GM Futurliner 2001 Progress Reports
The following are Don Mayton's progress reports from the work sessions held in his pole barn. To read it in chronological order, start from the bottom and read up the page.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed
DeVries, Phil DeVries, Bud Dinger, Ron Elzinga, Lee Furman, Wayne Jackson,
Tom Kuhlman, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Jeff Miller, Dick Saddler, Jerry
Sigler, Audrey Snow, Wally Snow and Daena Vuyst.
GUESTS: Larry Vander Schuur, Bob Smith and Wes Rose.
Carol fixed lunch and served with Daena helping and Audrey provided the desert.
is the Futurliner Restoration Work Report for December 3 & 4, 2001.
December 3, 2001 (Monday)
December 4, 2001 (Tuesday)
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Phil
DeVries, Bud Dinger, Ron Elzinga, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton,
Dick Saddler, Jerry Sigler, Wally Snow and Daena Vuyst. Carol made and
served lunch with her daughter Daena helping.
GUESTS: Juan Gonzales (GM-PPO), Chris Daggy (GM-PPO), Clifford Ponton (GM-PPO) and Homer Teitsma.
Ryan and Linda DeVries recently purchased a cow and contributed over 20 pounds of hamburger meat for our future lunches. Thank you, as the men are always ready to sit down for a big meal.
Jim continued to weld in sheet metal and do metal work at the rear of the Futurliner.
Conrad, in addition for welding for a lot of others worked at completing the welds on the skin of the cab of the Futurliner .
Bud had taken the powered step stainless steel plate home to polish it. It came back looking like new. Both Bud and Jerry finished the assembly of the powered step including the polished stainless steel plate. They then installed it in its final location under the right door entrance at the front. Next they made a temporary air hook up and it worked. This is one job behind us except for the final air piping.
CAB AND ENGINE COMPARTMENT
Jerry then started the fabrication and installation of the sheet metal over the engine compartment that allows us to install insulation between the engine and the cab.
Dick and Bud worked at making the frame for the engine access hatch. They completed the hatch fabrication with Connie doing the welding. Next they will put the steel cover on it.
Dick also started the process of measuring all the interior for our upholstery requirements. As noted in prior communications we have a volunteer that will be doing the interior upholstery.
Wally has gathered all the trim for the cab. He is in the process of straightening each piece, removing every old rusty fastener and then filing off any imperfections.
Ed, Ron and Phil managed to cut, burn and saw out the rusted bolts that were holding the large aluminum arms to the lighting fin. Once they removed them, then the process was started to clean up the lighting fin, grind and sand away all old paint, and start the repairs. The lighting fin is covered in aluminum and we are fortunate that very little corrosion has taken place. We will have to make repairs caused by external damage plus make and install new pins and bushings that allowed the fin to be raised.
Phil, in addition to working today has started the process at home of machining the two AMCO bronze blocks that Dick Humphreys donated. The machining process will take time.
Today three visitors from GM-PPO operations came. These will be the folks that will supervise and construct the roof for the Futurliner. There are a lot of people in the process that allowed this to take place starting with Marv. I will not try to mention everyone's name, as I will probably forget someone. Today Chris, Juan, and Clifford poured over their drawings, making field measure measurements, and making decisions as to the right process to build and install the roof. As everyone has found out on this project there are no two measurements that are the same when they should be. Their plan, to minimize us having to make further alterations after the roof arrives, is to build the roof in three sections. The first section will be the center (front to back). Once it arrives we can install all the hardware associated with the lighting fin (which is a lot). Once all this hardware is installed then we can actually operate the lighting fin on the floor prior to installing this mid section of the roof. Then this section can be installed.
Next they will build the two outside right and left sections. Then these can be installed.
Then the end roof supports will be built and installed.
Prior to the roof sections arriving the following must be done:
It was obvious that the roof is in the hands of professionals, thanks.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud
Dinger, Ron Elzinga, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Dick
Saddler, Audrey Snow and Wally Snow.
GUESTS: Roger Wesseldyk, Casey Kertstra and Rich Saddler.
Carol prepared and served lunch and Wally brought along desert that his wife Audrey made.
Jim continued to weld the fabricated sections at the rear of the Futurliner. He also spent time continuing checking measurements for the roof structure.
Don worked at fabricating the running light fixtures for the upper cab. He also fabricated and welded in the left top drain system.
Connie in addition of the welding he did for others worked at the left front of the cab doing final welding of the skin as well as body work to smooth out the skin that has been welded in place.
Bud Dinger and Connie worked at the installation of the power step. At one time, the frame of this step has been hit and they spent time getting it straight.
