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"The Relay" Online Newsletter
April 2020 Issue

This is the monthly online newsletter for the car club council. All car hobbyist events are listed on this site under "Calendar." Just click on the link above to view the list of car shows and other activities.

President's Message

Things have sure changed since last month. Currently all cruise-ins and car shows are banned by the governor's executive order forbidding groups of 10 or more until June 10. There have been show cancellations and postponing of shows until later dates. Even shows that were in May, June and August have been cancelled or moved because so many people are out of work, so many businesses closed along with schools and the uncertain future. Our next council meeting on April 27 has been cancelled. We are going to come up with a new date later in the year for our 25th anniversary show that was going to be held on May 16.

The final report from the General Assembly is in the hobbyist news. Unless the governor takes some unforeseen action it looks like daily drivers registration fees will be cut in half, no using the phone while driving, everyone must buckle up, the gas tax will increase, and reckless driving will be exceeding 85 and no longer 80 miles per hour. The $4500 rebate for buying an electric vehicle will be studied but the electric school bus project has been killed. This does not mean that a school district cannot join with Dominion and purchase electric buses because that is what Chesterfield County is going to do.

The gas war begun by Saudi Arabia has - along with less travel because of the virus - driven gas prices down. But most people don't want to go on a trip right now. It would have been nice if we still had sports on TV, new shows instead of reruns and the constant media hyping of the virus. But we'll get over this like we did previous things like Ebola and the swine flu and life will hopefully return to normal and all those marks on the floors of stores reminding us to keep 6 feet apart will soon be gone.

~ Fred


April - convertible time

Next Meeting

Our next meeting scheduled for Monday, April 27th has been cancelled. I am looking at a possible meeting the end of June. Please be aware that Governor Northam has banned gatherings of 10 or more people has been extended to June 10. This has effectively ended cruise-ins and car shows until after that date. Learn more at Governor Northam Orders Statewide Closure of Certain Non-Essential Businesses, K-12 Schools and Temporary Stay at Home Order Due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) .

Car Hobbyist News

The “car season” has been put on hold by the virus and all the panic. CDC recommendations and governors limiting gatherings to 10 people or less have effectively ended cruise-ins and car shows for now. Several events on the calendar for March and April have been cancelled or moved to a later date. Be sure to check the website or get in touch with the contact person before traveling to an event. I’ve tried to keep up with the postponements and cancellations but sometimes the event coordinators forget to contact the places where their events are posted. Hopefully the May events will not be affected but we simply cannot predict the future.

Now that the General Assembly session is over we definitely know what laws will change. We know that cellphone use while driving is banned but you can still use your phone in an emergency situation or while stopped or parked. The registration fee for daily drivers will be reduced to half. The gas tax will increase by 4 cents a gallon and by 7.6 cents per gallon. The 4 cent increase is state-wide and the 7.6 increase is the regional tax. These taxes are supposed to go to fixing the roads and bridges in this area. Note I said “supposed” – this is because there is no law requiring gas tax funds to actually go to roads and of course money in the general fund could go to roads. Currently Virginia needs more than $12 billion dollars to fix poor condition roads and bridges in the state. We are hopeful that these funds will be used to fix those roads and bridges.

Everyone in a vehicle will have to wear a seat belt and not wearing a seat belt will become a primary offense. I’ve already had people contact me about whether you have to have a seat belt in a car or truck built before the federal government required them. The answer is no, you do not have to add seat belts to your older pre-seat belt requirement vehicle. Since seat belts are now a primary offense this means that people in cars that have seat belts but not shoulder harnesses might get stopped by the police. It has happened in other states. Please note this state law: § 46.2-1092. Safety lap belts or a combination of lap belts and shoulder harnesses to be installed in certain motor vehicles: No passenger car or autocycle registered in the Commonwealth and manufactured for the year 1963 or for subsequent years shall be operated on the highways in the Commonwealth unless the front seats thereof are equipped with adult safety lap belts or a combination of lap belts and shoulder harnesses of types approved by the Superintendent.

The bottom line is if your vehicle is older than 1963 you do not have to have seat belts or shoulder harnesses.

A bill has passed that will allow “tax-paying Virginians who can prove their identity and prove they know how to drive to obtain a limited purpose one-year driver’s permit. These individuals would have to pass written and road tests and maintain insurance.” The bill to increase the amount of vehicle liability insurance coverage limits was killed. A bill to establish a working group to determine the feasibility of an electric vehicle rebate program has passed.

