Wheel Tracks Articles Archives

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

What Spare Time?

Before I retired a couple years ago, I’d ask my mom if she would do me a favor and [fill in the blank]. I’d undoubtedly hear her say, “I’m very busy today, but maybe I’ll have time.” Now that “blank” could be filled in with any number of things, from making a batch of brownies to running an errand for me. I figured she was bored with nothing to do since she was retired many years at that point so, heck, she’d just say yes.

Well, fast forward 2+ years into retirement. I’m busier now more than I can say and still can’t quite seem to find the time for all the things that “need” to be done or I “want” to do. Now what point, you may ask yourself, is Anne trying to make here. Well, the point is that our annual car meet is next month, and I’ve taken over the task of registering cars from Jessica Bean, who did an amazing job of handling things these past number of years. Now it’s my turn to register your cars, and that’s definitely a “need” because if I don’t do it, a lot of car owners will be mighty unhappy.

Also, at last year’s car meet I thought the Valve Cover Racing track could use sprucing up (yes, you can say busy-body), so I spent the three days of the meet painting the track, except for the “winner’s circle.” That, Don and I hauled home after the show. But do you think I’ve finished painting it?

Nope. Nada. And it’s been 10 months! Another “need.” And I was so enthralled with the Valve Cover Racing last year that I bought not one but two valve covers to build a couple cars. Do you think I’ve done that? Uh-uh (though I have to say I’m still waiting for my nephew to get me the wheels off his old in-line skates). So these race cars I’d put in the “want” column.

I need to weed my garden. I want to fit in lunch with friends. I need to feed the cat. My list could go on and on. How about your list?

The 65th Annual Vermont Antique & Classic Car Meet is August 12, 13 & 14. You “need” to get your registrations in. Do you “want” to have to pay the increased rate by missing the deadline of July 15?

So get your registrations to me and you’ll be good to go. And by the time you read this, I’ll havefinished the “winner’s circle,” but, alas, I won’t have a car this year to send down the track.

We all “need” to be at the car meet in Waterbury this year. We “need” to welcome back all our Canadian friends. It’s been far too long. So see you next month. And if you get a chance, come to the registration booth to see me. I “need” to meet you in person!

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.

Zip-Zip, New Line

I recently discovered a neat trick to help form new hard brake lines. I am a huge fan of nickel copper tubing; it is very easy to form and lasts forever. I have found that it makes sense to leave a little more material on the end of the line when making flares, as the nickel copper compresses more than steel does.

When replacing a hard line with a new line, it is a lot easier to make all the turns and bends by zip tying the new line to the old one as you form it. Place several zip ties at the end, leaving enough room for the fittings, then add zip ties as twists and turns are formed. This method still leaves enough room to use tubing benders to form correct turns without pinching the line. When the new line is formed, just snip the zip ties off, add the fittings and make the flares on the ends. Your new line will match the length and shape of the old line.

Using this method, the new line should easily take the place of the old line and fit in the proper clamps and holders.

Loves in a Hooker’s Life

I suppose not all women would be so open about the loves in her life as I am going to be with you in this short writing. Right off the bat, I will tell you, if you do not already know, I am a card-carrying “hooker.” I am just one in a large group here in the Northeast Kingdom that has and continues to enjoy sharing our craft with all that show interest in it. As you might guess, this brings us in touch with a diverse group. In Derby Line, fellow hookers meet every Thursday to talk and catch up with what our week has brought about and what might be happening in the next week or month. We keep track of each other and the loves in and out of our lives.

My “loves” have come in many shapes, sizes, and colors with names like Willy #1, Sugar, Bismarck, Willy #2, and at present Willy #3 and Serena. All have had such different personalities, some sweeter than others, some full of mischief and seemly pure distain for me and anyone allowed into their space, but all have been loved and cared for like they were the best companion anyone could have. Their backgrounds were as different as their personalities. The one thing they all had in common were that, until me, no one wanted them and, in some cases, had thought to have run away from some bad situations.

