1914 Ford Model T

Why a Ford Model T, Fred? 

Fred Gonet’s first experience driving a model T was in 2017. 

A friend in New Hampshire had asked him to come for a visit and work on some car projects he had. The friend also asked if he could tune up a couple of T’s that were to be in a 60-mile tour the next day. Unbeknownst to Fred, who had never driven a Model T, his friend’s plan was to have him drive one of them. Needless to say that Fred was “white knuckling” for a few of those first miles, especially in tight city spaces. Before the end of the tour, however, Fred had a smile on his face, and was having a hoot. He was ready for the 2nd 60-mile tour the next day. 

“Model T’s are a hoot to drive. 
Plus I can see now, 
why everyone driving them is smiling. 
They are lots of fun.” 

Fred Gonet

Fred came home from New Hampshire knowing that he needed a Model T in his garage. He had driven his 1908 Locomobile for many years and hundreds of miles, but the Loco now had to make room for a T. 

He remembered a friend in Massachusetts had a nice touring T, that he had seen many time since the 1980s. Larry Gould of Chelmsford had a 1914 touring and that would fit Fred fine. When asked, Larry said he had more touring plans and was not ready to sell. Larry was 99 years old at the time. Knowing that Fred was very interested, Larry’s family came to him in 2020, when Larry passed at 102 years old, and asked if he still wanted the car. The Locomobile moved over and the T came home to Proctorsville, Vermont! 

When Fred’s 1914 Model T was built, it was one of 308,162. 

More Ford History….. 

*In 1915, 394,788 vehicles were produced with a labor force of 18,892 employees. Over this six-year period, the production number of Model Ts per employee went from eight in 1909, to 14 in 1911, and to an astounding 20 in 1915. 

*When Henry Ford introduced the moving assembly line in 1913, he loved it, but his employees didn’t. The work was boring and relentless, and worker turnover was high. He had to hire more than 52,000 workers that year to maintain his workforce of14,000. 

*So on January 1, 1914, Henry announced that he would double his workers’ pay from $2.34 per day to $5 per day, “as long as you were over 22 years of age and conformed to the company’s standard of clean living.” It was headline news in Detroit and around the country. 

*Detroit headlines January 6, 1914….. “Ten thousand anxious, determined men, some ragged and unkempt, others seemingly prosperous, this morning fought for places in the line that stretched from the employment window at the Ford Motor Co., in Highland Park, a line that continued for many blocks from the company’s factory.” 

When asked about the condition of the car when he purchased it, Fred said the it was “perfect”, but in some cases, “not correct”. Some of us have a friendly term for this type of person, but in Fred’s case that is how he has built such a successful restoration business over these many years. 

“Perfect, but not Correct.” 

Fred Gonet

The car’s dash was perfect, but not correct, so enter the correct dash. That has led to the steering column that was also perfect, and the coil box, and the side light brackets. Then there is that slight vibration at 40mph, since the dash is off, we might as well tear the engine and transmission apart to see if we can’t find that perfect vibration! 

I am having fun with Fred here; I hope he forgives me. When I grow up, I want to be just like Fred Gonet. 

From your editor, G. Fiske 

1977 Buick Electra Limited

Uncle French’s 45-year-old 1977 Buick Electra Limited is now in Eric Osgood’s garage. With only 11,000 miles on the odometer, this auto has a very long life ahead. 

Originally purchased by my uncle Ernest French, it was an ordered-to-spec, new purchase in 1977. It is a red-on-red car with red velour interior, and all of the whistles and bells of the day. My uncle only drove the car a few miles per year, never in the winter, and usually only on nice summer days. A couple of years ago my uncle was requiring senior living accommodations, so I purchased the Buick from him, with all of it’s 11,000 plus miles and its originality. This originality included even the original tires still on the car, however while the tread was still fine, I have replaced them due to their 45-year-old weath-er cracking. It is basically immaculate inside and out. 

I have come to calling the car the “Princess” due to the pampered and pristine life it has lived, however my wife not a fan of the 70’s gawdy look refers to the car as the “Bitch”. Whether the car is known as the “P” or the “B” she has won a couple of trophies since coming into my possession. I am also trying to drive and enjoy the car a little more then my uncle did, as he told me that was the great regret that he had. RIP uncle Ernie, your car is being enjoyed! 