Keep in mind that the above bills – at this writing – have not been signed into law by the governor. However I do feel that the governor will sign all of them into law. There has been some discussion about the safety of reckless driving being changed from 80 to 85. That bill has passed and also awaits the governor’s action.

So it looks like beginning on July 1 everyone will have to wear seat belts, not use a cellphone while driving, pay less for daily driver registration and pay more for gasoline.

Lynchburg Area Car Shows

Looking for car shows and cruise-ins south and west of Richmond? This Facebook page lists them all and has printable registration forms. Go to facebook.com/groups/290006467872131. There is information about Chatham and Martinsville cruise-ins.

For Sale
Since all events were cancelled the only car event I attended was the Tidewater AACA swap meet in Suffolk the first Saturday in March. This Dart GT was for sale for $5500

The Briefs

Atlanta police say a man was shot and killed at Lenox Square on Sunday night during a fight over a parking space. Atlanta police Maj. Andrew Senzer said that two groups of people were in two different vehicles in the parking lot and got into an argument over a parking space. Both groups went inside the mall, but they started arguing again later when they came back outside. Police said someone pulled a gun and shot the victim in the head. The victim is described as “approximately 25 years old," Senzer said. His identity has not been released. Police said the four suspects immediately got into a vehicle and tried to drive off but crashed while still in the parking lot. The suspects then ran from the scene, but an off-duty Cobb County Police officer arrested one of them. It’s unclear if the person who is in custody is the shooter.

The wiring harness for an average new car weighs about 110 pounds. A typical wiring harness for a 50+ year old car weighs about 10 pounds.

Federal mandates required a new safety enhancing part be installed on cars sold in the USA by 1963. Checker began installing the new part early, in 1962, after they used up their inventory of old parts. This safety enhancing part was amber colored front turn signal lenses.

The Minnesota legislature introduced SEMA-opposed legislation (A.B. 3256) to increase the standard biofuel blend in gasoline to 15% ethanol. There is currently a 10% state-wide standard. Minnesota currently has an exemption in place for those selling or dispensing limited quantities of nonoxygenated gas for collector vehicles. This legislation would create a similar exemption for vehicles not approved to use more than 10% biofuel, which includes all model-year ’00 and older vehicles. H.F. 3699/S.F. 3605 await consideration in the House Agriculture and Food Finance and Policy Division and Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee respectively.

According to KTLA in L.A., a hearse was stolen with a body inside of it and wasn't apprehended until the next day. The driver of the Lincoln Navigator reportedly resisted arrest and forced a police chase before it crashed on one of the city's major highways. The body was found undisturbed and was returned. A Navigator designed to serve as a hearse was parked outside a church in Pasadena, north of L.A. with two caskets inside. When the first casket was removed and taken into the church, the vehicle was left with the key inside. That's when someone hopped in and drove off. That was around 8 p.m. The hearse was missing until a member of the public reported it in L.A. at about 7:30 the next morning. When police caught up to the stolen hearse, the driver refused to pull over and initiated a chase. The pursuit ended on the 110 highway in a front-end collision that left the car mangled.

Mew car smell - aptly dubbed as Eau De New Car – seriously, you can't get any more direct than that – this new fragrance is not for your car but for yourself. Now, this might sound like an April Fool's gag to others but it looks like Auto Trader, an online vehicle marketplace in the U.K. is quite serious about its new product. According to them, the smell of a brand new car is the smell of success, and something that you'd want to have no matter where you go. Basically, if you want to smell successful, you have to smell like a brand new car. The site has numbers to back that up, saying that 25 percent of respondents claim that, according to their research. And, success, of course, equates to attractiveness.

Not so fast, Caped Crusader. Traffic police in Moscow towed a replica Batmobile made to look like the version driven in “Batman v Superman” and “Suicide Squad” after determining it didn’t jibe with road safety regulations and was “not manufactured within factory conditions.” Video shows a tow truck hauling away the faux and plastic-wrapped Batmobile. According to Russian state news service RT, police initially noticed the car — and really, it’s easy to see why — parked on a major street in the central city sans license plate. The driver wasn’t around, but officers reportedly had to call a special towing service to accommodate the 13-foot-plus-wide vehicle. They thoughtfully applied the plastic to avoid scratching it.

