Clarence's Car Journal (2011)
Comments on living with cars and/or anything else with wheels.
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Discoveries in Paris
08/31/11...Most Saturdays I get up a bit late and eat a leisurely breakfast while listening to Jazz and Beyond. Then I prepare for roller skating. This Saturday was a bit different. I got up earlier than usual. My back was out of whack for lack of good judgment Friday at the gym. But that was not why I was up early.
There is a new "Paris of the South Flea Market" in Asheville, North Carolina, and it's just the sort of thing I've been wanting for a couple of decades: a flea market that sells fleas. By "fleas" I mean old stuff, not the latest fad in Chinese lead-based toys. I determined that my back was good enough to go and besides, walking seems to help back problems most of the time. If the walk turned out to be comfortable, then I could go ahead and skate too.
I arrived at the flea market around ten o'clock. Hurricane Irene even though far, far away delivered some pleasant tropical breezes (felt like a nice day on the beach) with occasional tent slapping waffling "gusties." The previous three weeks had been sweltering. It was a great day to begin a flea market stroll.
The place was clean and neat and smaller than I expected. Maybe there were thirty vendors and about five food trucks. It looked like a ten-minute visit and "I'm outta here."
The market was laid out on an unusual terrain that was a patchwork of concrete patterns both in terms of texture and heights. "What was this place before?" I asked a vendor. He indicated that long, long ago it was a factory of some sort and that after the main structure collapsed it was turned into a junk yard. And now it is ready for another chapter.
I took a left down the first row. The vendors all had older and/or funky stuff. I'm happy. It truly looked like a flea market of long ago. Nice. Very nice. All the vendors were friendly too. Prices were up and down and all around. I didn't think I would pay sixty bucks for a set of Ford truck wheel covers. I was side-tracked for a bit admiring Milton Cable's well-made, artistic cigar box guitars and traditional hand-made banjos.
I rounded the corner. There was only one corner to round. At the first table were numerous things that looked just way too much like my attic. And then...yes?...and then...yes? along came...no, not Jones, but a promo. A promo!
I picked it up and the booth vendor said, "That's a dollar. It's a promo model car that car dealers used to give away." Hmm, no hood, one tire missing, driver's seat missing. But, the body is pretty nice. In my office I have one of these and there's something wrong with it. I can't remember what. Maybe this one has the parts I need. "Sure, I'll take it," I replied.
"Well," he said, "Reach that dollar over here to me. I'm not getting up for a dollar." We both laughed.
I moved on. The next booth didn't have anything that really grabbed me.
The one after that did. It's hard for me to resist old automotive ephemera. I bought items for a 1951 Oldsmobile, a 1958 Airstream trailer, a 1959 Allis-Chalmers tractor and then an uneventful black and white page advertisement for the 1958 Thunderbird, which happened to have the Young Ford of Charlotte logo on it. Had to have it at 50 cents.
The vendor was friendly and helped me see every automotive piece on his tables. I made the final inspection and saw some license plates. "Oh," I said in an excited voice, "I know you!" The vendor looked around searching for someone besides himself and no one else was anywhere close. "You are Number 88," I continued. He looked around again as if to say, "Who are you talking to?" And, then he chuckled, "Oh, yeah, Number 88 down at the auction."
"Yes, you are the guy that always buys everything that I want," I complained in jest. "You always outbid me. We always want the same stuff. The last thing you won was that run of license plates from the fifties and sixties. No problem, you are willing to pay more than I am. I think I have only beat you out one time. That's the way it works."
We exchanged information and are likely to become friends.
My back problem had evaporated. That's what a good flea market will do for you.
Later in the day after skating I went by my office. I compared the promo there and the promo I had just purchased that morning. The one and only part missing on the office car was still present on the dollar bargain car. Suddenly I had one complete car. Just like the old days. Buy several to make one.
Life is good.
Roadside America--The GE Appliance Store
08/14/11...You need some background about my history to understand the accompanying 08/05/11 entry.
My parents had a seasonal gift shop in Pennsylvania. Our primary residence, relatives, family, etc., were in Western North Carolina. Our shop opened in late May each year and carried through into November. We did this from 1948 through 1958. We lived in NC in the winter months.
Our first PA location was east of Strausstown on old US Route 22 which ran from Cincinnati to New York City. In 1955 a new modern four-lane US 22 opened and we moved our four-unit motor court and shop from the old highway to the new one near Shartlesville a few miles away. In 1959 that highway was designated a limited access highway--no entrances other than roadway exchanges--and thus ended our Pennsylvania Dutch Country experience filled now with tons of wonderful memories. That highway is now I-78.
