June 2015 Newsletter
NEWSLETTER OF THE ANTIQUE AUTOMOBILE CLUB of AMERICA — NORTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION — 2nd Issue, June 2015
President, John Barr, Columbia Falls, MT…..406-752-2616
Vice President, Joe Ashley, Bozeman, MT …..406-587-0486
Treasurer, Mark Ferguson, Billings, MT…..406-656-4796
Secretary and Newsletter Editor, Jefferson M. Brown, Salmon, ID email@example.com
BIG DISPLACEMENT (main stories)
General Resources by Jefferson Brown
As a new Antique Automobile Club of America Region, we have a lot of things going for us, besides opportunity. We have people, land, antique cars and museums. The first people signing their name to be NRMR members form the bullseye of about 20. The current AACA membership of Montana and Idaho numbers about 90 households, the second ring. The potential membership of the region is 2,300,000, the population of the two states (the whole target)…although realistically, one percent of that number is way more than we need right now: not everyone can be involved with antique cars. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are 23,000 (1% of the population) antique car owners in our two states, though, based on the AACA threshold of 25-years-old to be an antique car. We’re a pretty exclusive group right now (21 households in Idaho and 70 in Montana the last I read), but remember, we have room to grow!
The land situation is similar to the population: lots of room, but also lots of good places to set up tours in our old cars in the future. Granted, every one of our 50 states has someplace good for driving around in old cars, but we have some of the better countryside, in my opinion. From the “Hi-Line” across northern Montana to the sage desert near Murphy, Idaho. Glacier N.P. and Sun Valley, ID: 230,000 square miles. Most of it blessed with “Blue Highways” instead of freeways and stoplights.
Our Regions Museum and Private Collection Resources by Jefferson Brown
No space here to cover all the museums with old cars in their collections in the 2-state area, but I’ll start off with a couple. Good opportunity here for readers to send in their own candidates, especially in Idaho, where there are some private collections, but little in the way of museums focusing on antique cars, at least that I know of.
My favorite is the Montana Auto Museum in Deer Lodge, MT. It has 150 antique cars, from a 1903 Ford Model “A” to a 1978 Chevrolet Corvette. Pre-WWI, pre WWII, and postwar cars are all well-represented. There is even a strong showing of hi-performance mid-sized American cars from the 60s and 70s. Some cars are on loan by owners appreciative of a facility to house their cars. The Powell County Museum & Arts Foundation runs the auto museum as well as the adjoining Old Prison Museum, a facility started in 1872. The Montana Auto Museum was originally one of the two museums founded by Ed Towe (called The Towe Ford Museum), who did well in banking in eastern Montana, I believe. It’s the biggest auto museum in our Region and was started in 1978. The other Towe Museum was in Sacramento, now run by the State of California as the California Automobile Museum. I’ve been to Deer Lodge 4 times and really miss a little motorhome they used to have, a 1928 Pierce-Arrow. Contact: www.pcmaf.org, or 406-846-3111.
The Hi-Line Vintage Auto Museum is in Rudyard, MT. My wife and I discovered this when we were driving from Salmon to Williston, ND for a historical reenactment. This is the place with the sign outside of town saying: “Rudyard – 596 Nice People – 1 Old Sore Head!”. The Sore Head is really a Tyrannosaurus Rex in their dinosaur museum. In 2006, a group of German motorcyclists rode into town on a cross-country tour and noticed a lot of great restored antique vehicles parked here and there. One of them was shocked that they were outside, in front of various businesses, instead of in a museum, like they would be in Germany. The first person he talked to said they just liked their old cars and being a kinda small town, didn’t have the resources to have a car museum like Denver, Seattle or Los Angeles. The motorcyclist spotted a vacant building on Main Street, formerly a tractor dealership, and purchased it himself with the understanding that the locals would get a museum going and put their cars in it. There’s a Ford AA grain truck, a 1924 Cadillac 7-Passenger Touring Car, a 1954 Mercury Sun Valley, a 1937 Packard V-12 Town Car, and seventeen more vehicles spanning 1915-1976. Well worth the trip if you get over that way. Contact: www.rudyardmuseum.com or 406-355-4322.