The “delivery price page” quotes $9385.85 and includes polishing and winterizing. General Motors was also pleased to publish the Buick’s gas economy as 18MPG. They add that based on the 1977 gas price of $.65 per gallon, the owner would pay $542.00 to drive 15,000 miles. 

The car has a 350 CI engine with a 4 barrel carburator. The seventeen special order items includes a 6-way power seat and climate control AC. Additionally, the F40 option of “firm ride & handling suspension” and WB4, a $235 stereo radio. 

GM built 51,067 Electra Limited Buicks in 1977. 

The Electra replaced the Roadmaster in 1959 and continued the line through 1991 when one Electra line became the Roadmaster Estate. 

The Electra was built as a six-passenger four-door sedan like Eric’s. You could also buy it as a two-door sedan, a two-door convertible, and a five-door station wagon. 

Buick has announced the Electra nameplate will return in 2024. Do you think we will be able to drive that same 15,000 miles for $542? We at Wheel Tracks did the math and today the price would be $3075. Maybe if we added few Eveready batteries, do you think? 

1927 Dodge Sedan

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. 
– Robert Louis Stevenson

Travel……..[trav-el] verb 
To move from one place to another: seeking places to discover. A journey to a distant or unfamiliar place; a slow and steady pace can be done by train, plane, ship and especially an automobile; a one way or round trip. 
To uncover cultures and open the mind; to grow and yourself find, makes you pine for places never known; makes you not want to go home. 

“The Road Not Taken” 
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, 
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 
Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear, 
Though as for that the passing there 
Had worn them really about the same, 
And both that morning equally lay 
In leaves no step had trodden black. 
Oh, I marked the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way 
I doubted if I should ever come back. 
I shall be telling this with a sigh 
Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

The Old Car 
Well, the AC works fine in the win-ter, 
And the heater works well in the summer. 
The radiator leaks and the left wiper squeaks, but the motor is strong; she is a comer. 
That the radio’s shot doesn’t matter a lot; I can sing or perhaps be a hummer. But when she breaks down and I’m ten miles from town, I just stick out my thumb…. I’m a thumber!

Cowboy Ron Williams 

 

Driving Through
This could be the town you’re from, 
marked only by what it’s near. 
The gas station man speaks of weather 
and the high school football team 
just as you knew he would – 
kind to strangers, happy to live here. 
Tell yourself it doesn’t matter now, 
you’re only driving through. 
Past the sagging, empty porches 
locked up tight to travelers’ stares, 
toward the great dark of the fields, 
your headlights startle a flock of 
old love letters—still undelivered, 
enroute for years. 

Mark Vinz

‘We’re away! and the wind whistles shrewd / In our whiskers and teeth; / And the granite-like grey of the road / Seems to slide underneath.’ 
Australian bush poet, Banjo Paterso 

Once she was straight 
And full of pep, 
Had a fast gait 
And kept her step. 
Now she is faded 
And beginning to wrinkle, 
Her eyes look jaded 
And refuse to twinkle. 
Her time is not long 
‘Cause her lungs are weak, 
Her voice once strong 
Is reduced to a squeak. 
My eyes they fill 
When I’m tempted to part, 
Because she still 
Holds a place in my heart. 
She carried me to hunt, 
She carried me to marry, 
Without a single grunt 
Or suggestion of tarry. 
Along the countryside 
Or down by the river, 
I’ve enjoyed every ride 
In that dear old “flivver”. 

King A. Woodburn

My old car knows, when I am near. 
We have road trips in mind, to places unknown. New adventures to feel, it has been awhile. 
We leave soon to a place, far away. 
Her old bolts and bushings, be darn, lets go and not wait. Lets go right away. 
We head out, to the north. The road moving below, the sounds are nice music to us. 
I traveled this road, hundreds of times. But today with my friend, it is all brand new. Did you see that, old girl? I didn’t see it before. What’s that up ahead? 

Anonymous 

1939 Plymouth Roadking

The 2022 VAE President’s Restoration Award Goes to……
Mike Felix & His 1939 Plymouth

mike felix 1939 plymouth roadking

I never intended to own a ‘39 Plymouth. 

