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.


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!!

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.


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

Trans Am Javelin Rebuild – A Labour of Love Part 2

Written by Harm van der Veen

Since we last left you, the entire engine has been installed together with transmission, drive shaft and rear axle.  All the brakes have been rebuilt and synthetic brake fluid used to bleed the brakes (this was a job that required two of us – Barb pumping up the brakes and me, under the car, releasing the fluid.  It can be a nasty job but after so many years of doing this together, we’ve got it down to a fine science).  This will avoid future issues with water in the brake lines and rusting out components.  All the fluids were topped up and we readied ourselves for our first engine fire-up in 15 years!  The motor was not disassembled and rebuilt as it had very few miles on it from the original rebuild Brad Hillick did.  We had our fingers crossed that all the seals and gaskets would stand the test of time.  Ken came over one Sunday and we started the process of bringing that big 390 back to life.  My first words to Ken when he stepped in the door of the shop were “Assume nothing!”.  All the fluids were rechecked, hose and electrical connections rechecked and the charger put on the battery to make sure it was up to the job.  After verifying all systems “go”, we started cranking over the sleeping giant!  We had trouble getting fuel from the remanufactured fuel tank to the carb so we pressurized the tank slightly with a blow gun to force fuel to the front of the car.  Once we verified that we did indeed have fuel in the carb, it only took one more crank and she came to life.  I was totally surprised that we didn’t see any evidence out of the tail pipe that it had sat any more than a day, let alone 15+ years!  A few minor adjustments and Ken had her purring!  After letting her run and come up to temperature, we shut it off and crossed our fingers on the restart which it did without missing a beat.  Again, with a few more adjustments on the choke, she was as reliable as your daily driver.

Engine compartment

The next challenge was to get all the gauges working!  We had spent hours going through the wiring harness clearing bare, twisted splices by soldering and heat shrinking them and then rewrapping the harness.  However, there were still some surprises left before we could get all the gauges working.  Sometimes corrosion isn’t as obvious as we think it is – it can be as simple as a minor film that stops an electrical connection being made.  It took a few days to get these “gremlins” sorted out and sometimes some head scratching, but finally it got to a point where everything is working according to the shop manual specs. 

Barb’s main focus was bringing back the interior from some pretty significant mold and mildew on the vinyl seats especially.  She washed them with mild soap and warm water, dried them off then treated the material with leather conditioner.  This treatment had to be applied a couple of times as the vinyl soaked it up quickly.  There will be more of this for the front seats, sail and door panels.  Again, these parts have been out of the car for many years, traipsing behind us as we moved three times!

Back seats cleaned and installed
Harm "playing" with side glass to get it rolling up and down properly
More adjustments!

A lot of interior work has also taken place.  Harm had earlier applied Dynamat to the floor of the car and rear luggage tray which will help keep the heat down when Babs is out and about in Atlanta.  The carpet has now been installed together with the rear seats, seat belts and rear door pads.  As the dash was rather faded, Harm picked up “Bumper Coater by SEM” which is actually a dye and painted the dash so it looks brand new.  He also used the same dye to colour the steering column.  This dye is very different to paint with!  Although it comes in a spray bomb, it is unlike any I’ve ever used before!  I found you had to “mist” the contents onto the part you are colouring.  If you attempt to spray like a normal spray bomb with a nice, wet coat, you’ll find it actually creates severe orange peel.  The mist coat lays down rather nicely to a smooth, even finish after you’ve walked away.  But boy – is it difficult to walk away!!  I found the end result to be very satisfactory and, according to my supplier, durability is excellent.  He told me of one customer that I know who changed the entire colour of his interior, including the seats, and has had no issues with peeling or showing through after three years of summertime use.  It’s a product I would highly recommend, but be patient when you’re applying it.

Dynamat - a great investment!!
Dye - perfect for any interior parts from seats to crash pads, etc.!


I’ve just finished painting the front spoiler, mirrors and a few other small parts of the grill assembly so once they’re installed, I can finally, finally start wet-sanding the car! 

Undercarriage (this was the colour scheme as received, although not original)
More undercarriage
And another shot of the undercarriage


The other big challenge is the headliner.  It was redone previously with a material that had a foam backing which had started to separate.  Of course, it wouldn’t pull off evenly and I found that the fibre board of the headliner was also separating in spots!  I did my best to clean all the loose pieces off it and thought I would be better off to have a replacement headliner, but a phone call to Kennedy’s revealed that they don’t make one for the Javelin.  So, I had to go back to my less-than-perfect headliner to figure out how I was going to make it work.  I decided that the best course of action was to buy up all the fibreglass resin they had in Fenelon Falls’ Canadian Tire (and then in Lindsay’s store) and soak these loose fibres with it to produce some kind of stable surface.  This worked but the unfortunate part is that is was anything but smooth!  So, I’ve done something I’d never done in my life – I started body working a headliner!!  The challenge is not to build up too much material on it, both for weight and trying to maintain the original contour.  At this point, it’s still a work in progress.  We had to order a specific adhesive for high heat areas such as headliners.  It’s rated for up to at least 250 degrees F and is the only adhesive the local upholstery shop would recommend.