Bedbugs are nothing new, but a recent report about a Dallas, Texas, terminator treating rideshare vehicles is freaking people out. As WFAA reports, via The Drive, Doffdon Pest Control owner Don Brooks said he gets approximately 5-10 rideshare calls per week. Some drivers have noticed the pests in the cars and want them gone, while others are simply worried about the prospect and want some peace of mind.

Some first dates are bad because there's no physical spark, maybe political views are different, or possibly one person doesn't like the other's taste in music. Those types of issues seem like small potatoes compared what a 40-year-old woman from Massachusetts experienced in her search for love. During a meet-up coordinated on an app, a man stopped to rob a bank while the woman unknowingly sat in the car. On December 5, 2016, 33-year-old Christopher Castillo acted strangely from the moment the woman picked him up in her Nissan Maxima on that Monday afternoon, according to The Washington Post. While the woman was driving back toward her hometown of North Attleborough, Massachusetts (yes, the North Attleborough where Aaron Hernandez once lived), Castillo started drinking wine in the vehicle. Before the two could get to their destination, Castillo reportedly asked to stop at Bristol County Savings Bank. She acquiesced, and Castillo entered the bank around 2:45 p.m. The next time she saw him, he was running back to the car with $1,000 cash and a gun. The man had used an antique firearm that belonged to his stepfather and reportedly told the bank teller he was hurting for funds. In distress, she complied and began to drive, but the cops caught up soon after. Because authorities originally believed she was in on the crime, they arrested her and held her on $250,000 bail. Fortunately, the charges were eventually dropped once her side of the story came out. The story is relevant today because Castillo was sentenced on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, to three years for armed robbery and two years for assaulting the officers during arrest.

Turnkey Replica Vehicle Law Gains Further Traction

From SEMA Driving Force
Hobbyists were enthused in late 2015 when the U.S. Congress enacted a law allowing low-volume vehicle manufacturers to sell turnkey replica cars—vehicles that appear to be 25 years old or older. Four years later, potential customers are still waiting for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a regulation to implement the law. On behalf of frustrated companies and enthusiasts, SEMA sued NHTSA last October for failing to act.

Good news—NHTSA responded to the lawsuit by issuing a proposed rulemaking. SEMA and many industry companies submitted comments and are awaiting issuance of the final rule. Although there is no deadline, the industry is urging NHTSA to complete the mission this summer so that sales may commence. The new law gives customers the choice of purchasing a turnkey replica car. Nevertheless, hobbyists will always have the option of building a kit car or specially constructed vehicle themselves.

For Sale
Lincoln for sale and loaded ready to go to your garage

Military Surplus Vehicle Template Latest in SEMA-Model Bill Series

From SEMA Driving Force
Nobody looks forward to a run-in with the law. When it comes to facing rules relating to automobiles, troubles often seem catastrophic. In reality, chances are high that someone else has been faced with resolving a similar matter. Sometimes the best answer to a problem is lying in plain sight— one just needs to know where to look. The key is realizing that help exists and reaching out.

In its fight to protect the automotive community from unfair laws, the SEMA Action Network (SAN) has long battled familiar issues in multiple places. Existing vehicle related policies and classifications are often well behind the times. In those jurisdictions, outdated and convoluted registration rules create confusion among motorists as well as those charged with applying the laws at the ground level.

Over time, the SAN has crafted unique solutions to combat common difficulties nationwide. Early on, a SEMA-model street-rod/ custom-vehicle bill was developed to simplify matters regarding modified vintage and reproduction vehicles for government officials. With enactment of this template into law demonstrating widespread success, the SAN had proof that positive, proactive legislation could serve to create new opportunities for the growth of the auto hobby. As a result, additional model legislation was designed specifically to create reasonable and practical solutions for other specific issues, including those for inoperable project builds, exhaust-noise enforcement and the use of nitrous-oxide systems.

A fresh SEMA-model has been created as a tool for former military surplus vehicles. In recent years, legislatures are responding to the growing interest in this segment among enthusiasts. Unfortunately, states often define decommissioned vehicles uniquely and may not be authorized for use on public highways. SEMA supports the term “military surplus vehicle” to mean a wheeled, multipurpose or tactical vehicle, including trailer, that was manufactured for military use by or under the direction of the U.S. Armed Forces or Armed Forces of any other country and was subsequently authorized for sale to civilians. When approved, these laws recognize the important historical and patriotic purpose of these vehicles.