The Many Faces of Membership (cut&paste from Rummage Box Online, AACA, Winter, 2015)…to be added later
Bob Parish, VP for AACA Membership
Three Major Issues for AACA (cut & paste from Rummage Box, Winter, 2015)…to be added later
Mel Carson, VP Regions Development & Support, Eastern Division
Who the Sam Hill Is the Newsletter Editor? by Jefferson Brown
No better way to get someone to write an article than to get them to write about themselves. I have been an AACA member since 2008. I have lived in ten states, the last 20 years on the west slope of the Rockies in Pinedale, WY and Salmon, ID. Never lived in MT, except for 5 weeks on a combine crew near Circle 40 years ago. I have a Bachelor’s degree and have worked as a museum curator, but my financial and work history look more like a disaster movie than an inspirational one. I use the AACA Antique Automobile Discussion Forums a lot, which I cannot recommend too highly. You find this on the AACAs site: www.aaca.org or more directly: www.forums.aaca.org which actually has 90+ separate Forums, like Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, General Discussion and Buy/Sell. You do not have to be a member of any club or pay any money to use the AACA Forums: it’s for the general public. One does have to pick a name and a password to leave messages & questions.
I haven’t been to a huge number of car shows, but in return for some research and writing, I got to fly to the following fantastic places:
- Pierce-Arrow Society/Peerless Motor Car Club Joint Meet, Plainwell, MI, 2013
- Gilmore Car Museum, Hickory Corners, MI, 2013
- Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, Cleveland, OH , 2013
- Hershey Meet, Hershey, PA, 2013
- Bakersfield HCCA National Swap Meet, Bakersfield, CA, 2014
- La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, La Jolla, CA, 2014
The best of these stellar places and events was the AACA event, the 60th Annual Eastern Division Fall Meet at Hershey. Hershey is so far away I never thought it possible to make it, but I did. The fact that 2013 was “Hurricane Hershey”, with 8.9” of rain, didn’t dampen my enthusism for being there. Maybe I’ll make it back.
I have been married to my wife Kathy for 28 years. Me met in Kansas City, where I managed a museum. We later worked at one in Manhattan where we hosted the local AACA Regions annual car show for ten years. I don’t have much experience working on old cars, but was around them for a few years because of my Grandfather, who was an active car collector from Hutchinson, KS. His collection included a 1910 Model 16 or 17 Buick Raceabout, a 1922 Leland Lincoln, a 1926 Elcar and a 1936 Buick Century. His Lincoln was in the Towe Ford Museum in Deer Lodge for ten or fifteen years. I actually have the Ford my Dad used to drive to high school (‘30 Model “A” Standard Coupe) and a Peerless (‘28 “6-80” Roadster Coupe). They are both a few years from being in driveable condition and are Condition #5 at present. Anyone who knows me well is aware that I have invested a lot of time researching the luxury carmaker Peerless. The Peerless Company was founded 150 years ago and built cars from 1900 to 1931. I am the Peerless Motor Car Club Historian, write on the AACA Peerless Forum, and have created a spreadsheet listing all known surviving Peerlesses worldwide, called Known Peerless Automobiles In Existence.
SMALL DISPLACEMENT (minor stories, humorous stories)
Newsletter Name Needed by Jefferson Brown
Rather than letting me pick one, I need guidance on finding a good name for this newsletter. I will prime the pump by standing a few before you and hope some more are suggested. This might be a task better suited for NRMR President John Barr.
