Monday, May 11, 2009


Besides the truck and the car I bought for the drivetrain to put in the truck, I also bought a '54 Ford ragtop while stationed on Cape Cod. I had no intention of buying another vehicle, but I was made an offer I couldn't refuse. The guy that followed me from K.I. to Otis had bought a '54 ragtop in addition to the truck he had. Long story short, he got transferred and asked if I wanted the ragtop. I told him I had enough vehicles at the time. He said that he had just bought a new 6 volt battery for the car and would sell the car to me for what the battery cost. (I seem to remember it was only $5 or $10.) I really didn't need or want another car, but I bought it from him just to help him out as he was leaving. I think I fired it up a couple of times and even drove it with the top down once a few blocks on base, but mostly it sat outside of the Auto Hobby Shop on base.

This picture is of a restored car that I found on the intratubes, and not of the car I had.

The car I had was drivable but I didn't have the time to do anything with it. Later on my last day at Otis when I was leaving to go home I gave the car away. I had just cashed my final check at the Credit Union and met one of my co-workers and tossed him the keys and said, "It's parked at the Auto Hobby Shop. It's all yours." Because of the "Early Out" (that's another tale) I had a lots of running around and other things to do in a short period of time and didn't even think about trying to sell the car until it was too late to do anything.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Danny Kaye's

One of the first places I was introduced to on Cape Cod was a place called Danny Kaye's. When I first saw the name on the sign, I thought it belonged to the comedian Danny Kaye. Turned out it was the first names of the couple that owned the restaurant. It was an Italian-American restaurant and I was told that we all were to order our own pizzas. When the pizzas arrived, they were on large serving trays and were oval. I had never seen anything other than a round pizza before and it was cut into diamonds, lots of diamonds. The first time there I wasn't able to eat the entire pizza, maybe there were too many pieces, or maybe it was the fact that I had had a snack shortly before heading out to the restaurant. Almost every payday several of us would go to Danny Kaye's for pizza and after that first time, I was able to eat all of the pizza.

Twenty One years later I was working on Cape Cod at Otis and went looking for my favorite pizza place. The building was still there, but now it was a Chinese restaurant.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Like I said before I drove out to Cape Cod in my little Corvair. After driving around there for awhile, I realized that the Corvair was not a good vehicle to drive there. Other cars were always pulling out in front of me, seems like a little white car is almost invisible or just poses no threat to other drivers. That is why I bought the pickup in the picture below. Drivers on Cape Cod had a bad habit of creeping out until they were far enough out into the traffic lane that someone would stop to let them in. Whenever I spotted someone trying to creep out into traffic, I would downshift the truck to second gear and step on the gas. If they still kept coming, I would drift to the right and usually they would back up. Summertime was a miserable time to drive on Cape Cod and that was forty years ago. One town just off-base had about 10,000 year-round residents, on some summer weekends like July 4th it would swell to around 100,000.

Notice the broom sticking up behind the cab. A buddy said every truck had to have a broom and he stuck one there.
The other truck in this picture belonged to another guy in the shop. He followed me out to Cape Cod from K.I. and when he saw my truck, he bought one like it. Mine was a '56 Chevy and his was a '57 Chevy. He had a new Cougar that he bought with his re-enlistment bonus and had already wrecked it once while at K.I. and after seeing the traffic on Cape Cod, didn't want to take a chance on wrecking his car again.
I did a lot of work on the truck. It had a worn-out transmission and the rearend was shot. One of the wheel bearings in the rearend wore out and it was so bad that the axle wore a hole thru the top of the rearend housing. I bought a '56 Chevy car and put the entire drive chain from the car into the truck. There were some exciting moments during the process from getting the car to the base to finishing the project. While towing the car to the base, my buddy popped the clutch and started the car. It had a carburetor from a Caddy and the gas pedal linkage worked the opposite of the Chevy and after it started and he let up on the gas, it revved up and was running wide open. This happened to be on the bridge on to Cape Cod and there was a traffic circle at the bottom end of the bridge. He shut it down and didn't try again the rest of the way to the base.
Looking back, hindsight being 20/20, I might have been better off getting rid of the truck and keeping the car, but for some reason I preferred the truck over the car.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Psychic Car Repair

I drove the Corvair out to Cape Cod. One day it wouldn't start and after checking things out, I figured out that it wasn't getting any gas to the carburetors. I thought it was the fuel pump and got another one from an auto parts store. After changing the pump, it still wouldn't start. Finally found the problem, there was a piece of rubber hose in the gas line where you could disconnect it to remove the engine. It was underneath the engine at the front end of the engine. For some reason I didn't feel like making another trip to the parts store, so I just wrapped it with electrical tape and was able to get it running. Some time later, it might have been a couple of weeks later, I was driving around the area and the car sputtered and died. It would not restart, so I just pushed in the clutch and coasted into a parking lot. While the car was still moving, I said "I think the rubber hose in the gas line at the front of the engine let go." There was an auto parts store within sight, so we hiked to it and I bought some rubber hose to replace the piece on the gas line. After making the repair and we were on our way, one of the guys with me was amazed that I had diagnosed the problem before the car had even stopped moving. I never did let him know that I knew what the problem was because of the half-assed fix I had done before.