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Saga of the '34 chev coupe---

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  • Saga of the '34 chev coupe---

    Back about 1964, during my last year of highschool, everybody knew that I was a “motorhead”, into old cars and hotrods. I met an older fellow who told me that when he was a teenager, he had a “nice ’34 Chev coupe” but that he had blown the engine up.
    I asked him what had become of the car, and he told me that it was still setting in the backyard of his mothers house, in Beachburg, Ontario, not too far from Pembroke. I asked him if he wanted to sell it, and how much money. His answer was “twenty dollars and two packs of Players cigarettes.
    I bought the car sight unseen, and enlisted the help of my two cousins, Rob Martin and John Storring to travel with me to Beachburg, about 125 miles from where we lived in Bancroft, Ontario and tow the car home.
    We drove up one weekend to assess what I had bought, and were thrilled to find that although the engine was seized up and the windshield busted out, the body was absolutely cherry, and the tires would hold air when we pumped them up. The brakes didn’t work, but by keeping the car in gear and letting out the clutch pedal the seized up engine would function as a brake, of sorts.
    My daily driver was a 1952 Chev car, and since I was poorer than dirt and didn’t have a proper tow bar, I made up a six foot long tow bar out of a 2 x 10 oak plank and some logging chains.
    Saturday morning bright and early we were off in my old Chev, to bring home my new car. We were equipped with tire pumps, tow chains, a variety of jacks, a twenty foot roll of haywire, and my oak tow bar.
    Now you fellow readers probably don’t know the area I am talking about up in the Ottawa valley, but going up through Barrys Bay and Wilno, there are some of the biggest damn hills that you have ever seen, short of the Rocky Mountains.
    We arrived in Beachburg and pumped up the coupe tires again, and chained the oak plank to the front bumper of the coupe, and the back bumper of my venerable 52 Chev. After examining our tow bar set-up, and not really trusting it, I volunteered John and Rob to ride in the coupe just in case anything went wrong with our tow bar, thinking that at least if it broke they would be able to steer the coupe to a stop.
    We left Beachburg in high spirits, (which were equally matched by Mrs. Dougherty to “Get that danged old car out of my back yard!!”, and headed south.
    I was driving along about 60 miles an hour, and from what I could see in my rear view mirror, John and Rob seemed to be doing okay. I seen that they were both shouting something, but nothing looked wrong, so I assumed they must be shouting with exuberance to be on such a great adventure. (I didn’t find out untill later that they were both terrified, and without any windshield in the old coupe they were finding it difficult to both breath and to see.)
    We came down out of those high hills with the old coupe weaving from side to side behind me and started through downtown Barrys Bay. Which, athough it was a small town had the usual crop of loggers and farmers in from the country to do their Saturday grocery shopping---that little town was crowded as Hell!!!
    We were doing great untill we got right into the middle of town and had to make a ninety degree left turn at the only red light ---and I was lucky---I caught the green light, so I didn’t slow down too much. Just as I was turning, you guessed it—the oak tow bar suddenly “went south” and the two boys were on their own in the coupe. By that time they had burned the clutch out, trying to use it as a brake to slow me down on some of those same big hills I mentioned earlier, so they were suddenly turned loose in a car going about 35 miles an hour, with no brakes and no horn, in the middle of a very busy town.
    I did an immediate” turn and follow” manouver and chased them though town honking my horn, with John and Rob hanging their heads out the window and screaming at people to get out of their way, that they couldn’t stop.
    I think the Baby Jesus musta been on board that day, cause those two boys missed all the townfolks, family cars, and pickup trucks, and rode the car to a stop at the side of the road on the far side of Barrys Bay.
    And when I caught up to them, Oh, man, were they ugly!!! That was it!! They didn’t care if that damned old car sat by the road untill it rotted, they weren’t going to ride another damn foot in it. And despite all my cajoling and whining, they didn’t. We left it right there on the side of the road and drove home, about 50 miles to Bancroft.
    Next day, I called another cousin, Johny Reid, and with his 65 Parisienne and a REAL towbar we went up and towed the car home with no farther problems.
    The car turned out to be a Master series coupe, with one of those horrible knee action front suspensions in it. A neighbour of mine, Fred Ralliston had a bit of a wrecking yard, and I was able to buy the complete front end out of a 51 Chev pickup, axle, springs, shackles, hangers, the whole works for twenty dollars, and it bolted right into the old coupe frame!!! I pulled out the frozen engine and again, basically bolted in a 261 cubic inch chev engine and transmission (can’t even remember what that engine was out of now----that’s 44 years ago.)
    Sadly, I was young and stupid, and had no money to finish things properly, so eventually the car was sold to somebody from one of Ontarios southern cities, and I never seen it again.
    I have been wanting to write this great story down for the last fourty years, and this cold, wet, miserable March morning has given me the opportunity. Hope you enjoyed it.
    Brian Rupnow---March 2009
    Brian Rupnow

  • #2
    That's a great story ,brian. Thanks for sharing it with us.


    • #3
      I enjoyed it too Brian, it reminds me of some of the things I did in my youth and survived.