During the time spent at the older location, my family and I once went with Pennsylvania Dutch friends to see an attraction called Roadside America. I have never forgotten it. It had a Christmas theme at the time so I am guessing we saw it in November and since there were 1951 Chevy promos in the display it had to be around 1951 or 1952. Roadside America was located then on old Route 22 near Hamburg at a place that once was called Carsonia Park--formerly a small commercial recreational park.
With the coming of the new modern highway Roadside America moved west and expanded considerably in the process. Our business moved east and within a mile of...the new Roadside America! My folks and I visited Roadside America a couple of times at the new location but not often enough for me. In my adulthood when traveling through PA, I rarely pass up the opportunity to check out Roadside America just one more time.
Please be aware that there are old promos in there.
If you will now, go to Roadside America. Read about it and watch the videos. Then come back for the rest of the story. At the end of this article are some video viewing tips which you might want to take after reading the story. See ya in half an hour.
08/04/11...It was nine-thirty in the morning when I pulled up to my first vacation destination in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country. I locked the doors and jumped out of the Cherokee and as the door firmly shut I instantaneously knew that I had left the keys in the ignition. My childish exuberation for Roadside America had overcome me. I just can't outgrow this place.
When one door closes, another opens--this time almost literally. I stepped inside to the ticket booth and explained to the elderly lady that I wanted to visit the exhibit but first I wanted to get my locked car situation resolved. I further explained that I had left my phone in the car and would otherwise have called local friends to help me out. She asked me whom I knew and I told her. She smiled, "They are good friends of mine. I know who to call for you."
While I waited for the "key man," the lady and I chatted. She remembered my family and me from some 55 years or so ago! She was the postmistress at Strausstown and we saw her virtually every day as we had goods for our shop arriving routinely at the post office.
The "key man" arrived in an older van that had Septic and Plumber Repairs painted on the side. My window was left open a couple of inches and that helped. Within four minutes my door was open. "How much do I owe you?" I asked. "Twenty bucks will do," he said. "If you hadda call into Reading, it would have been eighty, he explained. I am one in a million. I can bail people out of most any problem they have. I'm doing a front wheel bearing on a Toyota right now." I thanked him for his generosity and thought to myself that this man is what America is about or should be about.
Then I went into the ticket booth and thanked Ruth for her kindness in helping me find such a friendly and economical handyman. Finally, my time had arrived and I entered the sacred vault of childhood memories. I took the guide folder and began the tour, but I only made it as far as Item 7.
Of course, I love Fairfield so I took some time to really look it over. Plus, I had the benefit of the entire place to myself. No one was here just yet at this early hour. Then I saw something very, very interesting. That GE appliance store one block over and on a corner looked like it had a name on the window done in the style of fifty to a hundred years ago. The lettering rounded over the top of a half circle. The name on the window clearly was "Young." Hey, that's my last name! Two initials preceded it and the middle initial easily was seen to be an "E." Hey, that's my middle initial! The first initial was not so easy to make out. It was either a "G" or a "C"-- 50-50 odds.
I failed to mention that when the elderly lady and I had our conversation, there was a very polite young lady who visited with us. She was the operator of the display who ran the trains and trolleys and flipped lights on and off etc. Her operating area was much like the old projector booths in movie theatres. In other words she sat up high behind a half glass partition.
I went to her booth and tapped on the glass. Her head appeared and she smiled. "I need to ask a favor," I asked in elevated voice. "I swear I think that there is a store in Fairfield that has my name on it, but I'm not sure. Could you go over there for me and tell me what the first letter is?"
"Certainly," she replied and she scurried right over and carefully stepped on the streets dodging promos and cast iron toys over to the street address 224 GE Electric appliance store. Incidentally, I didn't tell her what letter I hoped for, as I didn't want to prejudice her. Then she said it, "It's a "C."
"Holy cow, " I shouted. "That's my initial! Let me hand you my camera and if you will, take a picture of that window." She complied with the result on the right.
Click picture on right for a closer view. When the picture comes up, you may need to click on the picture again to enlarge it. Do you see "C.E." sweeping the front entrance? Do you see the 1930's refrigerator and other toy appliances inside?