WINDSHIELD AND TRIM
Wally worked at identifying and measuring all the outside aluminum trim associated with the top of the cab around where the windshield will be installed. In addition, he drilled holes for the installation of the trim where new sheet metal has been welded in place. Wally also experimented on one section to see how well it will polish up and the 3" section he did looks great.
Yesterday Don painted with primer the upper doorframe that Ed, Wes and Ron had been repairing. Today Ed and Ron finished the structural repairs on this door and fabricated and installed hangers so the door could be hung on the inside of the building we are working in. Next they went to our outside inventory and brought in the upper lighting fin.
The lighting fin sits in a pocket in the top center of the roof. It is mechanized and travels vertically up 7' above the roof of the Futurliner. It provides lighting for the Futurliner when the Parade of Progress is set up for a night performance. Housed in the lighting fin are six fixtures with four 4' fluoresce lights/ fixture; four 120 volt spotlights, and six singe 4' fluoresce light fixtures. This floods the Futurliner with light. In addition to the lights are two arms that pivot to allow the lighting fin to be raised from its lowered position to its lighting position.
Ed and Ron took all the lighting fixtures out and then started the process of removing the large aluminum arms. So far the inside to the lighting fin looks to be in fair shape. The outer skin of the fin is covered with aluminum.
Dick worked inside the cab welding in braces in the floor where he had cut it out for the air vent system on the left side. He also worked at designing the top hatch opening mechanism as well as designing the hatch over the engine compartment that is also the floor for the cab.
MECHANICAL - BRAKES
Del and Wayne continued to install brake parts. Today they finished the installation of the second air tank. Next, one of the many valves was installed.
R. Goyette, a Parader, who has flown here to look at the Futurliner and the restoration progress as well as donating lots of material again, called yesterday. He plans to attend the 50th Parader reunion next September 2002 which will be held in this area. He also came across more material for our archives. He found a complete list of all the Paraders from 1953 through 1956 along with all the places the Parade of Progress visited starting in April of 1953 through July of 1956. We had a portion of this list but not a complete one. Thanks Rennie.
Frank Faraone contacted us via e-mail: "I was the first lecture supervisor and advanceman for the Parade. I do have a complete set of the leather case playing cards (unopened) with the gin score pad and pencil....all in mint condition. I'll be glad to send them...just tell me where." Thanks Frank for this donation.
The Paraders continue to contribute materials to add to the memorabilia of the Parade of Progress. Some of the photos are already at the museum (NATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE AND TRUCK MUSEUM OF THE UNITED STATES) in Auburn, Indiana. We will continue to add to this display. Our thoughts are also to have much of this material inside the Futurliner when it is done to serve as a rolling museum of the Parade of Progress. Your thoughts are appreciated.
Mike continues to catalog all our photos, dig out photos as our volunteers work on a different section and take photos as we work. We are looking into borrowing a video camera to record what is happening.
Jim Crame has faithfully updated the web site as new material has arrived. Anyone that looks at the site has been impressed with its depth. Again as a contribution, the web has been renewed until 12-27-03. If you have not looked at it in awhile, take a look.
Our daughter, Daena and her children (our grandchildren) Katie and Laura again have produced another hundred "Futurliner" badges that we pass out to visitors that visit the restoration site. Thanks.
When we have a group visit Mike Ball frequently presents a slide show of the Parade of the slides that Parader R. Goyette gave us.
As we get information about the other Futurliners we will update everyone. Today I talked to a man in Maine who claims he saw a Futurliner in the woods about 25 miles from his house. He is going back this weekend to take photos. We have located a Futurliner in New Hampshire and the person that owns it moved to Maine. I do not know if this is the same Futurliner. We have lots of photos so we will be able to tell if it is the same one.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Judy DeJong, Ed
DeVries, Phil DeVries, Bud Dinger, Ron Elzinga, Dick Humphreys, Wayne
Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Wes Myrick, Dick Saddler, Audrey Snow
and Wally Snow.
Carol fixed and served lunch with Audrey providing the Jell-O salad and Judy providing the apple pie desert.
Phil continued to work at installing the components for the left side door opening drive mechanism. Until we get the roof in place he cannot install the front and vertical screw mechanisms. Also we are waiting the return of the gear motor that Jeff Dornbush is working on at home.
Dick Humphreys from Saginaw, Michigan drove the 2-1/2 hours down to Zeeland to donate the AMCO bronze for the two nuts that must be machined for the top lighting fin drive system. We thank Dick for this expensive donation. There is an interesting story to this donation. He went to a scrap dealer to purchase the bronze. At the time neither he nor I had no idea as to what type of bronze to purchase. The dealer ask him if 330 would be ok, and Dick not knowing one type from another said ok. The dealer then discovered he did not have any 330 in the size we needed. Next the dealer asked him if 660 would be ok and again Dick said fine. Again the dealer did not have the right size. In the meantime I had found that we should be using AMCO bronze. The dealer did have AMCO bronze in the right size and sold it to Dick at the same price as the 330 material, a real bargain. Thanks Dick for the donation.
