The Blue Beast: 1937 DeSoto Business Coupe

I call her “Lolita” and my family calls her “the Blue Beast;” she is a 1937 DeSoto Business Coupe, a garage-kept senior citizen. As with other residents in senior-care facilities, she is cared for as needed: Lolita has a charger to keep her battery in tip-top condition. I first saw Lolita when she was owned by Bruce Stevens. He had her painted blue following repair of the trunk into which a tree had fallen. She had been metallic green when the first two owners cared for her. As to the snap buttons on the doors, she was used as a delivery car for a pharmacy in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and the pharmacy signs were attached to the buttons. I persuaded Bruce to give her up for adoption in 1991 following my mother’s passing and receipt of a small inheritance.

As to her finish, this one-of-a-kind paint scheme is called “patina,” which I believe is French, Polish, Italian, or Swahili for “Dirty Car.” The patina has been nurtured over many years of having never being washed and it can never be replicated. In fact, two years ago, “Jack S ## t Sparrow,” on the fly I might add, deposited a very critical pin-striping feature to this award-winning paint scheme.  She is survivor.  She has been awarded and badged as HPOF with the AACA.  This award is a very high honor. No, she will never be intentionally washed although rain may occasionally fall!

This Blue Beast has power: her L-head inline 6-cylinder engine has 93 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque fired by an “Autolite” ignition and delivered through 4 main bearings and solid valve lifters. The manual transmission has full synchromesh and she stops with four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Her all-steel body has 14 rubber mounts and rides on an independent front suspension and hypoid rear axle.

Lolita is highly optioned. She has bumper guards, fender skirts, “Transitone” AM radio that still works, heater, cigar lighter, radio antenna located under driver’s side running board, “Gas-Saver” overdrive transmission and vent wings windows. The mechanical overdrive transforms Lolita from a 3-speed to a 4-speed forward drivetrain.

I have lovingly maintained Lolita. She has had several life-saving surgeries as well as transplants including (1) a new brake system consisting of brake lines, wheel cylinders and master cylinder; and (2) a new fuel system with fuel lines, electric fuel pump at the tank to stop vapor lock and new poly fuel tank.  Lolita and I have a maintenance agreement: if I continue to maintain her, she will keep running for me.

Lolita’s design integrates style features in the grille, with the hood ornament, bullet headlights, stop lights and license plate light, as you can see from the attached pictures. She has received many unsolicited comments and cat calls as to her stunning beauty from far-off admirers.


By Matthias Staack


My 1972 Chevy Chevelle

The reason I looked for an antique car was for our car tours not for car shows. Also, the fact is that I love old cars. Believe it or not I found my car advertised in church. I also knew the guy who had it for sale. I went to see her and of course fell in love with her immediately. She was a pretty yellow with a black vinyl roof. As you can tell she’s a girl and her name is “Buttercup.” It seems I give my cars names…I don’t know why.

First thing I did after I bought her was take her to my mechanic because I knew she needed a new battery. What was in the car was a side mount battery and hard to charge so I had it replaced with an upright battery. That the new battery was not “original” didn’t matter because I wouldn’t take it to car shows to be judged. Turns out I needed a new starter, shocks and hoses.

I have the original 307 cubic inch V-8 engine in it. It’s working just fine so far. I’d love to say I have one of the rarest Chevelles found, the elegant 454 LS6, but I don’t. I have to say I love my Chevelle just the way she is.

I’ve enjoyed the tours that I had her on. She runs like a dream. I do drive her around my local area just to make sure she doesn’t sit for too long.  Sorry I haven’t owned my car long enough to have a lot of stories about her. I’m a new antique car owner.


By Suzy McGovern

My Monte Carlo

In December 1997, I came across an ad in the local newspaper for a 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with very low mileage. I made a phone call and found out the car was in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which was about 15 miles from my home in Coplay, Pennsylvania. After a little discussion with my wife, Elaine, who was initially against buying another antique/classic car since we already had two other older cars, I ventured out to look at this car.

