Car Radio History

By Roberta Sommerville

 Seems like cars have always had radios, but they didn't. Here's the true story:


One evening, in 1929, two young men named William Lear and Elmer Wavering drove their girlfriends to a lookout point high above the Mississippi River town of Quincy, Illinois, to watch the sunset. It was a romantic night to be sure, but one of the women observed that it would be even nicer if they could listen to music in the car.


Lear and Wavering liked the idea. Both men had tinkered with radios (Lear had served as a radio operator in the U.S. Navy during World War I) and it wasn't long before they were taking apart a home radio and trying to get it to work in a car. But it wasn't as easy as it sounds: automobiles have ignition switches, generators, spark plugs, and other electrical equipment that generate noisy static interference, making it nearly impossible to listen to the radio when the engine was running.


One by one, Lear and Wavering identified and eliminated each source of electrical interference. When they finally got their radio to work, they took it to a radio convention in Chicago. There they met Paul Galvin, owner of Galvin Manufacturing Corporation. He made a product called a "battery eliminator" a device that allowed battery-powered radios to run on household AC current. But as more homes were wired for electricity, more radio manufacturers made AC-powered radios. Galvin needed a new product to manufacture. When he met Lear and Wavering at the radio convention, he found it. He believed that mass-produced, affordable car radios had the potential to become a huge business.

Lear and Wavering set up shop in Galvin's factory, and when they perfected their first radio, they installed it in his Studebaker. Then Galvin went to a local banker to apply for a loan. Thinking it might sweeten the deal, he had his men install a radio in the banker's Packard. Good idea, but it didn't work -- Half an hour after the installation, the banker's Packard caught on fire. (They didn't get the loan.) Galvin didn't give up. He drove his Studebaker nearly 800 miles to Atlantic City to show off the radio at the 1930 Radio Manufacturers Association convention. Too broke to afford a booth, he parked the car outside the convention hall and cranked up the radio so that passing conventioneers could hear it. That idea worked -- He got enough orders to put the radio into production.


That first production model was called the 5T71. Galvin decided he needed to come up with something a little catchier. In those days many companies in the phonograph and radio businesses used the suffix "ola" for their names -- Radiola, Columbiola, and Victrola were three of the biggest. Galvin decided to do the same thing, and since his radio was intended for use in a motor vehicle, he decided to call it the Motorola.

But even with the name change, the radio still had problems:

When Motorola went on sale in 1930, it cost about $110 uninstalled, at a time when you could buy a brand-new car for $650, and the country was sliding into the Great Depression. (By that measure, a radio for a new car would cost about $3,000 today.) In 1930 it took two men several days to put in a car radio -- The dashboard had to be taken apart so that the receiver and a single speaker could be installed, and the ceiling had to be cut open to install the antenna. These early radios ran on their own batteries, not on the car battery, so holes had to be cut into the floorboard to accommodate them. The installation manual had eight complete diagrams and 28 pages of instructions.


Selling complicated car radios that cost 20 percent of the price of a brand-new car wouldn't have been easy in the best of times, let alone during the Great Depression -- Galvin lost money in 1930 and struggled for a couple of years after that. But things picked up in 1933 when Ford began offering Motorola's pre-installed at the factory. In 1934 they got another boost when Galvin struck a deal with B.F. Goodrich tire company to sell and install them in its chain of tire stores.

By then the price of the radio, installation included, had dropped to $55. The Motorola car radio was off and running. (The name of the company would be officially changed from Galvin Manufacturing to "Motorola" in 1947.) In the meantime, Galvin continued to develop new uses for car radios. In 1936, the same year that it introduced push-button tuning, it also introduced the Motorola Police Cruiser, a standard car radio that was factory preset to a single frequency to pick up police broadcasts. In 1940 he developed with the first handheld two-way radio -- The Handie-Talkie -- for the U. S. Army.

A lot of the communications technologies that we take for granted today were born in Motorola labs in the years that followed World War II. In 1947 they came out with the first television to sell under $200. In 1956 the company introduced the world's first pager; in 1969 it supplied the radio and television equipment that was used to televise Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon. In 1973 it invented the world's first handheld cellular phone. Today Motorola is one of the largest cell phone manufacturer in the world -- And it all started with the car radio.


