SAAC: Checking out the first-ever Shore Line
Trolley Museum Antique Car Show, Saturday, May 16th, 2009, East
(this page new as of 5/22/2009)
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What a fun time we had participating in this event, held in an actual working vintage trolley yard! Car show venues don't get much more unique & interesting than this! Trolley barns and trolleys surrounded the show field, which itself was cris-crossed by trolley tracks, with vintage restored trolley cars rolling by on the adjacent main Branford Electric Railway Association line as the event progressed...
We first heard about the event back several months ago, when we first saw it posted at the Hemmings Motor News web site-with a Sunday, May 17th, 2009 event date. Eventually we found it listed in other places-including the Special Interest web site, and also the Shore Line Trolley Museum's web site and newsletter--with a Saturday, May 16th published event date, and with Sunday the 17th reserved for a rain date. It was interesting to note, also, however, that up until a week or so before the date, it was still being listed in some areas as happening on the 17th (such as in the Old Cars Weekly printed newspaper listings). Well, hopefully most, if not all, local enthusiasts eventually got the word about Saturday being The Day--as we did also, and made sure we had a clear morning that day on our schedule to be able to attend.
Another unique aspect of the event that we learned about in the weeks leading up to the event date was the route on which incoming car show cars were being directed. We were aware that a great deal of the Shore Line Trolley Museum's working trolley line was located in Branford, we were also aware that the Museum itself was located in East Haven, and was accessed via city streets just off of the East Haven Town Green. What we hadn't thought about, however, was the fact that the Trolley Museum's many trolley barns-where lots and lots of interesting antique trolley cars are stored-are also located in Branford-that is, they (like most of the trolley line) are located on the east side of the Farm River--the Farm River forming the boundary line between East Haven and Branford. When we read (at the Special Interest web site) about show cars being directed to enter the show via a "road next to the Twin Pines Diner," we went to investigate for ourselves. The road on some maps is drawn with a dashed line, and is identified as "Alex Warfield Road." Visiting the Twin Pines Diner (officially located in East Haven, with a Main Street address), we didn't see a street sign at the entrance; driving down, we noticed that it quickly crossed the river, and so, appeared to be back on the Branford side. The road became rather narrow and eventually we got the impression that we were driving into someone's back yard-so we never actually drove to the end, to see that it actually did lead directly into the Trolley Museum's expansive working trolley yard.
Sure enough, on show day, we saw signs directing incoming show cars into the little unmarked road next to the Twin Pines Diner, and driving down, we were met by volunteers stationed along the way, who directed us to proceed. Later in the day, upon leaving (we had to leave early before the end of the show), we realized how important these volunteer car-directors were, since they ensured that the narrow road (wide enough for only one car in many places) didn't become snarled with two cars trying to pass in different directions. Good thinking and good planning by the organizers!
To actually drive into the trolley yard where the antique cars were arranged, we had to drive over the tracks on our way into the show field, which was nicely graveled, with all sorts of trolley tracks for the trolleys to get into and out of their barns, which surrounded the field. Upon paying our show car admission, we received a packet of info, plus a beautiful commemorative dash plaque--click HERE for a scan we made of our dash plaque. We were efficiently parked by a volunteer, and then it was time to get out and "take it all in." Not only did we take the time to check out cars, but we also walked through some of the trolley barns and really enjoyed viewing the old-style designs and details of the trolley cars. Speaking of which, our local antique MG friend Bob Howard (a long time active member of the Connecticut MG Club, ref. http://mgclub.homestead.com/) also got a lot out of the antique trolley aspects of the event; we are pleased to quote from his e-mail dated 5/18/2009:
"...Hi Steve, Thanks for putting the word out about the Trolley Museum event Saturday... Four of us from the MG club attended, Bob Lavezzoli with his MGA, John Day with his MGB, Dana Rindge with his MGC and I with my TD. We arrived in the morning mist as cars #20, 21, 23 and John came a bit later. What a good time we all had. Right away a fellow was organizing a tour of the barns. Sorry that I did not remember his name for you, but he owns a 1950 Studebaker that he had in the show.
We had a great tour of the barns and later a gearhead's tour of the repair shop. One of the operators assured us that 600V dc will not run down the rope connected to the trolley slider (we believe him, but did not test it ourselves) and others explained enthusiastically all sorts of other things about these wonderful beasts. I still haven't figured out the Sprague controllers, but am working at it. The coffee and food were good and fairly priced. A good time was had by all of us... Bob..."
As noted at the beginning, what made this event especially cool in my view was the very unique theme and venue--antique autos on display right along-side of antique trolley cars--all staged in an actual trolley yard--and with antique trolley cars rolling by actively while the event was going on! I remember attending the Simsbury 'Fly-In' and Antique Auto Show two years ago and I would say the uniqueness and excitement of it affected me similarly.