I was told that this car was purchased new at Hauser Chevrolet in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in May, 1972. The lady who owned this car had it in the garage covered with bed sheets. I looked the car over very carefully and liked what I saw. I told her I would let her know later that day.

I later picked up my wife and had her look at the car. When we got there, the car was again covered with the bed sheets in the garage. In doing an about face, Elaine said to me that if I wanted a Monte Carlo, I better take this one since I would probably not find another one in such good condition. It was equipped with a 350 cid motor, automatic transmission, power brakes and power steering, vinyl roof and no air conditioner but with only 29,251 miles on the odometer. The color is rare—black vinyl roof over cream yellow with a black cloth bench seat interior. Beside normal items such as tune-up, brake re-line, tires and oil changes, I have done very little in the way of repairs.

After we looked the car over a second time, we took the car for a test ride. I was surprised at how tight the car was. I was also disappointed at how poorly the car ran. It was in need of a tune-up. After this was done, it ran like a new one.

At present, more than 22 years later, this Monte Carlo has less than 50,000 miles on the odometer. We have had the car to many national shows with the farthest distance being Stowe, Vermont. We are members of the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA) and the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA).

In August 2018, we attended a VCCA show in Morgantown, Pennsylvania. At that show, I received several awards including a best-of-show in my class which is an HPOCF. The car was then nominated for a national award. The Monte Carlo did not receive this award, but I was honored just having it nominated.

The one obstacle we have when attending any national show, whether AACA or VCCA, is the fact that I am constantly questioned about the radial tires since the car has the HPOF-Original award. This car had radial tires when purchased new. We also attended many local shows during the years, such as Das Awksch Fescht. We have used this car for several tours with our Ontelaunee Region AACA, and also, this car was driven to an AACA Founders Tour at Vineland, New Jersey.  We are looking forward to attending future events that are antique car related.


By Don Baer

David Bausch – 1926 Franklin Sport Runabout

David K. Bausch might have decided to collect another marque, but he had good reasons to admire Franklins. The Franklin was “the doctor’s car” and Dave’s father was a physician in Allentown who owned a 1925 Franklin. But Dave was born later and independently understood that Franklin was a quality car whose owners maintained them well; they have always been a good value. In 1962, Dave acquired a 1926 Franklin Sport Runabout in upstate New York. Later in the 1990s, he purchased a 1918 Franklin 2-door sedan in Maryland and a 1927 Franklin 4-door sedan in Philadelphia. Those last two cars are beautiful but this article is about the gorgeous Sport Runabout.

When Dave and his friend, LeRoy C. Schaeffer, brought the Sport Runabout back from New York, it was perfect car to start the collection. The Model 11-A was the second year for the 6-cylinder, 32 horsepower engine. Franklins had air-cooled engines throughout their manufacture from 1902 to 1934 but the 32-horsepower series from 1925-1927 first featured a grille that looked like conventional, water-cooled automobiles with radiators. The Wendlings repainted this car in 1964 and the paint dried just in time to appear in our first Das Awkscht Fescht that August.

It won best of show! A picture of that award and Dave’s entry application accompany this article. You might recall that George L. Wendling and LeRoy C. Schaeffer started Das Awkscht Fescht as a fundraiser to pay off debt for the swimming pool in Macungie Memorial Park. It is no surprise that Dave Bausch became the “Automobile Chair” for the Fescht in 1965. He remains a strong presence in the Fescht as Chair of the antique toy show.