It was happenstance that wed me to this car. 

Let me explain. 

-Mike Felix

During the summer of 1998, I attended a car cruise in Highland, NY and struck up a conversation with an attendee in an all original, low mileage 1937 Dodge. At the time, I was looking for parts for my ‘37 Dodge ½ ton and thought this gent may be aware of some part sources I was not familiar with. Turns out he did not. But he did point me to the widow he bought the Dodge from and said she had some parts for sale. 

Later that summer my Uncle William and I arranged to meet the widow at her house to see the cars and parts she had for sale. Turns out her recently deceased husband restored cars for a hobby and had 10 or more cars in various stages of restoration when he passed away. She had sold all of them and their parts but one. She was unable to sell this last one. None of the buyers were interested in it. You guessed it, the unwanted leftover was a ‘39 Plymouth. 

1939 plymouth roadking interior

It was partially disassembled, had delaminated glass, a destroyed interior, a dented trunk, missing running boards and who knows where all the parts were…and it was a four door. 

Well, we looked the car and parts over and determined there were no parts that could be interchanged between that ‘39 Plymouth and my list of parts needed for my ‘37 Dodge. We thanked the widow for her time and began to walk away. She stopped us and asked me if I would buy the car. I explained I had no interest in it and I could ask around and determine if I can find a buyer for her. We thanked her again and walked away. 

My uncle and I were about to leave her long driveway when she yelled, “Wait!”. We turned around and she asked if I would take the car for free. I replied that the car and parts have value and I would help her try to find a buyer and that, again, I had no interest. She then explained to us that she no longer had the luxury of trying to find a buyer for the car and parts. She further explained the buyers of the house (we did not know the house was for sale) would not schedule a closing date until the “junk” car and boxes of “junk” were gone from the property. And she did not want to pay someone to take the car and boxes of parts away. 

At that point, my uncle and I opened our wallets and counted out somewhere just over 200 bucks between us. I offered her $200 for the car, which she refused at first because I would take the car and parts off her hands. After a few back and forths, the widow grudgingly accepted $200 for the car and parts. We wrote up a bill of sale and I returned a few days later and loaded the car and parts on a truck and off we went. 

That was twenty five years and five homes ago. 

1939 plymouth roadking

This 1939 Plymouth Roadking 4-door sedan has 82 HP and 3-speeds forward. 

It weighs about 2900 pounds and the new price in 1939 was about $790.00. 

This is one of the 423,850 Plymouths built in 1939. 

1922 Harley Davidson JA

Are there any guesses what this 2-wheeled vehicle is? Hint… it is now 100 years old.

Fred Gonet of Proctorsville, Vermont
Fred Gonet of Proctorsville, Vermont

In 1901, 20-year-old William S. Harley drew up plans for a small engine with a displacement of 7.07 cubic inches and a 4-inch flywheel designed for use in a regular pedal-bicycle frame. It didn’t work very well.

Over the next two years, he and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson worked on their motor-bicycle using the northside Milwaukee machine shop at the home of their friend Henry Melk. It was finished in 1903 with the help of Arthur’s brother, Walter Davidson. Upon testing their power-cycle, Harley and the Davidson brothers found it unable to climb the hills around Milwaukee without pedal assistance, and they wrote off their first motor-bicycle as a valuable learning experiment.

1922 Harley Davidson JA engine gas tank
1901 harley

The three began work on a new and improved machine with an engine of 24.74 cubic inches with a 9.75 inch flywheel weighing 28 lb. Its advanced loop-frame pattern was similar to the 1903 Milwaukee Merkel motorcycle designed by Joseph Merkel, later of Flying Merkel fame. The bigger engine and loop-frame design took it out of the motorized bicycle category and marked the path to future motorcycle designs.

They also received help with their bigger engine from outboard motor pioneer, Ole Evinrude, who was then building gas engines of his own on Milwaukee’s Lake Street, designed for automotive use.

So, now to Fred’s silhouette. You have a better hint from the above paragraphs, plus, you know its 100 years old.

It is a 1922 Harley Davidson JA.

The ‘J’ means it has “intake over exhaust” with a 61 cubic inch V-twin 4-stroke engine. The ’A’ means it is a police model and more likely has a few more cubic inches of power.

