Jeff Spratt’s 1970 AMX

Anyone who has ever prepared a car for concours judging knows what’s involved!  After the rebuild, which took 30 months, Jeff (and his “partner in crime”, Carol Anderson), brought Jeff’s 1970 AMX to Rockford, Illinois, the site of the 2016 AMO Convention.  It was entered in the American Heritage Cup class so you all know he had to have it shown for at least two years;  first year in Junior where he had to achieve Gold; second year in Senior where he had to win Best of Show in his class!  Achieving these two goals is no easy feat!  The hours and hours and hours spent detailing and cleaning at home are “usually” followed up by hours of detailing and cleaning before the show!  Now, having an enclosed trailer certainly helps to cut down this last piece, but dirt invariably finds its way onto the car.

Many of our AMO+ members have judged before, or at the very least, have had their cars judged.  Now imagine – you’re in the top class for AMO!  Points are deducted by .25 increments for what you might consider very trivial issues!  When you’re at this level, the judges have to be ruthless because the cars are often too close in quality.  This was also NOT Jeff’s first time showing in this class so he knew exactly what he was in for.  He had previously competed in American Heritage with his 1969 SC/Rambler.  Another excellent example of his restoration skills!  Apparently, it’s a real challenge for Jeff to NOT drive the heck out of the SC/Rambler so he was itching to bring another car to show.  Through an unforeseen set of circumstances, he acquired this AMX and set about completing the rebuild.

Came the day of “reckoning”, we were all faced with a deluge of rain which fell the night before into the overnight!  The organizers, in the last 12 hours before the show, had to come up with an entirely different (and much drier) location because the original grounds were so saturated that the cars would certainly have gotten stuck (except for the Jeep class of course)!

Once at the new show field, the car was unloaded and was seen for the first time by many!  There was even a roving television crew there that immediately saw the quality of this car and wanted to interview Jeff!  I’m sure by now you have all seen the video which circulated but if you haven’t, here’s the link: Both the car and driver were very photogenic, don’t you think?

As he waited that long day in the sun, through cocktail hour and then dinner at the banquet, I’m sure Jeff was going over in his mind all the “flaws” he felt his car had (which the judges may or may not have caught).  He told me he really didn’t feel his car was the best on the field that day but the Car Judging Gods were in his favour!  If there WERE imperfections, they were minor!  All the entrants in that class were called to the front and, to Jeff’s total shock, he was named winner of the American Heritage Cup!!

I realize this win was about 18 months ago, but it’s significant for a couple of reasons.  Number 1 and perhaps most astounding is that this was his second car to have competed in the highest class!  Number 2 – only 1 Canadian before him (Don Bennett) had achieved this level twice (Rebel convertible and Gremlin) and 1 Canadian since (Tony Lucas) with another 1970 AMX!

Congratulations to Jeff!  So, will we be seeing a third car??

Written by Barb van der Veen



Tip of the day

When restoring your ride and it comes time to fit the doors, a trick learned working at General Motors was to weigh all internal and external components, add a pound for paint and clearcoat. Now make a flat weight that can be hung inside the door, adjust your for a perfect fit,  be sure the weight doesn’t bounce off the the outer skin or all of your metal work will need to be done again. When the weight is removed you will notice that the door doesn’t fit anymore. No worries, when all the hardware is re installed your doors will fit perfect....



Ramblings Of A Retiree (First Quarter of 2018)

Hello there, this is something that I would like to create to communicate some automobile items that I have had the chance to research, now that I am retired.  I certainly wasn’t anticipating to be directed to this path in life, but I really had no choice.  I am very lucky to be able to move to a paying, non-working position.  It has certainly taken a bit of time to get over the shock, but I know that I have moved in a positive direction.  This column will give me a sense of purpose, and I hope that you find it interesting.

In January (13th to the 21st), the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Arizona auction was over-televised on the Discovery Velocity channel.  I say over-televised, but it was well under-televised when it came to our AMC brand.  When I recorded the day of the BBO AMX auction, it never made it past the cutting room floor.  I would have liked to hear how they described it, and how it sounded.  It went for a reasonable price, as a ground up restoration.  The other AMX was a solid car, with original interior, and would have been my choice (and would have saved 20 Gs).

I tried to watch some of the coverage, but eventually fast forwarded anything that I dedicated some TV gigabits to.  It was really annoying after a while.  There may have been almost 2,000 cars go through the dockets for the duration, and money spent on the vehicles was astronomical in some cases. 

I have included below some of the few AMC/Rambler vehicles involved in the auction, and the many Jeeps that were turned over to new owners.  Some of the Jeep prices were very high in my opinion.   They appear to be high in demand, that’s for sure.  That Wagoneer was quite pricey, but it must be in great condition.  How about that Rambler sign for over 8K?

