Author Topic: Two Weeks Behind the Wheel  (Read 319 times)

Offline Peter Gariepy 26457

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Two Weeks Behind the Wheel
« on: February 03, 2018, 10:07:18 AM »
EDITOR:  Document referenced in "The Self-Starter" Feb 2018. Page 8.

TWO WEEKS BEHIND THE WHEEL
by W. R. Tite and N. F. Uhlir

PROLOGUE

It was windy and raining lightly on January 21, 1963 as Uhlir, glancing out of the Greyhound Bus window, spotted the 1941 Cadillac Style 7533 Fleetwood on a used car lot just north of Pontiac, Michigan. What a place to be - on a bus - when you spot a jewel like that. Couldn't do anything about it at the moment as he was on the way to Flint with a friend to pick up one new car and then had to drive to Lansing to pick up another before returning home. Didn't need a '41, didn't really want another '41, and didn't even know how to afford another one. But it might be a good lead for someone else, so a strong mental note was made.

A few days later Tite phones Uhlir and invites him to go to an open-house at Ray Jones. Tite stops bye and they .get into Uhlir's car to go to Ray's house in Birmingham. A casual mention of the '41 north of Pontiac is all it takes to promote a long detour. The net result was that Tite bought the unusually good '41-7533 and they were more than just a bit late in getting to Ray's open-house.

Uhlir likes to kid Tite about buying cars. Seems that all too frequently when the two of them get together Tite ends up buying another car. So, on the way back home from Ray's, Uhlir is pulling Tite's leg about buying still more cars. At this point Uhlir said something which was to later cause some unjustified criticism directed toward Tite. For the record, it was Uhlir's fault. He jokinglJ told Tite that he ought to buy Hollis Weihe's '40-75 as he had heard that it was for sale. Tite did not know that Hollis had sent an ad into THE SELF STARTER and Uhlir, foolishly, did not elaborate. The self-imposed rule

has been and will continue that Nobody has the right or the opportunity to follow an ad that is to be placed in THE SELF STARTER until they receive their copy in the regular mail. So Tite, unknowingly, called Hollis a day or so later and made arrangements to buy the '40-7567 Fleetwood Two-Passenger Convertible Coupe.

It was one of those things that just sort of happen without being apparent as to how or why when it developed that Uhlir would join Tite on the trip to California to bring the '40-75 back to Michigan. Several delays were encountered due to work schedules, family situations, and Easter before the final departure date of April 20 was established.

THE TRIP

Saturday - April 20

We were supposed to have had a 1963 Cadillac to drive to California but the deal fell through late yesterday. Thus, our 5:30 A.M. start was reduced to leaving in Uhlir's car at 8:50 A.M. to try to get another make General Motors car. The sky was overcast and the wind was coming in gusts. Within fifteen minutes we saw a near five-car collision on the John Lodge Expressway, and that turned out to be the only near accident in our almost 7,000 mile trip. Arriving at Detroit Drive­ away at 9:25 we were able to pick up a new car and be on our way at 11:20, but we had one to many and had to find someplace to leave Uhlir1 s car for two weeks.

Morey Horger, in Dearborn, kindly agreed to store the car and, after a stop for lunch, we departed from the Detroit area at 1:00 P.M. with the odometer reading 118.

At 2:00 P.M. we passed by Jackson, Michigan with the odometer reading 183, at which point Uhlir stepped between the bucket seats, into the rear seat, and napped until 3:00. Now the odometer read 251 and we changed drivers for the first of many times after two hours behind the wheel. Took on gas at 4:15 at 330 miles averaging 11.3 mpg, and left the Gary West exit at 5:00 with odometer at 371. Put Tite behind the wheel and we circled around the southern outskirts of Chicago, picking up Route 66 at 6:00 P.M. Stopped in Lincoln, Illinois at the Blue Inn for dinner at 8:15 and were back on the road at 9:25 after gas - still averaging 11.3 mpg. Crossed the Mississippi River into St. Louis at 11:40 P.M. and stayed at the Park Plaza Motel just east of Kirkwood - having driven 610 miles.

Sunday - April 21

Woke up at 5:30 A.M. and Uhlir went to church at 6:00 at St. Peters in Kirkwood. Had breakfast at the Holiday Inn and departed promptly at 8:00 heading for Spring­ field, Mo. to see Leslie R. West, Jr. and Lewis G. Bunch. The odometer read 713. The car started performing noticably smoother in the higher speed ranges after we had registered 500 miles yesterday. Following the proceedure used by G.M. test engineers, we refrained from maintaining a constant speed. Where traffic and con­ ditions permitted we would accelerate rapidly, in high gear, up to 90 mph and im­ mediately let the car coast down to 60 mph. The compression braking of the engine was most amazing - indicating a good, tight machine.

Our car was equipped with bucket seats, center console, and a 3-speed automatic with the shift lever mounted on the floor console. The shifts were velvet smooth and the engine performance certainly exceeded any demands that we would ever call upon.