The two men who installed the first radio in Paul Galvin's car, Elmer Wavering and William Lear, ended up taking very different paths in life. Wavering stayed with Motorola. In the 1950's he helped change the automobile experience again when he developed the first automotive alternator, replacing inefficient and unreliable generators. The invention led to such luxuries as power windows, power seats, and, eventually, air-conditioning.

Lear also continued inventing. He holds more than 150 patents. Remember eight-track tape players? Lear invented that. But what he's really famous for are his contributions to the field of aviation. He invented radio direction finders for planes, aided in the invention of the autopilot, designed the first fully automatic aircraft landing system, and in 1963 introduced his most famous invention of all, the Lear Jet, the world's first mass-produced, affordable business jet. (Not bad for a guy who dropped out of school after the eighth grade.)



On January 24, 2012 Harm van der Veen sponsored a new member into our club. Henry Joneit, of Stittsville, Ontario comes to us as the proud owner of a ’70 AMX that he recently purchased and brought up from the U.S. Henry completed the membership application and paid his dues to Gail Putz.

Henry says his favourite muscle car has always been the AMX since before he could drive and he is planning on joining us for our run to the Boston 2012 AMO International Convention this year driving his newly acquired wheels.

Henry is also known as Casper which is his “call sign” or Checker Checker. He says we will have to meet in person with drink in hand to find out the story behind that one! Hum!!!

Welcome Henry to our Club. I just know you are going to be a great “fit”.

Michel Dumont – New Purchase

From: Michel Dumont []
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2012 10:51 PM
To: Michel Dumont
Subject: 1970 French AMC Sales Posters

 Hi everyone,

 I just wanted to share a little something with you all. I recently purchased a ’72 - 2door Ambassador from a gentleman who had inherited this car from his grandfather & has owned it ever since. This car has been in their family since October 1971! The car itself is ok, a driver…having a 360 4v is also ok, tilt wheel & a/c too, but one thing that is special is the power windows, something I haven’t seen in an Ambo for quite some time. It’s 2 door coupe that’s been repainted in the late 80’s but appears to be in good shape & has been running ever since & in need of some TLC!  I should be able to get it next month when the snow is mostly gone, another 5 hour trip northeast past Quebec City! Their family was & still is big AMC fans who still have a few cars left in the family. What comes with this car interestingly enough are these 1970 showroom sales posters that this owner collected from the selling dealer back in 1970! These are coming with the car along with all of the documentation of the vehicle including the still intact warranty card!

Coincidentally & surprisingly enough is that this car was sold by the very same dealer my ’73 Javelin came from; Henri H. Rousseau AMC from Trois-Pistols, Quebec….small AMC world, amazing & it’s what makes owning AMC’s even more special are the people & the stories behind each car!

 Well that’s it from me, hope everyone else is doing well, spring is right around the corner & this week we’re getting a much needed dose of some sun & real mild weather! J

Best regards,

 Mike Dumont




Kenosha – a little history

By Jodee Scott

Between 1902 and 1988, Kenosha produced millions of automobiles and trucks under marques such as Jeffery, Rambler, Nash, Hudson, LaFayette, and American Motors Corporation (AMC). A prototype steam car was built in Kenosha by the Sullivan-Becker engineering firm in 1900. Two years later the Thomas B. Jeffery Company, builders of the Sterling bicycle, began production of the Rambler runabout. In 1902 Rambler and Oldsmobile were the first cars to employ mass-production techniques. The 1902 Rambler was also the first automobile to incorporate a steering wheel, rather than use the then-common tiller-controlled steering. In 1916 Jeffery was purchased by auto executive Charles W. Nash and became Nash Motors. In May 1954, Nash acquired Detroit-based Hudson and the new firm was named American Motors Corporation. A 47-acre (190,000 m2) west side park and an elementary school are named for Charles W. Nash.

