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Car Collector Chronicles
Volume V, Issue 4 Car Collector Chronicles April 2012
Car Collecting Today Classic Rides Reports From the Field
Oldsmobile (1897-2004) Cadillac (1902- ) Allanté (1987-1993)
In this column last month I stated, “I may/may not make it to
the Chicago Auto Show in February?” Here is my report on the Chicago Auto Show. I did/did not get to the auto show in February. What? Read on: I was in Chicago on Saturday, 18 Feb. I attended a stage production of The Jackie Wilson Story. It was great, well worth the trip! The play ended at 5:30. With press pass in hand, I trekked down Lake Shore Dr. to McCormick Place from 4400 N. Clark St.; a mere 78 blocks. In line to park my car I saw a flashing sign telling me I would have to shell out $22! Maybe I am not as cosmopolitan as I like to think, as that price grated? I could not bring myself to part with that much money just to park my car! I got out of line and reoriented my machine north, back to Milwaukee. So, the bottom line is, “I did/ did not get to the auto show .” On 28 Feb the folks at “Top Gear” (History Channel) shall put two of my former rides through their paces. The two rides are a 1974 Ford Pinto, and an EM (early model - 1962) Corvair. They are to be subjected to a 2lap race, an obstacle course and a demolition derby. As this is being written before the show has aired, it will be interesting to see what transpires. After the fact, when you are reading this, those results may be viewed at http://www.history.com/shows/top -gear. I will go on the record here and say that the poor Pinto has been unjustly maligned. My experience with the car was outstanding. I drove my ’76 for over 185,000 miles before passing it on to the second owner in 1987! Yes, for safety/visibility reasons I ordered mine in racing orange. Yes, I had to put new floorboards in it. Yes, I had to put a new head on the six banger. Even so, she served me more than well. No, she never went up in flames! I am pleased to report on 5 Mar we received official notice from the Indianapolis 500 2nd Annual Celebration of Cars (http://
www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com /indy500/eventinfo/50940/) selection
IN THIS ISSUE:
GDYNets On the Web
committee that Saved 62 has been invited to participate. As only 200 cars are extended an invite,
to receive such is quite humbling. Now to determine whether we will be able to make it? I think we just might be able to fit it into our schedule! An added benefit is that it will be nice to get back to Indy, where I attended both undergrad and law school. It has been more than a while. – If you go, do stop by and let’s chat!
Made in Milwaukee 2
Made in Milwaukee 4 Photo Gallery
GDYNets® on the Web
Find GDYNets on the web: CCC® -THE FORUM
SAVED 62: A website devoted
to our 1962 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 convertible. The site also has a lot of information on Oldsmobiles and its founder, Ransom Eli Olds.
Summer Dreamin’ In the Year 19 and 62 (Ads/Events) CCC® Forum EMail:
http://ccc.activeboard.com Car Collector Chronicles-scribd Saved 62 - 1962 Olds web site http://www.freewebs.com/ jeandaveyaros The Gray Lady - 1955 Cadillac Coupé de Ville web site
THE GRAY LADY: This website features our 1955 Cadillac Coupé de Ville and Caddy information.
DAVE’S DEN: A website devoted to a myriad of interests. Foremost is extensive information on the “Steel City” of Gary, IN. There are also offerings on steel making, U.S. Steel-Gary Works, U.S. Marine Corps, M14 assault rifle, of course Oldsmobile, and the tragic story of the murder of Gary, IN Police Lt. George Yaros.