Mounted on the console was a most intrigueing instrument - a manifold vacuum gauge calibrated in inches mercury with the dial divided into green, orange and red. Under green was the word "Economy" and under red was the word "Power". The orange segment separated the green from the red. Rapid acceleration in any speed range would plung the gauge needle deep into the red segment. We tried to keep the needle in the

green but, in a new car as exciting to drive as this one, we dipped into the red with frequency.

At 9:45 A.M. we stopped to get gas and the first quart of oil at 840 miles, averaging

13.8 mpg on the last tank of petrol. Arrived at the Bunch home in Springfield at 11:15 A.M. and found Lewis and Leslie West working on Cadillac's in the garage. Bill Tabor dropped by and mentioned that he owned a 1930 LaSalle Fleetwood bodied Roadster. We rode with Lewis in his 1941 Cadillac Series 65 Convertible Coupe to Tabor's to look at the LaSalle. Bill Tabor pulled the Roadster out into the bright light so that we could take pictures. It was unrestored but complete. Lewis then drove us at breakneck speed over to Leslie West's to view his vast collection of antique 1909-10 and 1941 Cadillacs. He has them stored in four sheds and a vacated store building, with still more cars sitting outside. At his home he has a fine collection of Cadillac literature covering mostly early models. We returned to Lewis' home and enjoyed a wonderful dinner prepared by his gracious wife Mary Ellen and Leslie's wife Norma. After dinner we retired to lawn chairs and enjoyed the coolness of shade afforded by the trees in front of Lewis' house. Uhlir had to get out of the hot sun as he started to sunburn.

We departed from our friends at 6:45 P.M. just as evening was settling and stopped for gas outside of Joplin at 989 miles - averaging 13.6 mpg. It was 8:15 and we stopped for a cup of coffee. the odometer.

Left the Turner Turnpike at 10:22 P.M. with 1089 on The Holiday Motel just off the Turner Turnpike looked most inviting so we pulled in at 10:30 P.M. for the night.

Monday - April 22

After a comfortable nights rest we awoke at 5:15 A.M. to a beautiful sunrise as our motel room faced east toward Tulsa. This was a little too early for service in the dining room as they didn't start serving until 6 A.M. It wasn't difficult to become acquainted as the waitress was also serving breakfast to her husband at the next table and we struck up quite a conversation. Right next door we took on more gasoline where their son-in-law was tending the pump. The odometer read 1113 and we needed the second quart of oil, which is average for a new car. As our cruising speed increased our gas mileage decreased and the last tankful yielded

11 mpg. By 9:00 A.M. we were just east of El Reno, Oklahoma with 1230 miles reg­ istering. The day was very warm and we enjoyed the gently rolling countryside.

Stopped for lunch in Shamrock, Texas at noon and had a fantastic roast beef meal with "all" the trimmings for $1.15. Filled the gas tank at 1381, averaging 13.4 mpg, and were back on the road at 12:45 P.M. At 2:00 we were just outside Amarillo, Texas with 1460 on the odometer. The next stop was for gas east of Santa Rosa at 1646 miles and our average was 13.2 mpg. Decided to have a cup of coffee and we talked to the driver of a circus truck that was laid up because of a burned-out wheel bearing. He mentioned that he had been fighting the rig all day and that

he had to have it in Albuquerque by morning. Hope he made it. We reached that colorful city at 7:30 P.M. with the odometer reading 1780 and spent the night at the Trade Winds Motel on the main street.

Tuesday - April 23

Back onto the concrete strip at 7:00 A.M. For something unusual we saw two 1963 Oldsmobiles headed for Hawaii that had been converted by H. Brewster of Ft. Smith, Arkansas into 118 11 door limousines. Golly but they were big. Little old man driving one, and an equally little old woman driving the other. Both had trans­ istor radios perched on the instrument panel upper and were shifting gears smartly as they pulled away from the traffic lights. Gas stop just outside of Albuquerque at 7:30 yielded only 10.5 mpg at 1789 miles, so we suspected that the tank might not have been filled at the previous stop. By 9:30 A.M. we were east of Gallop, New Mexico at 1906 miles. After passing through some desolate country we came to Holbrook, Arizona at 11:30 A.M. with 2016 miles registered. Gasoline was $.409 per gallon and it took a few of those golden gallons to top the tank. However, we had averaged 14 mpg that morning at high speed.

Winslow, Arizona was a good spot to stop for lunch. The waitress was originally from Detroit and had lived in Phoenix before moving to Winslow. She gave us directions to reach Phillip Harlbut's home in Scottsdale. We could see Humphrey's Mountain just to the north. It was snow capped and the map indicates that it's the highest elevation in Arizona. Although we did stop at Phillip Harlbut's, he was back east bringing another Cadillac to the West and a slight complication prevented us from returning to visit Mrs. Harlbut and take pictures of his 1939 V-16.

