Saturday, October 13, 2018

People & Cars From Richmond Hill in the 1960s

I thought it might be time to add some more photos from my old scrap book; people and cars from Richmond Hill in the 1960s. 
(Click on any photo to enlarge it.)

Eddie Talerine, on left, and Tony D'Amato, look over some parts for a car Tony was building at the time: a '48 Ford convertible.

The original photo that was given me was a bit blurry so I tried to sharpen it up. Tony is installing a late '50s De Soto Hemi engine in his '48 Ford convert. The four-carb manifold on the engine can be seen in the photo on top.

After painting the car in yellow primer, Tony sold the car to Al Banome; these shots are from in front of the116th Street garages, just off Atlantic Avenue.

(Note my '55 Chevy convert in the background, obviously shot in 1963.)

When Al owned the car, it still had the De Soto engine in it (but, running with a single four-barrel carb).

Al sold the car to friend Richie Paretta, who promptly removed the hemi and installed a '54 Buick engine, Ford floor-shift trans ('39 ?), and a full-floating rear axle assembly.

The car is seen here on Sunrise Highway, on the way to Westhampton Drag Strip, one Sunday morning.

Another guy who hung out at the 116th Street garages was Bob McCowski, who was in the process of building this '36 Ford convert, with an early '60s 'Vette engine.
A '40 Ford rear with late Merc brakes were utilized.

The engine had Fuelie pistons and cam, and a single four-barrel. 

Still another '36 Ford convertible that grew in the 116th Street garages was this one being built by Andy Turano. 

According to my notes, the engine in Andy's '36 was a '56 Olds, running a Mallory Ignition, Isky high-lift cam, high-rev kit, and three carbs.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Car Show in Enumclaw, Washington 9/8/2018

We were visiting our granddaughter, who recently moved to Tacoma for a new job, and taking in all the sights of the area. About half-way between Tacoma, Washington, and Mt. Rainier National Park, we came upon a car show on Cole Street, in the small town of Enumclaw, this past Saturday, September 8th. It was the perfect spot to get out, stretch our legs, and take a break from driving.

There were plenty of vintage rods and customs, which I'm primarily interested in, and some "newer" cars like this hairy '68 Chevy Nova below. (Click on any photo to enlarge.)

 Here's a nice old-school street rod for you.

Looks like a pre-'49 flathead, with finned aluminum heads, running two carbs.

A really clean '53 Buick 2-door sedan, looking stock-bodied.

I was talking to the owner of this amazing '51 Ford convert (the highlight of the show for me); sorry I can't recall his name. If I remember correctly, he said he owned this car when he was in high school, back in the '50s or '60s, and took his (now) wife out on dates in it. Beautiful workmanship and attention to detail all around.

Oddly enough, I (and some friends) had a car club called the Piston Pushers when I was in high school; this guy was on the west coast, we were on the east.

Running a reworked flathead but the owner told me the suspension and (disc) brakes were all updated.

More excellent, although subtle, bodywork was done on this '53 Chevy: I don't remember seeing many 2-door hardtops for this year car.

This '49 Ford 2-door sedan looks mildly customized on the outside but, if you enlarge the photo and check out the data on the framed poster to the left, you'll see much more has been done that doesn't show from the outside.

When you're driving down the road in this 1960 Crown Imperial convertible, you'll need every inch of the lane you're in. This boat is in mint condition, judging from the outside.

And, as nice as the cars were at the street show in town, my favorite of the day was this unbelievable 1953 Studebaker Starliner 2-door hardtop parked a block away.

The front fenders were modified to accept updated headlight assemblies, and the small vertical vents on the sides of the front fenders are gone, but the rest of the body looks original. The paint is awesome!

Robert E. Bourke, head of Raymond Loewy Associates Studebaker design operation, created one of the most beautiful cars of its era with this model (in my opinion) – way ahead of its time! 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Remembering The Oberglock Farm

I grew up in a section of the borough of Queens, New York City, that was made up of mostly single-family homes built fairly close together. There would be a small front and back yard, usually a driveway between most homes, and very little additional space. Scattered about, mostly on corners, might be a candy store or deli, and several blocks away an avenue lined with bigger stores and shops. Even though there were occasional vacant lots (which were eventually built on), there weren’t any farms around... except for the Oberglock Farm.
Back in the 1854, Herman Oberglock came to America from Germany and in subsequent years bought several huge parcels of land on which his family farmed. By the time he died, on February 1st, 1908, most of his land had been sold to developers and, according to a 1909 map, there was only one sizeable Oberglock farm still remaining – on 127th Street, between Broadway (later renamed Jerome Avenue, then 101st Avenue) and Liberty Avenue – only two blocks from where I was born and raised more than thirty years later.
By the time I was a child, playing in the streets of the neighborhood, that large Oberglock farm was gone and rows of houses like my parents’ had been built in its place. But, right around the corner from where I lived was an old house with a sizable garden along side, and a large chicken coop in the yard. Growing up, I heard the roosters crowing in the morning and, occasionally, my mother would ask me to go around to the Oberglock Farm and get some eggs or fresh vegetables. It seems that this old house had a Mrs. Oberglock living there with her son, Michael, and was the last vestige of the great Oberglock Farms in my section of Queens.

 The original house, on left; and a new house, built where the garden once was.