- Peaks & Pistons — nice local ring to it, unless you live in a flat part of ID or MT
- Somewhere Northwest of Laramie — borrowed from Ned Jordan
- Mountain Motorcars — has a geographical ring to it
- The Communique — sounds a little French, but a common military term in th 40s
- The Voiturette — in Outing Magazine in 1900, an early one-cylinder car was described as a “hydrocarbon voiturette”, before the American press adopted “automobile” or “car”
Don’t Try This At Home by Jefferson Brown
I read in American Chauffeur Magazine, ca. 1915, the following letter-to-the-editor question:
“To put high-life or a small quantity of nitro-glycerine in your gasoline tank, will it make your car any faster?” —- H.B. Broden from Cooper, Texas
“Your car would undoubtedly run faster with the use of either nitro-glycerine or high-life, but both are extremely dangerous and are liable to cause loss of life.” —- Editor
Does anyone know what the first ingedient is? Both of these items would be bad news if added to fuel, of course.
Unusual Ad For Antique Car by Jefferson Brown
I saw an ad in a shopper magazine recently for a Model “A” Ford that took a different tack than some. I have heard it said that it’s difficult to sell Model “A”s for much more than $20,000. There are lots of exceptions to that, but someone was trying to sell theirs, a 1929 Leatherback Sedan, for over $70,000. One strategy was a snappy statement, that the Ford was ready to compete with the likes of Packards and Cadillacs at the “Pebble Beach Concord”; and the other was to 24-carat-gold-plate the bumpers, rad shell, headlights, runningboard step plates and spokes. The car looks really nice and I hope they sell it, but I’m not sure the gold plating will get the car into Pebble Beach. I think one would have better luck with a Model “A” Town Car.
What’s Horsepower? by Jefferson Brown
I saw a story in a history blog [www.spoonercentral.com “SO WHAT WOULD THE KNAPP’S DRIVE?”, by Ken Spooner, undated] that mentioned different American cars from a century ago, and a 1914 Peerless “60-Six” in the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum of Cleveland was described as having only 60 h.p. and being “inefficient” compared to modern cars. What the modern-day writer overlooked was that the automobile was rated according to the old method (S.A.E., A.L.A.M., or R.A.C. h.p.). This goes back to the old formula for taxable horsepower devised by the Royal Automobile Club of England. You take the square of the bore times the number of cylinders, then divide by 2.5 (a more-or-less random number). The result has little to do with the engines ability to do work (brake h.p.), but was good enough for tax purposes.
As a matter of fact, a few newer engines rate lower than the one in this old car. Using the R.A.C. formula, a 5.7 liter Chrysler Hemi of 3.92” bore only rates 49 h.p. The Ford 289 V-8 of 4.00” bore rates a whopping 51 h.p. Ford’s 428 does take us up to 55 h.p., still an “also-ran” compared to the really ancient car (To be fair, the 1914 cars engine has the largest displacement ever put into a production car: 825 cu. in. in a six, bore & stroke 5” x 7”, something both Peerless and Pierce-Arrow achieved.). Source for h.p. descriptions: www.ateupwithmotor.com, “Understanding Gross vs. Net H.P. Ratings”, by Aaron Severson, 4/15/08.
AACA Library (from the Bernie Golias article on the AACA website)
I met Bernie Golias, V.P. – Library & Research Center, in 2013 when my friend David Baird and I visited his home near Cleveland about a year-and-a-half ago, and read this information online in the AACA website, “Rummage Box” Section of the homepage. My one paragraph was gleaned from 17 in Bernie’s article: “AACA Library & RC – One In A Million”.
Did you know that our club has not only a museum in Hershey, but a Library & Research Center? Collection founded in 1977 and now has 1,000,000 pieces of of sale literature, manuals, photographs, reference books and periodicals? The holdings include archives of the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America, the Pierce-Arrow Society, the Gerrard Classic Auto Literature Collection, the Society of Automotive Historians Dinwoodie Collection, the National Woodie Club, the National Corvette Restorers Society, the Lincoln Motor Car Foundation, the Hudson-Essex-Terraplane Society, the Dodge Brothers Club, the Buick Heritage Alliance and the AACAs own research collection. Go to: www.aacalibray.org .