Phil took the AMCO bronze home. He will be developing a computer program, designing and building a tool to cut this material on his CNC milling machine in order to make the right and left internal ACME threads on the two carriages that operate the top lighting fin. This will save us quite a bit of money. Already from Dick Humphreys' donation we have saved the cost of the material.
Del and Wayne worked at the rear where Fred was working. (Fred, fell from working near the top of his motor home and landed on his back. He is in a lot of pain with bruised ribs and can hardly walk. We all need to praying for his recovery.) They removed the sheet metal at the shelf where the generator sits. Under the frame was broken in several places. After they got everything lined up, Connie got in and welded everything in place. In addition Del and Wayne constructed the straps for one of the air tanks for the braking system. They managed to get the tank in place and will finish the installation next week.
Bud worked at the power step mechanism that is located under the entry door at the right front of the Futurliner.
MECHANICAL - ENGINE
As mentioned earlier we have always planned to restore a 2nd engine for both a display and as a backup. Once the Futurliner is restored you have great difficulty seeing the engine since it is buried in between two large frame rails deep inside the Futurliner. Bill Bicknell, of Bicknell Engine Co. (Dayton, Ohio: 937-864-5224) who restored the first engine that is now sitting waiting installation plans to restore the second engine. He has been accumulating parts and recently has been in contact with Andy Siechen from Iowa. Andy will be donating the Hydramatic flywheel and a few other parts that Bill needs. Thanks to both Bill and Andy.
The parts that Bill is still working at acquiring include:
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Phil
DeVries, Bud Dinger, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Wayne Jackson, Dick Saddler
and Wally Snow.
GUESTS: Wayne Savage (Arnies Auto Glass Center; Holland, Michigan)
Carol served and provided lunch.
To date with the support of many people this project has not had to stop for lack of funds. I want to thank those that have contributed financially. However we have some major expenses facing us in the near future. The Museum (NATMUS) has $5600 in its Futurliner restoration account. Here are the known expenses that are facing us immediately since we have not been able to find someone to do them as a donation:
I know times are not the best to be asking for money
but if you are getting ready to consider a donation for the end of the
year consider our needs. Also if you know of a source that can do the work
as a donation that would be great. Lets not let down the working
volunteers that supply their time, talents, tools and in many cases
purchase the things they need for finishing their projects.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Sue Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Conrad
DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton,
Wes Myrick, Dick Saddler, Audrey Snow and Wally Snow.
GUESTS: Pete Zwdgorman, Bernie Vandenberg, Les Loortsema, Charles Hoezee, Kent Vanderlaan, Craig Kemp, Jim Kemp and Doug Vanderlaan.
Carol provided and served lunch with Audrey sending the salad and Sue sending apple crisp for desert. Thanks ladies.
Bud, Don and Connie continued to install fabricated outer skin sections and weld them in place along the line that separates the painted portion from the aluminum ribbing in the cab area. Connie also started welding in solid the skin sections in the upper area of the cab. With the new skin going on the cab the Futurliner is starting to look a little like a vehicle.
Dick fitted the hatch frame that he has built and then had Connie weld it in place. It fit like a glove. Next Dick will be working to fabricate the hinge and arms that hold the hatch in place once it is in the open position.
Jim continued to weld in sections in the rear. He also spent time measuring the area where the new roof will be tied in to insure a good fit.
Fred completed the installation of the covers that he has fabricated inside the rear. These covers allow easy access to service the PTO shaft grease fittings, the shaft itself, the pulley that drives the generator and other components in this area. He then started the removal of the sheet metal around the support for the large generator. In working in this area, he noted broken welds in the original frame that supports the large generator.
After last weeks work session we took the upper door that Ed and Wes had skinned to our local sand blaster. I then picked up the doorframe after being blasted. After the blasting operation, the rust holes really showed up. There was nothing left of the lower frame member. We knew it was bad but there was very little remaining after blasting. Also, some cross ribs looked that they were shot gun practice targets. Fortunately, Ed and Wes had a plan.
Just a comment, our sand blaster, Dave (Dave's Custom Blasting, Zeeland, Michigan) has been blasting parts for us for two years. Except for the day he did the entire upper half of the Futurliner, he has never billed us. We really appreciate this. Dave's business is a one-man business and that is asking a lot to sand blast all these parts.