I hope you find this article interesting, and I hope to see you at the Spring meeting at Harm and Barb’s place.  Please check the calendar of events on the website for more details.

Thanks for reading.  (As of April 15, 2020, I have removed the auction items, in order to remove them from the website.  Thanks.


Marty and the Mojos, September 30th, 2017

Randy Weales has been playing drums most, if not all, of his life!  In that time, due to repetitive stress on his arms and legs, he has to completely reverse how his drums are set out.  But he hasn't let that stop him.  He's an amazing drummer in a great band called "Marty and the Mojos"!  They do mostly blues but some other types as well.  On September 30th, 2017, a few AMO+ members went down to Port Hope to hear them play one of three sets they were doing that weekend!  As we are all getting on in age, we decided to go for the Saturday afternoon set and they did not disappoint!  The music was amazing, the beer was cold and the friendship was fabulous! 

If you look really hard, you'll see Randy's head behind Marty!!

Between sets, Randy and Michelle Weales invited those who could go back to their home in Cobourg for a pot-luck dinner.  Unfortunately, Harm and I had a 60th birthday party to go to in Peterborough but we wouldn't have missed this afternoon for the world!  The next time I hear about them playing near by, we're going to go again.  This is yet another example of the cars bringing us together (in our case, about 30+ years ago when Michelle and Randy were very young) but the friendships we've made along the way being the biggest reason why our chapter has stayed intact for so long. 

Barb van der Veen

Fall Colours Tour, October 15th, 2017

Some of the beautiful scenery

Okay, so I'm a "little" late in reporting about the Fall Colours Tour this year!!  I think it took me this long to get dried off and over the problems we had with the Hornet!  But, I am a little ahead of myself.

Ken and Irene Perrier planned a wonderful tour for us this year!  They had spent hours mapping out the route, putting together the menu of items needed for dinner and gathering prizes for the winner (and loser) of the poker run portion of the tour.  Thanks so much, Ken and Irene, for doing that!  All of those in attendance had a blast! 

The one thing they had no control over was the weather!  To say it "rained" would be an understatement.  It poured!!  Now, by itself, that wouldn't have been too bad except for a few things.  Number 1 - these are AMCs we're talking about and their windshield wiper system was never the best.  Number 2 - the windows never fit all that well so those who braved the afternoon in our old gals found a bit of a lake forming by our feet in the front!  Number 3 (and most troubling) - the choke in our SC 360 was sticking open at about 3,000 rpms.  Harm tried a few fixes which worked for a bit but ultimately we were revving pretty high as we were careening around corners in the blinding rain!  And I'm pretty sure our tires were not always in full contact with the road!  I was really glad Harm was the one driving that day because I became his eyes so we were able to stay within the lines! To top it all off, because we were concentrating on staying alive, we missed a LOT of clues so we got the "prize" for the fewest correct answers. 

Is anybody out there??

Once we all made it back to Dunsford, we were treated to good food and conversation. 

Biggest loser!!
Our newest member
Ken handing out some prizes
Lucky Roberta!!

AMO Christmas Party 2017

Henry opening his Secret Santa gift after much stealing fun!

Although I am writing this post on January 2nd, 2018, it by no means minimizes the fun had at this year's Christmas Party/70th birthday celebration for Roberta Sommerville!  Ken and Roberta opened their home to, I think, 22 of us!  No small feat but thanks to everyone for contributing towards the feast (and to Ken and Roberta for providing the turkey especially).  As usual, there was lots of catching up - especially with a couple of "long lost" members!  Henry has been so busy lately that he's been unable to get out (really hard when he's sent to the States for his work).

Dave entertaining Sandy and Carol in his "Christmas" ensemble!

Dave and Donna Nalepa were able to combine their trip to visit family in Kingston and Toronto with a side trip to the party!  He brought gifts for everyone - his family recipe of Christmas cake!  He had started putting this together in September so it was well "seasoned" by November! 

We all visited with each other and basically ate our faces off before we began our Secret Santa tradition.  The fun lasted for almost an hour as each person either took from under the tree or stole gifts that looked promising!  One such box was of particular interest and if I were to count, it was probably stolen at least a dozen times!  Finally, we had come to the end and one by one we opened our gifts.  It's always incredible to see what people have come up with! 

Irene opening her gift with lots of interest from Sonia!!

We ended the evening by wishing Roberta a very happy birthday with many more to come!  Spoiler alert - Ken will be 70 in June!!