At 2283 miles we added the third quart of oil and filling the gas tank showed 14 mpg through the mountains. We felt that the car was nicely broken-in and it should continue to produce good gas mileage - - if you could keep your big foot

out of the carbureator. At 8:30 P.M. we stopped at the Bristol Motel east of Wickenburg, Arizona. The motel was situated on high ground with mountain ranges in the distance in every direction. The owners were born in Germany and came to New York after World War I when inflation wiped out their savings. After living in New York for 28 years they moved to Arizona and built the motel in the late 1940's. They spent $3,000 moving palm trees from Pheonix to surround their

swimming pool located in a center court. We were greeted in the parking lot, before getting out of the car, by the wife who welcomed us and immediately offered to first show us one of her rooms. That did it - - the room was fresh smelling and im­ maculate. We enjoyed a long conversation with her, which terminated in peals of laughter. She thought we were two young, single guys running around the country and guessed Tite at being 26 and Uhlir as a little younger. (We had already paid

for the room so we question that this was flattery - Tite is 33 and Uhlir is 36) When we told her about our wives and Tite's three children with Uhlir's four and our true ages, she nearly broke up. A lovely woman. We had dinner in Wickenburg, the "Dude ranch capitol of the world". Very tough steaks, but moderately priced. People here love the country and each, it seems, is a representative for the local Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday - April 24

With an early start at 6:25 A.M. with 2335 miles registering we checked in at the California State inspection station at 8:25 with odometer showing 2448 miles.

Breakfasted in Blythe and were back behind the wheel at 9:15 A.M. with 223 miles left to reach Los Angeles. More gas at 2551 miles in Indio, averaging 14.2 mpg. Very little of the scenery was what you would call interesting - mostly desert type country with mountains from 2,000 to 6,000 feet high. There was a drop of about 1,000 feet coming down into Indio and the elevation was 47 feet below sea level.

We entered Los Angeles at 12:00 noon with 2680 on the odometer. Tite's sister Marjorielives in Burbank and his parents were vacationing with their trailer near bye, so we drove to the trailer camp and were warmly greeted. Spent the afternoon chatting and had a delightful dinner that evening at Marjorie's apart­ ment with the family. About 8:30 P.M. we left to see Hollis Weihe as severe fatigue was settling on us from the trip. We fear that by the time we reached Hollis at about 9:15 that both of us were overly tired. Hollis and Ernie Kay opened the garage door and there sat "Grandpa", the name given to the 1940 Series

75 Fleetwood Convertible Coupe by the previous owner. Only 25 of these beautiful cars were built and it was the first time that either of us had seen one "in-the­ flesh". It is a big, and we do mean big, car. By the time we took it out for a spin on the freeway and stood around, freezing (this was that famous good California weather?), both of us could hardly stay awake. We left Hollis and stumbled into bed at the nearest motel, The Red Apple (built about 1922 - or maybe 1822) on Wilshire Blvd. where we slept and slept and slept!!!

Thursday - April 25

No rush. We stirred from bed at 8:30 A.M. feeling refreshed and ready to go. After breakfast we went over and took the 140-75 Convertible Coupe out for a drive to determine whether we felt it capable of the long trip back to Detroit. A beautiful classic Cadillac attracts attention and this car gets more than its fair share.

Pulling into a parking lot we discover a car right after us with two young ladies. The pretty driver calls to us, "That's a fine car you have there - my boyfriend has one just like it". This, we took with a grain of salt.

TWO WEEKS BEHIND THE WHEEL

With only 25 built it is unlikely that a strange young ladie's boyfrield has anything resembling a '40-75 Convertible. HOW WRONG CAN ONE BE. Her boyfriend, Ralph Liebendorfer, has EXACTLY the same kind of car, and we visited him and saw part of his collection that afternoon.

Driving along we happened to spot a '41-62 coupe and stopped to admire. In drives Bob Berry and we have a nice chat. He suggests that we call on George Schweiger at Pacific Auto Rental to see his unusual collection. We did this and were warmly received. Car collectors, we find, are usually quite a friendly lot and enjoy showing their cars and hearing about yours. That pretty well filled the day, and in the evening we went separate ways to visit friends by earlier arrangement.

Friday - April 26

While driving the '40-75 yesterday we noticed symptoms that indicated a necessity to unbuttom things a bit and take a look. Tite had made the acquaintance of Mr. Nevins, the Los Angeles Cadillac Zone Manager, while he held the same position previously in Detroit. Mr. Nevins kindly turned us over to Mr. Walter Baesemann, Service Manager of the Wilshire Factory Branch, and he literally took the '40-75 under his wing for the greater portion of the entire day. What we learned wasn't good news, but we'll tell you all about that later in the story.

Saturday - April 27

At 7:20 A.M. we left Glendale and entered the Golden State Freeway headed toward San Francisco and the final outward leg of our trip to deliver the new car.