As I mentioned, Ed and Wes had a plan. Ed on the way to the work session today stopped and purchased (his money) rectangular steel tubing and flat bar stock 16' plus. They mounted this large doorframe on a set of horses, and then cut away the remains of the rusted bottom section. Next, they welded in vertical reinforcements at the two outside bottom corners. Following that they welded in all new steel in the bottom of the doorframe.
Marge Carpenter has spent a lot of time buffing and polishing the disassembled mirrors. She has spent time at Ryan's business using his commercial buffing equipment and getting Ryan's professional instructions. Today Fred brought in the results and the work is great. The mirrors will be outstanding on the Futurliner. Next, we will assemble the mirrors to check for fit and then get new glass installed. Thanks Marge for all the home work that you did for us while getting as black as a coal miner. (Buffing is dirty work, as those know who have done it.)
Fred also took our front grill to a place to try to remove some of the weld previously from the repairs that we had made earlier. I think Marge might take on the buffing and polishing of this large piece.
Fred brought a van full of nuts, washers, cotter keys, tools, oils, bolts, etc that he donated to the Futurliner project. Fred used to race vintage sports cars and no longer does it and figured as many times as we are running to the hardware store buying this stuff that he should donate it to the project and clean out his work shop at the same time. There was so much stuff that Del and Wayne spent the entire day sorting and putting the material away so we could find it when needed. Thanks Fred for this donation as it will save time and money.
Wally has returned after his recovery from his eye operation and his cruise trip on an Ohio river boat. He is still recovering from the eye operation but doing well. He continued to work on fitting the template he made of the windshield to the opening of the cab. He also started checking the fit of the side cab 1/4 windows.
Mike will never catch up and we continue to get new material for the archives. He keeps it organized and continues to dig information out, as we need it.
Got a note that in Lansing, Michigan at the local Cracker Barrel there is a picture of a Futurliner hanging on the wall. I would appreciate more details about the picture if anyone happens to stop in this Cracker Barrel.
Marv Benedetti has put together the bill of material for the roof build. His boss, Kurt Johnson will be getting bids on the material from their suppliers so the Museum can purchase the steel. Marv and Kurt want to start the roof fabrication shortly. We really appreciate the PPO organization taking on this large assembly.
|Oct. 23||VOLUNTEERS: Mike Ball, Jim Baker, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Ed
DeVries, Philip DeVries, Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Lois Jackson, Wayne
Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Wes Myrick, Dick Saddler, Jerry Sigler,
Daena Vuyst, and John Wiltjer.
GUESTS: Gerald Blouin (Graybar Electric), Ron Elzinga (Glidden Tour participant), Paul Thibodeau (Retired State Policeman), Five retirees from Steelcase Corp. (They have visited before.), Four people from a previous car tour visit.
Douglas Dean was a Parader up until the Parade of Progress closed in 1956. He has supplied the color photo that we have on the front of our web page. This photo is also used on our paper flier that we pass out when we have guests here visiting the work site. This photo was taken in 1956 and represents the Futurliners from 1953 through 1956. If you have never looked at our web pages take a look. Jim Crame has put a lot of time in trying to capture the entire history of the Parade of Progress, the Futurliners and the people involved.
We have no color photos of the Futurliners when they were used in 1941. From color GM pamphlets of that era the Futurliners were all red except for the aluminum ribbing.
Also we have no color photographs of the Streamliners used from 1936 through 1940.
As we continue this project we are collecting all the memorabilia connected with the Parade of Progress, the Futurliners and the Paraders. Douglas Dean has hanging in his garage an original work jacket and a rain coat that he plans on donating. Some memorabilia that we know at one time existed and we are looking for includes:
+ Original trunk issued to the Paraders for all their belongings.
+ Set of Parade of Progress playing cards.
We thank Douglas for his donations and all the others who continue to contribute to this project.
Ed Harben just donated a Parade of Progress Card Case. This case holds two decks of cards, a mechanical pencil, and a note pad. The case is leather and it and its contents are in excellent condition. The only thing missing is a deck of Parade of Progress cards. We do have one card that has been found, a King of diamonds. All we need now is the rest of the deck. Thanks Ed for your donation.
You Paraders don't forget the 50th reunion next September, 2002.
We received via UPS another donation of history. Bruce Berghoff an automotive writer as well as a historian who has great interest in this project came with the Cadillac - LaSalle club this summer for a visit. He has donated financially as well as parts in the past. He again asked us our needs and later shipped to us an original windshield washer system. Included in the original box was:
+ NOS bracket and pump.
+ Glass washer fluid bottle and bail.
+ Dash mounted actuator switch.
