Dearborn —The first day of the annual September two-day Old Car Festival included on-again, off-again, on-again rain, resulting in heavily draped cars and unfilled slots along the historic streets of Greenfield Village.
But that didn’t stop enthusiasts like Glenn Miller of Plymouth from uncovering his 1909 EMF racer long enough to drive past the review stand.
Miller, a racing buff, bought his unusual EMF (E.M.F. according to historical Beverly Kimes) in Tucson, Ariz. four years earlier. It needed restoration, said Miller, who set to work making missing body parts. The car was road-ready last June.
“It was factory-built for racing and proved it could run at an average of 60 miles and hour over a period of time,” Miller said. It has a three-speed sliding gear transaxle and half-ellipse front end, he said.
As the evening skies cleared and the Village street lights came on, Al Hackett of Hastings, Mich. wiped the remains of the last shower from the rear area of his 1919 Dodge with Truxton tow-truck conversion.
Truxton, a company dedicated to specialty trucks with operations in Philadelphia, Detroit and Chicago, advertised its finished products as “A Service Station on Wheels.”
When Hackett bought the Dodge in 2011, only the front end and cab were finished.
“I put all the back end on,” he said, pointing to the period-correct hand winch, wood floor and sides and lift equipment.
“Given its hard rubber tires and 15-leaf rear springs, this would probably be the equivalent of today’s two-ton truck,” he said of its hauling capacity.
Another work truck — a kind of mystery to its owner because information is scarce — was the wood-bodied 1927 Indiana Express Truck exhibited by its owner Hugh Periard of Burt, Mich.
Periard said the Indiana was built in Marion, the county seat of Grant County in northeast Indiana. It once was in the Henry Ford Museum collection and was sold to a private buyer in 1987. When Periard purchased it the truck had been sitting unused, its tires rotted and motor in need of attention.
Periard did know a lot more about the fascinating 1926 Kohler gasoline-run power plant in the Indiana’s bed, demonstrating to visitors how it would light a lamp he held and would have been used to supply all or backup electricity to homes and businesses. Beside the power plant was a large glass jar with metal piece inside. Sealed jars like this are capable of storing electricity and would typically have been kept on hand and used as needed before being re-charged by the power plant.
World War 1 flying ace, race car driver and eventually airline executive (Eastern Airlines) Eddie Rickenbacker loaned his name and enthusiasm to the Rickenbacker, a car build in Detroit between 1922 and 1927.
The Hyatt family of Livonia were showing their stately two-tone 1925 Rickenbacker Touring. Daniel Hyatt said his grandfather had purchased the car in the mid-1970s and it has been with the Hyatts ever since. Master-minded by the Everitt-Metzger-Flanders of the much earlier EMF auto company, the Rickenbacker is said to have been the first mid-price car with four-wheel brakes.
Financial difficulties forced the company out of business after only five years and a total production of over 34,000.
The Old Car Festival celebrates cars built through 1932 and is a favorite show auto historians, antique car owners and nostalgia-seekers.