In partnership with French automaker Renault, AMC manufactured several models in Kenosha in the early 1980s, including the Alliance, which won the 1983 “Car of The Year” award from Motor Trend magazine. Two decades earlier, AMC's 1963 Rambler Classic had also received the award. In 1987 Renault sold its controlling interest in AMC to Chrysler Corporation, which had already contracted with AMC for the production of its M-body mid-sized cars at the Kenosha plant. The AMC Lakefront plant (1960–88), a smaller facility, was demolished in 1990 (a chimney-demolition ceremony that June drew 10,000 spectators) and was redeveloped into upscale HarborPark, with its rambling lakeside condominiums, large recreational marina, water park and promenades, artworks, sculptures, fountains (including the 2007 Christopher Columbus fountain), the Kenosha Public Museum, which opened in 2000, and the Civil War Museum, which opened in 2008, all connected by the Kenosha Electric Railway streetcar system.

Source:  Wikipedia


By John vander Meulen


It’s now early March.  Been an uninteresting winter and cabin fever is starting to set in..kind of a winter “silly season”.  Unfortunately not all of us own a condo with an accompanying bank account in the Cayman Islands to escape to.  It’s tough to do without.  The antidote to this distressed time of year is also under attack by Health Canada.  New guidelines suggest limiting beer consumption to fourteen bottles per week instead of the more stimulating practice of consuming them all at one time.  Who knew?  We will attempt to bridge this sunless time of year with some levity by analyzing some common automotive names and terms.

 Warning: This article contains some subtle stereotyping.  Those whose sensibilities are easily offended and/or intend to live forever may want to bypass this composition and watch “The View” instead.

 “Torque”….defined as twisting power…my 63 Rambler’s driveshaft was enclosed in a “torque tube”.  Term derived from Tomas de Torquemada (1420-98) who headed up the Spanish Inquisition.  Mr. T. utilized various torture devices to encourage minorities to convert to the faith.  “The new car’s pretty “torky” Nate!… “Yep, that’s right Shamus, she’s got the new Stovebolt  six in’er!”  He is probably known as “Torkey” to his friends and drinking companions.  Having personally toured the torture museum in Lima, Peru, one came away with the impression that, in the day, it wasn’t worth skipping church.

 Gremlin”…. imp type creature… AMC original… minor unsolved defect … movie ”Gremlins” (hlblygremlinmaximus) Native to Kentucky.  A car carrier driver in conversation:  “I’ve got a couple of gremlins in the back” .. to someone over 30 … “poor guy, got mechanical or electrical problems and the hourly repair rate nowadays…” blah blah .. to someone under 30…”geez I didn’t know those things were real..and its almost dark and starting to rain…I’m outa here!”  If you don’t live in the greater Hopkinsville, Kentucky area, click here for more info:

 “Matador” …stopping the bull.  Some controversy over how the car got its name.  Rumour was the project manager, frustrated with lack of design progress, hoofed it over to the design studio, horned in on the meeting and snorted something to the effect that unless things were speeded up there would be blood spilled in HR.  Last comment heard was “and if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle ”em with bull!”  This vehicle was also used in the James Bond movie” Man with the Golden Gun” … which also included a “little person”.  For more employment opportunities for “little people” please see

 “Eagle”… large bird of prey… Klingon battle cruiser… USA coinage.  Miss your old Eagle SX4?  Wish you still had one instead of driving the turkey that replaced it?  Loved that “up on tippy-toes” look?  Investigate no farther…its back in the guise of a 2013 Suburu XV Crosstrek.  Stick on some wood grain cladding and it’s 1982 all over again.  Unfortunately the Eagle $9000 dealer installed turbo-diesel retrofit not available.  More info on your new Mexican, non-union Eagle can be found here:

 “Nash Metropolitan”…..resident of “little America” lunar colony (Pluto Nash)…city dweller.  “Friendly looking  car…like a 1951 bullet nosed Studebaker…or a 1956 VW Beetle…it’s got personality.  Ideal cruising companion in the seat next to the driver would be a four foot stuffed teddy bear... like the A&W Root Bear, or a Wookie or stunted Sasquatch.  This unique looking auto could be re-marketed with a Pioneer AVIC-Z110BT sound system and renamed the “Nash Metronome” (look it up).  Potential to become a “must have’ in the Projects!  Could also be marketed to up and coming professionals as the “Nash Metro-sexual.”  Hey, the possibilities are endless!  Hyundai, are you listening?