"You know," she commented, "You'd be surprised that every once in a while someone comes along and finds something in Fairfield like that." Then, she went back to her booth to run "America."
Once again I was alone in the town of Fairfield. I was nearly giddy and then almost had a chill. That is too much! Synchronicity? This place has my name on it. No one likes Fairfield more than I do. I don't think much about omens and signs. Is this an omen? I currently own a corner store location. Is this place in my future?
Walter Mitty and I immediately imagined a new adjoining complex--skating rink, Roadside America, gym, Dutch restaurant.
Now that you have new insights, perhaps, you will want to go back to the Roadside America videos.
Viewing tips for Roadside America below.
The times below may vary by a few seconds.
1...Carsonia Park Video
Stop the video @ 1:00 minute to view the 224 building and the display as it looked in the 1940's. The building is seen from 1:00 minute through 1:07. The best view is @ 1:00. I'm not sure what the window lettering is during that era.
2...Roadside America Today video
A...Stop the video @2:35 through 2:40 and notice the 224 building at far end of street and on the left side of street.
B...Stop the video @2:48 and the 224 building is barely seen across the street over to right of the shot and to the left of the red and white 59 Ford Ranchero.
3...Plymouth Division of Chrysler Corporation 1950's Travelogue entitled "Guided Tour." The quality of this 1955 film is not the best, but worth the various interesting views.
Stop the video @3:53 through 3:56 for a glimpse of several promos. The wagon in there is a rare 50 Jeep wagon and there are no Plymouths for which the PR guys should be ashamed. There are Plymouth taxis elsewhere in the exhibit.
07/31/11...Of course you know your cars and you know that Chevrolet never made a 1961 El Camino. You are right and you are wrong.
The1960 El Camino promotional-style model pictured adjacent first came to my attention in the late 1960's. It belonged to a college friend and was first seen upon a visit to his home in eastern NC. At the time "real" cars were the focus of my attention. The thought certainly was not there that someday promo cars would become a hobby and then a business for me. The El Camino made a fleeting impression. All through the years my friend and I touched base with one another and visited each other a couple of times annually. The El Camino moved once from one display cabinet to another. Otherwise, it was always reliably on location.
In the mid 1980's Clarence Young Autohobby was established and promos were the primary focus. A lot had been learned about promos and during one visit the El Camino became a curiosity. It was a color of 1961 Chevrolets (not available in 1960) and it had 1961 Chevy wheel covers. Also, it was not warped as were 1960 Chevy promos.
A few years later all suspicions were confirmed. Chevrolet discontinued the El Camino in 1961. The company that manufactured Chevrolet promos during that time was SMP, a special division of AMT. The El Camino promo had been a great seller for SMP in the five&dime market--toy store retail market to our younger readers.
SMP did something in 1961 that AMT had done in 1956. It continued to produce a model that was discontinued by the actual car manufacturer. More about that: Summerfords. SMP did the same with the 1960 El Camino promos and with its 3-in-1 plastic kit derivatives as well.
In 1961 SMP made all its products with an improved plastic that did not shrink and warp. This explains the non-warp of the promo featured here. Obviously it was convenient to use existing plastic and existing colors for the one-year-old 1960 El Camino. Two colors can be found: Seafoam Green and Almond Beige. The 1961 wheel covers followed the same production logic. One oddity here is that the grill cavity is a bit too large for the 1961 version. The 1960 cavity was designed for body plastic that would shrink up tightly against a non-warping chrome grill.
1961 was a bit of a recessionary year. Full-sized cars and dealer promos both suffered reduced sales in a slow-selling market.
This Seafoam beauty came into CYA's ownership in late July, 2011. It's a neat model with historical and personal provenance. Cars are even more fun when they have a story.
Crime of the Moment
06/20/11...Two emails came to my box today from a long-time customer who had an interesting story to tell. -- CY
My 2010 Dodge Challenger has an older style V-6 with a single overhead cam and single exhaust. It is rated at 250 HP and EPA mileage figures are 18-25 MPG. It has awkward cruise controls nestled behind the steering wheel which is hard plastic. Tires are Goodyear radials.
The 2011 Challenger has the new 3.6 liter V-6, rated by Motor Trend as one of the ten best engines in the world (Maybe it's right up there with Fiat wink ; I don't know.) and it has a 300 HP dual OHC that is rated at 18-27 MPG. The difference is noticeable on the highway. It comes stock with a dual exhaust system. The tires are Michelin radials. The steering wheel has the cruise controls within it and the leather wrap makes it more comfortable.