+ Copies of original installation and service literature.
Thanks Bruce for your interest and donations.
WORK SESSION REPORT FOR TUESDAY OCTOBER 16, 2001
Dan Germeraad. As
usual Carol provided lunch for all the workers and our guest.
SESSION FOR OCTOBER 9TH
There will be no work session for next Tuesday, October 9, 2001 due to the fact most of the volunteers will be in Hershey, Pennsylvania at the annual Antique Automobile Club of America fall meet.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Phil
DeVries, Jeff Dornbush, Tom Kuhlman, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Wes Myrick,
Dick Saddler, Jerry Sigler and John Wiltjer. Carol provided lunch for the workers. She is running out of room
to feed the crew.
Bud and Connie cut and fabricated metal for the outer skin of the cab and then welded sections in on the left front corner just rear of the left front door.
Don worked on the inner drains around the top of the cab where the grill (trim) is located that exhausts engine heat. Connie welded all the fabricated pieces in place.
Dick worked at fabricating sheet metal for the top of the rear of the cab.
Jim worked at fabricating a right rear inner body section for the Futurliner.
Phil had previously taken home the wood bracket that Del and Wayne had fabricated. Phil then cut, welded and machined a like bracket out of 1/2" plate steel. Then he painted it. Del then fitted the bracket in place and it fit perfectly. However, two holes per bracket must be opened up to 5/8".
Phil then continued to work at installing the drive system for the right upper and lower doors. Once the gear motor, chain drive, shafts, and brackets were in place he made a temporary hook up to see if the system worked. He applied 110 volts and the right shaft powered the right front worm drive and it worked smoothly until the gear motor started smoking. He then removed that gear motor and installed the other gear motor and everything again worked smoothly without the gear motor smoking. Next time we meet, Jeff is going to take apart the gear motor that was smoking to determine what was wrong.
Tom came at the end of the day and brought along all the parts that he restored at home. He had a trunk full. We helped him unload the PTO drive shaft that he restored and painted, the air conditioner unit that he cleaned and got the blower motors working (the unit still needs taken to an air conditioning expert to go over), the drive shaft assembly for the lighting fin and a few other parts. Thanks Tom. (Tom lives about a 1-1/2 hours away.)
Once Del and Jeff determined that the brackets that Phil made fit properly, they then started installing the front brake air reservoir tank that Bendix supplied. Next, they installed the rear brake reservoir tank.
Jerry worked at fastening the outer skins on both the right and left lower cargo doors.
Ed and Wes finished removing the outer and inner skins of the second lower 16' door. Once removed it was determined that this doorframe is NOT REPAIRABLE. There is such extensive rust that it is not worth saving except for a pattern. We then went back to examine the first door that they skinned it was worse than we realized. It was decided that new lower 16' doors will have to be constructed. However, this is a job bigger than we have facilities for. We do not have the equipment to fabricate 16' sections nor a layout table this large. We will be taking the better of the two doors to a local fabricator to get a quote.
THIS IS WHERE WE COULD USE SOME HELP. Although there is some money at the MUSEUM in our account as a result of your donations, we have been trying to save it for the steel that has to be purchased for the roof that a fabricator has volunteered to make for us. Any donations at this time would be appreciated. I should know in a few weeks the cost estimated to have the two lower 4' X 16' door frames made. (We will install the skins on the doors.)
With everyone's help we then retrieved one of the upper 5' X 16' doors that has been stored outside since we removed it about 24 months ago. Ed and Wes's first job was to eradicate the zillion wasps that had made the door home. Next after the pounding, chiseling, hammering and torching started out came a family of mice. Ed and Wes managed to get the inner skin off before the end of the day. Other than the lowest frame section being completely rusted away, the rest of this doorframe looks repairable.
John Wiltjer has again supplied and donated the project with $50 (+) of plastic display sections for displaying photos. Mike then takes these and has set up a portable display that we can move to various car and club functions. Mike has set up one at the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States in Auburn, Indiana. Today he put one together so we can take it to Hershey.
There will be no work session next week due to most of the volunteers
being away at the Glidden Tour in Mackinaw City, Michigan.
VOLUNTEERS: Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter,
Conrad DeJong, Dorothy DeVries, Ed DeVries, Phil DeVries, Bud Dinger,
Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Jeff Miller, Wes Myrick, Dick
Saddler, Daena Vuyst and John Wiltjer. GUEST: Pat Shellenberger from the
Grand Rapids Press.
I write this I know that the Futurliner project is insufficient in what
has happen in our nation today. Our response must be to support our nation
in any way and the most important is to pray for those injured, those that
lost loved ones, the rescue workers, and our nation's leaders.
