Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


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Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The 1940 Dodge? Oh it's out in the barn.

Thanks to George Tooley, my LCC classmate, for passing this one along. Originally posted by California Classics, the car was sold in 2003. 

"Back in 1940, life in the country was running at a different pace. At about this time VIN *30231403* was built by proud American workers in Detroit, Michigan, one of 84,976 Dodge D-14 DeLuxe four-door sedans manufactured in 1940.  A veterinarian from Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, purchased the blue Dodge new at the local Dodge dealer in Boise. He used it to respond to calls all through the war years; his 1944 permit is still affixed to the windshield.As a very valuable asset during wartime, the car was always parked in the barn when not in use. In 1948, the good Doc passed away. The car was put on blocks and covered with bed sheets. No, it was not going to be for sale.Who would have guessed at that time that the Dodge would be asleep for more than 50 years?Children became adults, parents, then grandparents. The old Dodge was still asleep in the barn. In the late 1980's an attempt was made to awaken and sell the car. Finally, early in 2003, the time had come. The bed sheets were taken off, the car was lifted from the blocks, and the tires were filled up with air. A new owner was found. He took the Dodge to Southern California."Seventy-one years old and with 42,342 original miles showing on its odometer. The body, amazingly, is straight and absolutely rust free, thanks to being stored in a dry, well ventilated barn, away from the elements. The blue lacquer paint is original, factory applied. Sure, it's worn thin on the tops of the fenders.  Shows a myriad of nicks, imperfections, and touch ups from the past. There are a few small dings here and there, but not an ounce of body filler nor a single rust bubble. It's all heavy metal! 
"Repainting this car -- ever -- would be an unforgivable sin. It's patina is irreplaceable and gives the Dodge its inherent value. 
"Another Dodge industry first for 1940: safety rims. The wheels still feature their factory triple pin-striping, the heavily chromed hubcaps are beautifully preserved. Even the painted red detailing is still intact. Bias ply tires of the dimension 6.00x16 look original as well. I don't think they make "Pennsylvania Rx Supertest Cord S-3" rubber anymore. Open the doors and be invited into a cabin that's 100% factory original. Unmolested, unmodified, un-restored. It has the special 1940's aroma and charm that cannot be duplicated. It should never be restored, instead be enjoyed just the way it is."The dashboard is a masterpiece of Art Deco design. Fabulously painted metal creates the ambiance of lightly stained wood. Nickel plated accents duplicate the look of then-popular costume jewelry.  Every single part seems infused with the designer's idea to create a harmonious environment; details such as the retracting ash receiver lid are simultaneously good-looking and functional. There's simply no comparison to present-day throwaway products, sprouting black plastic appendages everywhere.Nevertheless, the Dodge was built with entirely modern creature comforts. It features dual electric windshield wipers, sealed beam lamps, floating power, hydraulic brakes, telescopic shock absorbers, a column-shifted, synchronized transmission, tinted glass, a chromed horn ring, and a host of other innovations. What was found in the felt-lined, locking glove box is nothing short of astonishing in its historical context:
Owner's instruction book in its original envelope.
"Sentinel" first aid kit, incl. A bottle of "Mercuro-Chrome."
Small upholstery brush. Promotional lead pencil "Compliments of DeRail Pool Hall, Glenn's Ferry ID."
Old bottle opener. Parking stub dated 8/16/1941, from the "Glen Valley Rodeo." Small metal box containing "Buss Auto Fuses." "Ideal Split Shot" box containing a tire valve and a fishing hook. Pair of celluloid sunglasses.
"Travel Idaho with CONOCO" road map. Ample space for three on the comfy front bench, featuring air foam seat cushions. Original mohair still looks good, with the unavoidable stains and moth attacks kept to a minimum."Through large, rear-hinged suicide doors, entry to the spacious passenger compartment is easy, even when wearing a top hat. Luxuriously equipped with arm and foot rests, woven grab handles, beveled-glass interior light, and (unused) ash tray, passengers will invariably exclaim:
"This feels like Driving Miss Daisy!""Roomy trunk sports original jute mats. Original spare wheel and jacking equipment are present, as well as a spare and a small tool tray. Also included is a set of new GOODYEAR tires of the proper size and a set of new inner tubes.
We did not feel the need to mount the new tires, however, it might be advisable before embarking on an extended journey.
"Let us MARFAK your car!" proclaims Texaco's service sticker on the door jamb. The Dodge was just lubed and serviced, 2,000 miles ago, in 1948. Note the carmine-colored, bakelite 'necker knob', Dodge's early version of power assisted steering. If you have to ask why it's called a 'necker knob', you are probably too young to buy this car."

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