I drove a "Toxic Orange" colored one today at the second dealership I visited. The first I visited was with Susie, who was too tired to accompany me further, so I went out alone. There was a wreck on the freeway which gave me something to account for my extended absence. The 2011 was obviously a faster car and it ran a bit smoother and the dual exhaust added a little resonance to the car without being unpleasant. It takes inclines with ease and has lots of passing power for a six.
The young salesman had not made a sale this month and he told me that the dealership had sold only thirty cars this month--with a sales force of thirty! I was going to pack it in and go home as I was only there to check out the refinements of the newer model. I gave some thought to purchasing the orange one but decided it would be too conspicuous--not a good thing--not with car thieves around. It's also not good to exceed the speed limit, even by only a couple mph, in Toxic Orange with hungry cops out there trying to decide whom to nail.
However, there was a silver one, same as the orange, and only a slight color variation from my 2010. I agreed to swap my 2010 for it, if I could keep the difference in cost to a minimum, with the recognition that it was extremely low miles and had not a scratch or dent on it. We made a deal I could live with.
When I got home, I quietly parked it in the garage. I got grilled about my extended absence and asked if I had "seen anybody" or bought a different car. I assured Susie I had not had any improper social calls.
She quizzed, "Did you buy another car?" I invited Susie to look out in the garage if that was her suspicion. A few minutes later she did as I was taking out the garbage. After a quick glance she satisfied herself that the same car was parked in its usual spot. I breathed a small sigh of relief and busied myself with other matters.
So that is my show and tell for today. I don't feel quite right about it, but being neurotic by nature, I will carry on. --Eric Stefik
Funny enough! And then, the second email arrived.
Just returned to Las Vegas from Stateline, on the California border, giving the Challenger a shakedown cruise. On the way, I told Susie of all the advantages of the 2011 and she finally suggested we make the trade. I had to tell her that 'we' already had and she was riding in it!
Where the Roar Echoes On
05/06/11...Cars and airplanes are loved by lots of people and the Air Fair show, hosted by the Western North Carolina Air Museum in Hendersonville, NC, is always a fun-time small-town event held every first weekend of June.
This year my camera was not forgotten and the batteries were even freshly charged. Last Year's Report
Small shows almost always have some nice surprises. Let's walk around...
The Tracker had just settled in to its parking slot and alongside came a spectator in a show worthy 2001 Mazda Miata. This always-garaged car was immaculate with only 40,000 miles. I suggested that the owner put it in the show. Modestly he declined saying it was only ten years old and too dirty. All he had to do was dust the dash!
Parking lots are fun at car shows. On the way to the show grounds was another parking lot jewel--Triumph TR-3--had to be a 1958-62. It was tucked into the shade reminiscent of the days when I had one and sought out places that protected the car and prevented fried thighs as I got back into it. Nice car which should also have been in the show.
Here's an uncommon common car. Why? It's original and in very nice conditon. The "Why Be Normal?" window sticker forced me to photograph it. This brass radiator Ford Model T cannot be later than 1916. It is likely a 1914-16. Nineteen-sixteens were only made for a portion of the model year and are hard to find.
Hot rods are not all that exciting in my book, but some talk to me because they reflect period history. This Ford Model A "high boy" hot rod has a modern "rat rod" patina and must be in the 1928-31 year model era.
This one talks because it has an original Model A engine that is souped up with two carbs, a special finned ( and shaved?) head plus other 30's through 50's era performance parts.
This is the car I would most like to drive home. It's a 1948 Lincoln Continental convertible. It's styling doesn't really get a "beautiful" rating although the restoration does. It's the Art Deco gee-jaws that I like and that flathead V-12 engine is a bonus.
The Lincoln Continental is the car that gave the name Continental Spare to an enclosed spare tire on the back. This was done to provide extra trunk space for long distance travelers. Fifties and later Continentals had dummy continental spares although Ford's last use of it came standard with 1956 Thunderbirds which had the real deal.
There were, of course, lots of antique-collectible airplanes scattered here and there around the airfield. Time was limited for this roving reporter and numerous enraptured enthusiasts prevented (that's okay) decent photos. There's always next year.
My thing forgotten this year was pad and pencil--well, so much for professionalism. Maybe a smart phone would have been handy but this "antique" writer doesn't have one yet. (Author hopes to provide greater detailed info on the planes below in an update coming soon.) In the meantime, let's eyeball these...