Car Collector Chronicles
Made in Milwaukee
The coverage last month on the Excalibur led me to look into automobile manufacturing in Milwaukee. As I am not from the “Brew City,” I am not steeped in its history. Like my prior city of residence, Cincinnati, Milwaukee has a strong German influence. When one thinks of Milwaukee, products like beer and sausage do come to mind. At one time, Milwaukee was the home to Schlitz, Pabst, Miller and Blatz, to name but a few breweries. Then there is Usinger sausages and brats. Still in business, the company has been making sausages since 1880. What does not come to mind are automobiles. What I have found is that quite a number of cars were manufactured in Milwaukee. Most of that manufacturing took place around the turn of the twentieth century. The list of manufacturers does not run from A-to-Z, but does go from Ato-V! Few, if any, survived long enough to even gear up for war production; war in this case referring to the “War to end all wars,” WWI. One of the earliest automobiles manufactured was the Ideal. The company began operation in 1902. It ceased operations a year later, in 1903. Its offering was a light 2passenger auto with a frame made completely of angle iron. The springs attached to the frame were long and flexible, making for a very smooth ride. The Ideal Gasoline Carriage was powered by a single-cylinder 5 h.p. engine, which was connected to a 3-speed tranny. One steered via a tiller. The car weighed 1,200 lbs, was able to reach speeds of 25 m.p.h. and could go 150 miles on a full tank of gas. As one may see, the carriage body flipped up for ready access to the drive train. The Milwaukee made automobiles that stayed on the scene the longest were the offerings from Johnson Service Co. (1905-12). This same company still exists today. You may know it as Johnson Controls, Inc. Today, it the 4th largest U.S. producer of original parts for automobiles. Johnson Service Co. made both steam and gas powered cars. Despite its longevity in the Milwaukee car maker market, I have been able to find very little information about the cars it produced. There were a number of producers of what were categorized as “cycle-cars.” The two most notable being Briggs & Stratton and A. O. Smith Co. Both of these entities still maintain facilities in Milwaukee. These vehicles were around for a relatively
“At one time, Milwaukee was the home to Schlitz, Pabst, Miller and Blatz, to name but a few breweries. Then there is Usinger sausages and brats.”
Car Collector Chronicles
short period of time. The first Milwaukee made cycle-car appeared in 1914. The last in 1923. The most fitting description for a cycle-car would be the term go-cart. Some had a conventional drive train. Others were propelled via a fifth wheel. In terms of cost, this mode of transport was relatively inexpensive. What I do find of interest is that the cycle-car photos I have been able to locate show a woman behind the wheel. I would think a 1914-20 era female would had to have been pretty adventurous to take to the road in one of these contraptions? One of the most interesting Milwaukee automobile manufacturers was Thomas Fawick. Fawick hailed originally from South Dakota. He quit school at fifteen. He built his first car at the age of 17. In 1910-1912 he produced motoring machines known as the Silent Sioux/ Fawick Flyer. We are talking a five passenger touring car, with a 40 h.p. motor. It sold at a price of $3,000. What is interesting about Fawick is that he is credited with producing the first motor car with front doors. (See photo, above. Yes, the car has front doors, and yes, that is Teddy Roosevelt in the picture.) Prior to his innovation, front doors were considered impractical and an inconvenience. Rather, the sides were simply cut low to provide easy ingress/ egress for those sitting in the front. Front doors were not his only innovation. The man developed the first rubber golf club grips. This invention went on to become adopted by every major golf club manufacturer. Fawick also designed a highly praised concert violin. In his lifetime, Fawick was the holder of 249 patents. The 1908 Hay-Berg Roadster presented a unique seating arrangement; 2 in front and 1 in the rear. It had a 118” wheel base, 34” tires, and a four-cycle, four cylinder engine, generating 20 h.p. It sold for $2,000. Only a few roadsters were made before the company folded.
“I would think a 1914-20 era female would had to have been pretty adventurous to take to the road in one of these contraptions?”
Car Collector Chronicles
Made in Milwaukee—Cont’d.
One of the most expensive rides to come out of Milwaukee was the LaFayette. It was a large, powerful, luxury automobile that did not sell very well. The LaFayette made available to the motoring public the first electric clock. The principal stockholders of LaFayette were Nash Motors and Charles W. Nash. In 1924 Nash Motors acquired sole ownership of LaFayette and converted production to a smaller, less expensive car.
