Notes from the Field

It’s All about the Cars

 The antique and classic cars were lined up on the Green in front of the Millbrook Fire House on Saturday, complementing the Farmers Market and the Millbrook Lit Festival, which were going on simultaneously.


Two Cadillacs in spiffy condition with long, flat fins took the northern flank with their 1950s looks.  The Thunderbirds down the line were austere by comparison.  A pair of AC two-seater sports cars, one marked as an AC Bristol, drew admiring gazes from those who knew their cars. These are low-production rarities. A Ford Fairlane sported a finish that would look good on a Bentley; it fairly glowed, and the family that owned it did glow with pride at what years of devoted work produced—a car whose value is a multiple of what the car cost when new.180 photo by Pat Ike


We passed a gleaming 1930 Seagrave pumper with “Millbrook Fire Department” in bold letters on the hood. It looked as if it had just emerged from its cellophane wrapper. The polished brightwork was the product of care and dedication. Clearly the best of show.


Rob Dyson showed his 1929 “woody” Ford station wagon.  Yellow was the proper color for an early 50’s  Willys roadster. A perfect Sunday car.  Why aren’t they making these today? A number of 1950s Detroit production cars proved that nothing goes out of style forever. The sole Austin Healey brought back memories of when these touring cars made the racing circuit, driven by Italian or British drivers idolized by gorgeous women. A 1940 Buick and a 1947 DeSoto were retro standouts; they were ready for a gangster movie with Jimmy Cagney.  A 1930 Ford Model A sports coupe with a rumble seat and a 1929 Ford Phaeton seemed enormous improvements  over a 1920 Model T touring car that  seemed pretty rickety. Lou Spagnola (who owned the Phaeton) sure thought so.

The Millbrook Fire Department was the host for the car show, which drew a packet of interesting vehicles to the Green.


Later that day the Harlem Valley Car Club, now in its fourth year, convened in the parking lot at Four Brothers in Amenia  and displayed another collection of cars from the fifties and sixties with modern additions.  According to Paul, their VP, they have no age restrictions on the vehicles of their members.  We looked at a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda with a 550HP 425 Hemi engine. We also saw two three-hole Buicks (Supers) that must have reached rarity status.  The star of the show was a Batmobile, a custom job modeled on a vehicle from the comic books.  Its owner said the chassis and engine were from a 1970 Lincoln and the body from outer space, which he allowed was somewhere on Long Island. There were a number of muscle cars, and cars that were classic hot rods.  A rat rod was our favorite, however, and is pictured nearby.  It was owned by Luke Fuller.