Here is a cool little experimental aircraft that looks like its good for land and aquatic landings. Two adults and a grade-school kid climbed out of it and they looked none the worse for wear. Neat transportation.
This one is likely a factory-manufactured airplane--maker unknown just yet. It had just taxied into position when the photo was taken. Don't you love the look of a spinning prop?. If the prop had been a few inches greater in length it could have mowed some grass.
If you like Miatas or Austin Healey Bug-Eye Sprites, you gotta like this cute experimental. The pilot must get close to heaven with this one when aloft.
Movement with a cacophony of multiple internal combustion engine types blipping and burbling characterizes this Saturday-Sunday show as aircraft and automobiles move in and about throughout the day. The longer one stays, the more there is to absorb. This show was truly a moving feast for the eyes, ears and nostalgic sympathies expressed in WNC Air Museum's motto, "Where the Roar Echoes On."
No Convertibles For Mother
05/08/11...When Mother passed away last September (2010), family brought me various photos to display at her memorial service. Thanks for the memories of Mother, cars and stories. I retained the pictures for a while and today, Mother's Day, seemed like a good day to scan them and get the originals back to their owners.
For the moment I will share two of them with you. They have a relevance to this car journal thing. An entry was made 09/16/08 entitled "First Ride...So to Speak" which speculated upon my first ride in an automobile.
The speculation continues. The first photo on the right is of my brother standing at the rear of the 36 Ford. The license plate and other factors date the photo between 1944 and 1946. Jerry looks a bit older here than in his bathtub picture of "First Ride."
The second photo is of my uncle and my mother posing beside the Ford at a local country store. This picture was likely taken between 1944 and 1946 also. It is possible that my mother was pregnant with me at the time as per speculation in the earlier story.
Notice that the car is very dirty. Most all the roads in Madison County, NC, at that time were not paved which leads to a recently related story from Aunt Eloise unprompted from me.
Sometime in the early forties, Mother and Pop, went to Detroit where Pop became a foreman in the Ford Motor Company manufacturing facility. With all the turmoil of World War II my parents came back home to NC when Pop decided to enlist in the army. Auntie said that the arrival home was a spectacle. Jerry had been born in Detroit and this was his family debut. Mother and Pop were noteworthy as well. They were black from head to toe, but little Jerry had been kept clean as could be.
I asked Eloise if she could guess why they were so dirty. She didn't have a quick answer. I did.
That 36 Ford was a phaeton. That meant that it had side curtains and no roll-up windows. Those curtains didn't seal up the car very well and Pop was not known to be a slow driver. He probably kept those curtains flapping and bulging. The seven-hundred miles between Detroit and Madison County had plenty of dirt and grime to work into cracks and crannies. Most likely it was a marathon run. Nevertheless, Mother lovingly kept Jerry well protected. It's what moms do.
Today those phaetons are treasured collector cars and with the tops down on a clean highway, they are great fun. However, back in the day with the top up in cold and dusty conditions, the fun factor was, well, not so much. That was the first and last open car that my parents ever owned. Mother made sure of that!
A Mere Scale Model
03/07/11...The reasons for collecting dealer promotional models are probably as plentiful as the people who collect them. One of the reasons might be nostalgic associations.
The year was 1963. I was a Junior in high school and I drove this car to the Junior Senior prom. My dad was a used car dealer, whose lot contained numerous five-year-old and older cars. He usually had one or two late model cars. I never asked to drive any of these cars on dates except for the Jr-Sr. I spent all that Saturday tweaking every little detail to spotless perfection. The only difference in the promo and the actual car was an incorrect item on the promo. The real car had white inlays between two narrow chrome strips that run down the sides. The promos should have had this. The texture is there but the color isn't. Anyway, everything went well and the sharp little "260," my sweetheart and I got our fifteen minutes of fame.
Fairlanes of the era were really good cars and truly proved themselves later as they were the platform for one of America's most successful cars ever--the Ford Mustang pony car. The first Fairlane that I owned was an old man's car, a weakness that I still have. It was a mid-level Fairlane 221 C.I. V-8 four-door sedan in Corinthian White over Glacier Blue, a light sky blue. This one was ordered special with three-on-the-tree manual column shift transmission and 14" wheels, dog-dish hubcaps and blackwall tires. Old guys then liked heavy-duty stuff and were not easily converted to automatic transmissions or full wheel covers or whitewall tires. To my eye it was beautiful then and its styling holds up well even today.
