When Better Tow Trucks Are Built - - -

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Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:15 pm
Location: Morristown, NJ

When Better Tow Trucks Are Built - - -

Post by oldcarfudd » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:45 pm

Sometimes I miss out on some good stuff because my car breaks down. Recently I missed out on some good stuff because my car DIDN’T break down.

Last month, Tricia and Andy Wallace hosted Brighton USA Day, an informal run for one-and two-cylinder cars. On a glorious Saturday, five couples arrived in Branchville, in northwestern New Jersey. Tricia and Andy brought their 1910 Buick Model F. Carolyn and Mark Conforth brought their never-restored 1906 Buick with a period-correct aftermarket two-speed rear end, like a primitive Ruckstell; in low range, that car can practically climb trees. Joyce and Jerry Chase brought a 1905 single-cylinder REO fresh from a brand-spanking-new restoration; they had driven it less than half a mile before trailering it to Branchville for this, its maiden tour. My wife, Joan, and I brought our 1907 Cadillac Model K. And Donna Whitlinger and Ed Bitten brought their – ahem! -1960-ish single-cylinder BMW-built Isetta - I TOLD you it was an informal run!

This cast of characters departed on a delightful 22-mile drive on hilly, winding back roads to a restaurant overlooking Swartswood Lake. We got there way too early for lunch. We would have gotten there even earlier if the REO had not developed serious slip in its high-speed clutch; by the time we reached the restaurant, Jerry was in low gear even on flat ground. Still, this left plenty of time for conversation, pictures, and REO tinkering.
Carolyn and Mark Conforth in their original 1906 Buick
Joan and Gil (the Elder) Fitzhugh in their 1907 Cadillac
The Whitlinger/Bitten Isetta- don't laugh, it has one cylinder!
Jerry contemplates his high-speed clutch while Andy Wallace kibitzes
Jerry seemed to get his clutch fixed, but then he couldn’t get the car started to see whether the fix had done the job. Several of us pushed the REO a lo-o-o-ong way until it started. The clutch worked, Jerry parked the car on a hill to avoid further pushing, and then it was time for a wonderful, leisurely lunch.

Our Cadillac cruises slowly, so after lunch Joan and I headed out; we figured the others would catch us. The route home was even nicer – and hillier – than the route out. As luck would have it, we climbed one steep hill that went right past Top View Riding Ranch, where Joan and I had ridden horses the day before, and where Joan had an appointment for a ride later in the week.

Hold. That. Thought.

There was no one at the stable as we chugged up the hill. So we didn’t stop in to show off the car, but kept going. And the others didn’t catch up. We got back to the trailer and loaded up. There was still no sign of the others, so we went home, grateful to Tricia and Andy for having planned a good touring day.

A couple of days later I answered a phone call. It was from Pat, the fellow who runs Top View Riding Ranch, confirming Joan’s riding appointment later in the week. I told Pat we had driven by his place on Saturday in a 108-year-old car, but hadn’t seen him around. The conversation went something like this:

“Were you part of that? A bunch of you guys came by. There was a little bitty old car that couldn’t get up the hill. He tried twice. People got out to walk, and a little red bubble of a car took them up the hill one at a time.”

“I wish I’d been there to see it. Could the little antique climb the hill without a passenger?"

“No, there was a bigger antique with really old paint. He had a strap and pulled the little one up the hill.”

“Now you’re really making we wish I’d been there.”

“One of my customers took a picture.”

Well, folks, it took a bit of tracking. But because Joan rides horses at the exact spot that Jerry couldn’t climb a hill, you get to see this picture, courtesy of a horseman named Brian Dukes. Many thanks, Brian!
When Better Tow Trucks Are Built, Buick Will Build Them!
Gil Fitzhugh the Elder

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Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:39 am
Location: Grass Valley, CA

Re: When Better Tow Trucks Are Built - - -

Post by FullerMetz » Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:58 pm

Thank you GFtE for a wonderful tour report! Isetta and all.

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