It is chain-driven with a 3-speed side-shift transmission and brakes on the back only. The internet claims top speed is 85MPH and it weighs 319 pounds.

Fred found the Harley in Harmony New Jersey and bought it 31 years ago. He said the bike spent many of its earlier years, before he purchased it, in North Carolina.

Fred has done very little to it over the years he has had it. The nice paint job is from 1949, an indication the Harley has been someone’s treasure over much of its life. He had to remake the drive sprocket along with replacing the chain and a little electrical rewiring. That is it.

Fred and his wife BJ each have modern Harleys. When they go for a ride and he takes the ’22, they joke how Fred gets all the attention and BJ can expect none.

Fred did say that he has driven the old bike a lot over the years he has had it.

1922 Harley Davidson JA hand clutch

Can you see the hand control just behind the silver shift lever, in the picture to the right? It is a hand clutch. It was relocated to the handlebar in later years. If you watched Fred take off from a stop on a hill, you will witness some unusual moves. You will hear the engine rev up. Then you will watch what looks like him bending over to scratch the left cheek of his behind. That is not what he is doing!

Here is what you are seeing. He is holding the bike from moving backwards with his right foot on the brake while operating the throttle with his right hand. His left foot is on the ground to keep from falling over. The gear shift is in first ready for take off. When he is ready to move forward, he revs the engine a little and reaches below his left ‘cheek’ to release the hand clutch… all orderly and in good taste.

Asked why he wanted an early Harley Davidson motorcycle, Fred said his grandfather had a 1917. He has only seen a picture of his grandfather on the Harley, but at that moment many years ago, that was Fred’s dream.

1922 Harley Davidson JA

Fred Gonet owns and operates his restoration shop in Proctersville, Vermont. G & G Restorations has been in business for many years and is known throughout the Eastern US for its high quality work.

1925 Overland 91A

From life in a steel Quonset hut in Tennessee to Charlie Thompson’s loving garage in Colchester, VT. This 1925 Overland has many new adventures ahead.

1925 Overland 91A front

Charlie Thompson has been without an old car ride for a while now. His beloved 1930 Whippet has some engine problems and he needs to have it rebuilt.

Most of our old car problems are caused from lying around, in a barn, doing nothing. Not Charlie’s Whippet. He has worn the heck out of it, traveling to most of the states east of the Mississippi. There are many famous on-the-road stories from his traveling adventures. It is too bad he is so modest, most of us would have the stories plastered everywhere, but not Charlie.

Wendell Noble remembers telling Charlie some ideas for fixing the holes in the running boards of his Whippet. Wendell says Charlie patiently listening to every one of his suggestions and at the end simply replied by saying, “Why would I do that?”.

Another of Charlie’s replies when asked if he was ever going to restore his Whippet….. He would reply by saying he had just finished the restoration a few weeks earlier.

A few months ago, Charlie was attending the WOKR car club International Meet in Huntsville, Alabama. WOKR stands for Willys, Overland, Knight Registry. During a club visit about 40 miles north of Huntsville, in Tennessee, he spotted the Overland pickup among many old vehicles owned by Ed Hanish.

1925 Overland 91A rear

1925 Overland 91A #256864

  • 1911 Production…….eleven
  • 1925 Production…..157,000
  • Base price……$530
  • Engine…4-cyl 27HP
  • Transmission…..3-speed manual
  • Wheel Base…..100 inches
  • Weight……1769 pounds

Charlie’s overland was a coupe and has been made into a pickup, with overland blue paint.

He also found it was for sale.

After talking it over with his wife, Marion, he decided he would travel back to Tennessee with his trailer to bring it home to Vermont. Not everyone has a neat wife like Marion!

He is doing a few “fixes” on the Overland, with hopes of getting it registered and on the road soon.

The ring gear has an issue and there is a plan to replace it with a spare. The carburator has been cleaned and tuned and the starter has received a “green-light” from Smitty’s Starter Shop in Sheldon.

Asked when he will be heading out on a multi-state journey in his new Overland, his only reply was to wait until he and the car gets more acquainted. He has had 55 years to get acquainted with his Whippet and look at the adventures they have had!