My son Matt came along with me this time. We drove our '68 Bug; Matt also helped me hand out Time Machines 2009 flyers too - ref. http://www.geocities.com/tbirdsofconn/timemach.html), and he said he really enjoyed himself as well (he came along with me to that Simsbury airport event and so has similar background & appreciation).
Of course I took some photos too, and will be inserting several favorites below on this page-please do make sure to keep scrolling downward once you get through this text section...
Other highlights for me included finally meeting Bob Steller of the 'Round Town Cruisers (organizers of the Monday night White Hills Plaza Cruises in Shelton - ref. http://www.roundtowncruisers.com/), who was there with his magnificent Packard hot rod--also chatting with local 'Creeker Dave Pooler who had his cool '50 Ford Woody Wagon on display. We also chatted for a while with a couple from nearby Milford, CT who had driven their very nice 1970 VW Bug to the show-same color as our '68, but much nicer condition!
Matt, being a fire department explorer here in Stony Creek, of course was especially drawn to checking out and admiring a superbly-done 1914 Model T Ford "speedster," done up in Orange Fire Department colors and markings. It was owned by Charles Gagel, who happens to be the chief of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department (ref. http://www.orangevfd.com/), and it turns out we had seen (& saved a copy of) a newspaper article featuring this same car that had been published last fall, in conjunction with the observance of the Model T Ford's 100th anniversary--and we just got a new feature page together featuring that particular article and scans of the accompanying illustrations, reference: http://home.comcast.net/~shorelinesteve/CTPOSTMODELT/Oct08Article.html
In all, it was a great day, and even though Matt and I could not stay around for the entire time, we really enjoyed ourselves, and congratulate and thank everyone who was involved in making it happen.
For more info about the Shore Line Trolley Museum, make sure to visit their web site at www.bera.org.
Lots More Trolley Museum Car Show Photos Below...
IMAGE BELOW: An overall view from just across the tracks of the main line of the Shore Line Trolley Museum.
IMAGE BELOW: And here is what the stream of antique cars coming down the little road toward the show field typically looked like. The view in the previous image (above) is approximately what the drivers of these cars were seeing as they drove in. As you can also see, the tracks of the main Shore Line Trolley Museum working trolley line had to be crossed in order to actually get onto the car show field.
IMAGE BELOW: A typically busy scene on the show field, as cars like the hot Camaro drove in under the direction of volunteers who would show him where to park.
IMAGE BELOW: As noted in the text, the car show field was an actual working trolley yard, with many tracks (as you can see in the center of this view--almost looks like that '56 Chevy is "ridin' the rails" itself), and also barns and utility buildings in which the Museum's many vintage trolleys get stored and worked-on.
IMAGE BELOW: What a cool scene--vintage automobiles and vintage trolley cars all around! The orange trolley car in the left background was actively rolling, providing many fun rides for participants and visitors, along the Shore Line Trolley Museum's beautiful main line, in and around the Farm River marshes.
IMAGES BELOW - Left: An overall view of some of the many beautiful antique autos in the show, with fantastic vintage trolleys peeking out of their barns in the background. That's Dave Pooler's beautiful '50 Ford Woodie in the foreground. Right: A 1964 Chevy C-10 Pickup truck owned by Jim Peterson crosses the tracks to get onto the car show field, as a working vintage trolley car waits its turn to drive by.
IMAGE BELOW: Many beautiful antique cars were on display around the expansive show field. This row of cars was located around the middle of this field, and included (closest to the camera), the 1958 Chevy Bel Air of Steve Broadfield, and the 1956 Oldsmobile Holiday Hardtop of Rich Iannucci. Note in this and many other views the trolley tracks that are visible.
IMAGE BELOW: Further from the camera, toward the end of the same row that was shown in the previous image above, were these two gorgeous specimens, a 1955 GMC model 100 owned by Myron Semchuk on the left, and a 1966 Ford Mustang Lucury Coupe owned by Mark Milosky on the right. A display board by Mr. Milosky's car gave an interesting list of featurs for this 100% stock, numbers-matching car. The Factory Options included: 289 V8 @ 200hp, "C" code engine with 2-barrel carburetor, connected to 3-speed "Cruise-O-Matic" automatic transmission...power steering...dual exhaust...deluxe "Pony" interior ("B" code)...deluxe seatbelts with warning light...parking brake warning light...rare AM-FM radio...center console...remote mirrors..."Rally-Pac" clock & tachometer...styled steel wheels. The Dealer Options were: remote trunk release...lighted grille...tissue dispenser.
IMAGE BELOW: This group of beautiful vintage MG sports cars was mentioned in Bob Howard's note that we excerpted in the text section of this report. Starting closest to the camera in this view, from the right, are: Bob Howard's own 1952 MG TK Mk II, in metallic silver with red-accented wheels and radiator grille, Dana Ringe's 1968 MGC-GT (a rare 6-cylinder model, with the engine lid open to show off the impressive powerplant) in medium gray with wire wheels, and Bob Lavezzoli's 1960 MGA, looking very slick in an eye-catching blue paint job, finished off with wire wheels and whitewall tires.