The next time actions threaten one of the subjects mentioned above, don’t make enemies— take the opportunity to build bridges with lawmakers. Working together with a fair approach in-hand will make arriving at a hobby- friendly outcome much more likely. Find each of the SEMA-model templates posted at semaSAN.com/ModelBills.

For Sale
I've seen this coupe before - I believe it has a straight 6

Should Coronavirus Be A Concern For Cars Or Parts Bought From East Asia?

From Hagerty
Thanks to today’s hyper-globalized economy, there’s a good chance you’ll either buy a new car or order parts for your classic ride sourced from an East Asian country. Right now, that region is significantly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

With that said, is the risk of infection a serious concern for the auto industry workers or classic car hobbyists? The short answer is that it is quite unlikely, but let’s take a deeper look.

According to the CDC, the virus survives about two hours on copper and steel surfaces, and there’s concern it can last longer on plastic and cardboard. The likelihood that the coronavirus lives long enough on a package to reach the USA is low, since it normally takes weeks (or months!) to arrive.

The CDC also states that physical contact with infected objects “is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” Which is good for this discussion, as contact with a part (or vehicle) made in a country with a coronavirus outbreak is absolutely nothing like being next to a person with the flu in an airplane.

That difference cannot be understated, so I continued my purchase habits as normal: in mid-January I ordered bulk LED light bulbs for my collection of Fords, coming from China due to the obscure requirements (size T-5, warm white tone matching the factory incandescent bulbs) and obvious cost savings. The last point is crucial when the need at such a high volume, as you won’t believe how many T-5 bulbs lie within the 1984-1989 Lincoln Mark VII’s backlit facades.

It’s seven (and counting!), but that’s not the point.

The packages arrived last week, complete with shipping labels from China. I removed the bulbs, threw away their packaging, and washed my hands. While I didn’t wash my hands for the CDC-recommended 20-second duration, I didn’t touch my face at any time beforehand. And that’s not a knee-jerk reaction to the coronavirus; that’s how I normally behave while handling car parts of any origin.

The odds of me getting sick is probably close to zero, but considering a possible 27-day incubation period, perhaps time will tell if one of Hagerty’s newest staff members falls prey to the coronavirus.

Watch this space, but don’t expect my untimely departure!

For Sale
El Camino for sale

Repair Mistakes & Blunders

From Rock Auto
Back around 1998, I bought a '94 Buick Skylark. One day soon after, the left turn signal stopped blinking but then started again. It would blink, then stay solid for a bit, and then start blinking again. I went back to the dealership to have them look at it. The tech spent almost two hours going over the entire system but could find nothing wrong.

A couple months went by without any problems, and then the turn signal started acting up again. It might only stop long enough to sit through a red light, or it might go all day without working. I took the car to two different shops, but no one could find anything wrong. I finally decided that I was going to devote a Saturday and find the problem.

I pulled the front turn signal out of the fender and checked everything there was to check. I then removed the tail lamp. I had been troubleshooting for a couple of hours by this time and was holding the tail lamp up watching it blink. The assembly held the backup light, the side marker, and brake/turn/tail bulbs, so it was kind of heavy, and at one point I needed to relax my wrist a bit. When the housing tilted it stopped blinking.

I saw the problem and did not know whether to face palm or shout for joy! The filament in that bulb hung vertically and was broken at the bottom. The vibration of the car would make the filament swing and stop working, and then it would swing just right and make contact again while there was electricity applied to the bulb, and it would stick to the contact and work again. All that time putting up with this just because of a bulb!

My point to this story (other than just being funny) is when you are trying to troubleshoot something always start with the simple things first.

Robby in Mississippi

For Sale
I think I saw a price of $15K on this Galaxie

“My Mother the Car” Is The Worst Automotive TV Show Ever

From Hagerty
If you think you’ve seen every car show on TV, odds are you haven’t seen what is possibly the worst car show ever produced.

Featuring a truly cringe-worthy title, the sitcom My Mother the Car concerned small-town lawyer David Crabtree, who buys a dilapidated 1928 Porter touring car only to discover the car is the reincarnation of his deceased mother. Only Crabtree can hear his mother talk, which she did through the car radio. As a result, he refuses to sell the vehicle, despite the best efforts of Captain Ranzini, an unscrupulous car collector.

Broadcast on NBC from September 14, 1965–September 6, 1966, it was created by Chris Hayward and Allen Burns, who cut their teeth writing Rocky and Bullwinkle scripts for producer Jay Ward. Given the hilarious scripts they created for moose and squirrel, you have to wonder how they came up with this dud. After all, that same year, the pair helped create Get Smart and The Munsters; they would go on to give us The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant, Get Smart, Rhoda, Room 222, and The Simpsons.

