2015 New England Brass & Gas Tour

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2015 New England Brass & Gas Tour

Post by oldcarfudd » Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:04 pm

The 2015 running of the biennial New England Brass and Gas tour happened last week. It was headquartered at the Holiday Inn in Boxborough, MA. This will be a summary of my impressions of the tour. Gazette editor John Meyer was there, and will present a full write-up in the magazine later in the year, with lots more pictures.

My first favorable impression was of the food. Who goes to a Holiday Inn to eat? We did! This place has a fine small restaurant and also gave us top-notch breakfasts and banquets.

My second favorable impression was the emphasis on women. The speaker at the opening banquet was Raney Bench, Executive Director of the Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine. She talked about how the automobile gave women a sense of freedom, helped them break stereotypes, and contributed to the suffrage movement. (A few sub rosa curmudgeonly remarks from unreconstructed troglodytes were politely ignored.) Raney come from a curator background, not a car-guy background, but we began to remedy that. She rode Monday’s tour as a passenger, and I gave her a short Model T driving lesson. She has now started learning to drive some of Seal Cove’s treasures. Next time we meet up with Raney, she’ll be a car guy!

The emphasis on women continued with the driving school Wednesday afternoon. Nancy Wall and I gave Model T driving lessons, and HCCA National Director Kathie Conrad did a show-and-tell under the hood and behind the wheel of how a T works.
Nancy Wall lets other women practice driving her Model T
Kathie Conrad demonstrates throttle and spark levers
This was a non-threatening way for several women to learn from people other than relatives. Skip Carpenter’s granddaughter Rebecca continued her lessons by driving my T the whole 92-mile Thursday route, with me navigating and occasionally mentoring. She got lots of encouragement from other drivers on the tour. The club needs more of this.

And younger women are getting into the act, too. Olivia Memmelaar and Abby Paulsen aren’t old enough to drive yet, but they’re building T speedsters. Thumbs up! And the Tomkos' Rambler was usually piled high with kids, so we're working on the next generation.
The Tomko Rambler, shown uncharacteristically without a passel of kids
The tour was smaller than usual – only about 65 cars. There seems to be more competition. The same week the VMCCA had a 1&2 in Ohio (but Bill and Margi Jones brought their 2-cylinder Buick to our tour) and there was a steam car tour. Also, most of us had seen these destinations on prior tours. Still, smaller tours are friendlier – you get to meet more people.
Bill and Margi Jones made do with only two cylinders
Monday’s tour was to Sturbridge Village, a living history museum with restored homes, shops, a farm, dirt roads, and costumed docents. There was a catered lunch and an ice cream stop.

Tuesday could be spent entirely at some of the most historical places in our early history, Lexington and Concord. We could stand where the “shot heard round the world” was fired. An alternative, chosen by me and many others, was to visit the World War II Museum in Natick. This is the effort of one man to collect artifacts – mostly documents, posters and photographs, but also a few weapons and paraphernalia like the German Enigma coding machine – from all sides in the conflict. Older folks will remember exhortations to keep silent about things they saw, lest spies be listening. Guess what? The same posters were there – in German.
The museum was well worth the ugliness of the traffic we had to endure to get to it. That morning it rained but, despite threats, that was the only daytime bad weather we got all week.

That afternoon there was an ice cream social at the lovely historical (now Unitarian) church that Marcia and Don Rising attend.

Wednesday morning was the most fun of the whole tour – the mystery run, put on by Jon and Matt Rising and Steve Cook. These guys are sadistic and devious, and there were brass cars wandering all over blazes as they got slightly, or seriously, or hopelessly lost. The instructions were a bunch of crayon drawings, made as if by a child. While trying to figure out just where the hell we were supposed to be, we had to answer questions and write limericks, haikus and knock-knock jokes. I didn’t hear of anyone filing for divorce, but it must have crossed a few minds. What a hoot!
mystery tour picture.jpeg
The stick figure's right is my left - - - yeah, right!
Thursday I came across Bob Barrett’s magnificent Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, in some distress. It had a cracked fuel line. I drove Bob to a hardware store, where he bought some tubing and a flaring tool and was soon back on the road. So what’s odder – that a Model T can rescue a Silver Ghost, or that a Tru-Value hardware store has parts to FIX a Silver Ghost? The day was a special treat for the T guys, since we stopped and had a catered barbeque at Lang’s new digs. Who’d have thought that, 88 years after the last T rolled off the line, there would still be enough demand for parts to support an operation like this, as well as several other T-parts suppliers around the country?
Model Ts and a Model K at Lang's
Lang's has no parts for Dick and Connie Knies's Buick -
- nor for the Darbys' Mitchell nor for the Colyears' Mercer
On the way to Lang’s we visited the Devens Museum, part of an old army fort that had many uses over the decades. One of the more interesting was as a camp for German and Italian prisoners of war, who certainly fared better than Americans captured by the Japanese. The only way not to gain two pounds at Thursday’s ice cream stop was to drive right on by!

Friday’s tour was relatively short, to the Collings Foundation. It has an impressive collection of cars and aircraft, and has recently acquired an enormous number of tanks it’s trying to figure out how to use for education. (Some neighbors would prefer the tanks be used somewhere else.) Founder Bob Collings led a tour of the facility, and we had a good catered lunch.
John Meyer set up an arc of cars for a Gazette photo - here are just a few
Walking among an Avenger, a Storch, a Goose, a Stearman, a Bleriot, a Vin Fiz replica - wow!
On the way, we could visit the Martha-Mary Chapel and also the Wayside Inn of Longfellow fame. Preserved in the 1920s by Henry Ford, the inn is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the country. Even I can stay there, since it offers “lodging for man, woman and beast.”
At the Martha-Mary Chapel
At the farewell banquet, certificates were awarded to driving school participants, and winning mystery tour submissions were read. In two years the Brass & Gas will be in Ellsworth, ME. I’m saving my pennies already.

Gil Fitzhugh the Elder

jeff deringer
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Thank you! Awesome report!

Post by jeff deringer » Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:21 pm

In my opinion we need more posts like this. Even for short tours. Love seeing cars from across the country and hearing about tours. Good stuff.

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Re: 2015 New England Brass & Gas Tour

Post by Tall » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:03 am

Great photos and write up!
Do you want a real tomahawk or a rubber tomahawk?

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Re: 2015 New England Brass & Gas Tour

Post by FullerMetz » Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:21 pm

Thank you so very much GFtE for a wonderful tour report! I always enjoy your reports and agree that more people should share some of the wonderful tours from around the country. I have to get back onto tours again, then put my money where my mouth is.

Chris Paulsen
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Re: 2015 New England Brass & Gas Tour

Post by Chris Paulsen » Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:17 pm

Yup, that's how it happened. Thanks, Gil, for the great report.
And that's our car in front of the chapel.

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Re: 2015 New England Brass & Gas Tour

Post by Povertycove » Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:49 am

Wonderful account of the Brass and Gas, Gil. This is great stuff.

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Re: 2015 New England Brass & Gas Tour

Post by Chappuis » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:26 pm

Good atmosphere and Great photos
Gclub มือถือ

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