Dearborn — With cars and trucks from the late 1930s to the early 1970s, the Greenfield Village Motor Muster probably inspires more nostalgia and tall tales than the Village’s early-September Old Car Festival, which features brassies and vehicles built up to the mid-1930s.
Cloudy skies and occasional showers barely dampened the enthusiasm of visitors to the 2015 Motor Muster the weekend of June 20-21. Some, like a bride and groom posing for a wedding photo before a vintage Cadillac on the Village Green, carried umbrellas. Others headed inside open exhibit buildings or sat in grandstands beneath the large awning awaiting the pass-in-review.
Terry and Jan Hawke of Walled Lake could climb into the “lounge” area of the 1959 Ford P Series truck Terry converted to a mobile showroom for his Pony Cycle Motor Scooters. Hawke’s family built these scooters in the 1950s in Clarkston.
The truck, which Hawke purchased in 1993, had an interesting history before being mothballed. It carried customer luggage aboard the Great Lakes passenger liner S.S. Aquarama, whose routes included passage between Detroit and Cleveland.
“The truck had just 150 miles on it when I bought it,” Hawke said. The ship had been out of service for years; the Ford needed work and in the process Hawke transformed it into a traveling display for his family’s motor bikes. He visits several shows each year.
The Pony Cycles, he added, could be purchased new in the Montgomery Ward catalog: some assembly required.
Among the older entries to the Motor Muster was a silver-gray 1940 Lincoln Zephyr convertible – one of about 700 built that year, according to owner Jeffrey Booth of Sylvania, Ohio.
“Zephyr was ahead of its time in many ways,” Booth said. “It had unibody construction and sealed-beam headlights which provided a brighter light.”
Booth found the Zephyr in 1975 in South Carolina and had it shipped to Ohio. Thoroughly sun-baked, it needed work, he said. He drove the convertible, with its vacuum-powered top, to Dear-born from Ohio. The 75-year-old car has 60,000 miles on its odometer.
Sterling Heights resident Bill House likes to complement his Parisienne Blue 1955 Dodge Custom Royal by wearing a blue shirt and pants, and donning a blue straw hat. House, who has matching blue eyes, said his sedan features the first generation of Chrysler’s Hemi engine de-sign; his power plant is a 270-inch 190-horsepower version with Powerflite two-speed automatic transmission.
“This (sedan) body style is more rare,” House said. “It wasn’t favored by hot rodders.”
The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray shown by Jon Reed of Dearborn was its own hot rod. Reed bought the car, with removable hard top, new in August of 1963 from Jim Funston Chevrolet.
“All ’63 Corvettes had the 327-inch block but there were four horsepower ratings available: 250, 300, 340 and 360,” he said. “Mine is a 340.”
Reed used his Sting Ray as a daily driver for 12 years. Its original color was black. He repainted it silver in 1974.
Its present value? Hard to say, Reed said. “It’s insured for $35,000 – Hagety (the Michigan-based insurer) wouldn’t cover it for less.”
More importantly, he said, “I’ve enjoyed it for 52 years.”