Spring 2013
~ Road Trips ~
Spring 2013. We'd never been
to the
Rhinebeck show
previously so we planned the
trip on short notice and Dad
prepped the Chick Stockwell
#151 for the trip. We figured
this is likely as close as we'll get
to Danbury (although we'd like
to get to Middletown some day -
just never seems to work out
with our schedule..) - so maybe
a few people will recognize the
car there. It was a beautiful day,
as close to perfect weather as it
could be and we blabbered the
whole way down. Missed the
turn to Route 28 in Oneonta
and so continued down on
Route 23 - no problem.
Beautiful scenery. Then - we got
blabbering again and missed
the turn off to stay on Route
23... Get the map out again,
we're now on 23A.... hey! what
the heck, this will get us there....
It did but brother I wouldn't
recommend Route 23A to
Rhinebeck, especially towing a
trailer. 15 MPH turns through
the mountains and ravines
made for a very interesting drive
- great motorcycle road. The
truck was up to the task
although Dad related the brakes
'felt a little spongy.' Now - we
were informed that race cars got
in free to this show. When we
got there I checked with the
guys at the gate and they
confirmed this. So, we unload
and Dad jumps up on the crash
guard and we go to the
registration booth - and it's $15.
Harumph! I protested over the
stacatto bark of the flathead. My
Dad paid. Then the guy looked
at both of us, and gave him the
$15 back. Good deal. Great
Show. Many people stopped by
and related watching this car
race at Danbury, this was the
right choice for this show. The
flea market was fantastic,
merely huge. And the cars, if
you're a car guy, your car was
here. So many nice, well
restored and customized cars.
Some neat old sprinters and
midgets and the Northeast Club
was well represented as well.
Great show. We made it back up
to Pittsfield with only a couple of
wrong turns - oh well, the road
less traveled is usually more
interesting.
 We always look forward to
Norwich every year and it was
no different this year. We
completed the Suzy 0 in time
for the show and I spent the
week touching up paint,
painting the undercarriage and
waxing, spiffing, etc. The
weather was a compete 180
from the Rhinbeck show. It was
cold, wet, rainy. I seriously
considered wearing longjohns,
and I usually run plenty warm
as it is. No matter, off we go. I've
been taking a car up here for
years and I never get it judged.
This year Dad wants to go for it,
after all we have what most
would consider a very nice
original stock car. I'm not just
saying this because it's ours
either - people I know - who
know race cars, and cars in
general, have all commented on
how period correct this car is.
So I have pre-registered as
always and this year I put up
the placard to get judged. The
show is way down, the weather
has obviously affected
attendance, there are maybe
1/2 the cars and vendors. We
find a few things, sell a few
things. Actually we did better
selling than buying. Later in the
day as we're picking up they are
announcing the class winners.
Our 1934 Ford 3 window stock
car came in 2nd....not bad
right? The winner - A Bicknell.
That's right, at an antique car
show the judges declared the
winning car was a @#$%!&*!@#
Bicknell. No year given, could
have been a 2013. Who knows?
I didn't claim the trophy. Funny
right? I'm a sore loser. Yep, I
admit it. It kinda pissed me off, I
mean what could that judge
have been thinking - must have
been suffering from a serious
case of headuptheass disease. I
loaded and left. You know, I
would have been OK if John
Mason had won with his original
1936 Ford Coupe, another
original stock car, but a
Bicknell? They are a nice piece
of NEW technology but have no
place at an antique car show.
It's bad enough that this type of
car has beaten off our period
correct equipment at the race
track, (in a 'vintage' stock car
club....) now it's at the antique
car shows too. I won't be back to
Norwich with a car, they don't
appreciate the effort.
 Well, that Saturday got a lot
better that evening as I won a
nice set of Forged True Ardun
pistons on Ebay - Real Deal.
They came from the estate of
Mark Dees, a lawyer from LA
that was also a racer, and wrote
an article titled "The Technical
History of the Racing Flathead"
published in the early 1970's in
Rod and Custom. He died racing
on the street, these pistons
ended up in an estate sale and
were purchased by Doug King.
Ardun Doug made steel main
caps for Flatheads, raced at
Bonneville and also compiled a
nice Ardun history pamphlet
that I'm lucky enough to have
found. King passed within the
last year and his son is selling
of his stuff, these pistons are
perfect, 0.060 over Mercury
stroke and will make my Ardun
build that much better.
 I worked in a visit to old friend
Tom Witter in between shows to
check out his 1937 Ford Stock
Car build. Tom's building one
for the street, just like us -
although his a quite a bit
further along, and I hadn't seen
it. He graciously came up with a
set of pin clips for my pistons as
well, it was good seeing Tom
again.  
 Next we took the Suzy 0 to the
Tri-Cities Dragway Reunion
right down the street here in
Endicott. Nice show, we beat the
rain and again saw some nice
hot rods. Had the opportunity to
talk with Lee Sherwood and his
son. They were interested and
looked the car over closely. His
son looked at the seat and
related he liked his better - I
related that the airplane seat
was 'high tech' in 1960... and
that essentially what we're
doing with these cars at this
point is educating people. Cars
like these are history lessons as
to the roots of stock car racing,
the guys that drove them looked
upon these heaps as chariots of
speed, they cherished them just
as young drivers cherish their
cars today. We still cherish
them and enjoy educating
young racers - see you at the
shows this summer.