 “Hornet”… stinging insect… aged vigilante, (Green) Hornet.  Pre-AMC performer.  The famous boxer Mohammed Ali’s fighting stance was self described as “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”.  Not many people know the story behind  his motto.  Apparently Mo’s good friend owned several 51-53 Hudson Hornets.  Equipped with “Twin H power” (twin carbs with manifold induction) and 210 HP it wasn’t difficult to “catch some air’ or “float” when cresting a small knoll.  He was also impressed with the fact the floor was lowered between the frame rails, giving it a lower centre of gravity, allowing it to “clean up” or “sting” the competition on the race circuit.  Hornet was changed to “bee” for verbal fluidity.  Who knew?

 “Amx”…. French battle tank… home automation system… failed propulsion experiment.  Being overshadowed by the “Big Three” prompted AMC  to look for a new type of engine to boost sales.  Steam, electric, natural gas turbines, gasoline, nuclear (Ford Nucleon 1958) had all been tried.  Gene Roddenberry was hired as a consultant in the development of an anti-matter engine, which became known as the anti-matter experiment (AMX). Technical, downsizing and engineering problems persisted.  Despite extreme optimism, extensive overspending and countless hours, the project was dropped for two reasons.  1) despite all physical downsizing efforts, the only engine bay large enough to accommodate the new power plant was on an aircraft carrier and 2) consultant Gene also spooked the engineering team with the info that there was once a planet between Mars and Jupiter called “Tiamat” that, according to legend, the inhabitants also experimented with anti-matter.  That area is now known as the “asteroid belt”.  Consultant Gene’s final comment…”live long and prosper”.

 “Rogue”… scoundrel or “bounder”… Sarah Palin’s book (Going Rogue)… AMC 2 dr. Hardtop… negative compelling force  e.g. Commander Jack Ripper in “Dr. Strangelove”.  Also those who approved the manufacture and sale of the Bricklin, Chevette, Corvair, Pinto, Trabant and whoever wrote the criteria for the USA/Mexico border enforcement and Wall Street banking ethics.  (What’s a “Trabant”?) - and fascinated by 2 stroke technology?  More info here:

 “Ships Mast”… vertical sail support… modern day version of  “Packard’s Flying Lady”.  Hood ornament, a game played by strapping  a person to the car hood (preferably a hot chick) and driving at high speed.  Some illustration can be found in the movie “Mad Max” but in more detail in the movie “Death Proof” starring Kurt Russell, winsome wenches Rosario Dawson, Rose McGowan and Zoe Bell.  Being a Quentin Tarantino movie (Pulp  Fiction, Kill Bill), you know its … umm… different.  Cars include a race-prepared 71 Nova, 69 Charger and 70 Challenger.  (to our younger members sorry, no Aveos, Kias, Priuses or Smart Cars involved in the chase).  This form of entertainment not recommended during a Canadian winter when the temp is below -20C but does have some potential to become a favourite at “National Auto Slalom Day”.


Star Trekkie Insider

Bull Fighting Quarterly


Hopkinsville World Guardian



By Jodee Scott

I got to thinking about what weird things people might do to their AMC’s or what kinds of “limited edition” models AMC might have come out with in its “hay days”.  I stumbled across a sight that certain had a few of them.  I also found a funny cartoon.  As I scanned thru the site, I had moments of puzzlement, laughter and awe!  Enjoy!

PROGRESS – by John vander Meulen

Defined as “advance” or “move forward”. 

