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Author Topic: A Life Filled with Winged Cars... and a few Fords too  (Read 14041 times)
Aero426
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« on: February 27, 2010, 04:46:54 PM »

Well, Iíll admit, my best ideas are ones that I stole from someone else.   So with full props to Mopar John, Iíve decided to embark on a similar tale of a life filled with wing cars since I was a young boy.    I donít know if I can top any of Johnís stories, but hopefully, it will keep you interested to follow along for a bit.   Certainly, it will be a bit of a homage to my mother Jean and my dad Monroe, the photo below taken in 1987 at the HPAC meet in Kansas City.  



Dad has been gone since 1993, and mom since 2005.   Not too too many of you knew dad, but a few of you here did.   He was quite a character.   There are a couple interesting twists and turns along the way.    
Dad was a lifelong car and racing enthusiast and told me of attending races at the now closed mile track called Trenton Speedway.    Dad was a born salesman and worked his way up the ladder at Hill from the service department into sales.  

Dad was a field salesman for the CV Hill company of Trenton New Jersey.   Hill made refrigerated cases for grocery stores and was the gold standard of the industry.    He was a lifelong car and racing In early 1957, there was an opportunity to become an independent distributor for Hill.   There were two territories available Ė one near Toronto Canada, and the other in Wisconsin.     After probably not too much thought,  he decided on the Wisconsin location Ė drove out, found a brand new house.   And so in April 1957, the family uprooted from New Jersey and moved to Milwaukee Wisconsin.

 

The above photo is from the winter of 1957-58.   The old man is out shoveling the driveway.   You'll see the house in various photos over the next 52 years.   In the late 50's, our area just outside of Milwaukee was still pretty rural with the closest grocery and banking about 10 miles away.   I understand my mom and the other three kids were waiting for the moving van while dad was on the road selling.   Our subdivision was brand new with not too many houses built before ours.      I wasnít born until a few years later, so I missed all of this.

Dadís business took off in the early 60ís with a deal to supply the largest local grocery chain.   Times were pretty good.   Mom did not have to work outside the home and focused on taking care of the four kids.  All my older brothers and sister had their own gas charge card when they came of driving age.       He eventually bought a piece of business property close to home and built a nice new industrial building in 1967.     This would later be the first Superbirds of America headquarters in 1975.     Within the family, we simply referred to the structure as "the building".



Over the years, dad had bought several old cars storing them all around wherever he could.     With the new building he could bring them all to one location.  This was my first recollection of seeing them.   All were unrestored in various states.   There was a 1931 Model A 2 door in good shape, as well as my favorite to sit in, a nice 1936 Chevy Master Deluxe Coupe,  a ratty 1933 Chevy sedan,  a rough 1930 Chevy coupe, and a rougher 1931 Chevy Victoria.   I think these pictures might be the only ones that exist.    This one is of dad and the Model A, probably about 1967.    That car and the 36 Coupe are ones I would not mind owning today.



We're not to the wing cars yet.    That'll take a while.  But I'll talk some about how the family went  racing next, and how a lifelong GM man like my dad wound up buying a Superbird...
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maxwellwedge
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2010, 04:51:39 PM »

Cool Doug - Bring it!
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Aero426
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2010, 05:03:47 PM »

I've been interested in cars as long as I can remember.   I had the usual pedal cars and stuff, and liked my Matchbox cars - these were before Hot Wheels you know.    The photo here is dated Christmas 1966.  I don't remember much about the little ride on car, but I still have one of my two pedal cars.   Today, after moving back to the house I grew up in - much of that stuff is still here.     My mother didn't throw much away, and a lot of fun stuff including some toys was intact.   It's not quite "Hoarders", but we must have some sentiment in the family.     I'd like to restore the other pedal car someday.    I have a tough time of letting go of stuff, but I think I've gotten better.  



My older brother David, built model cars, and that was something I really liked and developed an interest in, which I still have today.    I don't have time to build, but I still like to collect.  

