Hot Rodding, Then and Now
Rumbleseat's East Coast Run 2003 Part Nine
PART NINE. The next stop was to meet vonhotchie in Maxatowny, PA. As usual, I was to call him when I got to town. This was Monday. Now Maxatowny is very small town about 40 miles west of Allentown, PA. (It's in the southeasterly part of PA.) How small it is? There wasn't a single outdoor pay phone in town! I retraced my steps about two miles to a gas station. Stan soon drove up. I followed him to his house to see his '46 tan sedan. It's a very solid car with a stock flathead (for the time being). He had it on the road for a time, but it's currently down for some improvements. The body is very cherry as is all the stainless trim. It's going to make a great cruiser. We went for a drive in the roadster before I headed out to meet 4tl8ford in Erie, PA.
Erie is located in northwestern PA on the shores of Lake Erie….. or diagonally across the state from Maxatowny. I ran two lane roads all day in dry and cloudy weather. Ideal roadster weather. It was neither hot nor cold…. just right. Anyone that's driven topless knows what I mean. The flathead mill always sounds like it enjoys these days. And it's twice pipes rumble was pure music to these old ears. Even the singing of the radials on the concrete sections sounded good. Must be getting pretty deaf to enjoy that kind of racket. Pulled into Erie early afternoon on Tuesday and got a motel. After cleaning the roadster of kamikaze bugs and road mung, I called Dick to see if he was available. Seems I was only a few blocks from his house and he soon pulled up at the motel. We left his ride at the motel and we took the roadster to get something to eat and get acquainted. Went to a fifties diner. Pretty cool place. Had a late lunch and talked. Then he directed me to Presque State Park. This is on a thumb strip of land that juts out into Lake Erie. Neat park. We drove most of the way around it taking in the sights. Dick kept up a running commentary along the way. It was "Very interesting" (as they used to say on Laugh In). When we passed by the fifties diner on the way back, there was a flathead powered "T" roadster in the parking lot. Whipped a U-turn and pulled up next to it just as the owners came out. We chatted for a few minutes about the rods before they left. His "T" was pretty sharp. Sorry to say, I didn't record his name.
Then Dick and I stopped to retrieve his wheels before going to his house. Met Darlene, his attractive wife, and checked out his two projects. One is a '46 coupe that is pretty rough. It can be saved, but will take quite a bit of doing. His '50 panel is another story. Pretty sound with all the trim pieces and sheet metal in exceptionally good shape. His plans include a big bore and stroker engine with goodies inside and out. Darlene is 100% behind him and is very interested in old cars. She must not have much taste when it comes to old cars because she liked my old beater. I offered to take her for a ride. She jumped at the chance and we drove around the neighborhood. She's a super lady….. typical of most wives of the flatheaders I've had the pleasure of meeting.
Next morning, Wednesday, I got on I-80 that runs parallel to Lake Erie. Took it into OH to meet Paul in Chesterland, OH. Chesterland is east of Cleveland, OH and is a small rural community. The weather was cloudy and threatening. Paul gave me directions to his place in the country. Easy to find. Met his charming wife Sandy. Paul has quite a complete machine shop. Wish I did. His son used to be a machinist and they both do a lot of machine work for the rods. Very well equipped shop with lots of garage space and storage area behind for future projects (envy set in). Sandy brought coffee out to the garage while we talked. His '23 "T" roadster is finished and has been on the road for a few years. It runs an 8BA with a C-4 and an 8" rear end. The mill has finned aluminum heads and a 450cfm Holley 4 barrel carb. He's currently running 3.40:1 gears in the rear end. Paul is in the midst of building a '39 tudor standard. It's virtually a rust free car. He and his son have really done a number on the sheet metal and chassis. They've made many parts for the body and chassis…… including a super sanitary center bar for the grill. Great workmanship. The tudor body is prepped and ready for final painting. Then reassembly. He's putting an 8BA in it. I was amazed to find the east coast flatheaders seem to prefer the 8BA engines. Whereas the west coast guys run about equal number of 59AB and 8BA engines. Odd. The skies were getting darker and I opted to leave and head south. Paul fired his roadster and we ran together about 20 miles before he turned back for home. I wondered if he got wet since I got into rain shortly after we parted.
I had called oilcan in Kent, OH while at Paul's place. We had set up a meet for that afternoon. I was to call him when I got into Kent. Kent is due south of Chesterland and is a short run. The directions he gave me were super easy…. almost. Dan said he lived in the second house on the left. It was little confusing since there was a commercial type enterprise on the corner and I didn't know if he counted it as a house. Parked the roadster at the curb across the street from what I assumed was Dan's house. Rang the door bell. It was the right house. He told me to pull my heap into the driveway that led to his garage in the back. Okay, no problem….. well almost none.
Got into the roadster and hit the 12V side of the starter. Yeah, right. Nothing but a whir of a motor spinning about a zillion rpms. Broken Bendix starter spring. Just one of the hazards of using 12V on the 6V starters. No problem since I carry a spare. Except the roadster was too close to the vertical curb and I couldn't get under it. Dan helped me push it backwards enough to fire it when I dropped the clutch. It'd been years since I had to get in a suicide door while it was rolling backwards. Sufficient to say I'm not nearly as nimble as I used to be!
Pulled it into Dan's driveway outside his detached garage. Got out my tools and spare spring. Dan couldn't believe all the tools and parts I carried. He took some pic's and said he was going to post them on the forum. Couldn't get the starter under the wishbone because of the 4" dropped axle and tire rake. As you may remember, I don't carry a jack Borrowed one from Dan and soon had the starter off. Took it into Dan's garage and replaced the spring. As I was putting the starter back on the roadster, it started sprinkling. Finished and reloaded all my junk.
This was the only car related problem I had on the entire trip except for losing two upholstery screws in NJ due to some lousy roads. Not too bad for a flathead with 80,000+ miles that was built by a dumb old geezer.
Checked out Dan's project. A '46 coupe that he wants to restore to be a daily driver. Good shape. He works on it nearly every day now that he's retired. Took the roadster to lunch and to pick up some 40wt oil at the local Auto Zone. Then back to Dan's. I had tried to call Petejoe in Canton, OH Tuesday night. Didn't get any answer. Used Dan's phone and tried again. Rick still didn't answer. Called a couple of times with no contact. Left a message saying I was sorry I missed him and I was pressing on. Left Dan's house and took a southeasterly bearing to meet Dave in Richmond, OH in the light rain………. rumble seat