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Where it all started for me..........my first footsteps.


edinmass
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Back in the very late 1960's family friends drove a 1908 Stanley to our house out in the woods, and clear as day I can remember seeing the strange beast chug into the yard blowing steam and hissing like a pole cat up in a tree. I ran over to see Ernie and his family and quickly was given my first lesson on cars that ran on water..........I was sold instantly........and became festinated with all things mechanical. I was four years old. Fast forward to October 1980, and I'm at Hershey not as a "take along" but as an actual car fan spending my own money looking for "things and stuff". Cast iron toys were usually what I was hunting........but books and literature were starting on the list as well. I was there with my family........Grandpa, father, mother.......it was the beginning of when we really turned from hobbiests to car people. I started in 1971 at the fall meet, but 1980 was my first time as a collector. Grandpa and dad are long gone, and mom is 95 today.....and I live stream her our adventures often.........Pebble, Amelia, tours, and any event I think she will find of interest. She did a 1000 mile tour with me just four years ago..........not bad for a 91 yer old at the time. Anyways, my first real purchase as a collector of all things automotive happened Thursday of that special meet............A National Data Service book, from 1931. It had all the repair information I would ever need......(I don't know much back then.).......it was 25 dollars........about 7 weeks earnings delivering papers on my rural run. I still remember my hands shaking handing over the cash........I had never spent more than ten bucks on anything in my life. I placed the very heavy book in my back pack and hustled over to the CCCA tent.......so long ago, there was a beer wagon there! I sat down looking over my treasure and a bunch of automotive legends came over to me........most with looks of approval and a few wishing to buy it.......I wasn't selling. My father sat next to me as said 'what the hell did you buy that thing for?" I showed him I had a book I could use to fix a Duesenberg.........and turned to the page on Model J's. He laughed and said I probably would never even see one.......and would never get a chance to work on one. He wan't knocking me down.......he was giving a dose of reality. That was almost 42 years ago. I have used the book countless times, and yes.......a bunch of times to service Model J's. This morning I'm fixing an electrical problem on J-218 and out comes the book. And memories of my long gone but never forgotten family.........and the early collectors who looked the book over with me. Dick Gold.....who's V-16 sits in the garage here with me now. That was the same day I met Gene Zimmerman, Tom Lester and JB Nethercutt.  All names I had read in Old Cars, AACA,CCCA, and HCCA publications. Most of them are gone now........but their smile and kindness to a kid who knew absolutely nothing about great cars gave me an education that I value ten times more than my sheepskin. So much water over the dam.........and all my memories are nothing but positive experiences. This book is where it all started for me.......it's taken me on countless adventures around the world........hunting cars and parts. I never knew its true value when I purchased it.........all my friends I have made over the decades. The book is no longer in my possession, it as a housewarming gift to my boss........opening night of the museum. Only one person from Hershey 1980 was on hand that night.......my car mentor who has given me more help than I can ever thank him for........George Holman. I would have never been on this journey without his example. You can reach for anything you want in life........you just need to want it bad enough......and you will get there. So here is the book, on my counter, still in service every day.......it's part of out tour when we have visitors..........one of the treasures of the collection........just like J-218. Notice the bookends.........Factory Model J pistons turned into sculpture.....as they should be. With luck, 218 will be finished by this afternoon, and we will go for a spin around the island. Look close at the reflection in the left side bookend......you can see the plate of 218.

 

 

 

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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6 minutes ago, MikeC5 said:

Good stuff Ed.  My first time there was 1982 and it was amazing.  I do kind of miss it being in the fields (and mud)....

 

Me too.........spitting out dust and throwing your boots away after a wet week was a fun tradition. To this day I still save my old workbooks incase they end up going back to fields somewhere else. Some traditions never die........I don't miss the Sani cans!

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Ed, Good to hear your memories and how much joy and personal relationships have come to you through the hobby.  I always love you sharing your adventures with us here on the forum. 
 

“to the memories still to be made”

 

 

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I have two hometowns…….the one I was born in, and Hershey. I have lived a few places…….but after spending 55 weeks in Hershey Pa, it’s got to be considered home.

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

I have two hometowns…….the one I was born in, and Hershey. I have lived a few places…….but after spending 55 weeks in Hershey Pa, it’s got to be considered home.

This will be 52 years in a row at Hershey for me, and I've been to Pebble Beach 4 times. You can't compare the two events it is an apples/oranges thing but you MUST go to both events at least once. This was going to be the year we rode horses on the beach, maybe next time. 

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

.but after spending 55 weeks in Hershey Pa, it’s got to be considered home.

Yeah, Ed, you're almost a Hershey Kiss.  I spent 55 weeks in Vietnam, but certainly don't consider it my hometown....  🙂

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17 minutes ago, Grimy said:

Yeah, Ed, you're almost a Hershey Kiss.  I spent 55 weeks in Vietnam, but certainly don't consider it my hometown....  🙂

 

I would attempt humor.......but not much to joke about over there. 🇺🇸

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4 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

Great story, how is the Stutz engine rebuild going, I was promised a ride in it around Lime Rock.

 

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Sooner than you think..........🤐

 

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Ed, I accept, endorse and appreciate your testimonial!  Passion is a great gift of life.  Restoring antique and classic automobiles helps to hold the fabric of our universe together and helps our planet to move more smoothly on it's axis! Bravo!

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12 hours ago, nickelroadster said:

So Ed?  is that material still a good reference on Duesenbergs?  If so  you were very prescient about what you were going to do with your life.

 

 

Still a good source, especially for wiring and ignition. 

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For me it was Bob Turnquists Packard book that I found in my college library.  I still have it and refer to it.  Wonder what the Overdue fine would be now after 50+ years?  We also have that National Data Service Book from the early 1930s. Fascinating to page thru.

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I first met Bob in the San Francisco airpot back in the early 80's. He saw my CCCA hat and invited me to dinner......on his dime! A rare occurrence. He was kind to this teenager, and while I never became a "Packard guy" we had a lot of laughs on and off the field. His wife Sunny was also kind to me, and we had ajoning rooms at Amelia for years.  

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