Willy #1 did come from a loving home, my grandmother’s, but we had been warned (because Willy was a foreigner, a Siamese) be careful – they can turn on you! (Really, that was the warning.) Sugar was from Texas where he had been hit by a truck and so developed a dislike for anything with large tires. Bismarck came to us because he and his brothers (and mother) were dropped off at the vet to meet whatever fate. Willy #2 lived under our car trailer for a year until we took him in when winter approached. And a few months ago, Willy #3 and his sister, Serena, we rerescued from a bad situation in St. Johnsbury and have been settling in over the last few months. Willy #3 is a pure lovebug and his sister is “his sister”! She barely tolerates him; she will not let him lay on the bed and rushes him if he is unsuspecting. He creeps around trying to avoid all conflict. In the night, when Serena is snuggled in next to me, Willy #3 cries but is never allowed in to join us no matter how sad he
sounds.

As I am sure you have guessed by now that these “loves” of my life are all the 4-legged kind. I have had one of the 2-legged “loves” (still have him), and we celebrated fifty years (50!) together on April 29.

P.S. The only “hooking” I do is rug hooking!

From your W T Co-editors.
CONGRATULATIONS
Nancy & Gary
HAPPY 50TH
ANNIVERSARY!

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.

Ford Model A Pickups

Have you ever noticed how serene Model T Pickup owners are? 

The pickups here are Model A’s and we will try to explain why their owners may not be the serene-type…

Rob Marcotte’s 1934 Ford Model 46-830 pickup

The red truck is my 1934 Ford Model 46-830 with 21 stud flathead V8. 

After many false starts looking at both Model A’s and B’s I found this one in PA. It is an amateur restoration and I do mean amateur! The previous owner worked on it for 10 years, drove it 5 times and passed away at 89 years old. It looks like he used whatever was available in his shop for screws, nuts and bolts. 

I have replaced all of the wheel bearings, 5 new tires, 2 new water pumps, rebuilt the brakes, installed an alternator, 2 temperature gauges and sorted out the cobbled up wiring. He used solid core 14 gauge house wire for the brake lights. After being stranded by the distributor a few times I just installed a Stromberg E-Fire electronic distributor and new plug wires. 

After all this I am probably going to sell it. I hate red and have found a green 1933 that is for sale. It has a newer 24 stud engine and hydraulic brakes. Looks to be more original than mine. 

I really don’t know what got me hooked on these trucks. I just think they look cool going down the road. My “perfect” Model A pickup would be 1931 wide bed with steel roof, steel bed and indented firewall. It would be either Brewster Green with black wheels or Thorne Brown with black wheels. It would have a Mitchell overdrive and a Model B engine with a counter-balanced crank shaft and insert bearings. Absolutely no whitewall tires on any truck. Also nothing chrome or stainless. These were work trucks and should look like work trucks. 

The Model A pickups do not have much room in the cabs. Apparently there weren’t any big and tall people buying trucks back then. The post 1932, 33 and 34 pickups do have a bit more room in the cabs. 

As soon as the weather breaks and mud season is over I will be putting the truck up for sale, and go look at that green one again. 

VAEer, Rob Marcotte 


Dennis Dodd’s 1931 Model A pickup

This Model A to the left is a 1931 and owned by Dennis Dodd. He is one of those guys who Rob was talking about above. Dennis has some height to him. So, along with a really nice body-off restoration he has done a few things to make more room for him self. First was to push the seat frame back about two inches, to more easily get his feet in, and he plans to make thinner cushions. He will also be cutting about two inches off the foot pedals. 

The really big move was to raise the steering wheel up about three inches. To do this, he had to remove the gas tank and rebuild the steering column attachment to the dash area. The task now is to find a place for the tank, he has a few ideas. 


The Paradis’ Ford Model A pickup

The A to the right belongs to the Paradis’ in Bakersfield. They purchased it, not too long ago, and have done some work to get it ready for the summer drive season. Joe says this is his fourth or fifth A-Pick up and the reason; he just likes the looks of them. He has changed out some damaged gears in the transmission and rear-end, and also a few minor wiring repairs. He says he never liked Moto Meters and has added a temp gauge to his dash area. 


