Windham. Ct.
~ Road Trips ~
Jim Mateychuk in 1985 at Fonda.
Clarence Bushey, Fonda 1985
Fonda 1985
Brookfield 1986, I could get in it then....
Windham, Ct. Why Windham?
It's a long story.... but, since
that's my specialty.... When
the MASCC started in late
1983, it parallelled another
club from New England - the
New England Antique Racers
or NEAR for short. They had a
year or two head start on our
group and had some very nice
cars already built which they
brought up to our shows at
Fonda and Lebanon Valley in
1984 and 1985. I was
stationed in Newport, RI at the
time and traveling back and
forth from there to my folks
place in New Berlin, NY. I met
Hal Lunt first (owner of the
#151 Chick Stockwell 3
window) who introduced me to
Flathead George Mateychuk of
Tolland, Ct. Flathead George
built flathead race engines,
and once I saw his place I was
hooked on getting one.
Actually, I was hooked the first
time I saw his car, a 1933 Ford
Tudor which was built by
Clarence Bushey of
Nothhampton Mass. The
Bushman and his sons were
real craftsmen, his own #63
coupe, a 1937 Ford, was nicer
than most hit rods and we
couldn't believe he was going
to race it with our crude
offerings. The 33 was just as
nice - and plenty fast with 3
Strombergs feeding methanol
to a stroked flatty sporting a
Potvin Eliminator cam. It had
all the right stuff, Mickey
Mouse quickchange, '39
toploader, in short it was sweet
and I have to admit, I coveted it.
I sold my Chevy coupe
towards the end of the 1985
season once my father found a
'33 Ford coupe in Weedsport
which I purchased from
Gordon Wood for the sum of
$50. This car was first restored
to Gordy's colors and then
later, after an accident at
Can-Am, I put it back to Cliff
Kotary's #90 - which is how
the car originated. Do, in
short, I didn't have a ride for
the Brookfield Wheel Days
event of 1985. George didn't
have a driver so he and Hal
came up to Brookfield and I
drove the 33... George was a
good salesman and knew what
he was doing... even on Navy
enlisted pay I was slowly
paying off a decent race
engine which ended up in my
car for 1986...
Through the years, as the
club grew so did our
knowledge of the Flathead and
a desire to become more
independent arose... In short,
George was a good salesman,
but not a good businessman...
We finally had a falling out, as
happens - and in retrospect I
have him to thank for fueling
my desire to become an
engineer and learn how to do
things myself, because at the
very least I can depend on
myself to get things done
when I want them done... and
so we lost track of each other.
And I always wondered what
happened to the car.....
This past spring I received an
e-mail from a reader in
Virginia, who was in teh navy
and originally from
Connecticut. He was inquiring
about the 151 which I had
advertised for sale. We chatted
a bit and he knew the car from
when it was restored etc. I
asked if he knew the
whereabouts of George's old
car aaannndd not only did he
know but he thought it was for
sale....... OK, he had my
attention. He forwarded the
new owners e-mail address
and pictures of the car. It now
had a 283 Chevy installed,
which turned me off at first...
but I contacted the owner, Ron
DaRoss of Windham, Ct. and
we had a nice chat. He related
giving up on the Flathead after
losing bearings for the second
time and decided to go with
the Chevy for dependability.
He wanted to sell, but only at
his price. I made a standing
offer which wasn't enough, but
he would keep it in mind. Fair
enough.
Fast forward 5 months and
now the racing season is
behind us, Ron has his second
car built and is making plans
to retire and move south. Is
the offer still good? You bet it
is and we agreed upon a good
price for both of us and
headed to Connecticut
October 8th. It was a beautiful
Saturday, perfect day for a
road trip - We had celebrated
Dad's 71st birthday the day
before but this was the real
treat. I hadn't burned up the
Mass. Pike in a few years but it
all came back, I wonder how
many times I've traveled that
road.... We found our way to
Rons and he was most
gracious in showing us his rat
rod, his newly build stock car,
complete with Flathead V8
power, and of course his
handiwork on the 33. Ron's
experience in dealing with
George we found were eerily
similar to ours... and we
related we were going to
change the paint scheme a bit.
No problem, send me a picture
was the response. He showed
us how he had fabricated
motor mounts using the
original mounts so a flathead
could go right back in, the
headers had been preserved,
as had the original seat, gas
tank, Offy Heads, high volume
melling pump and an original
Potvin 425 Eliminator - HOT
DAMN! Great guy, he changed
only what he had to in trying
to rid the bad taste from his
mouth, I don't blame him, and
since he's good with a brush,
it was pretty easy for him to
do. The car sat out a lot during
George's ownership, but it's
been amazing well preserved -
a testament to Bushey's build
and paint. Ron is no slouch
either, his '36 Plymouth
humpback is nicely fabricated,
he's fussy and it shows.
Loaded and ready to head
back, Dad and I chatted and
shared the giddiness of our
good fortune. We never
thought we'd own both of
those beautiful cars from
Connecticut when we laid eyes
on them 25 years ago - and
here we are. On the way home
we're getting thumbs up and
lots of smiles - the fellow in the
Rat Rod was cool. Upon pulling
in the driveway, it hit us.
Where are we going to store
this thing???
AHAHAHAGHAHAAH!!! What a
problem to have!!! Many
thanks to you Ron, we
appreciate it and it's gone to  a
good home - we'll find space...
OK - so plans as they stand
for now are to paint this up as
the Leanin' 11 of Johnny
McArdell fame, and eventually
get a flathead back into it. The
283 may end up in the S33,
we'll work something out. It
was a great trip, wish I could
make those everyday....
At Ron DaRoss's house.
Ron DaRoss.
Ron's '36 is nice.
So is the Rat Rod.
He palys with Flatheads too..
Ron and Dad, all loaded and ready for home.
That's a pretty nice car on the trailer...
This Rat Rod Power Wagon was prety neat.
Don't ask how I took this picture..
Home again home again, jig a jig jig
Our vision..