The twentieth century was the century of the automobile in which this machine went from the plaything of the wealthy to an important part of everyday life for most people.

the overland logo

During the first part of the twentieth century, many entrepreneurs began to design, manufacture, and market automobiles. Most of these early manufacturers failed to survive the Great Depression of the 1930s. One of these early companies was the Overland Automobile Company.

When Claude Cox was in his senior year of Rose Polytechnic Institute, a small private college with a program in engineering, he made a three wheel vehicle for his senior year thesis. In 1902, Cox met with Charles Minshall, the owner of Standard Wheel Company of Terre Haute, Indiana. Minshall was interested in building an automobile, but didn’t know how to. Cox seemed to have the knowledge so Minshall hired him to head Standard Wheel’s new automobile department and design the car.

In 1903, Cox designed and built a car much advanced for the time. The new car was named the Overland and featured a two-cylinder water-cooled engine that was mounted up front under the hood. The car also featured a removable switch plug so that it could not be driven without it.

The first Overland was a runabout. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the runabout was a common open-car body style, small, and inexpensive.

According to “The Standard Catalog of American Cars” there were 154,292 Overland automobiles built between 1903 and 1914 when the brand name changed to Willys-Overland. The last vehicle built with the Overland name was in 1927.

1967 Plymouth Barracuda

The Story of “Ruby” the ’67 Barracuda

By Chris Barbieri

barbieri 1967 plymouth barracuda
Meet “Ruby” and her new family, Laurel and Chris Barbieri

I must begin by admitting that I come from an extended MoPar family. My parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents all drove Plymouths and Dodges. Those hand-me-down cars carried me through school and until I was on my own.

The first car I bought was a six month old 1964 Barracuda with 17,000 miles on the odometer! That’s another tale for another time. That Barracuda was the first of three series of Barracudas, basically a Valiant with a huge rear fastback window, modified grille, and 7 ft. of flat space if needed. Mine had the new 273 V8 and 4 speed Hurst shifter.

As my ’64 Cuda was pushing 100,000 miles it gave me an excuse to trade. The local Plymouth dealer had a special ordered ’67 coupe with the Commando V8 and console Torqueflite automatic transmission for a customer that never showed up. I couldn’t say no. Once again it was pretty and fast, but it wasn’t a convertible. It was a great car in many ways and I was hooked on Barracudas. It was hard to describe. Simple yet beautiful, devoid of chrome, and sleek at the same time. To me it was a Wow! And it came in three choices: a notchback coupe, a fastback, and a convertible. The second-generation Barracuda’s covered 1967 to 1969 models. The yearly styling changes were so minimal that it’s hard to tell a ’69 from a ’67. When the 1967 Barracudas were introduced in late 1966, I knew it was love at first sight. I was hooked on the ’67s, especially the Barracuda convertible which led to a decades-long on and off search.

1967 plymouth barracuda nose

Over the years lots of old cars have come and gone from our garage including three convertibles, none of which were a Barracuda. Finally, I decided to begin another casual search for a ’67 – ’69 convertible. I’m an original or as close to original nut when it comes to old cars. I like surfing the internet from time to time looking for 50s through 70s old original MoPars. My favorites are the 60s offerings. Plymouth produced a 1967 model year run of 62,534 Barracudas, of which 4,228 were convertibles. Well, try to find a 60s or 70s unmolested American car today. I knew that over the years the convertible inventory would be declining, and indeed, my on-and-off search produced mostly beat up, tired, modified, rodded examples. There were a few Barracuda soft tops but not many. Often, they had modified wedge or hemi engines. I wanted an original or restored as-original, period. Poking around on my laptop in the Fall of 2018, there suddenly appeared exactly what I was looking for. And it was in eastern Massachusetts not west of the Mississippi. A phone call to the seller revealed a major as-original restoration and the car was still available. Interested? Yes, but the price was well out of reach. The ad soon disappeared so I assumed the Barracuda had found a new owner.

Surprise! Surprise! as Gomer Pyle would say. In spring 2019 the ad returns with a lower price. After a visit to check out Ruby and intense dickering, a deal was made. Ruby has an interesting life before she became part of ours . It starts and ends as a family affair.