Originally we had planned to drive both the new car and the '40-75 up to Frisco and then head straight back to Detroit. That wonderful California Region changed our plans as they had a special Meet set for Sunday. Since our deadline for delivery of the new car was Sunday, we had to drive it up on Saturday so that we could be back in the Los Angeles area for Sunday. We'd do it again, without hesitation, but it is fact that we traveled over 800 extra miles and got two days behind our schedule to be at the Meet. Several hundred pounds (at least) had been transferred out of the new car into the '40-75 and the new one was now light as a feather, but we had heard how exacting the California State Highway Patrol was so we fought to hold things down to legal limits. It was sort of disappointing though, because we never did see Broderick Crawford that way.

By driving slightly north and east of San Francisco we stopped in Gault to see Norman Taunton, but he was out to a civic parade in another town with one of his cars and we were unable to wait for his return. However, his charming, young looking mother kindly showed us Norm's V-16 Style 4330, Body #9, Engine# 700163 Five-Passenger Imperial Sedan, and his V-16 Murphy Body Phaeton Engine #700991 - - both 1930 1s. The Sedan is in beautiful original condition with a good looking paint job applied some years ago. The car was originally owned by the head of the Planters Peanut Company. The Phaeton is down to the bare frame and we could tell that Norm is doing the job 100% right. It will be a fabulous car when re­ assembled. We reluctantly left and drove to Sunnyvale (south of San Francisco) and delivered the new car (new, with over 3,000 miles on it?) at 6:00 P.M.


We could write a whole book on the problems encountered in trying to get back to Burbank (man, you just have got to have wheels to get where you want to go), but suffice it to say that there were complications. Even though we flew via Western Airways, it was a very tired 1:00 A.M. before our day ended.

Sunday - April 28

This must have been what the Californians call California weather. Without a cloud in sight all day, it was warm and very bright. We had made the mistake of turning our clocks backward fnstead of foreward in going to Daylight Savings Time and when we discovered this in the morning it put us two whole hours behind schedule. The California Region had a meet planned in our honor to start at 10:00 A.M. at the Plush Horse Inn in Redondo Beach. We arrived at the meet at 1:30 P.M. in the '40-75 Convertible Coupe feeling most embarrased. This feeling

soon vanished as we were warmly engulfed by a large gathering of staunch Cadillac­ LaSalle Club members and their wonderful automobiles.

Honestly, we should have been royalty to have deserved the tremendous reception we received. May we here publicly thank each and every one of the California Region that made our day one of fond memory. The piece de resistance was the arrival on the scene of Mr. and Mrs. Francis X. Bushman. We're sure that everyone present will vividly remember the elegant graciousness of this couple in poising for photographs beside Duke Shaffer's V-16 Cadillac. Mr. Bushman reminisced on the number of excellent Cadillacs he had owned during his career.

We met so many people and looked at so many Cadillacs and LaSalles that things may have blurred in our memory. Hoping to be forgiven for any oversight, we attempt to give you a quick picture of the people and cars we saw. First, due to our tardiness, we missed Doctor Henry C. Ward, and we had looked forward to seeing his '41 60-Special and talking with him. Cal Moxley had his '41 Conv. Sedan. Cal is the new Membership Secretary in Region Thirteen and will be a great asset to the Club. If any of our members in California and Nevada haven't signed up in the Region we urge you to contact Cal Moxley at 155 E. Del Amo, Long Beach 5, California about membership.

One of those rare '35 Cadillac Coupes was there with Paul Perri behind the wheel. Ray Tanner greeted us with his '40 60-Special and another fine car under another "name brand". If you like '40 LaSalles, and who doesn't, Steve Homan has a nice one. Duke Shaffer, mentioned above, attended with his wife and that fine '38

V-16. Believe that the '41 62 Sedan belonged to Ken Levitt. "Ole Yallar", Rick LaForge's '30 V-16 Imperial Sedan (featured on the front page of last month's SELF STARTER) was a treat to drive. Rick's accelerator pedal is only about three

inches long, but the car handles so smoothly that the pedal was no problem at all. Carl Starkey and his '39 60-Special was right up in the front row, as was Betty Shooshan with what is probably the most powerful '41 Coupe in existence. Near bye was a jewel of a '35 LaSalle Coupe under the control of Jim Gilstrap. The engine compartment and the Flat-head "Eight" were innnaculate - just like every­ thing else about the car. Anyone want to buy a beaut of a '30 V-16 Sport Phaeton? It's mighty doubtful if Joe Runyan would part with his beautiful car. Gay Bowman had a real nice '37 LaSalle sitting smartly in the sunlight. Everybody must know about Paul Schinnerer's '30 V-16 All Weather Phaeton that was featured in the April, 1962 SELF STARTER. It's a real "eyeball tickler" with an outstanding combination of paint and trim. And if anybody doesn't believe that a V-16 can perform, just ask Paul for a ride and hold on tight because you are going to move! Believe that the '38 Cadillac belonged to Max and the '40 LaSalle to Gertie, and we better take a portable tape recorder along next time to bolster our poor memory. The weather, the people and the cars were terrific. Wish that we could have stayed longer. Region Thirteen has some real "sparkplugs" and Hollis Weihe did a grand job in starting the ball rolling.