My Mother the Car was inspired by Noel Coward’s 1941 play Blithe Spirit, in which a man is haunted by the spirit of his deceased first wife, who tries to disrupt his marriage to his second wife. The twist? Only he can see or hear the ghost. In Hayward’s sitcom variation, the man’s wife would come back as a car, after dying in an automobile accident. The pilot, dubbed My Wife the Car, was sold to United Artists, but executives thought that the idea smacked of necrophilia, and changed the spirit to his mother, rather than his wife.

Executives then named Rod Amateau as the show’s producer. Amateau would enjoy a long career in both television and film, producing and directing such popular sitcoms as The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Love That Bob, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Patty Duke Show, and Mr. Ed, a sitcom about a horse who would only talk to his owner. It was a takeoff on a series of films starring Francis the Talking Mule, a mule who talked exclusively to his owner. The show was financed by comedian George Burns.

The show starred Jerry Van Dyke, Dick Van Dyke’s younger brother, who landed the role after making what could be considered the worst career choice ever. Van Dyke joined the cast after turning down the Don Knotts role in The Andy Griffith Show and the lead role in Gilligan’s Island, a role his agent urged him to take. Van Dyke refused, choosing My Mother the Car because, as he said, “It read like Neil Simon compared to the Gilligan’s Island script.”

Hayward wanted Gypsy Rose Lee to voice the mother’s character, feeling she would give the role a salty, irreverent edge. Instead, it went to movie actress Ann Sothern, whom Amateau had worked with on the CBS-TV series Private Secretary from 1953–57.

As for the car, it was built by Norm Grabowski, who also built the “Kookie T” hot rod used in the TV show 77 Sunset Strip and was a true hot rod. It started life as a 1924 Ford Model T with a touring body, but it was powered by a Chevrolet 283-cubic-inch V-8 with Powerglide automatic transmission. The body was modified with a longer hood, brass radiator, Ford Model A wheels, an outboard fuel tank, and a spare tire mounted on the running board.

However, the studio soon realized that they needed a second car for stunts and special effects. So they contacted George Barris. The resulting stunt car featured a driver’s seat mounted below the rear floorboards along with levers and telescopic mirrors that allowed the car’s driver to remain hidden from sight, and make it appear as if the Porter was driving itself.

Although the producers tried mightily to give the car a name that didn't exist, there actually was a Porter automobile. Based in Bridgeport, Connecticut, it was named for automotive engineer Finley Porter, who had previously designed the 1911–14 Mercer Raceabout. Porter died a year before the show aired.

Of course, accuracy was never a priority for the show, as 1928 cars didn’t have radios. The first car radio was invented by Galvin Manufacturing in 1930 and marketed as the Motorola.

A flop from the get-go, the show miraculously lasted 30 episodes.

“I became known as the guy who did the worst show in the history of television,” Van Dyke said in a 1993 People magazine interview, having finally found fortune starring as assistant coach Luther Van Dam in the sitcom Coach, which ran from 1989–97.

Yet you have to wonder if My Mother the Car was really so awful given the popularity of other shows of the time, such as The Munsters, Gilligan’s Island, I Dream of Jeannie, My Favorite Martian, or Mr. Ed.

When asked if she found the role absurd, Ann Sothern reportedly said, “If a horse can talk, why not a car?” We’ll decline to comment.

Certainly, viewers would eventually warm to the idea of a talking car. By 1982, when the TV show Knight Rider debuted on CBS and starred a Pontiac named KITT, the idea that a machine could talk didn’t seem so far-fetched.

Just ask Siri or Alexa.

Note: I saw the car used in the show years ago at the long gone Nags Head auto museum. I saw the hidden compartment where the car could be driven while looking like no one was behind the steering wheel.

For Sale
A couple of Model A bodies

Dig Online Into The History Of Your Car—You Might Strike Gold

From Hagerty
While we’re all attempting to fastidiously avoid human contact, it seems like just the right moment to do some projects that have maybe loomed in the back of the mind waiting patiently for the free time that never seems to come. For me, one of those projects was hunting down some history on my 1949 Buick Special Model 46S Sedanet. Soon after I bought the car in 2007, I went down the ladder of ownership as far back as the 1950s the usual way, by getting the name and number of the owner previous to the one I bought it from, and from that guy getting the name of the one before him, and so on.

