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Posts posted by Modeleh

  1. A solution of one part oil of wintergreen to 3 parts rubbing alcohol and soak the rubber parts in, monitor every 30 minutes or so as it does have a swelling effect on the rubber but will soften old rubber.  An old trick from the motorcycle guys to soften carburetor boots.

  2. And the Italian team had to wait for replacement gears for their transmission after an American farmer sabatoged their efforts by dumping a handful of nails into the gearbox while the team was asleep.  Several miles down the road from the “kind” patriotic farmer who let them sleep in his barn they discovered the damage.  The new gearset had to be hand riveted to the carrier at the roadside.  The documented story in Scarfoglios book and the fact that the Zust found in Dawson City by Buck Rogers in 1950s had one set of factory riveted gears and one set clearly done as a repair, along with other documented repairs found on the car proved the provenance of the car.

    Imagine dealing with problems like these in the middle of nowhere trying to telegram for parts and have them shipped to you and repair it with what you have on hand, coaxing the beast around the world, having to pour your own bearings from rifle bullets, getting thrown in prison before finally getting to Paris only to have people call you losers.  Not in my book.  The perseverance of all men involved was nothing short of amazing.

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  3. Unfortunately the race was not run equally by each team.  Rarely the point is made that the Americans drove on the railbeds and through tunnels where the competition had to go the hard way. Everyone just likes to talk about how far ahead the Thomas was.  They sure as hell should have been after stopping at the factory for improvements, something no other group did.  No wonder the other teams cried foul.

  4. That’s correct, the Zust was found in Dawson City.  It is speculated that there was a connection between the Guggenheim family who owned  a mining company in Dawson and also owner of the New York Times who was a sponsor of the race, was able to acquire the vehicle believing that since it made it around the world that it would be a good vehicle for the poor roads in Dawson.  Of course the car would have been wore right out by the time it made it up there, with people not understanding that it wasn’t necessarily the car that made it, rather the determination of the men who got it there.

    Metallurgic testing of the engine bearings during the restoration confirmed the story documented by Scarfoglio in 1909 of pouring their own bearings from melted rifle bullets during a breakdown in Siberia.  It’s also important to note that the Zust team had been imprisoned during the race which slowed them down considerably.  There are reports of many instances when they each pulled each other out when stuck in mud or snow.  They were all winners.

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  5. Nice to see you here Jeff, hope you’re doing well.  I met you and your friends when you came over to visit the Zust on your Alaska trip years ago.  Would you mind telling the story of the details about the car that enabled your grandfather to admit to himself that Harrahs Thomas was indeed the Great Race Thomas?  The subject came up in another thread here a few weeks ago and I couldn’t remember exactly what you had told us but I believe it had something to do with initials or markings under a seat?  

  6. That’s a very rare truck.  I’ve only ever seen a period photo of one configured that way.  I’ve had an AA and a BB in the past, there’s a Model AA club and forum with good people and information on the big iron.  Seems the BBs with the V8 are more desirable for obvious reasons, and a warford overdrive and the 5.17 high speed rear will push the price and desirability up if equipped. Those rear fenders are super rare.  Really nice truck you have there, my guestimate price range would be 8-12K as it sits.  These trucks are slow so that diminishes the number of guys who want one, and the nicer you make them the harder they seem to get rid of.  

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  7. 7 hours ago, PFindlay said:

    That's really interesting.  I had no idea something like that came out of Victoria.

    It’s on the cusp of fitting into the prewar category of this great thread you started but it’s such a gem I had to share it.

    The chassis was completed in 1940 and remarkably it was all done during wartime years.  It originally had a flathead but was upgraded to a 289 and a new paint scheme from the original white and blue in the 60s. 

    People often remark that it looks like a Volkswagen, which I don’t agree with but I suppose there is some resemblance.  This predates the arrival of the first VW in Canada by more than a decade.  It must have really been something to see back in the day.  Today, it turns heads more than anything else I’ve ever rode in and it’s as smooth and quiet as a new car.  The build quality is really top notch.

