SAAC: A Review of Antique Auto Participation
in the Branford Memorial Day Parade, Monday, May 25th 2009
(this page new as of 6/10/2009)
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Memorial Day, Monday, May 25th, 2009, was a busy day for me... As the weather forecasts were questionable for Sunday the 24th, the big Quinnipiac/Hamden car show had been pushed to its rain date of Monday-which meant I had to scramble to make it out there for at least a little while in the afternoon (and I've already published a brief report about some of the stuff I saw t here, reference: http://home.comcast.net/~shorelinesteve/HAMDEN09/QUShow.html).
I already had commitments with our Boy Scout Troop all morning, which included marching in both the Stony Creek (early-morning) and Branford (mid-morning) Memorial Day Parades. And though this report is not about the Memorial Day ceremonies of Branford and Stony Creek, I would be remiss in not at least briefly commenting with some of my own feelings.
The pre-parade ceremonies at the Branford Town Green were crowded, and standing fairly far back in the crowd with our Boy Scout Troop, I missed a lot of what the speakers had to say--thankfully that was not the case at the Stony Creek ceremonies that took place in the cemetery, about mid-way through the Stony Creek parade. Listening to what the distinguished leaders had to say about how and why we remember and honor our country's military veterans, both living and dead, and how they sacrificed so greatly, really hit home with me. I will remember what those people said for a long time...and will continue to remind myself to Thank Our Veterans.
IMAGE AT THE RIGHT: The pre-parade Memorial Day Ceremonies on the Branford Town Green in the background are framed by the back of Brian Spear's Hupp, and the front of Dave Pooler's Ford.
Getting back to the Branford Town Green for the pre-Parade staging (old cars were lined up along Town Hall Drive, facing Main Street), we saw several beautiful old cars lined up already, including Dave Pooler's '50 Ford "woodie" station wagon, and Brian Spear's '41 Hupp Skylark.
There were several other cars too that I didn't know the owners nor details of, including a beautiful early Mustang notchback in dark green, an awesome and very original-looking late '60s/early '70s Olds 442 in red, a beautiful early Camaro convertible also in red, a super-clean early '80s Olds Cutlass in dark blue, a fantastic '57 Chevy 2-door hardtop in two-tone blue, and a mint '64 Ford Galaxie 2-door hardtop in green & white.
Later on, however, after I had published a small blurb on the SAAC main page shortly following the Branford Memorial Day Parade (quoting: "...if anyone who participated with their old car in the Branford Memorial Day Parade wishes to identify themselves (name, car, home town, would be sufficient), it'll make for a much more interesting feature...always nice to have some identification to go along with the pictures of the nice old cars..."), I received a very nice e-mail message from Phil & Ginny Borgia of Guilford, with whom, it turned out, I had communicated a few days before the parade, in reference to some questions they had about how to go about participating with their vintage '64 Galaxie. They had apparently seen my solicitation for information about the "unknown" antique autos in the parade, and wrote back identifying themselves as the owners of the beautiful green & white 1964 Galaxie that participated. Here are interesting details about the car (quoting from Phil's "approved-for-publication" 6/8/2009 e-mail):
"...My 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 has 65,000 original miles (as best as I can determine) and I have owned it for 15 years. I purchased it from a car auction intermediary and was told it was originally an Illinois car and was owned by a retired Ford Executive since new. He since passed away with no heirs - thus, the antique car auction. It has received many local awards and has been in several memorial and July 4th parades.
The interior is totally original and in excellent condition. It has bench seats and can seat 6 in total comfort. With the exception of a repaint of the original colors (two tone: white fast-back hardtop with forest green bottom), it is all original as well and in mint condition, including the chrome. I have restored the engine compartment to original factory specs and it has a 289 V8 high performance engine and automatic transmission. The Galaxie shows very well and drives equally as well. It is truly in exceptional condition for it's 45 years and it is rare to find one that is such a good example.
IMAGE AT THE RIGHT: The front end of the Borgias' beautiful '64 Ford, photographed before the start of the 2009 Branford Memorial Day Parade.
In it's day (the 1950-60's), Ford outsold Chevrolet 5 to 1 and was very popular in its styling and performance. It led almost every national car race in its day and set top speed records at Daytona 500 (which the Galaxie 500 was named after) and the Talladega (Alabama) raceways. Not until the later 60's did Plymouth and Dodge upset that record...."
I really appreciate the gracious follow-up by the Borgias about their car, and for a bit of a "teaser," they have another fantastic-sounding vintage Ford in their stable, with some very serious AACA National credentials--and "rumor has it" that the car may be appearing at the July 26th "Time Machines" car show in Guilford later this summer!
Staged in a line of military vehicles was also a kool "classic T bucket" hot rod with an American Legion Auxiliary Post 83 banner affixed to the back. There was also a beautiful '36 Maxim ladder truck from Branford Ladder Company 1 staged at the corner of Montowese ready to enter the parade, with marching firefighters and explorers. Along the parade route was spied a beautiful '74 VW Type 181 "Thing" parked at the Blackstone Library.