Here is a listing of the various Milwaukee automobile manufacturers, with their years of operation:
AEC 1913-14 Excalibur 1952-1989 Ideal 1902-03 Merkel 1905-06 Silent Sioux 1910-12 Banner Boy Buckboard 1958 F-S Motors 1911-12 Johnson (Steam) 1905-1912 Milwaukee 1906 Vixen 1914 Earl 1907-08 Haase 1902-04 Krueger 1904-05 Ogren 1919-23 Eclipse 1905 Hay-Berg 1907-08 LaFayette 1923-24 Petrel 1910-12
Billiken Cycle Car 1914 Briggs & Stratton 1920-23 A.O. Smith 1917-20 Ward 1914
Here is a small sampling of Milwaukee automobile manufacturer items/ads:
Car Collector Chronicles
Since we just had 8” of snow over the Feb. 24th weekend, any thoughts of summer at present are just that, a dream. Even so, what is the harm? I have yet to make it to an Oldsmobile Club of America national meet. We were fortunate enough to be in Lansing for the 100th Anniversary of Oldsmobile back in 1997, even though we had no Olds at the time. It was an affair to remember, no doubt. If for no other reason than to be able to compare the annual gatherings of the National Antique Oldsmobile Club (which I have attended) and the OCA, I would love to go to an OCA national meet. This is not the year however. It is going to be held in Des Moines, IA July 4-7, indoors. Once you put your car in, you may not drive it again until the show is over. Not for me. What if I want to go into town for an ice cream, or out for a beer?
The NAOC national is June 20-23, in Columbus, IN. Columbus is within striking distance. Additionally, it is an architecturally rich city. It is a possibility. http://
An event in which I definitely want to participate at some point in time is the Fleetwood Country Cruize-In. It is held in London, ONT. Last year saw over 11,000 in attendance. The 2012 dates are June 1-3. Entertainment includes Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, as well as Paul Revere and the Raiders. http://www.fleetwoodcountrycruizein.com/2012/2012.html#auto This show takes place on the grounds of the Steve Plunkett estate. I am willing to venture a guess that Steve owns more Cadillacs than the entire Henry Leland family, and they shall be available for public view during the show! Of course, I am always on the lookout for a multi-day touring event, having tasted the five day Old Hwy. 27 Tour (http://www.old27tour.com/) a few years back. If you know of, and are able to recommend any, please do so! On Page 6 of this edition you will find our continuing look back to the year 19 and 62.
– Ok, I’ve had my say for the month. Now it’s your turn! I invite/encourage submission of your comments, opinions and article contributions. I also ask that you please help spread the word about our publication. Everything sent shall indeed be reviewed by me. Submissions should be sent to CCC® at OldsD88@gmail.com. –– Now that you have finished reading this month’s issue of the newsletter, come start/ join an ongoing dialog with other CCC® readers and like-minded car collector folk on the CCC® Forum. Stop by, check us out and share your views … . ______________________________________
-- RESTORE 'EM, AND DRIVE 'EM!
COMING NEXT ISSUE: Prepping for the Indy Celebration of Cars Event TBD
Car Collector Chronicles
In 1962 I purchased (and still own) this album
In the Year 19 and 62
The World Which Greeted Saved 62 — Apr ‘62
Apr 3 - Jockey Eddie Arcaro retires after 31 years (24,092 races) Apr 9 - West Side Story wins Best Picture Apr 9 - Leading elements of Marine Task Unit 79.3.5, a helicopter task unit codenamed Shufly, and commanded by Colonel John F. Carey, arrived at Soc Trang, Republic of Vietnam. Significance: First squadron-sized Marine unit, together with a small security force, deployed to Vietnam after establishment of the U.S. Military Assistance Command (MACV) on 8 Feb 1962 Apr 10 - Los Angeles, 1st MLB game played at Dodger Stadium (Chavez Ravine). Apr 10 - 1st MLB game in Houston; Colt .45s beat Cubs, 11-2 April 11 - New York Mets make a MLB losing debut April 14 - Cuban military tribunal convicts 1,179 Bay of Pigs attackers Apr 16 - Walter Cronkite begins anchoring CBS Evening News