My oldest brother Monnie had a nearly new yellow '65 Mustang 6 cyl.   Shortly, the plan became to paint it black, and when it passed to Dave, he decided to put a V8 in it.   That car made an impression on me, as well as a new '66 Impala we bought.     Dad also had a 1961 Pontiac and for some reason I was interested in it.   He traded it in on a new '65 Olds, and I recall making him take me to the used car lot to see our old car.    During one of these times, a salesman came out and unknowingly tried to sell my dad his old car.    "Oh, I don't think I'd be interested in that one. he said.   I think the transmission slips", which indeed it did!  
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Aero426
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2010, 05:21:19 PM »

Milwaukee was also a great racing town, with short track racing running five nights a week, and big time stock car and Indy car racing at The Milwaukee Mile just ten minutes away.     Dad took a lot of 8mm film at the Mile through the years, unfortunately NONE during the wing car era.    

My first recollections of racing were at the local short track,  Hales Corners Speedway.   As I mentioned, this was part of a series that ran five nights a week at different tracks in the metro area.  In 1968, my oldest brother Monnie, would try stock car racing at the local level later too with a 1955 Chevy Sportsman car.    Below is the brand new car about to be flat towed by his buddy John's new Lemans.





Well the first time out, I think he got the car on its roof.   I remember by mom being a little concerned about this racing thing.  

For 1969,  the '55 Chevy was updated to a '56.    I don't remember the reason why.    But here it is being rebuilt outside dad's building.   I'm not so sure about those cement block jackstands.    



Well here is the finished product for 1969.    Not too bad.    They cut a large Bow Tie emblem in the hood too.   That is dad's business name on the quarter panel.





In the spring of 1969, big brother Monnie also bought a new 1969 Camaro SS.  Blue,  4-speed, deluxe interior.   Not too many options.  He wanted the most bang for the buck.  Then he got drafted and that put an end to the racing.    I don't have a period photo of the Camaro, but to whet your whistle, this is what it looked like after we pulled it from storage in 2003 as a 42k mile survivor.   The tags on the car expired in 1974.



We're just about done with all this Chevy stuff, and can move on to Mopars shortly.

  
  
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Black Charger
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2010, 06:48:11 PM »

I love reading stories like this. Keep them coming!
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jonw29
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2010, 07:48:05 PM »

Doug I enjoy these as well.I would like to copy John as well.I just can't remember all of the details like I need to.Kepp it coming.JW
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skip68
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2010, 07:55:53 PM »

More please.   2thumbs
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moparstuart
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2010, 08:21:04 PM »

More please.   2thumbs
popcrn popcrn popcrn popcrn popcrn popcrn 2thumbs 2thumbs 2thumbs 2thumbs 2thumbs 2thumbs
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2010, 08:26:33 PM »

Awesome.....great stories! Can't wait to read more!
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2010, 08:46:03 PM »

  I never met your father doug but I spoke to him many times when I first joined the club in the 80's and he has burned a spot in my brain ever since. He was incredibly generous with his time whenever I called and was always willing to help me when I asked "dumb" questions about these wing cars. I was quite impressed with his patience of my ignorance. Can't wait to read more.
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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2010, 09:11:51 PM »

 2thumbs Great stuff Doug.  Can't wait to read more. popcrn
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FJ5WING
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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2010, 11:12:40 PM »

really cool!

Ive been to Trenton Speedway along with the track in Langhorn PA. Im sure whoever went to Trenton also attended langhorn.
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2010, 06:07:40 AM »

Cool story, what's going to happen to the camaro?  69 SS in blue, 4spd.  Really nice.
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hemi68charger
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2010, 06:47:00 AM »

Very cool Doug, looking forward to some more........
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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2010, 07:01:11 AM »

I never got to meet Monroe personally, but I remember seeing him driving the lime Superbird on Hwy100 back in the late 70's and early 80's. He was a bit of a legend among the kids that hung around that area during that time. I remember seeing him pass by the old Standard station on Oklahoma one weekend night. I recall it was pretty cold that night, he was wearing a green and gold knit Packer hat with the little yellow fuzz ball on top. That 'Bird was the coolest, most outrageous car I'd ever seen. I only saw him pass by once that night, but that did it for me.

I saw the him and the 'Bird a few times after that, but never got a chance to meet him or talk to him. I remember seeing the car at one of the Milwaukee Auto Shows for new cars at the old Mecca in a display of muscle cars, several years later. The Superbird was prominently displayed in the center.