I was also able to make it back to the reviewing stand in time to snap pictures of James Walsh's '29 Model A Ford Coupe with Branford Elks Lodge markings, and a sign on the side that read: "We Thank Those Who Served So Well," and also Diane's '73 VW Convertible filled with three collies and one poodle--also Diane's sister Pat riding shotgun.
IMAGE AT THE RIGHT: This photo was taken during the parade's brief pause at the western extent, before turning around and coming back toward the Town Green. I believe the road that is being turned-onto is North Harbor Street, right by the Richlin's shopping plaza. That's of course Diane's '73 VW Convertible, with James Walsh's '29 Ford right behind it, and then the marchers of the Branford Lions Club.
After the parade I also enjoyed finally the chance to chat with Parade Chairman Thomas Yester, and thank him again for inviting antique cars to participate!
In thinking about the very good turnout of antique cars for the Branford Memorial Day Parade, however, the vast majority of which had never done this parade before (to my knowledge anyway), I feel it points in many ways back to the very nice newspaper exposure that the antique automobile participation opportunity received via our friends at The Sound (http://www.shorepublishing.com/)--thanks again to The Sound for helping get the word out in a big way!
But getting back to the "unidentified" antique autos who participated in the Branford Memorial Day Parade, I do invite anyone else who might like to be identified (and/or their antique car, that is!), to please get in touch with me, and I will be sure to correct the "informational omission" on this page. In my opinion, it's always nice to have some identification to go along with the car pictures. Thanks!
Now, please enjoy more pictures from the day...
IMAGE BELOW: The super-cool 1950 Ford station wagon of Dave Pooler.
IMAGE BELOW: Brian Spear's super-impressive '41 Hupp Skylark.
IMAGE BELOW: Beautiful dark green early Ford Mustang notchback--owner unknown.
IMAGE BELOW: Fantastic and super-original-looking late '60s/early '70s Olds "442" muscle car--owner unknown.
IMAGE BELOW: Eye-catching early Chevy Camaro Convertible--owner unknown.
IMAGE BELOW: Slick early '80s Olds Cutlass--owner unknown.
IMAGE BELOW: Awesome 1957 Chevy 2-door hardtop, complete with "Continental Kit" on the rear--owner unknown.
IMAGE BELOW: Fantastic 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 2-door sedan, owned by Phil and Ginny Borgia--read more about this fantastic antique in the text portion of this report!
IMAGE BELOW: Super-kool "T-bucket" traditional hot rod, sporting "American Legion Auxiliary Post 83" markings on the back. This vehicle was parked along the front edge of the Green, just before the start of the Parade--presumably it joined the Parade in among the marching Veterans.
IMAGE BELOW: 1936 Maxim ladder truck, staged at the corner of Montowese Street, waiting its turn to enter the parade. Markings on this fantastic antique fire vehicle indicated "Branford Ladder Company 1."
IMAGE BELOW: James Walsh's magnificent 1929 Model A Ford, ready to roll with rumble seat open, staged along Town Hall Drive, just before the start of the Parade.
IMAGE BELOW: Here's that beautiful early Ford Mustang notchback after it had just made the left turn onto North Harbor Street. Diane's '73 VW, and James Walsh's '29 Ford are visible following, both ready to make the same turn. The "Richlin" shopping center is in the background of this scene.
IMAGE BELOW: That's one crowded VW! Diane is at the wheel with mini-poodle Lee on her lap. Diane's sister Pat is in the shotgun seat, with rough collie Roxy on her lap. Smooth collie Angelo is looking out the left side of the car from his back seat driver's side position, and rough collie Shay is enjoying the view out the right side, from her passenger's side back seat spot. I took this picture when the cars were briefly paused at the North Harbor Street turn.
IMAGE BELOW: I quickly grabbed a shot of this great-looking 1974 VW Type 181 "Thing" as we marched past the Blackstone Library, on our return trip back toward the Town Green--it was parked in the Blackstone's front parking lot. Yes, the "Thing" was a true 4-door convertible! I could tell it was a '74 (as opposed to a '73) by the external engine air intakes above the rear wheel wells. The car also appears to sport vintage aftermarket chrome wheels by "Appliance," in the classic "wide 5" vintage VW bolting pattern of course ("Things" kept the "wide 5" well past most, if not all, of the other Type 1, 3, and 4 ranges having moved onto a more conventional 4-bolt configuration).
IMAGE BELOW: Diane's '73 VW rolling past the reviewing stand on Main Street, just before the end of the parade. Looks like big Angelo wanted to make sure he got a good view out of the back of the car!
IMAGE BELOW: And what better way to finish up than with James Walsh's '29 Ford A rolling past the reviewing stand, sporting a banner on the side reading: "We Thank Those Who Served So Well."
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