1967 plymouth barracuda golf course

In 1967 Ruby is purchased new from a now nameless Chrysler/Plymouth dealer in the Holyoke, Massachusetts area by a local couple about to retire. The original color is brown. They were moving to Florida and wanted a convertible to take with them. Some years later they pass on and Ruby, whose color is now yellow, moves on to a nephew who lives in Massachusetts. He appears to take good care of Ruby, occasionally attending old car shows and she is garaged when not on the road. As the years pass on the nephew is in need of new funds. He asks his newly retired brother, George, if he’s willing to buy Ruby and the answer is yes.

George is an engineer but not a car guy, especially not an ‘old car’ guy. Yet he decides to restore Ruby. He has limited automotive restoration skills, so everything is farmed out – to a body shop, machine shop, transmission shop, paint shop, and so on. Most of the MoPar suppliers were called upon. Everything on Ruby is new or restored or refinished.

Why the name Ruby you ask? When it came time for the restoration paint job, the plan was a ’67 Plymouth red but George’s wife preferred a ruby red color from the ’69 Mustang offerings. So, upon arrival home to Vermont she was christened “Ruby” to match her ruby red paint job.

As mentioned earlier George was an engineer. Thankfully, he kept every receipt for every purchase of every part or service that went into the restoration. He also kept every replaced part of Ruby, both body and mechanical. They all came with the car and now reside in our attic. As for Ruby, she resides with her other A-body siblings. Fortunately, they welcomed their cousin and are getting along fine together.

1967 plymouth barracuda tail

1955 Studebaker President Speedster

Gary Sassi’s life was really good before he was infected by the “old-car-bug”.

His Dad, Gino, was a lifelong stone carver in Barre, Vermont and Gary grew up in his Dad’s shop, learning the trade. When the time came, Gary decided he wanted to go back to his family’s old country to further his training, where he speaks the language fluently. After four years he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Cararra, Italy. Today, he will have been in the trade for fifty–five years. His family’s work can be found in many parts of the world, but you can easily find Sassi masterpieces here in Vermont, especially at Hope Cemetery in Barre.

Gary Sassi
and his beautiful
1955 Studebaker President
Speedster.

And then life got really good, when someone in his shop showed Gary a picture of a restored old car in a magazine, and the old car bug infection happened!

It was not long before the space age Studebaker caught his eye and any self restraint that remained was toast. The unrestored 1955 Studebaker President Speedster (pictured below) was soon parked at his shop, one of 2215, built that he found in Los Angeles. Eighteen months later, Gary had finished his restoration.

One big difference in this perfect factory restoration and others that you see in magazines, is the owner had his hand in much of it. Friend, Gary Scott, has a collision repair shop in the area and he worked his magic on the body and paint, while Sassi covered the country retrieving needed parts and spent every free minute of the 18 months doing his part.

The project was completed about 22 years ago and Gary decided to see what others thought of his Studebaker. He decided to enter the car in the VAE Shelburne Show to be judged. That iswhen he met VAE Judge Gene Napoliello. Gene looked the car over and found only one item “not factory”, a tailpipe clamp on the dual exhaust system. When Gary produced the correct clamp, Gene proceeded to crawl under the car and install it; he then proclaimed the President Speedster “Best of Show”. With his background in stone carving and the need for exacting detail, Gary knew he was proficient there, but he says he had not realized how that trait influenced the Studebaker project until the day Gene presented that award. In fact what Gary thought was just a normal restoration turned out to be one of the best. Some of the awards pictured right are just part of the total impact the President has made over the past 22 years.

Unrestored 1955 Studebaker President Speedster

There was still an old car virus problem the President did not cure, when a Studebaker cousin showed up in Barre along with 50 boxes of parts and pieces. A new beginning for a 1957 Golden Hawk, and a hopeful cure for Mr. Sassi. He had rebuilt the 4-barreled 259 engine in the Speedster, so he had no problem diving into the Hawk’s 289 engine, until he got to the McCullough supercharger…. that was new territory! Friend Gary Scott did his magic on the body while Sassi did his on the rest, and soon there was a very gold vehicle traveling the streets of Barre.

1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk

The latest quest for the cure is a 1965 Fastback Mustang. The engine is sitting on a stand at the Sassi shop, being rebuilt. The body resides in Gary Scott’s garage.