VOLUNTEERS: Mike Ball, Bruce Beimers, Del Carpenter, Conrad DeJong,
Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Dick
Modzeleski, Wes Myrick, Dick Saddler and Jerry Sigler. GUESTS: Pat
Austin and Betty (Elizabeth Brady)
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Marge Carpenter*, Ed DeVries,
Bud Dinger, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Jeff Miller, Jerry Sigler,
Wally Snow, Joshua Vuyst*, and John Wiltjer.
*Designates those not present on this workday but have been helping at
home or on another day.
Carol provided lunch for the workers.
As seen by the list we had a great turnout on our first day back from our summer break. However many things were in progress over the summer months.
Painting cannot take place on a regular work day and some priming and painting of the engine compartment needed to be done prior to our summer startup. Our 16-year-old grandson, Joshua, was looking for some work to do over the summer so granddad put him to work sandblasting, priming and painting. He managed to get the engine compartment done in final paint. It is now ready for the start of installation of parts. WYRICK PRODUCTS (Zeeland, Michigan), using MONTANA PAINT products again supplied all the paints. Thanks to them.
As mentioned above some of the work that is being done on the Futurliner is being done at people's homes. Marge took on the job of polishing the large aluminum mirrors. Each mirror is composed of about five separate aluminum castings. These are the original mirrors and they have many years of oxidation. Marge took the time to go to Ryan DeVries' shop for his instruction as well as using his heavy duty buffing equipment. She has spent many hours removing the oxidation pits and nicks from many years. Fred (Marge's husband) said she has come home covered with the black oxide that comes when polishing aluminum. He has told her that she must use the back door. According to Fred she will be done with the polishing in about two weeks. Thanks Marge.
Wally agreed to take on the job of engineering the installation of the window. The front windshield is almost a 180-degree glass. Its installation will require a lot of care. Wally proceeded to take a lot of measurements prior to starting. We also had learned from the folks in Canada (FIDO Futurliner) that the glassmaker could not exactly duplicate the original windshield and they had to modify the frame that houses the windshield. Since our windshield came from the same source we will have to do the same. Wally then, with lots of help from others moved the windshield from its shipping crate (remember we paid $10,000 for this windshield) and set it upright on a piece of plywood. From this point he again did lots of measuring and then traced its upper and lower contours. Bruce was assisting in this process. Next they cut out wood templates of the upper and lower contours of the windshield. From there they started to compare the template with the contour of the Futurliner where the windshield sits.
Del and Wayne took on the job of installing the right gasoline tank. All the hangers had to be installed plus the cushion padding between the straps and the tank. With a lot of maneuvering, using a floor jack and lots of help from others they managed to squeeze it in place. For such a large vehicle GM did not leave a lot of space for the two 45 gallon fuel tanks.
John Wiltjer stopped by to see if we needed anything from Weller Truck.
As in a previous communications, I mentioned that Jeff Miller worked with Bendix Brakes and Bendix donated and shipped all the brake components. Jeff showed up just after Wayne and Del installed the gasoline tank. For the balance of the day Jeff, Wayne and Del sorted out and identified all the brake components. In addition they position components to see how they will fit. Since Bendix supplied modern brake components to bring the brakes up to current safety standards, modifications will have to made to the mounting brackets. Jeff, Wayne and Del spent the rest of the day planning what next steps must be taken for mounting the new brake components.
Just a side note but an important one. Jeff's wife just presented him last week with their fourth child, a baby girl; Nicole Rose, 5-1/2 pounds. Both wife and daughter are doing great. Congratulations!
Bud fabricated the sheet metal section on the upper cab that is located under the hot air exhaust for the engine. This section is covered by an 8"by 24" trim piece and the mounting holes must be exact. Once fabricated Don welded it in place. Next Bud fabricated a section in front of this piece to replace rusted metal and again Don welded this in place. Previously Bud had fabricated sections that go around the cab where trim is mounted about a foot below the windshield. Don spent much of the day welding these in place.
Jim continued to fabricate sections at the outer rear for future welding.
Fred fabricated and installed a brace for the PTO pulley guard. He continued to make the covers for the inside rear of the Futurliner.
Wes, Ed and Jerry worked at the right lower cargo doors. They completed the installation of the gear boxes that work the door latch mechanisms. They then started the mounting of the outer door skins.
Wes picked up at a antique fire engine and apparatus auction, outer wheel house skirts that almost fit perfectly on our Futurliner and look very close to the original which are so rusted we can only use them as patterns. He also donated an original Autronic Eye that he also purchased at a swap meet.
Mike could only stay for a short period as he had a funeral to attend. He brought more items to catalog and started cataloging the material that has accumulated over the summer.