IMAGE BELOW: Here is another view of Bob Howard's super-nice '52 MG, at the left foreground, and parked next to it was another super-cool and super-unique machine--a 1941 Chevrolet Suburban Carry-All owned by Ed Brouillet from Naugatuck, CT. Quoting from a windshield car listing some of the features of this amazing red machine: "...engine: 4BT Cummins diesel with turbor 400 trans...horsepower: 120...mileage: 32 to 34 mpg..." Note also Mr. Brouillet's "mascot" by the right front wheel...
IMAGES BELOW - Left: Having seen East Havener Wayne Sandford's Chevy (we'll guess a '47 model) at other area antique car shows over the years, we are pretty sure this is it--we are also aware that Mr. Sandford is active in the East Haven Fire Department, and the Shore Line Trolley Museum. Right: It's amazing to think how stylish American pickup trucks had gotten by the mid-1950s--we still can't get over the "automotive art" represented by the detailed front end of Myron Semchuk's 1955 GMC Model 100!
IMAGE BELOW: Bob Steller was very gracious to pose for a photo with his super-impressive Packard sedan--we'll guess it's a '38 model, based on his "MY-38" CT vanity EA. Great to finally be able to meet you in person, Bob!
IMAGE BELOW: We were very fortunate to capture this image of a magnificent 1955 Packard Clipper being driven into the show, as a working vintage trolley car passed by in the background of the shot. Love the combination of styles and colors represented by the two vehicles! The Packard, we were later to observe (after it was parked and its owner displayed a windshield card), is owned by Ray Beavers, and is a Clipper model, "original CA car." NICE!
IMAGES BELOW - Comparative front end automotive styles. Left: Ray Beavers' '55 Packard Clipper. Right: "Edsel Bob" Dupuis' 1960 Edsel Ranger.
IMAGE BELOW: From "right next door" in Branford, it's Dave Pooler's super-kool '50 Ford Woodie!
IMAGE BELOW: Check out the slick "continental kit" on the rear of Steve Broadfield's super-slick 1958 Chevy Bel Air 4-door.
IMAGE BELOW: We recognized the owner's name listed for this gorgeous 1956 Chevy Bel Air Convertible--George Civitelli--as being associated with the big Memorial Day Weekend car show happening at Quinnipiac University, in conjunction with the CT Classic Chevy Club (the CT hobby organization dedicated to the '55-'56-'57 Chevies, ref. http://www.ctclassicchevy.org/). According to windshield cards displayed with this beautiful machine, it appeared in the recent movie "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," parts of which were filmed in New Haven, CT. This particular vintage Chevy also features a "4-speed on the column" set-up, thanks to use of "an original 1956 overdrive cable mounted in the original location under the dash for reverse." It also features a 1957 posi in the original 1956 rear end housing. Rims are '68 Corvette rally wheels 15x7", with rally centers, and original 1956 accessory wire wheel hubcaps; the rims are painted Harbor Blue. The engine is a "265 V-8 Power Pack" with original miles. Front disk brakes are from East Coast Chevy. The paint is Nassau Blue and India Ivory, wtih paint credit going to Frank's Auto Care in Hamden, CT. Nice car!
IMAGE BELOW: This magnificent 1967 Camaro SS-350 is owned by Anthony (Tony) J. DiNuzzo of West Haven, CT. According to an information posted displayed with this car, it was purchased in 1976, while the owner was staioned in Hawaii with the U.S. Army, and was shipped to Connecticut in 1980. A major restoration was accomplished during the years 2003 through 2005. The car features a 350 cubic inch, 5.7 liter V8 engine @ 290 horsepower. The transmission is a Borg Warner T-10 4-speed. The rear end is a GM limited slip 12-bolt, with 4-10 gears. The exterior color is Deepwater Blue. The interior features custom coupe desluxe black bucket seats with fold-down rear seat. This car was built in Norwood, Ohio in October 1966. The owner is a member of the Shore Line Time Machines of Savin Rock, West Haven; also the CT F-Body Association and the Team Camaro web site.
IMAGE BELOW: Not often that you see early AMC Hornet notchbacks in shows! This is a super-nice 1970 model owned by Davis Martin.
IMAGES BELOW: The series of photos below depict the magnificent 1914 Model T Ford of Charlie Gagel, who is also visible himself, adjusting various controls on the car, in the process of getting it set up for display, following his just having driven in to the show. Note the "ORANGE" CT EA vanity plate, in addition to the "Orange" fire department color scheme and identification lettering--it is designed to represent a "fire chief's car" of the era. Be sure also to check out our report on this vehicle's recent appearnce in a local newspaper, in conjunction with last fall's 100th anniversary of the Ford Model T--the feature is viewable online at: http://home.comcast.net/~shorelinesteve/CTPOSTMODELT/Oct08Article.html .
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