However, here in 2020, there is so much more information online that it seemed a good time to launch another research project into the car’s history. Carfax and other VIN-based vehicle history sites can help, but when your car is 71 years old, those sites can be short on leads.

It helps tremendously if you have a name. My old Buick came with an original owner’s manual into which was tucked the original Buick Owner Service Policy card. In neatly typed letters, it stated that the car’s purchaser, one Mrs. Odessa Hensley of Franklin, Indiana, bought 1949 Buick serial number 1502862 on December 4, 1948 from Woods & Vandivier Motor Sales at 101 E. Monroe Street, Franklin, Indiana. Here, I was lucky on a few counts: I had the name of the original owner, the original owner had an unusual name, and she lived in a small town. If your car was sold new to Robert Smith of Chicago, Illinois, your search may be a little more of the needle-in-haystack variety.

Back in 2007 when I first attempted to research Odessa Hensley online, all I was able to find was a Social Security record stating that an Odessa Hensley of Franklin, Indiana, had been born in 1890 and died in 1969. Nothing else was online about her and I figured that she, like so many people, had probably lived a normal life and died quietly, leaving behind little trace of her existence beyond a couple of footnotes in the Social Security record.

Boy, was I was wrong. Since 2007, so much more information has hit the internet, and last year I discovered Newspapers.com, which has become hands-down my favorite way to tap into history and to kill huge chunks of time in deep dives down historical rabbit holes. The site has scanned and uploaded tens of millions of pages of old newsprint going as far back as the 17th century. Back before media went digital and newspapers started dying off, the small-town paper was the daily record of life in America. Besides echoing the national headlines, they dutifully recorded the local politics, the births, graduations, sporting events, weddings, business openings, social gatherings, and deaths. Scanning old newspaper ads alone can eat an afternoon.

The site isn’t cheap; a six-month subscription goes for $75, though it does offer a seven-day free trial subscription, which is probably enough to get your research project done. But after that, consider throwing the site some money for the staff’s effort; maybe buy one six-month subscription. Then spend it reading The Indianapolis Star’s riveting account of the first Indy 500 in 1911, or The Detroit News’ breathless 1964 coverage of the launch of the new Mustang, or the Los Angeles Times reporting on the arrest of John Z. DeLorean as he was thumbing through a suitcase full of coke at an airport hotel, and on and on. I have researched everything from Lee Iacocca to 1950s fin cars to Subaru Brats on Newspapers.com and always, without fail, found fascinating information. Whatever car you own, its arrival almost certainly created news of some kind back in the day.

Once I put Odessa’s name in the search line, an unexpected trove of information uploaded to my screen. I learned that she was born Odessa Craft to George and Francina Roberts Craft on March 14, 1890 in Johnson County, Indiana, which is just south of Indianapolis. She went to school in nearby Hensley Township and married into the prominent Hensley family by wedding Richard Hensley, who died in 1931. Odessa worked in the State House in Indianapolis for 12 years as a filing clerk and, shortly after buying the Buick in 1948, ran as a Democrat for Franklin city clerk and treasurer on the J. Paul Kerlin ticket for mayor in 1951. The campaign spent $749 on the election, much of it on ads in The Franklin Evening Star, but lost to the Republican challenger by 57 votes out of 2903 counted on a particularly stormy day in November.

Odessa remained active in local Democratic politics as well as the Franklin Business and Professional Women’s Club, which met regularly at the Hopewell Presbyterian Church off Route 144 west of town. In 1958, she joined four other women in attending the National Democratic Campaign Conference in Washington, D.C. A photo shows them all together smiling in their print ’50s swing dresses and hats. In the fashion of the day, the women were listed by their husband’s names, as in: Mrs. Richard Sheek, Mrs. Hallard Ferguson, and Mrs. William D. Vandivier (which may explain why Odessa went to Woods & Vandivier Motor Sales for her Buick purchases).

As I learned from her obituary published on December 8, 1969 (almost exactly 20 years to the day after she bought the Buick, and two months after I was born), her busy civic life was tinged with personal tragedy. Two of her children, Mrs. Vivian Smith and Robert Hensley, both died before her. Her third child, Jewell Hensley, went to war and served in the 41th Tank Battalion, the Thunderbolts, of the 11th Armored Division, which fought in northwest Europe as part of Patton’s Third Army. The first time Jewell and the Thunderbolts saw combat was in the snowy forests of eastern Belgium on December 30th, 1944 as part of Third Army’s counteroffensive in the Battle of the Bulge. He survived the battle as well as the march into Germany, and returned home to Johnson County to become a farmer in nearby Trafalgar, Indiana. However, he died in 1995 apparently without ever having any children. And there the Hensley story seems to end.