    Amazing that several guys worldwide were all working on similar concepts at the same time unbeknownst to each other, Tatra and VW Porsche in Europe and this clever young guy from Saanich BC.




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  8. This is is the Spirit of Tomorrow, built in Victoria BC in the early 40s by Barney Oldfield.  His wind tunnel was a creek behind his shop where he whittled a wood block into the shape he desired and held it in the current of the river noting the drag on a spring scale and how the water flowed around it.  When he settled on a shape he extrapolated the dimensions full scale and hand crafted the aluminum body.  Powered by a rear engine Ford V8.  The car is still in the original family’s care and the shop on West Saanich Rd where it was designed and built still stands.






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  9. I was fortunate enough to get to meet Jeff Mahl a few years ago, he is George  Schuster’s grandson.  He knows the story of the Thomas better than anybody.  It was great to hear first hand how Bill Harrah tried relentlessly to convince his grandfather to accept his all expenses paid visit to come to Harrahs shop to authenticate the car.  I guess George Schuster was in disbelief that it was the same car.  Finally Harrah was able to convince Schuster, in his 90s at the time  to visit the car.  Underneath one of the seat bases was some initials of a Thomas factory worker that Schuster recognized (it may have been his own I cannot remember) but that and a few other details confirmed that the car was the Great Race car.  Mahl also mentioned that Harrah hired artists from Disney to do the paint details to recreate the look of the car when it crossed the finish line in Paris.

  10. This photo just surfaced on Facebook today so I thought I’d share it here.  A 1915 photo of both of the Nanaimo Fire Department 1913 American LaFrance chemical trucks and the Chief’s car at the foot of Nicol St. in front of the Firehouse building which survives today as the Firehouse restaurant.



    Another shot of the unrestored #1 truck at the 2009 Duncan Truck show held at the Forest Museum which former owner of this truck, Gerry Wellburn created by donating his collection of steam locomotives and logging equipment to the province of B.C. The #2 truck has been restored and is still in the care of the City of Nanaimo 


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  11. On 9/22/2020 at 12:03 PM, PFindlay said:

    Here are a few pictures of a 1904 or 1905 Fiat.  Buck Rogers took these as it was being restored by an owner in Washington state.  According to Paul Bolam, the car was originally in use near Westwold, B.C.  Sometime around 1914 the car burned and ended up in the barn at the Westwold Hotel.  Many years later it ended up in Washington State and returned to B.C. for the Malahat Run once.  Does someone have a picture of it there?    This may be the Fiat that is now in the LeMay museum, but I'm not sure about that.


    Click this link to hear a 2 min clip of Paul Bolam telling the story of this car:



















    So similar to the Zust that Buck Rodgers discovered. Arguably his most important find.  I wonder if he had the Zust at the time he took these pictures of the Fiat, perhaps to see in person the missing parts in hopes of copying them.

     I don’t believe this Fiat would be the same one as the one which was at the Lemay as it was from what I understand the Anhauser Busch car.  Unfortunately I never got down there in time to view it and I believe it has gone back to Europe now after the auction a few years ago.

    Were you able to get Buck’s personal photo collection? You sure have posted some great ones thanks again.

  12. Thanks for posting the stories behind these cars.  To me the stories attached to the artifacts are as exciting as the exhibits themselves.  Yes Jim Morley did a beautiful job on the ‘14 Cadillac and it was interesting to learn it had been a taxi at one time.  If I recall correctly Dave’s 1910 REO was a Canadian built car?  I like that he left the front axle unpainted so everybody can see it in all it’s bronze glory.

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  13. Thanks for posting the photos of the Russell I was fortunate enough to have Vern give me a ride in it not long before left us.  Just a wonderful car.

    It had been mentioned earlier the Russell cars were built by the CCM company, the Canadian Cycle Manufacturing company, which later went on to make all kinds of sports equipment so when I see CCM on the front of a hockey helmet while watching the Stanley Cup playoffs it always reminds me of that ride with Vern in his Russell.