Since we’re all in the antique/classic car business I thought it might be interesting to see what transformations and improvements were applied to a particular type of automobile over a 28 year period.  As we know, your car doesn’t become a “classic” until after you’ve sold it.  In this case, I chose a 1951 Nash Rambler and a 1979 Spirit.  Nash car styling seems to have been dominant after the merger with Hudson in 1954.  The 1961 Rambler American definitely shows Nash parentage, with slightly higher hemlines.  High sheet metal , narrow windows…a style resurrected by designer Ralph Gilles and applied to the “new” Chrysler 300 - Kind of an “anti” Pacer design.  I picked the Spirit to avoid any influence Renault might have had after the partnership in 1980. 






Progress is not always linear. Medicine is still trial and error. Every generation thinks it’s smarter than the last one. Why suffer through long economic depressions when all you have to do is print money; and who ever thought we could cure debt with more debt. Why didn’t they think of that in 1929!?!  Several years ago severe rains washed out numerous bridges in France. The ones built by the Romans 2000 years ago were still standing. French engineers were dispatched.

On the bright side, mechanical technology is fairly progressive. We improve. It’s rumoured the human race gets periodic IQ upgrades from an external source (hard to believe); but  the auto industry does receive periodic inspiration from the land of the rising sun, the home of Octoberfest and the country that gave us the Pony.  Sorry England, that was then.


Both vehicles’ wheelbases are close…100/96 for the Spirit….and weighing 680 lbs more than the Nash….which was propelled by a  2.7 litre 6 cylinder L-head, side valve/ flathead engine making 82 bhp.  No pushrods or rocker arms, simple, reliable, cheap, compact and able to burn low octane fuel.  Disadvantages are low volumetric efficiency or poor breathing, poor combustion chamber shape and low compression ratio, all of which result in a low power output.  Compression was 7:25 to 1.  Top speed, 80- 100 mph (depended on who you asked).  Fuel economy for the Nash ranged 36{9bf56cdcf86fd5e484f7a6c7dd7f10c086072f0abab75d8e87856dbab1800b0f} from 31.0 mpg to 20.1….30 mph & 75 mph with overdrive. 

Those surveyed really liked the car.  One owner was amazed by the power at his disposal.  Records don’t show if he lived long enough to test a Rambler Scrambler.  Another said he liked the leg room and believed that a Rambler owner can put his legs in twice as many positions as the driver of a Cadillac.  This particular aspect would definitely appeal to the younger, unattached crowd.   A Californian wrote…”what I like is that I can comfortably push the car by hand with little effort, which means if I ever run out of gas on a level road I can easily move it two or three miles without getting tired.  Hey, try that with your Ford Explorer!  The Nash weighed in at 2480 lbs compared to the “heavy“  cars at the time, such as the full sized Nash Ambassador at 3400 lbs.

The small trunk was a negative and the emergency brake handle tended to slide up your trouser leg when entering the car, clothing styles being what they were.  One very positive gentleman wrote at the conclusion of a long gripe about a howl in the rear end...”maybe I’ve got a lemon but it’s still a fine car.”  Poor radio reception was also a problem particularly when you couldn’t use it to drown out the accompanying howl.

For Pikes Peak buffs, it was done in 21 minutes, 11 seconds, 1st and second all the way up.  High gear used for only a mile.  Distance 12.1 miles.  It coasted down in neutral to test the brakes (brave man).  In comparison, Nissan Leaf - 14.3; Hyundai Genesis Coupe - 11.04; and an all time record 9.5 in a 910 hp mid-engine Suzuki SX4, whatever that is?

Given  AMC’s financial position in 1979, they didn’t have a lot of money to spend on developing all new cars.  Having pioneered the economy-subcompact thing in North America, the foreigners had pretty much stolen the show.   The Spirit was described as a tried and true Gremlin reposing under a slick new interior.  The GT package was mostly visual.  It got you a tach and “deep tone“ exhaust with the four speed.  The meaning of the term “GT” had become somewhat “diluted” -  as I once a owned a 16 hp Sears “GT” lawn tractor which also had a “deep tone” exhaust, mainly because it was non-existent.  The car’s interior got high marks for looks and comfort.

