For over 20 years Carlisle Johnny has been attending the Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals. This year I will be in search for rare and classic Volkswagen parts. Over the years as I built many odd import vehicles Import Carlisle has been constant source for all kinds of wonderful junk and great memories. I’m sure this year will be no different. So with visions of beer from The Market Cross and 150 acres of wonderful junk dancing in my head I can hardly wait to buy my first rusty part. Stories and loads of pictures when I get back..
Category Archive: “What Auto is This??” Quiz
In the world of automotive Junk-a-teria’s and by gone era relics you will not find a better place to browse than Anthony Automotive in Port Jefferson New York. Owner Anthony Vertucci is a master tech who not only takes pride in his work but cares about his 1000′s of loyal customers. In this day of mega shops its a wonderful change of pace when you get “small town” service at Anthony Automotive. Anthony Automotive at times is a one man shop.
The problem with that situation is sometimes things well ummm can pile up. Parked in his busy back lot is a collection of forgotten often “mold-i-fied” relices from 1950′s to present day. So wonderful is the collection that even your Ole Friend Carlisle Johnny aka Johnny B has dragged and de-mold-i-cated a few vehicles. It must be something about the shade of the trees and the moist air from Port Jefferson harbor but these vehicles get a certain type of mold, slime and rust that we call “Rold” Most of the forgotten fleet even get there very own eco-system going that would make Al Gore proud.
My first “Rold” purchase from Anthony Automotive was a 1987 Dodge D50 Pickup. A cute little 4×4 with the clicky clackity Mitsu engine it had sat so long that the Rold had seized the from brake pads to the rotors. Oddly some fresh fuel and a charged battery and the little D50 started and well ran. Popping the cluch de-stuck the front brakes and using and ice scraper got the black Rold off the front windsheild. my first stop with Old Roldy was the local car wash. The nice Spanish man at first refused to wash it “You truck is Gleen!! Gleen!! No mold in wash!!”
After slipping him a 5 spot we drove it thru. Well it was still Gleen or Green but less Gleen. Once home a combo of Tilex and bleach de-molded it. Well what do you know its Glay oh I mean Grey. I drove that little truck for years. Anthony being well a good guy can not refuse helping people. A friend of ours Tom who is a Ford-o-file like Anthony needed a station car for cheap. Hmmm what to give him? Well how about the 1992 Lincoln Continental with a collapsed air suspension that has been sitting for six years. To say the Conti was a little moldy would be like saying Rosie O’Donnell over eats slightly at Wendy’s. Armed with 2 cans of Seafoam, a few gallons of fresh fuel, air hose for filling the suspension and a jump box Anthony and Tom were going to attempt to get the Conti going. By now the air suspension had fallen to the point were you could not slide a paper plate under the car. Tom being super mondo Ford guy used good old fashioned air a raised the Titanic beast up in to the air. Fresh fuel on top of the tank of sludge topped off with Seafoam. Next hook up the jump box and pray. The doors opened with a sound of slab of salmon hitting a wall..”Schlurp“.. Tom slid behind the now algified steering wheel. The blue leather had turned to the mold version of a Peter Max painting..very colorful but gross. Anthony hooked up the jump box and with few cranks the Lusitania like beast started up. Idled smooth and after running for an hour it showed no signs of oil leaks or overheating. In fact all major systems worked perfect. Tom lurched the land barge forward and it moved an entire 20 feet with no problems. Fiddling with the different swiches and knobs proved the radio, power windows, power memory seats and heater system worked. While this was all being done the car stood running with not a drop of oil or coolant leaking. If we had access to a dealer plate we would of taken the Conti for a quick ride. Would of been a hoot to go to a snooty place with valet parking. Get dressed in tuxedos and hand the mold riddled keys to the valet parking dude..’Pardon me young man do you have any Grey Poupon“. Ford Guru Tom’s plans for the stinkin Lincoln include gallons of Tilex, a gross of air freshners, a skid of saddle soap and new fluids. If you happen to be in Port Jefferson and you see a shiny white 92 Lincoln Continental with a blue fake canvas roof it just might be Tom. Give him a wave because once again another Mold Wagon has been saved from the iconic Anthony Automotive.
