Vintage Cars And Vintage Towns.
I have a thing about classic cars. A few years ago the Beehive Model A Club of northern Utah was in Soda Springs, Idaho, with about 15 to 20 Model A Fords ranging in variety from two door sedans, four door sedans, coupes, and pickups. Many of these autos looked as though they had just rolled off the assembly line in Detroit. Some were restored close to their original status; others had a few modifications.
One thing , to which I paid particular attention, was that most of these cars had after-market turn signals installed. I suppose this feature was added in order to bring them up to code for today’s modern driving. (Many young drivers today may not know what these vintage car drivers were doing when they stuck their arms out the window to signal.
Other modifications to some cars included overdrive transmissions. This improved the top speed as well as afforded increased gas mileage. One owner had even installed a high compression cylinder head. One curiosity of mine was the burning of unleaded gasoline in these engines. I was always told leaded gasoline provided protection from burnt and warped valves in engines built prior to unleaded gasoline. I asked one of the owners how they solved this problem. Was there an additive they added to the gasoline to prevent valve damage? One member told me he had upgraded his Model A’s engine valves to more modern standards when he had the engine overhauled. Another told me he just went ahead and used unleaded regular gasoline without any modification to the engine.
Another of the cars was converted to a pressurized cooling system. I remember from my experience as a kid traveling around with Dad in his Model A coupe, that these cars were famous for pouring water out the over-flow tube. This was even the case with the later model Ford trucks. When they were under heavy load pulling a long hill, they, too, would heat up and spew water through the overflow. The owner of this car said this conversion to a pressurized system on his Model A solved his overheating problem and loss of coolant. So it might be said a few of these cars had features from both yesterday and today.
On another occasion one Memorial Day, I ventured over to Chesterfield, Idaho, an old abandoned pioneer community located off U. S. Highway 30, about 15-20 miles north. The Chesterfield Foundation is in the process of restoring this old pioneer town site. I’ll not go into details about this restoration except to say that if anyone is interested in historical places and pioneer history, the foundation has an interesting web page where you can go to learn what they have to offer. You can reach it by Googling Chesterfield Foundation. I will say this much, however. Many buildings and homes have been restored; others are still a work in progress. There is one home there, the Higgison-Holbrook home, that looks as though one could move into it today and start living there. The town site is open everyday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. They also have an evening concert schedule throughout the summer. It’s a place well worth the time for history buffs to visit. What will be my next excursion into the past? Well. . .there’s always the annual “Old Tractor Days” in Grace, Idaho, every June.
Speaking of the past, I have a new novel coming out in the Fall entitled LouIsa–Iron Dove of the Frontier. The LouIsa character is based on the real life Louisa Houston Earp. Some of the story is fiction based on history, some is history based on fiction. It will be up to reader to decide which is which. LouIsa is a well educated genteel woman who is a pistol totin’, fast shootin’ gal that plays classical renditions of piano concertos in frontier saloons, and rough and rowdy cowboys love her. The real life Louisa was, in fact, married for a few short years to Morgan Earp until he was murdered in Tombstone, Arizona on March 18, 1882. My LouIsa is a many faceted character with many sides to her personality. I think you’ll like her. Keep watching this blog and my webpage for the official announcement of the release date. —Will