I would like to wish everyone a very (belated) Merry Christmas and here's hoping your New Year is full of good health, happiness and many opportunities to get out in your AMCs! 


Fall Colours Tour – Hold the Date

As I write this on Saturday morning, I'm waiting for the sun to come up.  I've just been watching the news about the devastation of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean and what's about to happen in Florida.  I'm sure we all hope (and pray) that our friends in the affected areas of the US were able to get  safety ahead of this monster storm.

On a brighter note, Ken and Irene Perrier are hosting this year's Fall Colours Tour on October 15th (that's the Sunday).  I don't have any further details but as soon as "the boys" return from their Nascar trip to Richmond, VA, I'll get that information for you.

New Event – September 30th

Randy Weales is a very talented musician (drummer) who has played with the group called "Marty and the Mojos" for 20 years!  They will be doing an afternoon matinee on September 30th at the Ganaraska Hotel in Port Hope and have invited members back to their home in Cobourg after the gig.  This would be an amazing opportunity for a club event, hear some great blues music and connect with friends.  How much better could life get!!


Ganaraska Hotel, 30 Ontario Street, Port Hope

2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Dinner at Randy and Michelle's:  868 Chipping Park Boulevard, Cobourg

BYOB, bathing suits (hot tub is open).  Just let Randy know what you can contribute (they will be doing the meat).

RSVP:  September 17th

See you there!

Rambler Rama 2017 and 2017 AGM

Written by Barb van der Veen

Rambler Rama was held quite early this year (June 10th) due to the AMO convention in Gettysburg, PA.  Normally, it falls on Fathers' Day weekend and Northern Ramblers wisely followed the suggestion to change the date.  In retrospect, at least from a weather stand-point, it was the right choice - it was a beautiful day with no rain and warm temperatures!  What a fabulous change!!

As usual, our club was integral in putting this event on - from providing some give-away prizes, stuffing goodie bags, "manning" the gate, registration desk, and voter tallying.  Thanks to all those in AMO+ who assisted - Jodee, Harm, Barb, Ken Edwards, Ken and Irene Perrier, Darryl and Chantelle Rae, and anyone else I may have forgotten.  We may be a small club but we are mighty!

Our East Coast representative, Dave Nalepa, drove his 1970 AMX all the way from Cape Breton (2,200 kms), partly for this event but also to hook up with those going to Gettysburg.  In fact, he was the clear winner of the Long Distance Award from Northern Ramblers.  Ken Perrier won for his 1968 AMX; and I received an award for my 1971 Hornet SC360.










What kept many waiting until the final awards were presented was the chance to win the 50/50 draw.  Luck was with Ken Perrier who held the winning ticket.  Drinks were on him!!


Once the dust had died down (and my car boosted - I left the headlights on), we moved over to Haugen's Restaurant for our AGM and dinner.  The minutes of that meeting are posted in a separate section. 


During the AMG, our President, Jodee Scott, formally announced her intention to not only step down as President, but to retire completely from the hobby.  As many of you will remember, she received a beautiful 1967 Ambassador DPL from Bill Putnam from Nevada about six or so years ago – they hadn’t known each other but Bill had a car he wanted to give to a deserving person and who more deserving than Jodee!  She had been involved with AMO+ for many years despite not having an AMC vehicle.  What an amazing gift!  Well, now it’s her time to “pay it forward” and she will be gifting the car to her nephew, Mike Scott, from Lockport, NY later this summer.  Her only qualification is that he joins AMO to ensure the younger generation becomes involved in preserving these fabulous cars!  We will miss Jodee with her enthusiasm and humour, but we know this is a year of transition for her as she moves to retirement from her work career.  All the best, Jodee, as you start the next journey in your life!

There were elections for the officer positions that had come due and this is the list of current/new executive:

President – Gary Freelen (it doesn’t pay to leave the meeting early)

Vice-President – Henry Joneit remains as VP but gives up Membership

Membership – Gail Putz (for one year)

Secretary – Joanne Legon

Treasurer – Mike Putz remains for one more year

Website Editor/Social Convenor – Barb van der Veen agreed to remain for a further term

Thanks to everyone for participating in the Executive!  It doesn’t require a lot of time and effort, just dedication to the club.  As I mentioned at the outset, we are not a large club but we have a strong core with many having known each other for decades!  That certainly doesn’t mean we don’t embrace new members though!  They simply add to an amazing mix of personalities, strengths and abilities.