This from your editor…… I am happy with my T-pickup, and totally in a place of sereneness Arummmmmmm. I do not want to do anything to it. 

A Raxaul rear-end and Rocky Mountain brakes came with it, what more could a feller want? 

Now to why an “A” owner might be missing the “Serene” part. I can only guess. When I am going down the road at 32 MPH, and the 20 HP engine just humming along, it is a nice day. 

Maybe the 24.03 HP engine that can make an A go 40 or 50 MPH gives out different vibes. Remember the Army tank captain, Oddball, in the “Kelly’s Hero’s” movie….now he knew his “vibes”! 

Maybe it is a hold-over Henry thing. Remember reading how much he loved his Model T’s? When his son could see other car brands passing them by, he created the model A, behind his dad’s back. So, maybe the A’s just do not have the “Henry vibe” ….do you think? 

I am sure there will be problems with my assumptions. There might even be some name-calling and such. I will simply stay in my Zen-state….. Arummmmmmm…… 

Hey Rob, Did you know the color red is the “happiness color”? 

Your Vote, Your Choice

Well, another Town Meeting Day has come and gone without a physical meeting to go to. It just doesn’t feel right. Let’s hope next year we’ll be back to normal, whatever that is. 

I remember the first Town Meeting I went to. We hadn’t lived in Underhill very long, and it was all new to me not being a real Vermonter yet. The meetings were held at the Town Hall, and we walked up the road to the Elementary School for the pot luck lunch. I walked with some old guy who was telling me he always started his tomato plants on Town Meeting Day. Being new to the veggie garden thing, I went home and planted some tomato seeds. By May they were so long and leggy, I tossed them out and bought some nice tomato plants that were all set to put in the garden when the time came. 

The Town Hall had a wood stove which was going for the meeting, and it was so hot people moved their chairs away from it. The Underhill Ski Bowl was open, and people would leave their kids off to ski. When the kids had had enough, they would walk — yes, actually walk — down to the Town Hall. If I remember correctly, Clark Wright talked about sitting up in the balcony as a kid and watching the whole process. There was the year that folks in the Town Hall noticed a house nearby was having a chimney fire, so the volunteer firemen left abruptly to take care of that. 

We had a resident artist in town for many years. He and his family lived in the old Green Mountain Academy in Underhill Center. He was known for making the best dandelion wine, and I still have the recipe he gave me. For years, he would sketch drawings for the covers of many town reports. One, in particular, had a sketch of town meeting, which included a lot of old timers, the interior of the Town Hall, and the moderator. A great drawing. I must make a copy of it and identify some of 

the people I recognize before I forget who is who. 

Gael was moderator for a few years. It was back when the town started growing and the Town Hall was getting too small to hold our meetings there. The only other place that would accommodate all of us was the local middle school, which is located in Jericho. That didn’t set well with Gael. There was something wrong with having Underhill’s Town Meeting in another town. So he politely(?) declined when asked to be moderator the following year. 

The luncheons that followed the meetings were always something to look forward to. I was always 

involved in the luncheon preparation and cleanup, so in recent years I was always in the kitchen instead of the meeting. I would hear what went on at the meeting or what didn’t go on while eating lunch with friends and neighbors. I was a ballot clerk for many years too. I always took a vacation day off from work to do that. For years I knew almost everyone, but not anymore. Times change. I could always count on the same women to come in with their knitting and the same people that would have writing on the pages of the Town Report concerning things they wanted to ask about. Sometimes there wouldn’t be much discussion about anything and the meeting would be over quickly; other times it would continue after lunch. 

Tomorrow I will go and vote at the Town Hall, see a few folks there, and go home. The weather sounds good and the roads should be fine. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next year. 

Over Bearing

I recently changed one of the rear wheel bearings in my 2016 Outback. This is fairly typical, as the car just passed 50,000 miles, and this is a common problem with Subaru’s. I have changed many rear wheel bearings on Subaru’s. I can usually do the job in less than an hour. 

The Subaru does not have a serviceable bearing, the whole hub needs to be replaced. The hub bolts on to the spindle with four bolts. The process of replacing the bearing use to involve removing the axle shaft, then removing the four bolts, and the hub simply comes off. 