Options add weight.  What the Nash didn’t have, with a longer wheelbase was a 5 litre V8, GT package, Turbocast wheels, rally tuned suspension, power brakes, bigger tires, moonroof,  stereo radio, rear defroster, HD cooling and battery.  Weight affects fuel consumption, which was calculated city driving at 13 mpg.

Complaints included a centre armrest that interfered with shifting, understeer and a two barrel Ford carb that strangled the 304 to the point that , despite its 5G redline, it was all over by 4000 rpm.  It was rated at 125 hp.  You might say it lacked “spirit”.  For all you Spirit owners out there, perhaps a 1969 Z28 302 engine would be a good transplant.  In all fairness there was a lot on pressure by auto insurance companies to discourage high hp performance vehicles.  Witness what happened to the Mustang after 1973.  The “new “ GTO became a Nova with stripes.  It was however described as the best AMC small car to date.

What’s been written so far doesn’t really tell us much about “progress”.  I’ve been comparing apples to oranges or “spirits” to apparitions.  The Spirit was the recipient of an overhead valve engine which greatly increased combustion efficiency, complete with thin wall casting which reduced weight.  It used an alternator instead of a generator, the latter pretty much limited your electrical supply.  A twelve volt upgrade from six.   AC increased creature comfort.  Permanent ethylene glycol coolant and a fixed thermostat increased gas mileage, combustion efficiency and heater capability. Radial tires and improved suspension geometry enhanced handling. Multi-grade oils reduced the change interval, non-leaded gas increased spark plug length and more corrosion resistant metal - the life of the exhaust system.  Electronic ignition did away with periodic contact point/condenser replacements, tune-ups and made for more reliable winter starting.  Better rubber and synthetic fibers extended the life of rad hoses and drive belts.   Modest pollution controls (compared to today) cleaned up the exhaust.

Price new for a 51 Nash Rambler (base) - $1808.00.  2011 dollar purchasing power - $15,851.00. 

Price new for a 1979 Spirit - $5199.00.  $16,832 in 2011 dollar purchasing power.

Sources..PM..Jan’51, C&D Feb’79



FENDER SKIRTS  by Jodee Scott

How many of you remember these words or phrases?




A  term I haven't heard in a long time, and thinking about 'fender skirts' started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice like

'curb  feelers.' 

And 'steering knobs.' (AKA) 'suicide knob,' 'neckers knobs.'





Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first.




Remember 'Continental  kits?'
They  were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.




When did we quit calling them 'emergency brakes?'  At some point 'parking brake' became the proper term.
But I miss the hint of drama that went with 'emergency brake.'




I'm  sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the 'foot feed.'
Many today do not even know what a clutch is or that the dimmer switch used to be on the floor.





Didn't you ever wait at the street for your daddy to come home, so you could ride the 'running  board' up to the house?

Most of these words go back to the '50s, but here's a pure '60s word I came across the other day 'rat fink..'




Ooh, what a nasty put-down!

Some words aren't gone, but are definitely on the endangered list.


By John Vander Meulen

It happens to all of us at one time or another. Maybe not much anymore, or the experience not as drastic in this age of On Star, cell phones and more sophisticated auto engineering. Sloppy repairs, neglected maintenance, running out of fuel, flat tires, do it yourself repairs; worn out parts, uninformed owners…the list is endless. It’s not all negative though; you learn something new and get to meet all kinds of interesting people. Working, once with a young lady engineer from the “La Belle Province“, I inquired as to which type of vehicle she was driving, figuring I would get a detailed mechanical description… “The red one in the parking lot, she replied.” Ok, I thought, remind me not to ask you anything too complicated.

