the whole time. Alden assured me, with that great grin of his, that I was safe that the cat would not attack. We had a great talk that day.

Alden Charles Chapman
June 8, 1927 – May 23, 2016

Mark Your Calendar!

(Pictured above is our former Wheel Tracks editor, Gene Fodor, and his beloved unrestored 1953 MG TD, both ready for the 2011 costume event.)

The 66th VAE “Vermont Antique and Classic Car Meet” is on August 11, 12 & 13.

The Souvenir Tent

The Souvenir Tent has a new organizer this year……… Lester Felch has graciously volunteered to take over from Nancy Olney as she slowly steps away from her past duties.
THANK YOU, NANCY, FOR YOUR MANY YEARS OF VOLUNTEERISM!!

Lester is looking for volunteers to help him man/ woman the tent while the show meet is in progress. Would YOU step up and volunteer just a few hours of your time to sell the souvenirs? It’s a lot of fun. You get to meet many new people and watch the crowds go by. You can contact Lester at 802-793-7455 with any questions or just to sign up.

AND PLEASE DON’T FORGET…………FIELD SETUP AND BREAKDOWN:

Duane and others will be on the field from August 5th on, and they need you!! Lots to do, from pounding stakes to installing fencing and putting up tents. You don’t need to be there every day all day. Can you give a few hours of your time at some point that week? Duane and his crew will find something for you to do! It doesn’t hurt to give Duane @ 802-849-6174 a call to let him know you’re coming, or please just show up. Many hands make light work!

THE JOY OF JUDGING AT
THE VERMONT ANTIQUE AND CLASSIC CAR MEET
THE JUDGES’ CORNER

Keep in mind that some participants take the judging results very seriously, so you have the opportunity as a judge to make some owners very happy. Conversely, you can really tick off some people and the Judging Committee is likely to hear about it. In such a case, we give them your name and address (just kidding)! Overall, it’s a great way to spend a few hours on a Sunday morning. And the food at breakfast is damn good.
We need more club members to step up and become judges at the Meet. You don’t need to be an expert on a 1910 Maxwell Sedan or a 1955 Studebaker President Speedster, but if you don’t know the difference between a 1910 Maxwell and a 1955 Studebaker, this may not be the volunteer opportunity for you. A discerning eye is essential (two discerning eyes are even better). We judge vehicles on both condition and authenticity, the standard being “as delivered to the selling dealer by the manufacturer.” New judges are always paired with an experienced one, so assistance on authenticity is available. Additionally, members of the Judging Committee and the Chief Judge are available for questions.
If you might be interested in becoming a judge, please contact Steven Carpenter, the Judging Coordinator, at stevenc1974@outlook.com or 802-343-3673.
Don’t forget about the free admission, free breakfast, free hat, and free model car for every judge (we might outdo Uncle Sam on free stuff)!
Mark Bennett, Chief Judge

1914 Cadillac Touring Car

This 1914 Cadillac Touring car began its life in Iowa Park, Texas when Ernst Goetze needed transportation. 

Today, it is garaged in Ludlow, Vermont. Brian Wood is now the Cadillac’s owner/caretaker. 

Mr. Goetze, an immigrant from Saxony, Germany, was a cattleman in Iowa Park, Texas. He had seen the two neighbor girls with broken arms and decided that any car he bought must have electric starting and electric lights. 

He turned down Chevys, Fords and Oldsmobiles until June 5, 1914 when Mr. Claspy from the Munger Motor Company in Wichita Falls showed him this Brewster green Cadillac. After a trial ride, Mr. Goetze bought the car and presented it to his two daughters, Lina and Frieda, on condition that they care for it and drive him wherever he wished to go. He had lost the use of his left arm in an accident with a horse and could not drive himself. 

The two Goetze daughters in 1970 when the Cadillac’s 2nd owner, Randy Harding, purchased it. 

With the car came the Dykes Visual Aids book, a creeper, trouble light, snow chains, tools and such accessories as the spring-loaded bumper and spare tire. It also had white tires. A garage was built for the Cadillac, and it was put inside on jacks after each outing. Miss Lina and Miss Frieda remember that usually Mr. Goetze would ask if they had set the jacks back under the car and admitted that sometimes they fibbed. 

Miss Lina told of returning from town and outrunning a rainstorm. “I stepped on it and we were really flying. My father was in the rear and, as I glanced back, I saw he was holding the rail in both hands. We flew all the way home and just as we rolled into the garage, the biggest rain you ever did see burst out. I knew he didn’t like my speeding, but Father never said a word.” 

Around 1920, the Cadillac passed her 100,000 mile mark and the Goetzes joined the 100,000 Mile Club. The daughters remember their dad often wearing the club pin. 

In 1926, the speedometer gave out and was taken to town for repair. The mechanic shipped it off and died two days later. It was never heard of again. 