Motor Trend's "TRUCK TREND" magazine just ran an article in their September/October issue (Vol.. 4, No. 5) about the GM Futurliners. It is in the section "Classic Trucks" and authored by Thomas Voehringer.
Family Motor Coaching magazine (September 2001 issue) on page 146 has an article about the older motor coaches. Although the article does not cover the Futurliners there is a good photo of Bob Valdez's restored Futurliner.
the volunteers have been off for the summer a lot has still been
progressing on the Futurliner. For example:
Again it is people making this project successful. Thanks to everyone.
Following is the FALL 2001 Futurliner Work Sessions:
is the report for the Futurliner Restoration work session for Tuesday May
22, 2001. This will be our last
work session until September. Work will progress remote from
our work site here. We will not be giving weekly reports but as events
occur, we will update everyone. Follow this link
for general updates. Have a great summer.
VOLUNTEERS: Mike Ball, Jim Baker, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Marge Carpenter*, Steve Cordes, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, George Ferris, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Wes Myrick, Wes Myrick (grandson), Jerry Sigler, Wally Snow, Dick Saddler and John Wiltjer.
*Indicates work being done at home.
DID YOU EVER SEE A DEAD CATERPILLAR WITH ANTS SWARMING OVER IT?
Well that is what we had today.
Carol again had grandbaby sitting duties but went out and got sub sandwiches for everyone and make apple pie for desert.
George and Don cut and fabricated steel sections for around the lower windshield area of the Futurliner while Connie and Jeff welded them in place. Jeff also ground smooth all the previous weeks welding on the cab.
Ed delivered the hinge for the steps and gasoline tank strap padding that he had obtained. The stairs leading to the driver's cockpit are hinged at the top to provide access to the engine on the right side of the vehicle. Bud proceeded to fit and install this hinge. Once the hinge was installed he then took the mechanism that holds the stairs in the open position and he then installed this. Bud had previously taken this mechanism home, freed it from its years of rust, got it working, removed all rust and then painted it. Now the stairs can be raised and latched in place for access to the engine.
Ed, Jerry, and Wes (grandson) lined up the right two lower cargo doors, and shimmed them to fit evenly with the body. They also repaired one of the latching mechanisms that holds the door shut. At the end of the session, they were fitting the outer skins to one of the doors.
Fred continued to install and fabricate covers for the rear inside of the Futurliner. He is also repairing the guards that cover the "V" belts that drive the generator.
Jim continues to fabricate and weld in sections at the rear of the body.
Dick continues to sort out all the pieces for the cab. He could not get to his hatch with all the others working around the cab. He also helped Jim at the rear and worked at straightening out front trim pieces.
Dick is also taking home with him one of the rear access doors. Previously he had a friend using a English wheel form the skin for this door. However, it needs more work to fit properly so Dick took this new skin, the old rusted skin, and the door inner assembly home. He feels with all the components, his friend can get the skin to fit properly.
Del and Wayne installed all the transmission cushion mounts for the rear transmission. Although they had the transmission in place and bolted in, the cushion mounts were not available. Wayne had a local company make the cushion mounts and contributed that to the project. Next, they installed the pads on the gasoline tank saddles. Then they installed the left gasoline tank. Following that they installed the left gasoline tank overflow line.
Steve from the Tin Can Tourist came and true to his word, he picked up two of the mounted Futurliner wheels/tires to have them dismounted. He also stated he would investigate the possibility of getting them sandblasted and powder coated. Steve lives in Allendale, Michigan. Steve also worked on the Futurliner.
Fred's wife, Marge has volunteered to start the polishing process of the aluminum trim. This trim is 60 plus years old and has 60 plus years of oxidation. To start with, Fred took her some sections of one of the side mirrors. These mirrors are large and are each make up of about five large aluminum castings. Since the balance of the mirrors were still assembled only those two pieces could we give her.
Wally and Wes took on the assignment of disassembling the balance of these mirrors. Again, we have an aluminum assembly that has been put together with steel bolts and corroded together. Although it took all day with all sorts of brands of oils, heating with a torch, beating with hammers etc, etc by the end of the day they had the mirrors disassembled into all their individual components without breaking any of the aluminum castings. Fred took all the pieces to Marge.
The upper cab right and side trim grilles were straightened and repaired by Dick, George, and Bud. These grills are at the rear of the cab and allow excess engine heat to be exhausted.
Mike set up our portable Futurliner display at a local car show this past Saturday. In addition, he continues to organize the material so that it is orderly. Mike is also contacting organizations that might have Futurliner and Parade of Progress information. He is following up on any leads to find more Paraders. PARADERS, do you know of any others we can contact. We are still looking for a PARADER'S traveling trunk. Even a good picture of one would give us a hint of what they looked like.