Trans Am Javelin Rebuild – A Labour of Love: Final Edition

June 27th, 2017

The last month before going to Gettysburg was very hectic!  Despite what we thought was a very reasonable time schedule, we ran into a few major snags along the way. The headliner was one of those items that was more trouble than we thought.  The original piece was in very poor shape so Harm built it up with fibreglass and resin, topped off with bondo.  After many hours of sanding, it was painted and then the heat resistant adhesive ($80 per can!) was applied to the liner and material.  Instructions were followed to the letter and everything looked pretty good.  There were a few wrinkles but they were mostly hidden by the trim pieces.  Then, Jeff Spratt came over and shared his considerable knowledge of paint buffing with Harm.  After a day long session, Harm declared that he was officially done buffing and I think it turned out very well.


Then came the test drive!  Everything had checked out and it was ready for a run down the road to make sure it was ready.  The tires provided were original with very little wear, but unfortunately once they were put onto the rims and brought up to pressure, cracks began to appear.  Driving it like a little old lady on Sundays would have been okay, but Harm wanted to put it through its paces so Babs would have peace of mind.  He switched the tires from our 1971 SC360 and off they went.  Beautiful, until Harm went to turn around to come home and his brake foot went all the way to the floor!!  It seems again that, although the rubber gaskets looked fine on the calipers, they blew out under pressure.  Thanks go out to Darryl Rae for coming to our rescue (again! - he had already helped to provide master cylinder and some trim pieces).  He had a new caliper and a rebuilt one, as well as a couple of rebuild kits so Harm and Ken Edwards rebuilt and installed the new calipers on yet another rainy day.  This time, Ken took it out for the test drive and came back complaining of a minor engine bogging and vacuum leak in the carburetor.  Back to Canadian Tire for new spark plugs and emailing fellow AMO member, Todd Hiester, who had rebuilt the carb in the first place, to bring his tools to the show.  The TA's original tires and rims were put back on so Ken and Harm could load it onto the trailer for the trip to Gettysburg.  You can bet they checked the tie-downs many times, as well as the hitch, so there were no mistakes!  As they said in Hunt for Red October, "we didn't want this (TA) coming back at us!".


The GPS said the trip to Gettysburg was about 8 1/2 hours.  Harm, Ken, Roberta and I all climbed into our new truck and headed down to Port Hope to hook up with Jodee.  She decided not to bring her 1967 Ambassador so I hoped into her Vibe for the trip down.  We then met up with Dave and Donna Nalepa in Kingston and headed for the border. Dave drove through first, followed the Vibe and then the truck and trailer.  Great!  Have Dave report that we were all heading down to the same event so there would be less questions to answer for each of us.  Unfortunately for Dave and Donna, they were chosen for a random check and, after we sailed through the checkpoint, we waited a half hour for them to clear the border.  Thank goodness they didn't require a strip search!!  🙂  Given a few stops for gas and food, we finally arrived in Gettysburg around 7:30 p.m.  Babs and her son, Marc, arrived a short time later and, without much pomp and circumstance, Harm opened up the trailer for their first view.  They were quite overcome (I wished I'd been there - I had popped over to see other club members for a moment)!  The next day, the car was unloaded and Marc sat it the TA for the very first time!  He looks rather proud, eh?  Babs did her usual inspection and then they set about detailing the car for the Concours Show on Saturday!  Despite many cleanings at home, the car needed a good "going over".










Saturday came and the car was driven off the trailer again to sit in the Junior Javelin Class section.  Heavy rain had fallen the night before so there was a bit more cleaning to do as Marc anxiously awaited the judging.  I am very pleased to report that the car (through the efforts of all involved - Harm, Barb, Jodee, Ken Edwards, Jeff Spratt, Darryl Rae) received a Gold award! 


And now, we've come to the end of our story!  Just in case you've forgotten what the car looked like when we got it oh those many years ago, here you go!!  Hey, Brad Hillick!!  Here's your TA!  I can almost imagine him smiling down at us and giving us the "thumbs up"!  This was truly a labour of love!  


Call for Officers – AGM

As you may or may not know, a number of officer positions are up for re-election/election this year at our Annual General Meeting on June 10th, 2017 after Rambler Rama.  (Note;  At this point, we do not have a location for the AGM but can certainly ask Haugen's for a quiet location in their dining room).

The following positions are up for re-election with the current occupants:

President - Jodee Scott has announced her retirement from the club

Vice-President - Henry Joneit

Secretary - Gail Putz

Website Editor/Social Convenor - Barb van der Veen

It is unclear at this point if any of the above will be continuing in their positions, besides that of President.  If we want to ensure this club continues, it is important that we get involvement from some of our other members.  Duties are not onerous and you'll find great satisfaction in being engaged in the running of the club.  Please think about volunteering and come out to the AGM on June 10th (or provide your proxy vote to someone who will be there)!


Barb van der Veen