Without ever knowing it, Monroe and his Superbird was probably responsible for my love of all things Mopar and wingcars in particular.
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« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2010, 08:23:29 AM »

Very cool reading, and pictures  popcrn
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« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2010, 08:34:24 AM »

Doug great thread so far. I know that I met your father years ago, but at the time I was but a mere child, even though if you ask my wife I'm still one now. Looking forward to reading this thread as it progresses.
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Mopar John
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« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2010, 12:54:55 PM »

Doug,
 I am really happy that I helped motivate you to tell "YOUR STORY" ! Mine has been great especially when I spark interest about something! You have already filled in some early information about your family! In my story I first met your clan back in 1978 at the Milwaukee meet! Please continue!
Mopar John
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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2010, 01:10:36 PM »

good read & great pictures  coolgleamA   popcrn
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Aero426
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« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2010, 04:43:37 PM »

I never got to meet Monroe personally, but I remember seeing him driving the lime Superbird on Hwy100 back in the late 70's and early 80's. He was a bit of a legend among the kids that hung around that area during that time. I remember seeing him pass by the old Standard station on Oklahoma one weekend night. I recall it was pretty cold that night, he was wearing a green and gold knit Packer hat with the little yellow fuzz ball on top. That 'Bird was the coolest, most outrageous car I'd ever seen. I only saw him pass by once that night, but that did it for me.

I saw the him and the 'Bird a few times after that, but never got a chance to meet him or talk to him. I remember seeing the car at one of the Milwaukee Auto Shows for new cars at the old Mecca in a display of muscle cars, several years later. The Superbird was prominently displayed in the center.

Without ever knowing it, Monroe and his Superbird was probably responsible for my love of all things Mopar and wingcars in particular.

That was the 1990 new car show in Milwaukee.   I forget how we got involved with it, but they put the Superbird on a turntable in the hall with the musclecars.     It was pretty neat and they were very nice to us.    That is what this photo is from.

One of the best Hwy 100 cruising stories was about 1979.    For those of you out of the area,  Hwy 100 was the main cruise strip in Milwaukee in the late 70's and 80's.   Dad and I were out in the green Bird.    So he was pushing about 60 then.   As you know the Superbird is a magnet for attention.    Some kids in another car pulled up alongside, and you could hear them exclaim,  "Look at the old man!"    They just couldn't believe it.    So we got to a stop light and conversed a little.    A little later,  dad decided he would really mess with them.    At the time, he had at least three wing cars.   So we took the green car home and got a Daytona, then headed back to the strip.    Then he pulled onto a side street and waited for the same carload of kids to come by.   When they did, he pulls out and follows them.   They were totally blown away.   "Look, he's got another one!"     And so we went on for a while.   I can't remember if we went home and got the third one, or not.   Either way, his point had been proven.  

Another Hwy 100 story in the green car he really got a laugh out of,  was some kids on the side of the road yelling at him about his "Lawn Boy", ie: the green Bird with the handle on the back.   He liked to tell both of these stories.

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Aero426
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« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2010, 04:52:38 PM »

Cool story, what's going to happen to the camaro?  69 SS in blue, 4spd.  Really nice.

It is running again as a time warp car after 35+ years of sitting.   
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Magnumcharger
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« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2010, 06:52:01 PM »

Please continue.....!! cheers
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« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2010, 07:21:35 PM »

  Doug,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Keep it coming.

         Jerry
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« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2010, 08:27:54 PM »

Hey Doug brings back lots of memories.
Monroe is the reason I became interested in wing cars. It started when he picked up Doug one day from High School in a Bird.

An interesting story about Monroe and Hwy 100. Be had parked in the lot of a local food store in the Green Bird and while I was talking with him a cop stopped and shined his spot light at Monroe hinting for him to get moving. Well Monroe then turned on his head lights to shine them at the cop. After Monroe turned off the lights the cop looked back at the car and you could see him mouth the words "am old man". He shuck his head and yelled to get moving, so we did.

Hitail
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« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2010, 09:41:19 AM »

good stuff Doug, thanks for the memories,. keep it coming!!!
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