This weekend was fairly exciting and eventful, which is pretty good for my new little hometown. I recently made friends with another member of the Automotive Restoration Program and he said that he owned a 1960 Edsel Wagon and that my friends and I could check it out when we had some free time. Nick, who is the owner, myself, and two other friends mosied on over to check out this rare Ford. For those of you who don’t know what an Edsel is, it was Ford’s attempt at a mid-priced car that stood out from the rest. The branch launched in 1958 and lasted into early 1960. The main deterrent that killed Edsel was that it stood very far out in terms of design, which led to its ultimate demise.
Once we got there and saw this monster of a car we started taking off the hood and tried to take off the radiator. After getting the shroud, the hood, and a few other things off we had one line holding the radiator in. Unfortunately we could not get it out and were merely rounding off the bolt. The best part was that this was done in between classes, (in Adam’s and I’s case business class). I hope to have many spontaneous and regularly mechanics sessions with my new friends. It will give an opportunity to earn more outside of class, and something exciting to do in Kansas.
When the weekend arrived, on Saturday the C.A.R.S. club headed down to a show in Wichita at an air museum. The show mainly consisted of Hot Rods and custom cars, but there were a few stock cars in the mix as well. The niftiest part of the show was that the cars were all parked under the wings of airplanes that were there.
I didn’t really talk to too many car owners this time, though I did meet a few. There was a very good survivor car, which was a 1939 Buick Four door sedan. It was a very original car; upholstery, paint, and pretty much everything, except the gears in the live axle which were taken from a later model, so he could drive at highway speeds. One of my new friends, Drew, was drooling over it as well as all of the other Buicks we saw. He owns a 1952 Buick Special and I always joke that he is Mr. Buick.
There was a few highlights for me; a 1957 Desoto, a 1954 Kaiser Manhattan, and a 1951 Plymouth. All of the cars were four doors and in fairly original condition. I was able to talk with the owner of the Kaiser, Mr. Parrott. The car was his fathers and had been his since the 70’s, and had been repainted during that time. Mechanically it had been gone through and patched up over the years to keep it on the road, but the upholstery was original. The only non-stock customization done to it was three inches of lowering. Everything else was bone stock. One dandy device that was noticed by one of the other auto kids was a special mirror on the dashboard that said Fulton on it. Fulton is known for producing sun visors, but this device was a mirror on the dash that was aimed to where stop lights would be. The sun visor would take away some upward visibility, so this mirror would allow one to see what color the light was.
Mr. Parrott allowed me to even sit in the car, which was pretty neat. I was surprised that I fit so well. I had my hat on and even being six-foot six, I still had some head room, and I could still see out the front windshield very well, even with the sun visor. I have considered Kaisers before, because they look pretty neat, and are fairly cheap to buy, the main concern for me is parts. However, Mr. Parrott told me that Kaiser did not make many of their own mechanical parts. He said that the front suspension is Ford, the live axle is Plymouth, and the engine is from a forklift that is still made today. He at first did not believe it, but when he bought a New Old Stock Kaiser part, still in box, he noticed that the Ford oval was stamped on it. After talking for a while, and exchanging business cards we decided to check out the museum itself.
I didn’t really take any pictures while inside the museum, because I noticed a sign while walking in saying that we were not allowed to, however I did sneak some of the Texaco biplane by holding my hat to the side, blocking the ability to see the camera, and took some pictures from the hip, while the docent was talking about the plane. After taking a gander at the plane I headed up to the air traffic control tower, simply because we were allowed to. After taking in the views from up there, my group retreated back downstairs, not only because we had enough of the view, but because it was pretty hot up there.
We regrouped and headed off for the day. It was very enjoyable and was worth the trip. Kaisers have now been added to my list of cars that I would not mind owning someday.