There was a car show yesterday at The Windmill, a crafts bazar a few miles up Welker road from where I live now (and I do mean up—Welker road is steep). I went, to meet some car folks and also to give the Panasonic GX8 a bit more of a test drive.
Our theme for today: red. First the red turntable, and now this scarlet Impala. Its delighted owner has only owned it for a few months.
Here's the car that won Best In Show, a red-and-white Buick. The owner and restorer is Bob Warner of Warner's Auto Body in Marcellus, New York, near Syracuse. Bob is famous in these parts for auto restoration, hot rodding, and custom paint. The Buick (I didn't catch the year) was gorgeous, and deserved the plaudits and the palm.
...But my best of show—based on the scientific analysis of strolling around to see what caught my fancy—was this delightful 1935 Ford Cabriolet created by Bernard G. ("Bernie") Struble of Rochester, New York. Looks historically correct from the outside, doesn't it? That was the idea. But it's pure hot rod. Read on.
"Cabriolet means convertible," Bernie said, mildly, as he introduced himself and the car. He certainly "converted" his car. Can you read this list? Click on the image to embiggen:
He bought the car way back in 1958 but didn't start the restoration/conversion until just before the turn of the last century. By that time he had four kids, and he and his son John did most of the work on the '35 together. They did everything but the paint, the upholstery, and (I think he said...) the convertible top, all of which are jobs better left to specialists who do it all the time. (Note the subtle initials on the door in the picture above.)
Don't think the car lacks nice touches, though. It's stuffed with nice details. For instance, the original window crank handles are still there, but now they function as large switches for the electric windows! Press upward, window goes up. Press downward, window goes down.
The front turn signals and hazard lights are hidden inside the horns!
This was cool. The wind wing is articulated, and swings out of the way when the door opens. (The original car didn't have quarter windows, but they help in a convertible with the top down.)
Leather-wrapped steering wheel. Note the over-and-under modern gauges, and, in the background, the window handle that works the electric windows. The hot rod even has a suite of warning lights, behind a panel of dark smoked plastic that integrates into the dashboard. The upholstery was really well done. It came out of a Buick but was custom-fitted to the Ford.
As an aside, I'm pretty large, but I fit in the Ford just fine. Bernie says the seats are set way back from where they were in the original car.
Here's a nifty thing. This is the rumble seat in the open position—a series of drilled holes filled with red LEDs (red again—we're staying on theme) serves as the third brake light.
And with the rumble seat closed, there are more LEDs so you won't lose your third brake light.
But here's the kicker. There's a contact switch in the rumble seat hinge that turns one set of LEDs on and the other off when you open and close the rumble seat. Why? So the occupants riding in the rumble seat won't have the bright brake light LEDs hitting them in the eyes when the driver hits the brakes. :-)
There was a lot more. This thing would make anybody smile.
A lightweight 1935 two-seater with a modern V8 in it can really scoot, too. When the awards were over, the cars steamed out of the field next to the Windmill as the owner/drivers scattered for home. When Bernie and the '35 hit the main road I was standing there talking to another car owner watching him go. As the guy watched he said, "that's not an original engine. Did you see that thing accelerate? He's really moving."
And he sure was. Go, Bernie, go!
P.S. Here's a website for Bernie Struble's 1935 Ford Cabriolet.
"Open Mike" is the Editorial page of TOP. It appears on Sundays, even when Ed. doesn't go do something on Saturdays.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Anthony Collins: "There is a town in UK called Redcar."
Geoffrey Heard: "What happened to the happy snap of the winner? It looks like crap, as we technical experts say. The Ford looks like fun and the reds look really nice."
Mike replies: The tidier snap featured an unfortunate juxtaposition of man and trophy that I just didn't notice when I took it. I was mainly paying attention to shooting through the milling people without being blocked—there were six or eight people around the car at the time—and I didn't look carefully enough at the composition. My bad.
No jokes, now:
John Struble: "Mike, thank you for taking the time to talk to my father and post this article! It means a lot! Regarding the comments above on the '35 Ford, thank you very much! It does have a Mustang II front suspension, disc brakes, front and rear sway bars and a GM 10 bolt differential. It does have seat belts—lap belts—including in the rumble seat.
"I very much enjoyed building this with my father and I'm even happier to say he's driven 60k trouble-free miles since completion!"