Monday, February 27, 2012

Chickasha Swap Meet: Let the Search Begin!

by Willy Vinton

Often we are asked where we find replacement parts to keep our cars operational. Some we fabricate ourselves, while others might be available from vendors like Restoration Supply Company. A more exciting and social way to obtain parts is to hunt for them at a swap meet. There are a number of these meets held throughout the country, and we try to visit several every year.

First on the schedule for us this year is the Chickasha Pre-War Swap Meet in Oklahoma March 15-16. This meet is limited to pre-1945 automobiles, parts and transportation items. The weather there has been nice each time I've gone. One year, however, we got to experience a good old Oklahoma wind and snow storm after the meet, which held up our airplane and caused us to miss connections up the line.

We also hope to attend the Bakersfield National Swap Meet in April and the famous Hershey Flea Market in October. The vendors that come to the meets are dedicated to the hobby of old cars and memorabilia, and offer a wealth of information and parts. The meets are not just a great source for locating hard-to-find and rare parts, they also give us a chance to network with suppliers and meet others who are antique auto enthusiasts. All have fun stories to share, so be sure to budget some time for socializing as well as shopping.

At a swap meet you must be prepared to get your hands dirty, as you may find yourself digging through piles of rusty, greasy items to find your treasure. If you do find that rare part, my advice is to buy it immediately. Don't wait, or when you come back there's a good chance it will be gone. Remember to bring good walking shoes, a back pack, light and heavy jackets, and CASH (few vendors take checks or credit cards). Also, remember that there is no JUNK there, only treasures and good usable, or restorable ITEMS.

Hope to see you there.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Restoration Update - Biddle & Rochester Automobiles

by Willy Vinton

I recently returned from a trip to attend the auctions in Scottsdale, AZ. I had a good time and got to see about 4,000 cars, but did not end up buying any for the museum (although I admit I raised my paddle a time or two). After a hectic few days I popped over to Escondido, CA, to visit with Allan Schmidt at Horseless Carriage Restoration. At right is our 1918 Biddle Town Car that he is working on for us. The body and paint work are complete, as well as the running gear.

We had to have the Biddle completely redone after a poorly performed attempt at restoration by another shop. The body had to be stripped, finished and repainted. Allan also had to make new frame rails, as they were nearly rusted through and unsafe. He is now working on the upholstry and waiting on the radiator to come back from Carnegie. This car will look fantastic when finished and we are hoping to show it at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance this year.

Next up was our little 1901 Rochester Steam runabout. It also has a sad restoration story. After paying for complete restoration that was never finished, we retrieved its pieces and shipped it to Escondido where we knew it would be in good hands. Allan has made terrific progress including a new boiler as well as a new frame. His next steps are to finish the plumbing and upholstery.

Note the car's brown tires. These were purchased new from Coker tire and have never seen the sunlight. They have turned from white to brown without any use.  They will not clean up and are essentially unusable. I'm trying to get them replaced, but Coker says it may be up to a year and a half before replacements are available. So once the little buggy arrives, don't blame our super white-tire polisher and docent Terry W. for not keeping them clean.

The last photo is of the Rochester's new boiler set in place. And no, once the plumbing is done, there isn't one square of inch of space left in the body.  I would like to send out a big thank you to Allan and his crew for always doing a great job on our cars.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Midnight Sun Cruise-In Classes Announced

by Nancy DeWitt

Summer Solstice is a great time to visit Fairbanks. The fun begins with the Midnight Sun Baseball Game on Thursday, June 21, continues with the Midnight Sun Fun Run on Saturday night and finishes Sunday afternoon with the Midnight Sun Street Fair downtown.

Solstice is also when the farthest north gathering of vintage and classic cars descends upon our fair city. This year the Midnight Sun Cruise-In is set for June 22-24, with most activities based at Wedgewood Resort and the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum.

The Midnight Sun Car Show will take place on June 23 and will include the following classes:
  • Vintage (1949 and older)
  • Classic (1960-1985)
  • Hot Rod/Modified*
  • Motorcycles*
  • Miscellaneous (tractors, military vehicles, boats, etc)*
* must be older than 1986

Special Classes for 2012:

  • 1950s
  • Race Cars
Click here for the registration form.

People's Choice awards will be presented for each class. Keep watching our website and Facebook page for updates and registration details. For reservations at the host hotel, Wedgewood Resort, call 1-800-528-4916 and use discount code MIDCR12.

We haven't finalized all the events, but the tentative schedule includes:
  • Friday, June 22 - dinner cruise to Pioneer Park
  • Saturday, June 23 - car show, electric & steam car demos, wagon rides, museum activities, "Tour de Fairbanks" cruise & awards banquet
  • Sunday, June 24 - breakfast under the tent, fashion show & museum activities
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Behind the Ropes

by Willy Vinton

Recently I led two special, "behind-the-ropes" tours for visitors wanting to see some of the finer details of the museum automobiles. These two-hour tours involved looking at the cars' interiors, engines and other interesting features. At right a group learns about our 1905 Curved Dash Olds, commonly referred to as a CDO.

The 1907 Model D Franklin generated lots of questions. With its wooden frame, air-cooled engine and richly appointed interior, this great automobile always attracts a lot of interest.

The 1920 Argonne was another crowd favorite. Its unique, walking-beam engine was built by Rochester from the Duesenburg design and has very long and wide rocker arms that run from the camshaft to the valves. At the time, the popular Ford Model T carried a 20-horsepower engine, while the Argonne's produced a whopping 100 horsepower. The manufacturer guaranteed that an Argonne could reach 80 mph and had a fuel efficiency of 20 mpg--quite a boast for that era!

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for announcements of additional tours and other events at the museum.