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  14. Mrs Frenchs Detroit Electric was another car from the Phil Foster collection later became the Wellburns. Vern told me they donated it and the Lafrance to the Cloverdale museum.  When the museum closed the original battery charger to the car went missing and the car went to the care of the electric car club.  Vern was just disgusted that the museum people lost that battery charger.

    A list of the Phil Foster/Wellburn cars:

    1904 Holley

    1910 Russell

    1911 Stanley

    1912 Detroit 

    1913 Lafrance 

    can anyone help add to it I think there was more?

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  15. Beautiful Oakland!  Thanks for sharing, it’s nice to see some of Jimmy Blackstaff’s talents on display.  He was a friend and mentor and was an absolute master at turning what most would consider absolute junk back into flawless art.  A very skilled man who had a quiet demeanour and let his work speak for him.  He restored literally hundreds of items in his short 57 years from steam tractors, engines, full size and model locomotives, cars, fire trucks, the guy never stopped.  Hard to say just how many cars he did for members of the VCC, they never really kept track. He left an amazing legacy behind for many future generations to enjoy what he saved from the scrap pile.

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  16. image.thumb.jpeg.e30ebda1da965be2dece3cafa324d2ad.jpeg

    Unrestored 1913 Lafrance originally bought new by the city of Nanaimo BC, they bought two of them and both survive though the other one has been restored.

    This truck still runs on the original tires and fabric radiator hoses.  Formerly of the Phil Foster collection which I believe was purchased in its entirety by Gerry and Vern Wellburn around 1962.  It remains in a private collection on the island.

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  17. 17 hours ago, TerryB said:

    As a resident of south of the Canadian border and on the east coast of the US, I am curious to what is unique to BC cars and their history.  This is an honest, no fooling around or implying anything request.  My travels to Canada, and I enjoyed them immensely, were to the Atlantic side of Canada so I just thought what cars there were on the east coast would also be on the west coast.  I look forward to learning more about the BC side of the story.

    Western Canada of course was originally under the British Empire the capital of B.C. was originally New Westminster then moved to Victoria, both of these very British sounding names, one can imagine how much influence Great Britain had on the early development. Many British settlers initially brought their customs and social status to the west, creating businesses that would import British goods to their towns and growing cities.  Hence the early adoption of right hand drive vehicles and many Agencies or dealerships of cars and products built in England.   

    The city of Victoria is on an island and about as mild a Canadian climate as it gets, therefore the early cars didn’t have to travel long distances per say,  there was a certain amount of wealth so vehicles tended to be garaged properly, and being on an island a lot of old stuff that was once brought over has tended to remain here.  Victoria has always been known for the place to find low mileage old cars but by now I think most have come out of the woodwork.

    There are many significant old cars and impressive collections on the island.  Gerry and Vern Wellburn did a great deal towards the preservation of countless local historical artifacts, vehicles and equipment which eventually became the Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan B.C., not including their car collection which is shared amongst many locals, some of which still get to see the light of day but sadly most do not.

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  18. 12 hours ago, 34LaSalleClubSedan said:

    Thanks Ed for posting the pics of my 1925 Packard 8 model 236.

    Original unrestored

    The Black and White photo is a picture of the car taken the 4th of July 1931 in Glenwood, Minnesota

    The picture in color as it looks today. Thanks again Ed !!!

    Wow!  Amazing car.  What a beauty! Thanks for sharing.  It’s nice when cars like these find the right caretaker like yourself.

    • Thanks 1
  19. They are a potential fire hazard.  If the float bowl ever spills over the fuel goes straight down to the filter which will absorb gas.  Being right beside the exhaust down pipe from the manifold they have been known to catch fire, and with the fuel tank right above it things can get exciting in a hurry.

      I’ve never thought that a little dirt reduction to the engine was worth the risk of losing the car to a fire.

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  20. 12 minutes ago, zepher said:

    Just curious, how many here have seen, much less ridden in or driven a Rickenbacker?


    As I said, I may already own a white whale.

    There is one at the museum in Winthrop, Washington.  What a cool place with lots of nice original condition artifacts.



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