 A few years before I got married and moved out of the neighborhood, Mrs. Oberglock died and Mike lived alone in the house with his dog after that. Sometime when I wasn’t paying attention, the chickens disappeared and there was no more garden. The farm was officially closed. My brother, Richie, had been good friends with Mike and often visited with him until Mike passed away sometime in the 1990s.

Remembering The Elmhurst Gas Tanks

When you think of NYC landmarks, the first things that pop into your head might be the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, or even the Brooklyn Bridge. But if you were commuting into the city from Long Island each day by car, during the 1970s, ‘80s or ‘90s, you would have been very much aware of another important landmark: the Elmhurst Gas Tanks.

Photo found online; photographer unknown.
 Built between 1910 and 1921, the 200-foot tall cylinders contained natural gas and occupied a six-acre tract of land just north of the Long Island Expressway at 80th Street in – you guessed it – Elmhurst, Queens. Officially, they were called the Newtown Holders, each with a capacity to hold 10 million cubic feet of natural gas – the vapor that wafts through underground pipes into feeder lines for thousands of homes. Because of their proximity to one of the most heavily-traveled roads in the country, traffic reports each morning during rush hour inevitably included warnings such as, “expect a fifteen-minute delay passing the Elmhurst Gas Tanks.” If you were lucky, you might have heard, “traffic is moving well past the gas tanks.”
Due to advancements in modern storage designs for natural gas, the Brooklyn Union Gas Company began dismantling the tanks in 1996. By 2001 the tanks were completely gone and in 2007, the city began construction of a $20 million park on the site. It opened to the public on May 24, 2011.

Remembering The Coffin Factory

Yes, you read that correctly! Only a few blocks from where I lived while growing up was a large, three-story building on Atlantic Avenue, at 124th Street, in which they made coffins. We actually had quite a lot of light manufacturing in our part of Queens, during the ‘50s and ‘60s, but the coffin factory was probably the most unusual. It’s main entrance was on 94th Avenue where a large side yard bordered the big brick building.
The things that I remember most about this place were the smells of various types of fresh wood that they would mill themselves to actually build the boxes; the aromas greeted you anytime you walked by and, in their yard, was a big dumpster where they threw their discards. My friends and I would always check the trash bin for scraps that we could use to make bird houses or feeders, or – if we were really ambitious – tables and chairs that we would use in our clubhouses (which sprang up in someone’s yard or a vacant lot, from time to time).

Recent photo found online from Google Maps.
 I think it was sometime in the 1970s, after I had moved away, that the coffin factory closed its doors and the entire block (gas station/auto repair shop on one half and the old factory on the other) was bought by the South Shore Tire & Rubber Company, a Goodyear tire distributor. They bricked up all the windows in the old factory and – to this day –  continue to use the building as a warehouse to store tires which they can then deliver to numerous repair shops in the surrounding areas.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Rest Of Ken Szekretar's Cars (from the '60s)

Although one of Ken Szekretar's cars has been previously
featured on this blog (his '51 Ford, on the Dec. 5, 2010 post),
he had several other notable drives back in the day.
Of particular interest was this 1958 Chevy Impala 2-door hardtop.
The car was nosed and decked, painted a metallic silver-blue,
wore '57 Plymouth wheel covers, and sat on a "rake."

The engine was production 348 cuber with
three carbs, a mild cam and solid lifters.

A year or so later, Ken bought a 1960 Corvette;
it was basically pretty stock when he got it.

 Ken added a Fuelie cam and solid lifters, four-barrel carb, and
Fuelie heads to the engine. Power went through a 4-speed tranny

Ken next worked on the body, shaving unnecessary chrome,
removing the front bumpers, and reworking the grille opening
into a rolled pan effect. New paint was a dark metallic blue.

Frosted white plexigrass lenses were used in the opening
under the headlights for the parking lights and turn signals.

Doug's Wheels in the 1960s

While in high school, one of the other gear heads I met
was Doug Maloney, from Glendale, Queens.
He had been building a '32 Ford coupe during the same time
I had been working on my '50 Merc (see the first post on this blog).
Around the time we graduated, I stopped over to his
house to see his car and grabbed some photos.

Still a work-in-progress when I visited,
the five-window coupe had been channeled 11-inches;
juice brakes and a '56 Ford steering box were installed,
along with a dago-ed front axle.

The engine was a completely rebuilt '56 Olds,
running nearly stock, with lots of chrome;
transmission was from a '39 Ford and the rear from a '40.

I was with Doug the first night he took the car out on the road;
among the first destinations was the White Castle on
Union Turnpike, in Fresh Meadows (that place no longer exists).

 After selling the '32, Doug bought a '41 Ford coupe
and started working on that. He showed up at
my house one day and I got a few photos of it.

 The body was basically stock but he installed
high-compression heads and a Mallory ignition on the engine.

Before he could complete any other modifications to the '41,
he blew the clutch,  sold the car, and bought a '57 Chevy convertible.
(All photos were shot in front of my old Richmond Hill home.)

The Chevy ran a stock six (in spite of a "V"
on the continental kit spare cover).

Doug's next car was another '57 Chevy;
this one was equipped with the 283 V8 "Power Pack"
(four-barrel carb and dual exhausts)
and a Turbo-Hydromatic transmission.