About 1930, Miss Frieda was driving the family home from a rodeo in Electra, a village sixteen miles away. She remembered shouting “Look out. That cop is going to hit us!” Blam! A drunken policeman, on his motorcycle, had careened into the left front side of the car so that he blew out the Cadillac’s tire, bent the rim, ruined the fender and bent the bumper. No one was hurt and a new fender and rim were replace along with fixing the other damage. This was its only wreck. 

The Cadillac was retired in 1934 having never been outside Texas and Oklahoma. 

1914 cadillac touring car profile

Brian Wood estimates the car had about 150,000 miles on it when he purchased it in 2004. He is the 3rd owner. He has rebuilt the engine, transmission and rear end along with the many smaller needed tweakings. He was able to confirm many of the story’s details while working on the car. He found a bent front axel, most likely the result of the drunken policeman’s wreck. There were holes in the floor where the daughter’s heels rested while driving those many mile, and the back carpet was worn through from Mr. Goetze’s feet. He always sat in the back seat on the passenger side. 

1914 cadillac touring car fasteners

Brian has been completely through the car mechanically without changing any of its appearance, including the 109-year old leather interior. He says it was pretty much worn out. It might be hard to see these two examples of worn bolts to the right. Brian says there were many more. 

The car is fantastic to be around and unbelievable when you hear the story. BUT, when you hear the engine start and the car backs out of its garage, it transports you to 1914. The sound and sight will stay with you forever if you are an old car buff. 

Editor’s notes…..
A document with the above words was certified by Lina and Frieda. 

Ernst Ehregott Goetze was born September 15, 1843 and died December 11, 1936. 

Daughters, Lina Rose (1/26/1883-6/21/1978) and Frieda Martha (5/28/1889-12/7/1986) are buried near their dad in nearby Highland Cemetery. 

1926 Franklin 11A Sport Runabout Boattail

Wheel Tracks is 70 years old this month!

I promise that this is the last time I’ll toot my family whistle in regards to the beginnings of the VAE. After all, Gary told me, “It’s about the car.” I’ve said in past Wheel Tracks that the Franklin was the car that inspired Anne Gypson to have Ken’s car friends over for his birthday and to form a club.

Oh yeah, the car. Dad spotted the Franklin in farmer Harold Green’s field on the west side of Route 22A in Addison, Vermont. Being a Franklin and a boattail roadster to boot (Franklin’s official model designation is 11A Sport Runabout), he couldn’t not stop! It was being used, of all things, as a chicken coop. (No, not coupe.) Dad had to really twist Harold’s arm and part with $50 so Harold could build another chicken coop.

Gypson's 1926 Franklin 11A Sport Runabout
Ken Sr., Anne and 3-year-old Ken Jr, in the Franklin

Dad was able to drive the car home to Essex Junction. I’m guessing that there are Gypson, Rice, and Galbraith stories long lost on that trip. When he got the Franklin home it just needed tires and a tune up. As I’ve written in the past, Keith Marvin drove it to New York when we moved to the Albany area. The engine was rebuilt by the last living (and legally blind) Franklin mechanic from the Troy Franklin Motor Sales Co., Inc.

Dad drove the car very little and had intentions of restoring it. Midgets and sprint cars got in the way. After dad’s passing I inherited the car. All I’ve done is put new tires on it, had the top and side curtains redone, and installed an electric fuel pump as a backup to the vacuum system. The car is insured, NYS inspected, and driven about 100 miles a year.

Editor’s note…
I hope you can see why we chose May of this year to feature the Franklin; our 70th year as the Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts! The ideas, hopes and dreams of that small group in 1953 was the beginning of this world class auto club we have today.

1926 Franklin 11A Sport boattail

More editor notes…

The Franklin auto company was located in Syracuse, NY and built cars from 1902 until 1934. Their total production was reported at 154,022 automobiles. It is also reported that about 3700 Franklins have survived to today.

The year our featured Franklin was built, a total of 7606 automobiles were built. The models included sedans, coupes, limos, cabriolets, and roadsters. A sixth model was a sport runabout, Nancy’ and Ken’s model.

The Franklin was a high-end automobile in its day. In 1926, a Chevy or a Dodge could be purchased for around $800, A Ford model T touring car sold for $290. The least expensive Franklin, according to the Lester-Steele Handbook, was the 5-passenger touring car that sold for $2635. Some say, this is the main reason the company did not surviving the depression.

The Franklin engine was the center of the brand’s importance, you see, they were allows air cooled. The 1903 engine, when the company began, was an air cooled, 4-cylinder, that produced 10 HP. By 1905, they were using 6-cylinder engines that produced 30HP.

From 1930 to 1934 their engines were producing 100HP. Nancy and Ken’s aluminum bodied car, weighs about 2500 pounds and is powered by a 25 HP air cooled engine. Franklin’s “very light” engines were also favorites for airplanes and helicopters and were used extensively during WWll. After the war, Preston Tucker purchased the Franklin engine patent, and added a water jacket for his line of automobiles. The air cooled engine lives on today, in Poland. The Polish government purchased the engine rights in 1975 and the design is used mainly in their helicopters.

Gary Fiske