Did you know?? Mercedes Benz and Studebaker shared showrooms and service departments from 1957-1963.. In the days following World War II Europeon car companies such as Mercedes Benz,Porsche and VW would use importers to send cars to the USA. One of the most famous was Max Hoffman(1904-1981) Max Hoffman was an Austrian born importer and visionary. He was known for his “handshake” deals. Dealers would make request thru him and Max would be the go between the factory and the little known dealers. His influence was so strong that he was a major force with the factories to introduced cars for the USA market. Models like the famed Gullwing Benz and Porsche 356 Speedsters were all the doing of Max Hoffman. Hoffman was inducted into the Automobile Hall of Fame in 2003..Still Mercedes Benz was growing faster than one independent importer could handle.
Seeking to make a deal with en existing dealer network Benz was turned down by all the major USA companies(GM,Ford,Chrysler and AMC) One of the only remaining independent companies left was Studebaker. Studebaker had a strong dealer and service network. They also needed additonal cash to fund the upcoming Lark compact car. A deal was struck and Daimler-Benz paid Studebaker an undisclosed amount of money to be part of their sales and service network from 1957 to 1963. Many Studebaker dealers were unhappy being “stuck” with a “Kraut-wagon” as one dealer quoted in a New York Times article. Mercedes would go on to form a USA dealer network of their own. Studebaker would sell its last car in 1966. Many of the dealers who got “stuck” with free Benz dealers would remain to sell Mercedes till today..What of Max Hoffman? He would go on to import rare and exotic cars for many more years. He and his wife lived in a house designed for him by Frank Llyod Wright. He left a legacy of cars we see everyday on USA highways. His foundation M.O.&M.E. Hoffman provides students with scholarships to enter into automotive engineering. Mercedes-Benz and Studebaker odd bedfellows to be sure…Did You Know??
This “Inspector Clouseau” roadster was built between 1958- 1968. It was a convertible based on a hoo-hum sedan from this quirky Europeon car maker. Outside of the USA and North America its name sounded like something good for your teeth. Inside the USA (were very few sold) its name sounded like a circus. Unvailed at the 1958 Paris Auto Show its was penned by designer Pietro Frua while in the employ of Carrozzeria Ghia. Its embedded front headlights would go onto inspire the MGB. To save money this car maker used the floor and structure from a humble family sedan. The tiny engine was also robbed from the stodgy sedan. At 845cc it was economical but only put out 35 horsepower. In 1959 you could go for the optional high performance model rated at an earth moving 40 horsepower. Engines would improve over the years. In 1962 the size was increased to 956cc and Funny Car like 55 horsepower. 1965 would see the 1108cc and a tire smoking 65 horsepower. For a small roadster interiors were lavish. Leather seats and wool carpets would go perfect with your Grey Poupon. In 1965 British car magazine “Autocar” tested the new for 1965 1108cc model. It had a top speed of 89mph and “Sprinted” to 60mph in 17 seconds. Its closest rival the Triumph Spitfire was slower in all other tests except for top speed. It also noted it could be very frugal at 30 mpg on an “Imperial Gallon” of petrol. They also stated the this little Charles De Gaulle roadster looked more expensive than the Spitfire. Its other rival the Austin Healy Bugeye Sprite was slower and cheaper. Sales were never brisk for this two seater. In fact only 1800 made it to US in its nine years being sold here. What Auto is This??
Carlisle Johnny Is Back From Spring Carlisle With A Gullet Full Of Moroccan Food And Lots Of Memories
When the warm breezes of spring approach a man’s thoughts turn to love and pretty women in flowery dresses. That’s if you are a normal person. If you are an old car nut than your thoughts turn to Spring Carlsile. Now don’t get me wrong your ole buddy Carlisle Johnny is just as hornified at the sight of a sheer dress on a curvy beauty as the next dude but after a long cold winter it was time to look at old cars and 150 acres of parts and cool junk. This being my 28th time attending Spring Carlisle I can tell you it was one of the best in memory.
The weather was perfect and the Carlisle Fairgrounds was packed with over 100,000 car crazy maniacs. I needed as usual assorted parts and collectibles for projects or just personal memories. Despite alll these years going to Spring Carlisle I’m always amazed at the amount and diversity of the car, parts and junk for sale. Vehicles ranging from a 2013 Camaro SS to a 1929 Willy Knight were for sale in the car corral. The swap meet was cramed with old, used and new items. People sell everything there. One space offered old phone booths and WWII bombs..deactivated I hope. Not sure how that got past security.