It was with great reluctance that we departed from our friends at 7:00 P.M. and headed the '40-75 Convertible Coupe north on Route 99. At 11:00 P.M. we reached Bakersfield and spent a restful night at the Holiday Inn.

Monday - April 29

We didn't rush out of bed very early this day. Evidently the excitement and being in the sun all afternoon Sunday, coupled with the marathon Saturday, was more tha·n we had thought. It was 10:00 A.M. before we hit the road going north from Bakers­ field. Our oil consumption was tending to average one quart every 40 to 50 miles, and gasoline was flowing through the carbureator at 9 to 11 mpg. Tite aptly stated, "This certainly is an oil companie's dream". We ran a speedometer check over the numbered miles and found that an indicated speedometer reading of 35 was actually 50 mph. Where the car and conditions permitted, we drove the major portion of the way home at that speed.

At 4:35 P.M. we swung into Stockton to buy an oil well. Oops, we mean some oil and, after buying all the AWG 30 oil in the Sears Roebuck warehouse (they didn"t have AWG 40 in stock), we took our forty quarts of oil - gave the '40-75 a liberal dose - and returned to the highway at 5:20. By 6:15 we were passing by Gault and this time found Norm Taunton at home. After a short visit with Norm and his father we got back into the '40-75 and started the engine to leave. The horrible noise that came from the engine must have taken ten years off our lives. Where the engine had been running reasonably quiet just prior to our stopping, it was now producing heavy, metalic pounding sounds. Our knowledge of what we had learned at the Cadillac Factory Branch in Los Angeles convinced us that 'we've had it". With four of us, each having rebuilt or repaired probably more engines than the average driver owns in twenty years, attempting to diagnose the problem, we could only reach agreement that it sounded extremely serious and was either a rod bearing, wrist pin or camshaft bearing. This excluded some of our thqughts pertaining to broken rings, broken piston or crankshaft bearings. So we shut the engine off, fearing that something would come flying through the side of the block at any moment. What to do? Norm Taunton and his dad offered to help us in any way - even to the extent of helping to tear the engine down to repair it. The consensus was that we should attempt to baby it into Sacramento to the Cadillac Dealer.

So we started the engine up again and, with the Taunton's to attest the fact, nary a sound of unusual nature escaped from the engine compartment. For the remainder of the trip we did not experience that "sound" again. Explanation? We couldn't venture a guess other than that it might have been a valve that hung up when the engine was shut off hot - and when the engine was started cold the valve remained stuck. Since we ran the engine perhaps five minutes before turning it off, the latent heat might have been sufficient to expand the valve guide and free the valve stem when we restarted the engine a few minutes later. In any event, you would have to experience it under those conditions to appreciate it. We were back on the road several minutes when Norm Taunton pulls alongside to give a final check that everything is O.K. We stopped at g:30 P.M. in Sacramento at The Town and Country Motel.

Tuesday - April 30

We took to the road at 7:15 A.M. without breakfast and drove as far as Auburn before stopping to eat. Since we were running with one bald spare and one flat spare, we decided to have the flat one checked as it appeared to have the best tread.

Bad news. There was a four-cornered hole in the casing and tire the size of a golf ball. The gas station attendent suggested that we shouldn't try to. put a boot in the tire. Well, we had one spare and that's all that cars are equipped with nowdays, so we took off down the road. Now we were traveling through some very scenic hills with snow-capped mountains in the distance. Started on the downgrade through the Donner Pass at 11:00 A.M. and we couldn't help but reflect on the difficulties that the Donner group must have had in struggling up through the tortuous approache.s to it. Entered Reno, Nevada at ll:UO noon and drove on through without stopping to see Mr. Harrah's fabulous car collection - we just didn't see how we could get back home in time at this point.

With liberal doses of oil along the way, we gassed up in Lovelock and drained the radiator in an attempt,to obtain a lower operating temperature. It didn't do any good. In the daytime, any speed above an indicated 30 (about 45 mph) would produce a reading of nearly 190° F and we felt that if we could lower the operating temperature it might help reduce oil consumption. By 5:30 P.M. we passed through Winnemucca (would you believe it, Agnes, there is a town by that name) hoping to make the Utah border by midnight and drive through the Great Salt Lake Desert while it was cool. The warmest that it got this day was 80° and we felt that the desert temperature would be too much for the car.

Stopped in Valmy, population 45, for gas and oil at 6:30. This town was a real beehive of activity. One of the local citizens had somehow come into six $1,000 bills and was driving the proprietor of the only general-store out of his mind trying to find a way to sell him enough so that he could make change for a $1,000 bill. Probably could of bought the entire town for one bill.

Cleared through Emigrant Pass, elevation 6,114 feet, just as the sun was setting. The engine heated some, but not as much as it would have had we driven up the steep grade during the day. Going down the other side of the mountain we adopted a blanket procedure that we were to follow at night for the remainder of the trip. Engine fumes in the passenger compartment were early in the tri:p found to be highly objectionable, if not outright dangerous. We were willing to suffer but not die; so, our standard procedure was to unzip the backlight, open the cowl vent and the CV's, and cover our legs with a blanket. With an inoperative heater this did not keep us warm, it merely insured the prevention of frostbite.