The only adventure I remember having in this one was a during a commute between college and home. An Advance Design 1951-ish Chevrolet pickup pulled out in front of me and into my lane going my direction. I made my first ever evasive maneuver while driving. I gunned it and drove the shoulder to the right of the truck and passed him. To this day I believe that if I had just braked with no evasion, I would have creamed that truck.
In 1970 another Fairlane came along. My dad's business had prospered and he was toying with the idea of taking on a Toyota dealership. We had several new Toyotas on the lot. I was teaching school and thinking about upgrading. I had decided that in a few days I would go ahead and purchase the 1970 Toyota Corona two-door hardtop in beige, but something happened.
I was hanging around the car lot and my dad asked me to go over to Sam's Lincoln-Mercury and pick up a car part. A gopher I was and still am. At the L-M dealer on the other side of the street was Sam's used car lot. A shiny 1963 Fairlane was in the front row. I got the part and walked across the street. It was a Fairlane 500 four-door in solid Sandshell Beige with a black inlay between the two chrome strips. It was, as they said in those days, stinking new. The ash tray inside was iridescent gold--unused, new.
How much? $795. May I drive it. Yes. Will $700 buy it. Yes. Done deal. This one was also a V-8 and I honestly don't recall if it had a 221 or 260, but I think it was a 260. It also had three-on-the-tree but had little bitty 13" wheels with spiffy factory wheel covers. I put a set of blackwall Vredestein tube-type radials on it. I always do something different seems like.
The primary adventure with this car was that it was a honeymoon car. Our honeymoon was delayed three weeks for spring break as we were both school teachers. Some of the road trip to Jekyll Island from Western North Carolina involved various two-lane roads in Georgia. We stopped at a roadside ice cream stand along the busy thoroughfare to cool off a bit. While we were eating our cold sugary treats outside at the picnic tables, a young kid with a flashy car and a pretty teenage girlfriend finished up their shared milkshake and hopped into their car. The boy pulled to edge of the highway, made a left turn and peeled rubber for a considerable distance.
I looked at the new bride and she looked at me knowingly, "Young immature kids!" We both taught high school.
We finished up and I pulled up to road to make my left turn. There was a ton of traffic. This was a major US highway after all. I waited and waited and got no chances. Then I got half a chance and I took it peeling rubber for several car links. I looked over at her and she at me and we laughed.
This story just keeps going but let's let it rest for now. There are more Fairlane stories to tell another time.
All this came merely from looking at a 1963 Ford Fairlane scale model promo car. Isn't it just great?
Living and Breathing It
03/03/11...Certainly it has been fifteen years, if not twenty. At a model car swap meet once I scrounged through a box of broken-up parts for various model cars and trucks. Nothing in that box matched my parts-needs at the time. However, there was a curiosity in the box. It was a broken-up army vehicle--green chassis with wheels and likely 1/25th scale.
Somewhere on it was the Topping name and logo. The vendor with the parts box said it was some sort of military toy he had played with as a child and that the parts in the box were all that was left of it. I was familiar with Topping because they made a dynamite White 3000 cab over tractor trailer promo back in the day. They also made military spotter aircraft models as well as some aircraft promos--all good stuff. I didn't buy the busted up item, but I did file it in my memory bank. It's a bit like bird watchers. You always like to add a new one to the book.
Just a few days ago, I got an email from Steve Butler. In it he asked if I had seen the item in the attached picture? My answer was, "Yes and no." Now I have a new question which is whether this new discovery is an actual model of a military 6x6 or if it is generic. Maybe you know about it.
* * * *
A few days later an email from another source came in and upset a different apple cart. Before this email there had been no question in my mind about the Henney Hearse. An attached photo showed a boxed 1951 Packard Henney hearse with the name International Replicar Company on the box. Common knowledge has been for years that this item was made by AMT. I have never seen a box like this one. I vaguely remember seeing a similar box that did say AMT, but then, upon a reflection, do I trust such a sighting so long ago?
Let me speculate here. Do not present this to your friends as fact. I am throwing this out there to find out more. I postulate that these Packard hearses were sold in toy stores as AMT items. As promotional items I think they might have been labeled International Replicars.
Here's why I lean as I do. The Packard is constructed in the same way that all of AMT cars of the era were made. The home of IRC was Birmingham, Michigan, same as AMT's home. In 1957 AMT developed a "sister" company called SMP which lasted only a few years. It could well be that AMT had a "sister" company in 1951. Maybe you know about it.