A discussion came about when the Mustang color needed to be decided upon. Mr. Sassi does not like silver, the correct color for the car, and Mr. Scott does not like going “non-factory”. The winner is, says Mr. Sassi with a grin………….Mr. Scott!

Gary Scott’s involvement with his first complete restoration was the Speedster, twenty-two years ago. Since then, he has become very well known in the auto restoration business.

The famous “Gene Napoliello exhaust clamp”

Pictured left is the famous “Gene Napoliello exhaust clamp”. The impact he has made at our annual August show with our judging program is undeniable. Gary Sassi will also tell you of the impact Gene has had on him for restoration correctness. Mr. Sassi has been a VAE judge for the past 22 years.

We lost Gene when he passed away this last April. Mark Bennett has now taken Gene’s place as Chief Judge.

The Studebaker Company began in 1852 where they built wagons in South Bend, Indiana. Their first automobile was an ‘electric’ in 1902 then a ‘gasoline vehicle’ in 1904. In the beginning they partnered with the Garford Company, then EMF and then Flanders. In 1912, Studebaker dropped all affiliations and produced its first fully-built automobile. The last Studebaker rolled off the assembly line in Hamilton, Ontario on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, 1966

1976 Shay Model A

After 43 years of dreaming about Shay Automobiles, Paul Wagner finally has one… thanks to his persistence and his wife’s dickering abilities.

I first heard of the Shay Model A when a Ticonderoga, NY, dealer advertised one in 1979. Did I want one? YES! But we were raising a family on our dairy farm. We didn’t have $11,000.00 available for a toy. They were expensive by our standards.

In 1979, the first and last brand new car I bought was a Chevy Malibu wagon, so the whole family could be comfortable, for $6200.00

I have been watching sales of Shay Model A’s for 40 years, but available ones were primarily in Texas, Florida or other parts of the country, not in Vermont.

In September 2020, I finally found one for sale near Albany, NY. Not that far from home in Vermont. We had sold the farm, the kids were married and doing their own thing, so I finally could have my toy. I called on the ad only to find the fella had sold it the day before. Darn!!! So, I put a wanted ad on Shay’s website, and two hours later I got a call from the fella who bought the Albany car. After talking to him, I found he had purchased the car to help his friend and just
wanted to resell it.

1979 Shay Auto
Based on a 1928-9 Model A Ford

I was thinking the new owner had it for only three days, “What’s wrong with it?” I got directions, only 121 miles. My wife, Barbara, and I decided to go see the car. It was dove gray, super deluxe, with leather rumble seat, dual spare tires, and automatic transmission. I was excited! It did have a few flaws. The radiator leaked and the fella said there were no brakes. I could fix that. It still had the original tires and they were not road worthy. The car had 14,215 actual miles on the odometer. The previous owner had bought the car six years earlier at an estate auction in Florida for $10,500, plus the 10% auction fee for a total of $11,550, and the cost to get it home.

The original fella had been short of money and had to sell the Model A, plus five other classic cars. The gent selling it to me started at $14,500. Then my wife went back and forth with him and we ended up paying $11,500. You just have to know how to dicker!

I put on four new tires, re-cored the radiator and heater, added new ball joints, a fuel pump and plugs. We were ready to go. I have given many people a ride in my Shay Model A, including VAEer Ed Hilbert. I have only given my grandchildren rides in the rumble seat. They are the only ones who can get in, and even more importantly, can get out after!

I drove it 2500 miles last year and have had seven offers to buy it, but OH NO, I waited too long for this car. I will be back behind the wheel this summer, ahooga horn and All!!!

Shay Auto 1976-1982

For the 50th Anniversary of the Model A, the Ford Motor Company released the patents to Harry Shay with permission to reproduce the 1928/9 Model A Roadster. The cars were sold by Ford dealers who had orders for 10,000 cars, as well as 200, 1955 Thunderbird reproductions. In the end, only 5500 Model As were completed from 1979 to 1980, with a few more in 1981, in Detriot, Michigan, when the Shay Company went bankrupt.