Stopped for dinner in Elko, Nevada at 8:45 P.M. and asked the waitress what the population was and she told us that it was 7,000 and the main business was gamb­ ling. Slot machines were everywhere but in the restroom. We crossed into Utah at midnight to attack the desert. In the darkness we couldn't tell it from any other road that we had been on except that it was flat, and we buzzed into Salt Lake City at 3:00 A.M. - changing drivers every hour to ward off the fatigue of twenty hours on-the-go. It wasn't until we reached Heber, Utah at 3:45 A.M. that we found a good motel. Sleep came easily.

Wednesday - May 1

We woke up at 9:00 A.M. to a grey day and found ourselves looking at mountains all around covered with deep snow. No wonder we nearly froze while driving the previous night. The ten quart oil cans in the back seat compartment were prov­ ing to be good altimeters as they buckled in and out with a "clung" at the highs and lows. We had fun with the speedometer too. The colder weather might have affected it as it would stick just above an indicated 35 and we couldn't tell how slow we were going until it would suddenly plunge down to 15 or 20. Entered

Colorado at 2:30 P.M. just as a few drops of rain fell. Stopped for a bite to eat in Craig at 5:00. It is quite a thriving city in the middle of nowhere - as are most towns in the West. We asked what people do in the wintertime and the answer was "drink". Now it started raining in earnest and we became concerned about the possibility of snow in the Rabbit Ears and Berthoud Passes beyond Steamboat Springs, so we stopped for the night there. The convertible top was proving to be weathertight as nary a drop of water entered the passenger com­ partment.

Thursday - May 2

The rain stopped during the night and we rose at 6:00 A.M. to find the sky over­ cast, but with a promise of clearing. Steamboat Springs is one of the major

ski-jumping centers in our country and you can stand just about any place on the main street (it only has one street - we think) and have an excellent view of the ski-jump just a few blocks south of town. The local residents mentioned that their worst snow storm of the winter was just a week ago and that it more than likely snowed in the passes last night. They hastened to add that we shouldn't worry as the snowploughs operate all year long and, if necessary, one of the ploughs would pull us over the mountain.. What sport! Fortunately, we found that this wouldn't be required.

In climbing up to Rabbit Ears Pass we found several feet of freshly fallen snow which the ploughs had neatly piled off to the side of the road. We climbed the grade in second gear for half an hour at an indicated speed of 14 mph. Uhlir had on an undershirt, Dacron sport shirt, a wool shirt, a reversible jacket, and

a fleece-lined windbreaker. Tite had on about the same, plus the blanket wrapped around his legs. It was quite an experience driving through the clouds and it almost looked comical to see the cattle on these high level ranches with their horns pricking the clouds. The '40-75 was doing very well now for not wanting to start earlier. We had tried everything, including removing the air cleaner

and sticking a screwdriver down the carburetor to hold the choke open. No soap. So we enlisted the services of a local gas station and the owner tried the same thing. Still, no soap. Next he pulled out a 12 volt power-pack with a rectifier, which he carefully hooked up according to our instructions - positive ground - but this Cadillac wasn't positive ground. Someone had reversed the polarity from factory specifications and grounded it negative. However, after reversing the booster attachment, the engine started. We're sure that he thought that neither of us krtew the slightest thing about an automobile's electrical system. Uhlir hopes that that doesn't leak back to Detroit.

Stopped for the usual in Hot Sulfur Springs at 9:45 A.M. and headed on to the 11,314 foot Berthoud Pass. After climbing constantly for one hour we reached the Continental Divide in Berthoud Pass and started down the eastern slope of the mountains toward Denver at 10:45 A.M. However,we did stop briefly at the Con­ tinental Divide marker so that Tite could fulfill a long-standing ambition. It was our opinion that the '40-75 did a credible job in climbing the mountains.


With at least one cylinder putting out almost nothing, we made frequent use of second gear, but at no time did we have doubt as to the car's ability to keep climbing. Considering the 11,314 foot elevation, which robs any internal com­ bustion engine of power, the Cadillac V-8 proved itself more than equal to the task. At 12:00 noon we entered Denver, stopped for lunch, then headed for Col­ orado Springs to see Marshall Belden. His beautiful home and property is called "Broadview" and is on about 155 acres of rolling ground overlooking the entire

Colorado Springs valley - with Pikes Peak in the front yard - and the "Garden of the Gods" just up the road (in sight from the kitchen window) a few blocks. Truly a spot that was abundantly blessed with scenic beauty. We almost couldn't drag ourselves away from the Belde.n's hospitality. Marsh let us drive his 1936 V-12 Fleetwood Convertible Coupe and one (oh yes, he has "several") of his 1939 V-16's. What an experience! At one point we were going 90 mph in the V-16 with plenty left on the pedal. The V-12 steered like a kiddie-kar and performed superbly.