We’re now at about 90{9bf56cdcf86fd5e484f7a6c7dd7f10c086072f0abab75d8e87856dbab1800b0f} completion on the Trans Am with plans to haul it down to Gettysburg for the AMO convention and then on to Atlanta.  Ken Edwards and I will be doing that second leg of the trip together.  After so many years away (almost a lifetime for her son, Marc), it will be an emotional reunion to be sure!

Editor's Note:  I should also mention that some parts were heavily corroded and, as NOS replacements were not available, many had to be sandblasted and individually painted in colours as close to stock as possible.   A lot of those paints were available at Canadian Tire.

Passing of Val Fleming

Many years ago, before the creation of AMO+, there were two clubs - Classic AMX Club of Central Canada and then Northern Ramblers.  Val Fleming was an early member of Northern Ramblers who assisted us with our first National Convention (was that 1994?  I can't recall exactly).  Anyway, after years of working in the States but living in Canada, she made the move to Phoenix, Arizona where she was a member of the Cactus Cruisers chapter of AMO.  The following is from an email we received from John T Elle, member of that club:

"With great sadness, I must report the passing of Valerie Elizabeth Fleming, 58 years old of Phoenix, AZ.  She was proceeded in death by her father, Sydney Mark Kenneth Horn by a matter of weeks.  She passed away due to complications following a double lung transplant, however this did allow her to live another year and half to love and be loved by those around her.

She left in passing her mother, Cecelia Horne-Paul and three sisters, Marilyn, Maureen, Elisabeth and her husband, Allan.

Valerie was an active spokeswoman for what the club stands for and participated for a number of years at the national level in organizing and running the early shows.  She was active at the local level whenever possible and could be found somewhere in the vicinity of her little red racer, a 1980 AMX that she was forever proud of being the owner of.  Her car was one of the unusual and somewhat rare base model versions of the car so keeping it clean and presentable was always an activity that kept her busy.

At the local level here in Phoenix, she not only was a co-founder of the Cactus Cruisers but an active member of the Mopars Unlimited and the Walter P Chrysler club where one of her favorite projects was to score well in combined Mopar and AMC classes.  She was also a huge help to me when I was a news editor for all three of those car clubs.

Valerie's presence was always able to be observed by her friendly and helpful attitudes and her outlook on whatever was going on.  She was a significant help on the construction a car similar to hers, a 1980 Spirit, built from a derelict source and using an injected AMC 16 motor.  In addition to all her accomplishments, she was also a very good mechanic.

Valerie's health slowly became a larger issue as time passed, but her interest in this hobby continued and she could be found helping others not only in the hobby, but in her second interest in products made with yarn.  She established a successful online yarn store known as CrochetGal and became the source for not only yarn but the knowledge that accompanied them.

She will be missed!  We were close friends for over 22 years.  Losing her has left a large hole in my life, but consider myself fortunate to have known her.

Respectfully shared by

John T Elle, AMO Member 1589

Christmas Party 2016

About 20 of us got together in the party room of my apartment building in Peterborough on November 26th to celebrate and catch up on all the comings and goings since we last met.  Joanne Legon and I had dressed the place up in holiday style and, as folks arrived with their contributions to the pot luck meal and their Secret Santa gifts, I finally started to get into the spirit of the season.  We were able to make use of the Games Room so some played pool, air hockey, cards and board games, while others sat around and chatted.  We had a great deal of fun with the Secret Santa game (as always) with one of the favourite items being a hot dog maker!  The meal was set out in buffet style and was delicious, with more than enough for everyone.  We all had a wonderful time, once again confirming that it's not just about the cars, even though that's what brought us together.  A belated "Merry Christmas" to all and the best for the New Year!!

Irene, Ken, Harm and John sharing a few stories
Angelo leading the way with Roberta, Marty, Sandy, Harm and John picking up the rear!


Looks like they're admiring Angelo's Secret Santa gift!!
Happy Ken!
Gail and Mike with new members (and their relatives) Terry and Andy (they bought Mike's 1969 Javelin)
Enjoying the feast!


Libations, anyone??

Jodee Scott, President

Reminder – 2016 Christmas Party

Just a quick reminder that, if you haven't already done so, it's not too late to contact Jodee about coming to this year's Christmas party.  She is hosting it at her apartment building (there is an events room available downstairs) in Peterborough.  Just call her at:  705-772-7278 for further details.