Back then, it was common practice for newspapers to publish people’s addresses after their names. Odessa’s trim little house at 469 N. Main in Franklin where she lived most of her life still stands, though what’s left of the dealership a half mile away is now a Zumba studio. Back in the day, Woods & Vandivier was a frequent advertiser in The Franklin Evening Star, touting everything from the new Dynaflow transmission—“For the first time, oil does everything!”—to replacement Fireball engines for your worn-out prewar Buick.

One of my favorite Woods & Vandivier ads is for Buick’s new Sound-Sorber headliner, one of the many hilarious marketing names Buick gave to otherwise ordinary car components. “BUICK alone has all these features,” shouted the ad, listing such modern marvels as the Vibra-Shielded Ride, Quadruflex Coil Springs, Flex-Fit Oil Rings, Road-Rite Balance (whatever that was), and Duomatic Spark Advance.

As I said, just perusing the car ads in old newspapers can consume an afternoon while you wait for the modern world’s latest crisis to fade. And learning that your car’s original owner has more of a story beyond just being your car’s original owner is immensely gratifying. As the old Buick sits in my garage in Los Angeles, I can now picture it waiting for Odessa in the parking lot at Hopewell Presbyterian, or sitting in the driveway at 469 N. Main, or at the State House in Indianapolis amidst the other Detroit streamliners of its day.

My car now has a life beyond simply being my car. First it was Odessa’s, and as a citizen of the distant future, I owe her a debt for having such good taste in automobiles, as well as a debt to the editors and writers of those newspapers for making sure her story wasn’t completely lost to time.

For Sale
This 50 Ford had a flathead V-8

Support the RPM Act

Sign at this link: www.votervoice.net/SEMA/campaigns/45394/respond

The RPM Act is common-sense, bi-partisan legislation to protect law-abiding citizens who convert cars, trucks and motorcycles into racing vehicles. The bill clarifies that it is legal to make emissions-related changes to a street vehicle for the purpose of converting it into a racecar used exclusively in competition. It also confirms that it is legal to produce, market and install racing equipment.

UPDATE TO THE RPM ACT - click link below
www.sema.org/epa-news

Illinois General Assembly HB4571

Every General Assembly session I read through all the introduced bills and tell others they should do the same. Why? Because some bills are just plain stupid. I found this bill - HB4571 - online from the Illinois General Assembly: Short Description: GAS STATION ATTENDANT

Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the Gas Station Attendant Act. Provides that no gas may be pumped at a gas station in this State unless it is pumped by a gas station attendant employed at the gas station. Effective January 1, 2021.

Representative Camille Y. Lilly (D) of the 78th District introduced the bill and got so much flak about it that when it reached committee she asked that it be tabled.

This is what is called "Concept Legislation" - and this is from billtrack50.com:

This week we’ll take a Closer Look at a bill out of Illinois, the Gas Station Attendant Act. This short bill has caused quite a stir online, but brought to light an interesting tactic legislators use to try to get publicity surrounding issues their constituents care about.

The Bill.
Representative Camille Lilly, a Chicago Democrat, proposed the Gas Station Attendant Act after meeting with her constituents. During her meeting, she said constituents voiced concerns about the rising unemployment rate within their community. Lilly said the purpose of this bill was an attempt to create new jobs via making a new job category available to the people of Illinois, gas station attendants.

IL HB4571 has just three short sections:

Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Gas Station Attendant Act.
Section 5. Pumping gas. No gas may be pumped at a gas station in this State unless it is pumped by a gas station attendant employed at the gas station.
Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect January 1, 2021.

Currently, only two states restrict people from gas pumping at the station, New Jersey and Oregon. New Jersey is the only state that still outright forbids motorists from self-pumping gas at all gas stations throughout the state. Oregon changed their law in 2018 from a complete ban (aside from some late night rural exceptions) to allowing motorists to pump their own fuel in select circumstances. If the station is a stand-alone gas station and in a county with fewer than 40,000 residents, people are allowed to pump their own gas. If a station does not fit the requirements, gas station attendants are still required be employed to pump gas for Oregon motorists.