Marsh was smitten with the '40-75 and at one point we think he must have been serious in trying to trade, even, his V-16.

But we were forced by time to decline their kind offer of accomodations for the night and we departed at 6:30 P.M. to try to put more miles behind us. Since we had left Route 40 in Denver to veer south to Colorado Springs, we took Route 24 on a diagonal northeast back up to Route 40 and the Kansas border came into view at 11:30 P.M. After we left Colorado Springs the road became flater and yet flater with a gradual decline in elevation, and the oil cans would "clunk" peri­ odically from change in atmospheric pressure. It was 1:30 A.M. when we pulled into Oakley, Kansas for a motel, but due to entering the Central Standard Time Zone it was really 2:30 A.M.

Friday - May 3

Up, breakfasted, gassed, oiled and onto the flat Kansas road at 9:30 A.M. with approximately 350 miles ahead of us to Kansas City. Had lunch at 2:00 P.M. in Salina. Our oil consumption had become quite constant at SO miles per quart and, at this point, we had smothered the countryside with over thirty quarts. The relationship between road speed, engine temperature and oil pressure became interesting, alarming, and somewhat frustrating. After wasting time in the

wrong Kansas City, we wised-up and arrived at Jim and Louise Pearson's in Kansas City, Kansas (we won't goof again, Jim) at 7:00 P.M. The next eight hours defy adequate description. Jim Pearson is beyond doubt going through life under an assumed name. We're certain that his real name must be - - - Mr. La S. Cadillac, Esq. It is a well established fact that he does not advertise Cadillac parts for sale - nor does he wish to sell necessarily any Cadillac parts (trading is another matter) - but he has parts in unbelievable quantity and quality. If, by chance (pretty rare chance), he doesn't have it he'll make it. People, of good intention no doubt, pester him from all over the country by the hundreds. Somewhere they heard that he has the parts and they assume that they are for sale. We do not believe that Jim ever is eager to sell. Buy, yes. As a result, he is buried under an avalanche of letters and telegrams from people he has never heard of wanting to buy everything you could name. Some of the requests would sorely test your patience. But patience is Jim's long suit and he continues to try to help anyone needing assistance.

We had arrived just at dinner-time and Louise set the table and gave us a fine meal, just as though she had invited us and we had showed up on time - when, in reality, we had dropped in from out of nowhere. It just isn't possible to tell you everything that Jim showed us. It would take up the next year's issues. We were enjoying it so much, and time slipped by so quickly, that it was somewhere around 1:00 A.M. that we all got the Wayne Merriman's out of bed. How people can get out of bed happy to see you at that hour is a wonder. We even went out in the middle of somewhere and went into a huge building at 2 A.M. where Jim stores yet more cars with Wayne. About that point we just plum lost count of all the cars, parts, accessories, 20 of this, SO of that, brand new whatyamacallits, etc, etc, and yet more.

When we left the Merriman's we thought that we had seen all of Jim's goodies,

but this wasn't so. There was still more and, believe us, at 3:15 A.M. (that is) Jim was wanting to start showing us more of his rare jewels. Being most serious for a moment, Jim and Louise Pearson have probably done more to insure the saving of Cadillac parts, at the expense of their personal comfort, than anyone we know. They have now a small fortune in valuable and scarce parts and cars, but it has been a difficult and sacraficing road they have traveled. If you contact Jim for something you need, be patient in waiting for reply and don't send a list a mile long. None of this has been written with his prior knowledge, may we assure you - he might not have permitted it.

We were ready to leave, but Jim and Louise had other ideas. They already had a bed prepared and were bent on convincing us to stay. At the unwanted risk of offending such wonderful friends, we were able to make our departure through a plea of the necessity that we take to the road toward home. Next time we will just have to have more "time".

Saturday - May 4

Things just sorta run together here, because when we left Kansas City, Kansas we just drove until we reached Detroit. Passed north of St. Louis on by-pass 40 at 10:00 A.M. chugging steadily homeward and crossed into Illinois. Except for cramped napping in the car while not behind the wheel, we had been awake for

26 hours at this point - and we were to continue for 19 additional hours. Route 40, which we had followed all the way from California, now had to be left as an old friend in favor of Route 66 toward the northeast. On repeated occassions we had experienced difficult starting when the engine was warm. By cooling the fuel pump with water and other tricks we were able to start with the exception of when the car sat overnight in the rain in Steamboat Springs. That time we needed a little help from a 12 volt booster battery. As a result, we were very careful

to park in or near a gas station when we needed to shut down the engine. That became more infrequent as we kept the engine running while taking on gas and oil. We'd just keep track of our mileage and put in a quart of oil for every 50 miles. Sometimes, when we'd turn the engine off to take a close check, we'd find that we hadn't quite kept up with the requirement.

