"something of an extraordinary nature will turn up..."

Mr. Micawber in Dickens' David Copperfield

Kit Foster's



August 3rd, 2005

Last month we spent a weekend in upstate New York, cheering our daughter Harriet as she competed in the second annual Musselman Triathlon at Geneva. The thought of running 13 miles after swimming for over a mile and
for 56 boggles the mind, but she finished in good, if not record, time.

It was not supposed to be an automotive weekend, but interesting cars have a way of turning up. No sooner had we arrived in Syracuse, our overnight stop, than we noticed all sorts of intriguing vehicles around. It seems we had landed in the midst of the Syracuse Nationals. Judging from the nature of the traffic I figured it was a street rod festival, but there’s more to it than that, including bikes, trucks and muscle cars.

Golden Hemi

I’m not a fancier of modified cars, per se, but I’m always interested in what people do and how they do it – rods and modified cars usually embody exemplary craftsmanship and often innovative engineering. Wayne Graefen tells me that early hemis are “really hot,” and this one took
pride of place
under the hood of a
’37 Ford coupe
. Early Fords like this
chopped Model A
still seem to be the rods of choice; the owners of this one trekked from Massachusetts, so they brought their
luggage trailer
. Some cars, like this
’40 Chevy
, were tastefully bright; others, like
this one
, were quite radical. Front or
it gave little clue to its heritage until I looked at the
, which gave it away as a 1949 or ’50 Dodge. But this Mopar, which, to my mind, should have had a hemi, was propelled by the all-too-common small block Chevy V8.

Sleeper of the day was this
1936 Ford phaeton
. But for the color, it had hardly a
hair out of place
. The only sign of modification I could find was these
auxiliary gauges
, and I still don’t know if they monitor the original flathead or a more modern powerplant.

It was an interesting weekend, but it has not inspired me to come home and build a street rod. It has, however, convinced me that
my kind of pickup

Serendipity: n. An aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
“They were always making discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”
Horace Walpole, The Three Princes of Serendip
© 2004-2018 Kit Foster
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