Of all his Franklins, this was the car Dave showed most often. He participated in activities of the Franklin Club, including tours around Syracuse, New York, where the marque was manufactured. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Dave showed the car in Atlantic City, accompanying Van Sciver, and at Hershey. Dave showed the car with the Franklins of Dr. George Boyer. It is always safest to tour and show with people who drive the same marque. Dave showed the car at the Community Days Festival in Coopersburg where Dutch Kern had “Kern’s Franklin Service.” Dave’s friend, Don Bassler, worked for Kern and helped Dave with the Sport Runabout. Accompanying this article is a picture of the car at Coopersburg and a “Franklin Service” sign.


by Bob Hobaugh


Our First Antique Car

It was 1972, and we had been to the New Hope Auto Show. We went every year to car shows, but that year Elsa and I decided we wanted to own an antique car. We made an offer on a 1956 Lincoln Mark II, but the next day I went to visit one of my customers (I was in the paper and packaging business), Alice Whiting (her husband had been a President of the AACA).  She suggested that I should get an older car (prior to 1930) and join the AACA.

That night I looked in our local paper under Antique cars, and saw a 1928 Plymouth advertised. To my surprise I found that it had been stored for many years in a barn that adjoined my business property in Montgomeryville. It was all original with only 39,000 original miles on it. We bought it!

After the purchase, we only had to have the engine tuned up.  There were no dents, body rot, or wear on the upholstery. I did have the car painted the original color of blue with pin stripes and had all of the chrome plated.  I kept the original mohair upholstery.

What I did not know when we bought the car was that this was the first year the Chrysler Corporation made Plymouth, and our car was made in the first three months of production. It was originally called a “Chrysler Plymouth,” and was introduced July 7, 1928 at Madison Square Garden sharing the stage with Amelia Earhart. Chrysler made only 66,097 Plymouths in this Model “Q” and only approximately 40-50 survive.  It had Body No. 320, a rare Hayes body configured as a 4-door, 5-passenger sedan. Chrysler Corporation at that time had discontinued some of its cars, Hayes being one of them. 

The Chrysler Plymouth Model Q was evolutionary, not revolutionary.  Chrysler used up its extra parts on the new Plymouth, including the engine, derived from the Maxwell. It had 4 cylinders in a cast iron block, solid lifters, and 3 main bearings producing 45 horsepower. The car weighed 2,510 pounds and cost $725 new.

Its most notable features include the 4-wheel hydraulic brakes, Plymouth being the first car to have them. It also had full pressure engine lubrication, aluminum alloy pistons and an independent hand brake. These features would not be available on Ford or Chevrolet for another decade.

This car had several options. They include front and rear bumpers, tire covers and tire lock. We kept the car for many years and then gave it our son, who sold it about 5 years ago. In 44 years, we put only 3,000 miles on the Chrysler Plymouth, trailering it to shows. Included with this article is a photo with us and the car was taken in 1972, shortly after we purchased it.


By Ken and Elsa Dages

1976 VW Super Beetle

A car identical to the one pictured was purchased in 1971 for $2,400 cash. That’s how much money I had saved while Wayne was overseas. We needed a new car and didn’t want a car payment. Back then, a Volkswagen was the cheapest vehicle you could buy. When we went to the car lot, the canary yellow convertible was the only choice to drive away right then and there. We sheepishly showed off our new ride to family and friends who made fun of the “loud” color. You could see us coming for miles!

What a great buy that car turned out to be. The Super Beetle debuted in 1971 and Volkswagen advertised 89 improvements over the regular Beetle. It had a coil-spring front suspension, a bigger trunk and 60 horsepower! It was fun and trustworthy. We toured everywhere with the top down and oh the shopping we could do. 25 bags of groceries could fit into the Super Beetle’s trunk and we had no problem buying a ping pong table and an artificial Christmas tree – just put the top down.

By 1979, however, the two of us were now five. We had outgrown our Super Beetle and traded it in for a more family-friendly car. Fast forward to 30 years later and we’re back just the two of us. Wayne saw the 1976 Super Beetle for sale in our hometown. Improvements over the 1971 model included electronic fuel injection, sporty wheels and a rear defogger. It looked and felt like our original VW and brought back the thousands of memories we had made. Of course we bought it and are busy once again touring with the top down and making even more memories.