September of 1969 found me in Buffalo visiting friends. The AMX had 12,000 miles on the clock. Negotiating downtown on a Saturday afternoon, on the way to the suburb of Hamburg, we stopped at a small plaza. After parking, a young lad of about 10 excitedly told me what I didn’t want to hear…your car is leaking! Sure enough, the water pump was leaking through the shaft seal. Spillage was prominent immediately after shutting down the engine due to internal coolant pressure. While running, coolant leakage was minimized by centrifugal force, keeping the loss nominal. The “Good Gulf” attendant in Hamburg was a nice sort of guy and in retrospect, bore a striking resemblance to Al Bundy on “Married with Children”. “Needs a special short shaft pump” he said after making a few calls. “Gotta come from Kenosha and won’t be here till Monday”. Had I been on the “right” side of the border, I might have attempted the ride home, stopping occasionally to refill. My companion dropped me off at the bus station. Not sure what it is about “motor coach depots”, but I instinctively put my wallet in my front pocket. Returning the following weekend, I had picked up a replacement pump ($26) at Wellman Motors in Oshawa, just to be on the safe side. Kept the spare in the trunk. Subsequent pumps usually lasted only about 20,000 miles, the rear seal usually being the culprit.

Fast forward some years and adventures with the car pool. One member of the group, also with Quebecoise origins, tended to drive more “emotionally” than the rest of us Anglos, probably due to his Gallic nature. This predisposed his automobiles to premature wear and tear and coupled with zero maintenance, we enjoyed a variety of transportation over the years. One particular gem was called a Ford “Mystique”. It tended to lose power gradually and when unable to keep up with traffic, we pulled over to the shoulder, shut the car off, waited several minutes and started it again. It worked! Not sure why but the rumour was the catalytic converter(s) were plugged & since the new Kawartha Casino had just opened up, they weren’t about to be replaced. Problems mounted - transmission, alternator - finally sent the Mystique to its reward. It was replaced by a 1995 Buick. Reliable transportation at last! Remember what I said about meeting new people….most of us are eager to help a fellow citizen in distress especially when it gives us a chance to use our new cell phone. Somehow helps to justify the exorbitant cell phone rates we pay. (I used it for an emergency)! This was the case when the torque convertor went out on the Buick on the way to work….no muss…no fuss…just like landing a small plane …we glided to the shoulder. Sticking my thumb out, the second car stopped. One advantage of the ubiquity of cell phones is that I didn’t have to buy one myself. Another had a minor vision variance which made it difficult for him to accurately judge speed and distance. En route to work one Sunday @ 0500 hrs, we began to hydroplane on a slushy secondary road. The 97 Tercel buried itself into the ditch after a long sideways slide that seemed to take forever.

One autumn, we decided to use the spouse’s vehicle to tour the Blue Ridge Parkway. Driving her auto very infrequently, I had noticed an unusual bearing hum coming from the engine. Removing the serpentine belt I tried to wiggle the water pump shaft, but it seemed ok. The power steering setup was off slightly, different configuration, so I suspected it of being the culprit. We stopped to visit friends in Duchess County, halfway between Albany and NYC, along the scenic Hudson River Valley. The “hum” had a “Stockholm Syndrome“ effect. We bonded. It became friendly. We arrived in Front Royal, Va., Shenandoah National Park, the entrance to the parkway. The hum had become a low growl. Now any of you who have driven the Blue Ridge Parkway know there are no services. It’s recommended that your car be in good mechanical condition to avoid breakdowns. Fuel, food and accommodation are obtained in the towns in the valleys below. Spending the night in Roanoke, Virginia, I contemplated visiting a GM dealership. Only a fleeting thought at that. Why waste a day. We exited the parkway in Asheville, NC and headed for Myrtle Beach. Driving Interstate 20 in the smoker’s paradise of South Carolina, we were on Interstate 20, halfway between Columbia and Interstate 95. The traffic was moving at about 75 mph. Suddenly the hum stopped…like losing a friend. The “charge” light came on…great I thought, lost the drive belt so ‘hot’ isn’t far behind. Being mostly a rural area, I noticed a motel sign in the distance and pulled in. Upon shutting down, the overheated coolant made regurgitating noises, the water pump plate converter and serpentine belt lying on the bottom engine cover. The pump shaft had broken off. As I contemplated the cost and the tow to Florence, SC about 30 miles distant, the motel manager suggested a garage “over the bridge”. A dead ringer for Dukes of Hazard’s “Cooter “ arrived shortly with an ancient tow truck from the town of Bishopville, about a mile away. “We’ll have it ready in the mornin” he said “and call you”. I thought “good luck”. Cadillac 4.9, FWD water pumps have an extension and because of space restrictions (pump tip is only ¾ inch from the frame) are particularly difficult to change. The wife and I had dinner at the adjoining restaurant in the company of a group of African-American agricultural workers. We stood out like a couple of honest politicians. “Cooters” boss, an elderly gentleman who resembled “Doc” on the old “Gunsmoke” series picked me up the next morning. Cash, no credit card, Bank and ATM across the street. Doc’s wife had friends in Nova Scotia and no, it wasn’t near Ontario. Friendly folks there were, sketching directions to I-95 and Myrtle Beach as if we were intergalactic travelers not yet having mastered Earth road maps. After an uneventful week in Myrtle Beach, we headed home. Upon exiting to a rest stop on I-40 the exhaust pipe snapped inches from the exhaust manifold. We were directed to a garage and rumbled into the town of Warsaw, SC. Spanish was the language of choice. The paper thin metal was unweldable , the entire exhaust system removed, the catalytic converter temporarily discarded and a new piece was grafted in. My attentiveness caught the youngest of the Central American foursome rewelding the exhaust system upside down. The tailpipe would have been pointing up. The yard was littered with automobile engines. I thought… these guys are either really good and have a thriving business or they make a lot of mistakes. We made a bee-line for home.