For some reason, Subaru redesigned the hub assembly in 2015. The new hub design retains the four mounting bolts, but the assembly is pressed in to the spindle with a flange that presses in to the hub. This flange is over an inch long. 

I took the axle nut off, and easily removed the four hub mounting bolts. To my surprise, the hub would not come off the spindle. I used a big slide hammer, and even heated up the spindle assembly. After struggling for hours, I ended up removing the spindle and pressing the hub out on the press. Fortunately, I was able to remove the spindle without damaging the rubber boots on the links or the ABS wheel speed sensor. I have a 20 ton press, and it was all I could do to remove the hub assembly. The new hub assembly had to be pressed in to the spindle. 

I noticed the rear brake pads were almost worn out while I was working on the wheel bearing. This was my first introduction to electric parking brakes, and how to reset the caliper to replace brake pads. That will be discussed in a fu-ture column. 

I can not understand why Subaru changed the design of the bearing. The spindle was also redesigned. The spindle is mounted to the car with conventional ball joints, and the links have conven-tional tie rod ends. The rear spindle looks like it is mounted on the front, not the rear. When these cars get some years of use, the chances of the ball joints and tie rod end link assemblies coming off easily will dwindle signifi-cantly. A simple rear wheel bearing replacement will likely result in having to replace the links, ABS wheel speed sensor, backing plate, and the spindle in addition to the hub assembly. The job could easily take 2-3 hours and cost well over $500 in parts. 

This is a classic case of newer cars not having serviceable parts, and an unbelievable amount of labor to replace wear items. 

I’d rather work on my 20 year old Outback. 

The Softer Side of Barrett-Jackson

Don and I have been snowbirding in Arizona these last few months, and he got us tickets to the Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale for January 27. I have sat through hours of TV viewing of the auctions while Don was engrossed in them, and I was intrigued by the whole “up close and personal” side of it but also hoping not to spend THE WHOLE DAY just watching cars being auctioned! Well, I can tell you that Barrett-Jackson has so much more to offer than cars. 

So early on the 27th, we left for Scottsdale. We arrived about 11 a.m., and making our way with 10,000 other people into the main pavilion, the first order of business was to find a bathroom! Ladies, I can tell you they’re all over the place, stall after stall after stall, and spotless, with NO waiting lines! Deliriously happy with that good start to the day, I continued following Don through the main pavilion and then 10, count ‘em 10 huge tents with cars either already sold or waiting to cross the auction block. 

In the midst of the main pavilion, we passed concession stands selling anything and everything you’d ever care to eat. Plus, outside in the beautiful sunshine in between the car tents were more food vendors. I felt like we were at the Champlain Valley Fair. The hardest part was figuring out where and what to eat. 

After satisfying our hunger, we made our way to the grandstands and watched the auction. Car after car passed over the block. We saw some cars sell for $20K and others over $100K in the blink of an eye! We then made our way through the automotive vendors. They were hawking everything: car lifts, concrete coating for garage floors, insurances, powder coating, chrome everything, tools……you get the idea. And as interesting as all this was, I was looking for something more. 

Well, next thing you know I’m standing at a jewelry booth trying on a $1.2 million natural pink diamond surrounded by 3 carats of top-of-the-line diamonds! It was gorgeous. (I think the booth was catering to the men who were dropping big bucks on cars and then, feeling guilty, buying jewelry to make their wives or girlfriends happy also!) 

After reluctantly handing back the ring, the next booth had beautiful bakery items for sale, or so I thought. I was salivating and just about ready to buy that irresistible-looking lemon/vanilla cupcake when I realized it was actually hand-made soap! 

You could get a facial, have your makeup done, get an astrology reading, buy cutlery. There were clothing boutiques and vacation resort promotions. It was like a Vermont home show on overdrive. And there was even live music every day of the auction from noon to 3 p.m. at Billy’s Tequila Stage. 

After a very full day of watching cars pass over the auction block and walking many miles by more vendor booths, Don and I made our way back to our car, but first I had to check out my new want: the new, all-electric 2022 Ford Lightning in pearlescent blue!