Scroll all the way down for the 6 December arrival pictures.
BLACK BEAUTY and BLUE BELLE are pleased to announce their adoption today of a new young Lady to be their stablemate — a 1931 Model A Ford Tudor Sedan. Their father is overjoyed that a couple years search was such a joyous occasion today.
I have owned Model A Fords for half of my life. For over 20 years my trusty Belzebuth – a 1929 Roadster – served me well, and when I returned to Connecticut I bought a 1930 Pickup Truck in 1996. But it was not the same as my roadster, so soon I got a 1930 Roadster.
But, I always had wanted, since they were new, a Triumph TR3, and you probably know how BLACK BEAUTY came into my life in 2010. But I thought I could not drive two cars at once, and a friend was hounding me for the roadster, so she went back to Connecticut. To be truthful, her sale helped ease the pains BLACK BEAUTY was causing my wallet. But I missed having an A!!! Even if just to look at. A half hearted search began, and I knew that I wanted to die with a 1930 or preferably a 1931 Tudor Sedan – and black as Henry made them. And then BLUE BELLE joined BLACK BEAUTY in June, 2012. I found out you can drive two cars at once, well almost. You pull one into the garage and back the other one out. The quest for a Tudor was rekindled, and the intensity of the search would ebb and flow. The tide has been rising the past few months.
I make my checks of Ebay, Craig’s List and Hemming’s Motor News in cycles – hey something to do. Last weekend I contemplated running to Pittsfield, Massachusetts to look at a ’31 Tudor, but it did not “grab me.” Two days ago another showed up on Ebay in Waterbury, Connecticut, and looked good in the pictures, but pictures can be deceiving. I placed in a respectable bid, and remained the high bidder even though the reserve was not met. But after rehearsal last night I thought, “what the heck,” and sent this message at 11:27 PM last night to the seller via Ebay:
Tonight got away from me, so could not call. Have had Model As half my life, but sadly sold my 1930 Roadster when I restored my TR3A – thought I could only drive one car at a time. WRONG – got an MGA, and all you have to do is park one, and back the other out. So, need another A, and decided I want to die with a 30/31 Tudor Sedan. I am a Connecticut native, and who knows, I may even have seen the car. Would like to visit possibly. If I brought cash along what would it take to close a deal? Thanks, yours, RAY PHONE NUMBER (just off I-91 28 miles north of Massachusetts line).
This morning at about 8:30 the phone rings, “this is Steve about the A.” We talk, and I like the way he sounds. “Yes I will sell it now and stop the auction, but it is a firm $10,500.” Think fast Ray, “alright, I have one errand in Bellows Falls, Vermont, but I will stop at the bank first (always have some shekels at home) and be there by noon.
“But, Ray,” my teller tells me when I go to withdraw $9,000, “we had one big withdrawal this morning, and we don’t keep that much cash here. I could give you lots and lots of $5 and $10 bills though.” But, as you may know, business in the real world is done in $100 bills, and they only had $4,000 left. So I took those 4o bills and she talked me into taking a cashier’s check for the five. I left a voicemail for Steve to that effect.
Cruising down I-91 my stupid low tire pressure comes on. Always been a problem, and friend Scott can confirm that. More about this idiot light later (I am dating myself calling it an idiot light – remember Oil and Water lights on the dash of your 1957 Ford Fairlane or my 1956 Chevy Two Door Hardtop?)
I arrive at Steve’s shop at 11:45, barely 12 hours after I sent the email message. (Ironically it was a Steve I bought my 1930 Roadster from at his shop in New Milford, Connecticut — strange omens — or meant to bes). And he is a talker and we have fun talking cars and experiences. Then he tells me the fellow next door is Ralph Stein’s son, “do you know of Ralph Stein?” asks Steve. “Of course, he was one of the preeminent writers on old cars in the 50s and 60s.” John Stein comes in, and soon we are sharing stories of Henry Austin Clark and his LI museum, and Peter Helck and his “old Number 16.” — Did I tell you I was having fun? Eventually we go to inspect the Tudor, I had peered at it from afar already.
Well, “a bird in the hand…” and here was a nice clean driver, just what I want, and price within the ballpark (actually on the low side). Well, the upholstery is not exactly correct, but nice, clean and serviceable for my life. What may appear to you as hasty decisions by Ray are really well calculated thought processes and researched over time, and thus when the time is right you can react instantaneously. “Done,” says Ray. “The title is at my house,” Steve says, “let’s go get it.”
On the way out he says, “you are getting a flat.” When we get back, “pull you car over to the other side of the building.” I do that, and when I get out and look at the rear right tire, there is a nail (but the point) protruding. “I see it,” says Steve as he heads for tools and a tire plug. “Now back it up a tad so I can pull the nail out.” And he does, all four inches of it, and the head had gone in first. How many people can get a flat and have it fixed on the spot without having it removed from the car? I am fortunate with my timing and experiences, and, thank you, God.
More talk and fun, writing up of a bill of sale, presentation of a cashier’s check and then counting of the real cash, and it is 2:15, and off I head home. Tomorrow as part of the arrangements we will work out the details of his neighbor delivering my new “Henry’s Lady.”
I continued west on I-84 to pick up Connecticut Route 8 to Torrington to travel back roads past Bradley Airport to get back on I-91. Shunpiking to a degree, and familiar “old turf.” I got a late lunch in Thomaston (home of the clocks) and now know where the Railroad Museum is — been “on the list.”
So, there is another adventure filled day in the life of Ray, which will lead to more adventure filled days in the life of Ray. Have already alerted two friends to start packing their picnic baskets and selecting their costumes and accoutrements.
Do not forget A CHRISTMAS CAROL. As always, yours, RAY
UPDATE – Friday 6 December
Earlier today Steve and I arranged that my new “Lady” would leave Connecticut at 5 AM tomorrow, Saturday, and arrive in Walpole about 8 AM. I spent the afternoon visiting around town, but had heard on the news at lunch that snow was impending for Saturday. When I got home there were many phone messages and an email from Steve that they wanted to come immediately because of the snow. I immediately replied, “fine.” Rob and Barbara graciously earlier offered the use of their barn, and also invited me out to dinner this evening. “I would love to go, but this is my last night home for over ten nights and I need to veg out,” I told Barbara. So, when I got home and found my new “toy” was soon to arrive, I called Barbara and said, “and another reason I cannot join you is she is coming now.” Rob called back saying he got the barn ready. At 7PM Steve called, and they were just across the river. I met them on Route 12 and they followed me to Rob and Barbara’s. And below is the unloading and tucking in. Now to get my stable at “44” modified to keep my girls in constant view. The saga continues.