The Shay Model A has a fiberglass body and weighs 1850 pounds. It has a ‘76 Mustang frame and suspension, with a Ford 88-HP, 4-cylinder Pinto engine. Buyers had a choice of automatic or manual transmission. It has rack and pinion steering with disc brakes on front and drum brakes on back.

Top speed is 83MPH with fuel economy at 25 MPG. Base price in 1979 was $7,000 to $9,000. The deluxe model was as high as $11,500 with air conditioning.

1971 M35A2

This 1971 Army Deuce and a Half lives in White River, Vermont and is owned by Mary Kay & Dennis Brown

How did you get interested in these military trucks Dennis?

As a little kid, we used to have several convoys of Armytrucks go past our home on Rt.4 in White River Jct. VT. When I saw the convoys, I’d go out and wave to them and they’d honk for me. I made up my mind at an early age that I had to drive those trucks. When I was 18, I enlisted as a Motor Transport Operator with the US Army. I drove just about everything the Army had, from Jeeps to 20-ton trucks and loved it. I was in the Army Reserve, in Rutland’s 368th Engineer Battalion, and the NH National Guard’s 744th Transportation Company. In 1990 my unit was activated to Desert Shield/Storm. While there I drove M915 tractors with M872 trailers. Truck # 38 was mine and I was very proud of those 22 rolling wheels! My job was to transport everything from water to bombs during the ground invasion.

How long have you had your “Deuce”? Have you made any changes?

My wife, Mary Kay, and I bought this truck in 2017 from a person in northern NJ and drove it home, and I had a blast driving it back! The guy we bought it from put a lot into this truck and he loved it. He was a Vietnam Veteran and had driven these vehicles. He had this truck for similar reasons that I wanted to buy it. He’d had both of his knees replaced and couldn’t manage it anymore. He decided to sell it, although it pained him deeply to part with it. Several people inquired about buying it but wanted to turn it into a log truck or similar thing. My wife and I told him we wanted to keep it pretty much as it was; driving it and showing it off. He liked our plans and sold it to us. Since I stopped serving in the Army in 1994, I had missed driving those green (and sometimes tan) trucks, so this has been great to have, I also consider it a rolling history museum. During many of the shows we’ve gone to, I’ve taken great pride in showing some of its unique military features, like its absence of keys to start it, its pioneer kit, and blackout drive lights.

*** Do It Now Or Walk Later ***

Are you enjoying being a member of the Green Mountain Military Vehicle Club?

When my wife and I bought this truck we decided to join the GMMVC and New Hampshire’s Merrimack Valley Vehicle Collectors and this has been great It’s great to be around people with like minds!

Have you made any changes to your Deuce?

This 1971 M35A2 was in great shape, so we haven’t had to do much, no huge repairs. Here’s a small list of a few changes we’ve done. Two years ago, we kept the green, but added, per manual specs & patterns, some brown and black to camouflage the paint. We also changed the Vietnam era white lettering to 1970s flat black. Additionally, we’ve put on a new right fender, new window frames, a left running board (all due to rust), and 2 new front tires. I also discreetly added a USB connection from a 12v converter, so we could charge our devices. Normally these trucks would have the unit number and truck number on the bumpers, but I decided to have some fun with this. While I was in the Army, we lived by PMCS, which stands for ‘Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services,’ so that’s what’s on one side. The other side reads DINOWL, which is short for ‘Do It Now Or Walk Later!’

WWII scene

From your editor…..

Dennis’s M35 has a Continental engine that he believes puts out 175 HP.

It is called a “6X6” because in the old days the truck had single tandem wheels in the rear. With the front wheels locked in, all six were under power. Later duallies were added to the rear, but the terminology stayed the same.

The first design for this truck was made by REO in 1944 and the first M35 delivery to the Army was in the 1950s. Production ceased in 1988, after over 150,000 “Deuces” were built. A number of companies built them for the government over the years, including Studebaker, AM General, REO and Kaiser. Bombardier of Canada and KIA of Japan also built them for their military.

Empty weight is 13,530 pounds and fully loaded for highway use, that weight can go to 23,530. Top speed is 53MPH and when the government purchased Dennis’ truck, the cost was $46,750.

The FMTV truck replaced the Deuce in 1991. The Austrian built vehicle is now built in the US and modified for US Army use.