* * * *
And now within a week of the arrival of the two emails above yet another email with attachment is presented and another question is asked. The picture is of a 1952 Studebaker chassis with a sticker affixed. Only the words "AMT" and "Very Durable" can be deciphered.
Is this sticker significant?" is the question. My answer: "Yes and no." I've never seen this sticker before so I will say that it is at least uncommon. "Does anyone care?" might be the real question. Maybe a few people would like this one, i.e., collectors of Studebakers wanting a variant, promo collectors of the era wanting the same and promotional car "history" buffs.
Perhaps always there are more questions than answers. Searching, finding and learning keeps this hobby breathing. I had three fresh breaths this week. Maybe you know about it.
Smart Packing and Happy Promo Peeps
02/20/11...One of the worst feelings imaginable for a promo enthusiast is to order a great promo and have it delivered damaged in shipment. This sometimes happens to Autohobby when buying a collection. Occasionally it's just a matter of bad luck. Once I heard of a national private carrier delivery truck that somehow managed to run over a package of promos! Most of the time, however, it is a matter of careful packing that makes the difference.
Very recently a small collection of Cadillacs arrived at Autohobby and in beautiful undamaged condition. The seller had followed my packing instructions to a "T" and the result was satisfying for all.
Here are the instructions that I sent the seller who had seven boxed promos and one without its box.
Packing instructions: We are trying to avoid two primary things--chafing of paint and chrome, and of
1..Be careful around fragile trim pieces such as hood and fender ornaments. Think about how they could be damaged.
5..Use newspaper, bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts or plastic grocery bags for cushioning.
6..A secret to good packing is making sure that everything is snug but not overly tight. In other words, we want a cushioning effect in case of hard blows to the shipping box.
7..Imagine that your shipped item is going to be tossed from one place to another, often without a person to catch it at the receiving end. I always imagine this happening at least once every 500 miles of travel.
Think about it and act upon it and your shipping woes will be few.
01/28/11...One of the greatest pleasures related to my promotional car business is the acquiring of collections for resale. The latest collection came in about a month after Christmas and I was able to have Christmas all over again! I prefer to buy collections that are from the original collectors or their estates. Cars that go through the hands of several collectors and/or dealers often get "monkeyed with" and don't reflect the originality that can assist the learning process. Few of the collections that I have purchased have had the provenance that this one does. There is always the hope that a collection like this will reveal a rare color or "test shot" model.
This collection was purchased from the son of Frank Klotz, Frank Klotz, Jr., on January 20, 2011, by Clarence Young Autohobby. In the mid-1950's Klotz, Sr., was a FoMoCo associate of Lee Iacocca, a Southeastern Pennsylvania regional sales manager for Ford. Iacocca's career got a big boost from his very successful "$56 for a '56" sales campaign. It sent him into the higher echelons of management at Ford in Detroit. He took Frank Klotz with him. Iacocca achieved his greatest fame at Ford as "Father of the Mustang" and eventually became President of Ford. Klotz was an executive with Ford when Iacocca was removed from the presidency by Henry Ford II. When Iacocca subsequently went to Chrysler, Klotz, a good friend as well as business associate, went with him. Klotz is mentioned in the "Acknowledgements" of Lee Iacocca: An Autobiography copyrighted in 1984.
If the 56 promos from this collection had been tape recorders, they would likely have the voices of several top Ford executives of the era and the words would concern the design and marketing of lots of different Ford products from the 1960's. This collection of promos was displayed on a shelf in Klotz Sr.'s home office for many years according to Frank Klotz, Jr. Accordingly, the promos arrived at CYA in dusty condition. Getting cars new-in-the-box is very gratifying and there were three in this collection, but there is also pleasure in bringing back a promo's former glory.
All of these promos will get individual TLC and then be listed for sale at CY Autohobby. They will trickle into stock in the next couple of months. Watch the CYA homepage.
Were there any test shots or rare colors? It's doubtful although I can't recall the 1964 Thunderbird in Cascade Green Metallic. I haven 't seen every color of every promo and couldn't remember them all even if I had.
There are, happily, a few Ford promos in this collection that show up but rarely--1965 Mustang Pace Car and 1969 Mustang. A 1970 Ford LTD is crumbling into pieces--always bad with the good, and, oh, there was one 1963 Cadillac convertible. How'd that get in there?
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