By Denise Tuck

The Rauch Convertibles

I was the baby of the Rauch family. In fact, my brother, Nevin was 16 years older. Our family lived in Stony Run when he was born and we lived in Krumsville when I was born.  This story is about Nevin Rauch and two of his cars, a 1948 Hudson and a 1964 Buick. Both were dark red convertibles. I now own the Buick, an Electra 225.

Although we grew up in Berks County, we spent a lot of time in Allentown.  Our father had an open huckster truck from which he sold eggs and potatoes to people in Allentown. My brothers, Nevin and Herbert, took over the sales route and grew it with two trucks under the name, “Rocky’s Fancy Fruits and Vegetables.” “Rocky” developed from our family name, Rauch. They expanded the inventory to include fish, candy, sticky buns, canned goods and corn. Summers, I worked for my brothers who drove the trucks throughout Allentown, each with a different daily route. My principal responsibility was to sell corn for which they paid me the handsome sum of $50 for the whole summer. If I asked for more money, they told me I already ate too much of the inventory.

Brother Nevin always liked red convertibles. He attended Kutztown High School and worked in the silk mill on Highland Avenue to save money for cars. Attached is a picture of his Hudson six-cylinder convertible. I do not know if it was a 1948 or 1949 model but it does not matter because they were the same. Each had a new “Step-Down” unitized body which referred to the floorpan surrounded by frame girders instead of a body shell sitting on top of the chassis. Each had a 124-inch wheelbase. I do not know if it was a Super or a Commodore but it does not matter because they were distinguished chiefly by a few extra interior appointments in the Commodore.

What matters is that this Hudson was a “hot” car. The smooth, clean sides tapered to small taillights in an aerodynamic design. The low center of gravity looked fast and helped the car hug the road. The six-cylinder engine had 8 more cubic inches in displacement than the 8-cylinder engine but weighed much less. Acceleration in 1948 was 0 to 40 mph in 12 seconds with an automatic transmission and quicker with a manual transmission. The engine became the 308 cubic inch power plant used by stock car champions from 1952 to 1954.

Nevin transitioned from truck route sales to the restaurant and motel business. In 1959-1960, he built the Skyview Restaurant located on the northeast corner of I-78 and Route 737 and the Top Motel, located on the southwest corner. He drove Buicks because Hudsons were no longer available. He moved from Maxatawny Township to Stafford, Virginia and drove a 1964 Buick Electra 225 convertible. One day he drove the dark red Buick to our yard in Kuhnsville and left it there for me.

In 1959, Buick renamed its Roadmaster the Electra 225, signifying a 225-inch wheelbase. By 1964, the 225 came with either a 401 cubic inch V-8 with 325 bhp or a 425 cubic inch V-8 with 340-360 bhp. In 1964, Buick made 7,181 Electra 225 convertible coupes at a base price of $4,374. We did not modify or restore the Electra 225, and have enjoyed showing it at Hershey in the HPOF class (historic preservation of original features). In our trips to Hershey, Carl would trailer the 1950 Studebaker or drive the 1951 Studebaker, I would drive the 1960 Lark and our children would drive the Buick.

The Buick accompanied us on many tours with the Ontelaunee Club. Carl and I would join forces with Forrest and Bertha Hoffman to host many tours. They drove Edsel convertibles. Forrest has passed but Bertha resides in Oley. I enjoy speaking with her regularly. The Buick brought us together. Thanks to Nevin for this wonderful Buick!


  By Minnie Breininger


LeRoy’s ‘64 Chevy

When I was a teenager, the second car I owned was a 6-cylinder 1964 Impala 4 door hardtop. I eventually got rid of it and, over the years, regretted it.  I used to tell my wife, “Someday I would like to get another ‘64, but this time I want a convertible.” So, as Paul Harvey used to say, “And Now, For The Rest Of The Story”.