I collect old licence plate toppers and was able to buy 4 very cool old ACCA and CCOA type all for $10.00 each. I always visit the “Sticker Guy” and purchased old VW dealer stickers from the late 1960′s for the back window of the Beetle and the Schnitzel Wagon. Found very nice 1929 New York licence plates for the Peerless at a not to bad price.
With over 8000 vendor spaces you can log more miles than Lewis and Clark but its worth the aching feet and back. Part of the fun of any Carlisle Fairgrounds car event is the food. My favorite on the Fairgrounds food place is Horner’s Corner BBQ. The make a BBQ pulled pork sandwich topped with grilled onions, mac and cheese on buttered Texas toast. Delish to be sure but I’m sure I clogged my arteries. Outside of the Fairgrounds a must visit is The Market Cross Pub. 100′s of different beers and a find English Pub menu.
Quite by mistake I found a superb Morroccan Restaurant in Carlisle called Argana. Moroccan food in Carlisle? Yes and it was amazing. I just made sure I didn’t mix English beer and Moroccan food. The results could of been deadly. Part of the thing that keeps me coming back to The Carlisle Fairgrounds is the huge amount of memories. Most great and some sad. It is sad memory to see as the years pass we are losing some of the older people or Mom and Pop vendors that made it special. Sad memory because of our need for social networking and the internet it has become more corporate than I would like.
Bittersweet memory that even after all these years I still expect to see Chip Miller riding around in his golf cart with his straw hat and ‘Life Is Good” smile. Him like other loved ones was taken at a much to early age. I think he would be proud of his son Lance and what the Carlisle Fairgrounds has become. Happy memory that I patched a long thought of dead relationship with the grace of God and some luck. I hurt this person badly with my own bad choices and he got destroyed in the wake that became my life at the time.
You sometimes make choices to survive and loved ones can get hurt. That was eight years ago and I guess healing takes time. Happy memory of seeing old friends and enjoying old stories. Happy memory of all the cars and junk I purchased and sold over 3 deacdes. Happy memory to see the Carlisle Fairgrounds packed and alive with people and cars. Happy memory of another Sunday at The Tree Of Life Church remembering all the people they have saved. Including me. Sad memory because I had to leave. Go home, get back to work and reality. But I don’t worry because Import Carlisle is only a few weeks away and I can re-fill my memory bank. See yall around the Carlisle Fairgrounds..
ENJOY A GREAT SLIDESHOW FROM THE 2013 SPRING CARLISLE
Did you know?? During the 1950s many cars were styled with pointy bumper ends or inserts known as “Dagmars” The term Dagmar was slang for a popular 1950s TV actress and personality named Dagmar. She was famous for her busty appearance and pronounced cleavage. To be sure a fantasy of many a young man in the 1950s. These “Dagmars” were the idea of GM stylist Harley Earl to mimick speed in motion. But the topedo shape mimicked another type of torpedo. The 1957 Eldorado had large black tips that people at the time called “pasties” The real Dagmar enjoyed a career in TV and Broadway and died in 2001 at her home in West Virgina at the age of 79. I wonder if she knew her “torpedos” graced the bumpers of millions of cars..Breaking News!!!..Due to the popularity of retro and trying to revive the glory days of style GM is said to be bringing out a “Pamela Anderson” type bumper next year.
This luxury automobile was introduced in 1917.Its name was known as a low price brand.In an unusual move for head of GM Billy Durant this car was entered into the high price field going against Packard and Pierce Arrow.This touring car featured a very ahead of its time “overhead valve” V8 engine.This would be a first for this high volume car company but not its last. They would not produce another V8 car till 1955. The advanced V8 engine featured a central camshaft, counter balanced crankshaft and detachable crossflow cylinder heads. Horsepower for this V8 wonder was very high for the time 55.The most for this maker till 1932. At 288 cubic inches the little V8 was fed thru a two barrel Zenith updraft carburetor. While Ford’s Model T featured a planetary gear set this car used a very modern 3 speed manual with a leather faced clutch and single reverse gear. Riding on a 120 inch wheelbase and weighing at 3200 lbs it was over two feet longer and half a ton larger than its 4 cylinder siblings. Featuring full electrical items such as lights and starter as standard equipment its price was $1395.00.Higher than Buick or Hupmobile.That very vaulted pricing would hurt sales.In its first year only 511 units were produced. While the other models of this make would top 111,000 for model year 1917. As much of a mechanical marvel this touring car was it only lasted two years.Production would stop in 1919 with only a total of 1500 being produced. What Auto is This??