Oregon’s ban on self-service gas pumps dated back to 1951. These bans were introduced because states used to be concerned that untrained pump operators would spill fuel. But, in the last 70 years, as technology and design have progressed, gas stations and pumps have become much safer and easier to use. Most states which had laws like these have abandoned them. Although New Jersey has kept their regulation relating to pumping the same, Oregon moved to loosen its restriction due to its mostly irrelevant reasoning in the 21st century.

The Response.
As one can imagine, this bill elicited a strong response from the public and many of the businesses that would be impacted by this legislation if passed.

First, many people pointed out that gas stations are not simply a spot where people go to refuel their cars, they are convenience stores, restaurants, car washes, and more. Gas stations rely on the revenue from meals, snacks, beverages, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and whatever else people may fancy, on top of revenues recognized from fuel sale. Removing the incentive to get out of your car would impact the traffic inside the station and sales of these items, thus negatively impacting gas stations’ revenue.

Second, there are two major financial implications. Gas stations would have to hire and employ all of the attendants that would legally be required to pump gas at their stations. The cost of interviewing, hiring, and employing these attendants many believe would be passed on to consumers via higher gas prices. There also would be a cost associated with ensuring stations complied with the regulations that would be imposed upon the state and have to be funded by state tax revenue.

Third, the original reason for having these types of laws has a weak foundation in 2020. Forty-eight other states allow people to fuel their cars with limited incident every year.

The Fallout.
After the heavy backlash to the bill, Lilly issued the following statement on regarding HB4571:

“House Bill 4571 is concept legislation to create safety and convenience at the pump. House Bill 4571 is not intended to pass as is. The intention of this bill is to give consumers the option to be serviced by a gas station attendant, in addition to the self-service option currently used. House Bill 4571 could potentially create jobs that impact the local economy. The input we receive is very valuable to help shape House Bill 4571 into legislation the people of Illinois desire.”

After releasing this statement, Lilly chose to table the bill, saying that the “concept legislation” needed to be rewritten based upon feedback around the state. Concept legislation can also be known as a “fetcher” bill. According to Ditmar Walker, the reason legislators introduce these “fetcher” bills is usually not to have them enacted, but to generate a response from the public and the affected industries.

Although Lilly’s proposal was perceived as very unlikely to succeed from the get-go, it sparked an interesting conversation. Concept legislation is often proposed to try to spark a conversation about an issue. Lilly’s suggestion provided an opportunity for people to consider and discuss what policies and programs governments should research and implement to create sustainable, good-paying jobs to help communities who are worried about unemployment rates.

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This 50K original 1988 Corvette is for sale - email me if interested

Tesla 3 Fart Mode

The Tesla 3 comes with a "Caraoke" (Karaoke) app that lets driver and/or passengers sing to tunes. It also has a fart mode which produces sounds of flatulence at the push of a button.

From Electrek:
It’s exactly what it sounds like; a fart app. Tesla owners can choose between “on demand” farts and farts when using the turn signal.

It looks like Tesla missed an opportunity to use the seat sensors to activate the farting machine.

While that’s not an option, they did plenty of different fart noises, hence Musk’s comment about fine-tuning the “notes”, and they have some creative names that appear to be callback jokes about Musk and his companies:

Not a Fart – a reference to The Boring Company’s “Not a Flamethrower“
Short Shorts Ripper – Musk likes to taunt TSLA shorts – even sending one of them a box of short shorts at some point.
Falcon Heavy – SpaceX’s latest and biggest rocket that boosted the Tesla Roadster into space
Ludicrous Fart – a reference to Tesla’s Ludicrous mode
Neurastink – Musk has a company called Neuralink
Boring Fart – another reference to the Boring Company
I’m so random – this one is going over my head.

The same software update also has a “fireplace” Easter egg that changes the center screen into a fireplace, turn the heat up, and blast some romantic music.

If you are wondering what is an "Easter egg": While the term Easter egg has been used to mean a hidden object for some time, in reference to an Easter egg hunt, it has come to be more commonly used to mean a message, image, or feature hidden in a video game, movie, or other, usually electronic, medium. The term used in this manner was coined around 1979 by Steve Wright, the then Director of Software Development in the Atari Consumer Division, to describe a hidden message in the Atari video game Adventure.

Will the sounds of flatulence bring people to purchase a Tesla?

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This red Chevy pickup was also for sale in Suffolk

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