I bought my present ‘64 in the Fall of 1997 through an ad in “Old Cars Weekly” from a fellow in Long Island, New York. Not only is it a convertible, it also has a 327 V-8 engine (only one 4- barrel carb though) and a 2 speed powerglide transmission. It is also a Super Sport Impala which means it has bucket seats and a center floor console for the shifter. On the way home, I got lost and ended up getting home long after dark.

The car was originally purchased in Arizona and how it ended up in New York is a mystery to me. The previous owner was a cousin to someone who worked with several movie producers. So, whenever a film was shot in the New York area, he “rented” some of his cars for use as “background” cars in the movies. He claimed that my car was in “Carlito’s Way,” “A Bronx Tale,” and one other (I forget which one). The very front end (side view) is also in a Mariah Carey music video. He also showed me a photo album of autographed pictures of some of the New York Yankees and the New York Rangers with the car. The car was in a parade for the Yankees and the Rangers when they won championships in 1996 and 1994 respectively. (One of my regrets is that I didn’t insist on getting the album too.)

In 1999 we did our first tour with the Ontelaunee Club as a guest of Eugene Klinger. We broke down about half way through the tour. It was still fun. We ended up joining the club in 2000.

Over the next several years I had to solve several problems. First came new shocks and springs to keep from bottoming out at the slightest bump. Next, came a carburetor problem and later, an electrical problem that I chased four about 4 years. It was Ray Fisher who finally put me on the right track to solving it.

In December 2007 I decided that it needed some work so, as a start, I planned on getting it painted.  Shortly after I made this announcement to my family, I came home one day to find my car gone. My wife said she had talked to the guy who owned the body shop that I planned to use to paint the car and he took it to his shop.  As spring approached I started wondering when I was getting the car back. My wife told me he was working on it “on the side” to keep the cost down so it would take longer than usual. More time elapsed and I got the “itch” for cruising with the top down—especially as the weather warmed up. I kept getting excuses and, one day, I got out of work early and decided to stop at the shop and see what the holdup was

When I inquired, I was told it was in the corner of the shop. Imagine my surprise when I looked over and couldn’t find it. I asked again and the employee (owner wasn’t there at the time) said once again, that it was in the corner. A second look confirmed that it indeed was my car— except it was a rolling chassis— frame, engine and wheels only!!! I could not believe it!!! My first thought was that a horrible mistake was made and the owner misunderstood what I wanted done.  They then took me to another building and showed me the body on a rotisserie set up!  When I got home and told my wife, she confessed. She ordered (and paid for) a frame-off restoration!! What a surprise!!!

The paint is called Electric Blue. This is not a “Chevy” color but is actually a variant of Cyan Blue and was originally developed for Hot Rods. The True Spoke mag wheels on it were on the car when I bought it. Once the outside was done, my wife actually designed the interior seat and door patterns and had it done in colors matching the blue paint and white top. Not only was the dash given matching blue paint, the two tone steering wheel was also done in matching blue and white.

As many of you know, I love driving it with the top down and, over the years, we have had many memorable rides with it— especially on club tours.


By LeRoy Hinkle


My Nash Metropolitan

No! It is not a little clown car. It is a cute yellow and white “compact” car that was built in England by Austin Motor Company, and sold in the United States by American Motors Corporation, to compete with Volkswagen.

Metropolitans were produced between 1954 and 1962, and my car is a 1957. The public responded favorably to a Metropolitan prototype called the NXI, with a Fiat 500 drivetrain, displayed in 1950. By 1953, Nash developed production of the Met. Bodies were produced by Fisher & Ludlow, Ltd. in England and delivered to Austin for installation of powertrains. Austin delivered 13,905 Metropolitans to Nash through 1954. In 1956, Nash announced the Metropolitan 1500 which had a stronger engine and clutch, and two-tone paint scheme.