About sixty miles south of Chicago, having been driving with a rear quartering wind that drove the water temperature over 190° at 35 mph, we stopped at a traffic light and the engine died. Our hearts sank as we wearily pushed the '40-75 across the intersection and onto the berm beside a puddle of water. We used most of the puddle cooling the fuel pump and it took thirty minutes before she finally caught. While waiting, we were able to find another source of bulk #30 AWG oil. By

6:30 P.M. Chicago was to our left and the excitement of being on the home stretch overshadowed our weariness. This elation was short lived. We stopped for gas

in Gary, Indiana and the right rear tire went flat - we should say almost flat because the tire had a safety tube and the station attendants (one weighed 280 lbs) nearly gave up trying to repair it. However, Tite had a new tube along and we utilized it at this point. By the time the tire was fixed and we lost an hour due to time zone change it was 9:30 P.M. when we entered the Indiana Turnpike.


WELCOME TO MICHIGAN - WATER WONDERLAND" greeted us at 10:30 P.M. Beyond doubt, we were uch too tired to safely drive an automobile at this point, but it must have been a final surge of vigor from the thought of reaching our wives and children that carried us to Detroit at 4:30 A.M. There, Uhlir picked up his car which Morey Horger had kept, and we parted paths - both gaining a warm welcome at home as a new dawn broke at 5:00 A.M.

EPILOGUE

Let there be no question about the ability of the Cadillac automobile to continue to run when most other cars would be rusting by the wayside. It was this faith in Cadillac which prompted us to even consider driving the '40-75 over 3,000 miles home. It must be Stated that our intelligence would not have permitted consider­ ing this feat in a lesser car.

This is what we sadly learned when we took the car to the Wilshire Factory Branch in California. A compression check indicated very low figures on all cylinders, with one reading 10 psi. This weakest cylinder was on the right bank and, in pulling the head, we found the exhaust valve burned all the way into the stem.

One other of the cylinders on that bank had broken compression rings. In addition, there were three cylinders with cracks running from the cylinder up and into the valve seats. Mr. Baesemann, Service Manager, suggested that it should just be buttoned up as there wasn't anything they could do to help us within the limited time available. They drained the water out of the crankcase and suggested that

if we must try to drive the car to Detroit that we put a special sealer into the block to plug the cracks. It must have worked well because at no time during the trip did we find it necessary to add water.

We are not young kids who might otherwise take a devil-may-care attitude towards this rather grim situation, but we were of the opinion that this car, being a Cadillac, would carry us home. Needless to say, it did.

NEXT MONTHS ISSUE: will resume Bob Mellin1s V-16 series, featuring The 1934 to 1937 Convertible Sedan and the 1940 record of Cadillac car production by series and body styles.

***

A FERVENT PLEA FROM OUR LUBRICATION AND TUNE UP SPECIALIST!!! 111!1!1 It

Whomever has the spec sheets covering the uears 1930, 1931, 1932 and 1933 please return them to me as I sent them out before I had a chance to Thenno­ fax them and they have not come back. I sent to somebody in the club and they have been passed on to others. I will answer all inquires as soon as I can get these sheets back!!!IIIKeith E. Schinbeckler, Rural Route 4, Columbia City,

Indiana.

***

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We are still accepting stories on personal restorations and tips for fellow members. I know your there cause your Self-Starters aren't coming back•••• labled UNCLAIMED. let's hear from you•••
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 10:45:58 AM by Peter Gariepy 26457 »

Offline Peter Gariepy 26457

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Re: Two Weeks Behind the Wheel
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2018, 10:24:13 AM »
IMAGE 7 - Bill Tite's 1940 Series 75 Conv. Coupe

IMAGE 6 - Norm, Mr. & Mrs. Francis X. Bushman, and Duke Shaffer beside the V-16.

IMAGE 8 - Bill Tabor's 1930 LaSalle Fleetwood

IMAGE 9 - Cal Moxley's 1941 Conv Sedan

IMAGE 11 - Jim Gilstrap with his 1935 LaSalle Coupe

IMAGE 10 - The engine compartment of Jim's LaSalle

IMAGE 12 - Paul Schinnerer's 1930 V-16 A. W. Phaeton

IMAGE 13 - Paul Perri's 1935 V-8 Cadillac Coupe

IMAGE 20 - Joe Runyan's 1930 V-16 Sport Phaeton and a shot of the engine compartment.

IMAGE 21 - Duke Shaffer beside his '38 V-16

IMAGE 22 - A coupe waiting for restoration in Galt,Calif.

IMAGE 20 - Norm Taunton checking a 1934 V-16 in storage and a shot of his 1930 V-16 Limo.

IMAGE 24 - Leslie West shows us innards of a Cad. "4"

IMAGE 25 - Lewis Bunch's 1941 Convertible Coupes
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 10:43:42 AM by Peter Gariepy 26457 »

Offline Peter Gariepy 26457

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 147
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  • Name: P. Gariepy
Re: Two Weeks Behind the Wheel
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2018, 10:25:09 AM »
Photos 2

 

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