2011 AMO Plus Christmas Party

  THE JUICE JOINT WAS JUMPING the annual AMO Plus Christmas Party, Nov 26th, held at Jodee and Barb Scott’s place in Peterborough. Hosted by Rosie Marie, the Joint’s owner and Cindy Butt, the cigarette girl; such notables are Notorious Nick Nemetz, the North Side Mob Boss with his new fiancé Molly Moll; Mayor Biggs and his formidable wife Mabel; Chief Cameron, the Chief of Police and Hal Hollywood, the Movie Director attended the event.

Everyone was making Whoopee and the hooch was flowing free thanks to Bernie Booze, the bootlegger. It was noted that some scratch was passing hands as Cy Ramsey, the Juice Joint’s Bouncer tried to ensure his position in the mob. Dina Diva, the Juice Joint Singer and Molly were vying for a spot in Hal’s new movie. Natalie Nemetz, Nick’s sister was trying to make sure her best friend Dina would get the part. Gino Gin, the Bartender, and Flirty Flapper, a patron, were also seen greasing palms in support of their favourites.

Rosie asked Nick to make a toast. All of a sudden the lights went out, there was a shot and when the lights came on Nick was lying dead on the floor! P.I. Pinkerton started the investigation by outlining the body in white tape and questioning the guests. Southside Sal, the South Side Mob Boss seemed the obvious choice for the crime but everyone knew that Mugsy Malone, Nick’s right-hand man was also real interested in moving up. Flora Nemetz-Gadora, Nick’s ex-wife was also a suspect as she hadn’t gotten over Nick’s divorcing her after she caught him cheating AND she had shifted her interests to Sal. But as the evidence piled up, P.I. Pinkerton put together a different picture.

It seems Chief Cameron was on Nick’s “payroll”; the gun that killed Nick was confiscated in a police raid and Chief Cameron would have been the only one attending the party who had access to it; and a note that was found in Sal’s pocket – hinting at the dirty deed, had the initials CR – which initially were thought to be Cy Ramsey but turned out to be the Chief’s initials – for Cameron Rottier – found on a file of the Chief’s. So the Chief was arrested for the crime!

The Smoking Gun Award for Super Sleuth went to Mary Vander Meulen. The Dressed to Kill Award was graciously accepted by Barb van der Veen. The Drama Queen Award was presented to Roberta Sommerville . And last but not least, Mr. Money Bags Award was received by Sonya Freelen.

At great time was had by all. Everyone got in to the “swing” of things. The supper following had a variety of taste to delight the pallet and the Secret Santa gift exchange was a hoot.

Thanks to everyone for making the night a “Bees Knees” event. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all!

Rosie Marie (Jodee Scott)