My parents discovered the car in Philadelphia, near my grandparents’ home.  It was parked on a city street along with other old cars.  The owner loved antique cars, but did not have a garage, therefore they were lined up on both sides of the street.  My father found out who owned the Met, but the man was not interested in selling it.

A few years went by and my father got a call from the man’s wife that her husband had taken a stroke and now wanted to sell the Met. When we met the owner at his house, he introduced himself as “Joe-read the paper” We asked how did he get that unusual name.  He told us that his parents had been born in Italy, and couldn’t read English.  Every day they said “Joe-read the paper” and the name stuck with him ever since.

The car was purchased in 1989 and underwent a ground-up restoration, and winning many first-place trophies, including an AACA Senior award. My husband, Howard, and I still own the car and plan on taking it to the AACA Grand National meet at the NB Center this summer.

Nash-Kelvinator Corporation merged with Hudson Motor Car Company and became American Motors Corporation in 1955. American Motors produced 15,317 Metropolitans in coupe and convertible form during1957, of which 11,791 were sold in the United States.  It has a 52 horsepower Austin engine and gets 40 miles to the gallon.  It has been a fun car to own for over 30 years.

By Bonnie Schorr

The Lincoln Highway

A few years ago, Elsa and I travelled across Pennsylvania on the Lincoln Highway (Route 30). This article describes the history of the Lincoln Highway.

The Horseless carriage rolled onto the American landscape in the 1890’s, and by 1910 there were 450,000 registered automobiles, but no public road system.  In 1913, Carl Fisher, the man who built the Indianapolis Speedway in 1909, and other auto industry leaders, formed the Lincoln Highway Association. The purpose was to create a direct coast-to-coast automobile route.  The Association’s first official act was to draw up a 3,389-mile,14-state continuous route from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco. The road was completed in 1915, and its imperfect conditions were improved over the next few years.

In 1913 there was even a guidebook published. By1924,1500 vehicles per hour  passed through the New Jersey portion of the highway. This was the last year a guidebook was published.  In 1919 a convoy of Army trucks traveled across the country to demonstrate the use and significance of the road. In 1925, the United States adopted a highway numbering system, and the Highway became Routes 1,30, 40, and 50. In 1928, in order to identify the Highway, the Boy Scouts traveled from New York to San Francisco marking the route with concrete posts. The Scouts took a month to cross the 14 states, and rode the route in a Reo Speedwagon, a truck specially fitted for the trip. Three thousand concrete markers were placed along the route.

In 1928, the Lincoln Highway Association was disbanded. In 1939, the Lincoln Highway was advertised as the connecting link between the New York World’s Fair and the San Francisco World’s Fair. The Lincoln Highway began in Times Square, and there was only one mile of highway in New York State. It then ran through the Holland Tunnel into New Jersey. Prior to the building of the tunnel, motorists had to cross the Hudson River on the Weehawken Ferry. The Highway was 64 miles long in New Jersey, passing through Newark, Elizabeth, and Trenton.  It then crossed into Pennsylvania at Morrisville.  The Highway was 350 miles long in Pennsylvania and was mostly comprised of Route 30.

It passed through Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Gettysburg, Chambersburg and into Pittsburgh.  About 10 years ago, in order to help increase tourism, Pennsylvania made up a special tour. Beginning in Abbottstown (near Gettysburg) and continuing all the way to Irwin (near the Ohio boarder) there were erected old-fashioned gas pumps, painted with scenes of the area in which they stood. Also, on the sides of buildings and barns, beautiful murals were painted. These also depicted scenes of the Highway and the different areas of the state. Maps, indicating locations of the gas pumps and murals were available from the state.

Over a period of two years, we traveled the entire length of Route 30, and photographed all of the pumps and murals, and even found a commemorative box in which to keep all of the photos. If you have a chance to travel Route 30, or a portion of it, you will enjoy the beautiful scenery and hopefully most of the pumps and murals are still visible.

By Ken Dages