John came to again check if we needed any help from Weller. In addition he picked up some plastic holders for Mike's display board and donated them to the cause.
NEEDS - ROOF
Although we are talking with two organizations about constructing the roof we have no firm commitment. Our goal is to have the roof available to start installation in September.
NEEDS - GENERATOR
The generator and its accompanying control box needs to be checked out, and all bad components restored. At present all efforts to find someone to take this on as a contribution to the project. It will take company that overhauls large industrial motors to take this project on. Anyone out there?
NEEDS - LOST FUTURLINERS
If you have been following this we have accounted for 10 of the 12 original Futurliners. We recently had a truck driver call us and tell us there is a Futurliner north of Houston, Texas on US 59. Anyone out there in Texas that can check this out?
is the report of the Futurliner Restoration Work session for Tuesday May
VOLUNTEERS: Make Ball, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Lois Jackson, Wayne Jackson, Bud Dinger, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Wes Myrick, Wes Myrick (Grandson), Dick Saddler, Jerry Sigler, Wally Snow and John Wiltjer. Carol had grandmother baby sitting duties so she went out a got sub sandwiches for everyone. Lois had Wayne bring a potato salad and a fresh baked cake. Thanks you Lois.
Again Connie did a lot of the welding for the different crews working on the body.
Bud and Wes (GS) worked at the cab where the trim goes around the midsection of the drivers cockpit. This area behind the trim was badly rusted and all the metal had to be cut out and new fabricated and welded in place. They got 1/2 of this area welded with new metal.
Don, at the lower portion of the windshield mounting area, started replacing the rusted metal in this area.
Wes, Ed, and Jerry worked at repairing the frames for the two right lower cargo doors. They also lined up and installed these frames. Ed and Wes did the necessary welding.
Fred is fabricating the covers for the rear. In the process of getting out the old belt guard for the drive for the generator it was discovered that there was no access to a grease fitting. So, the cover that Fred previously made he is in the process of modifying.
Dick spent time organizing the old cab material to understand how the interior of the cockpit goes together.
As I mentioned in the notes about the NATMUS visit, Bill Bicknell, this past Thursday, had the restored engine mounted on his test stand and ran it for over two hours.
Del and Wayne disassembled one U-joint in order to install the bearing caps. They had to modify the bearing cap covers for installation. They then proceeded to overhaul the shaft assembly that goes from the PTO outlet to the generator. They discovered that one of the bearings was fractured and will have to be replaced.
Del also brought with him the engine cross brace that he had taken home. He had sandblasted it, primed it and painted it.
Dan Brooks, from Sharon Hollow Publishing, sent us a set of photos from the easy 1950's showing one of the Futurliners in a shop having a display installed. The photos are excellent in that they show a lot of detail. In addition, one photo is of the instrument panel showing enough detail to figure out each instrument. Along with this Mike is organizing all our material so it is easily accessed.
I asked for information last week regarding the paint color of the engine. One of our Paraders came through with the paint color.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Walter Davenport,
Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don
Mayton, Wes Myrick, Dick Saddler, Jerry Sigler, Audrey Snow and Wally
Snow. Audrey sent a salad for lunch and Carol made and served lunch.
Wally and Walt installed the driver's seat to check for fit as well as the mounting position. Wally and Wayne installed the left door to check for fit.
Ed, Jerry and Wes worked at rebuilding the frames on the two lower cargo doors on the right side of the Futurliner. In addition they mounted the doorframes on the piano hinges, rebuilt the latching systems and installed the latching system on the front lower cargo door.
Don and Walt cut and fabricated metal for the left upper side of the cab of the Futurliner. Connie was kept busy welding these sections in place.
Dick worked at the fabrication of the top hatch as well as the hatch frame. Connie did the necessary welding.
Fred continued to fabricate covers for the rear of the inside of the Futurliner.
Jim welded in sections at the outside right rear of the body.
Bud is working on the stairs to the cab. He took home this past week the latching mechanism that holds them in the up position and freed it of 50 years rust and got the latch system working.
Del with assistance from Wayne worked at fitting the gasoline tank saddles. They will require later removal of the saddles to add the straps and padding before the final mounting of the gasoline tanks. Del and Wayne also worked at the rear transmission mounts. Additional material must be purchased to finish both of these jobs.
Bill Bicknell, down is Ohio is coming along very well with the engine rebuild. He has the engine assembled and mounted on his engine stand. Currently he is waiting on two push rods and three manifold guide rings. (See following.)
With all the information that we have, we cannot find the original color of the engine. Our Futurliner engine determined by the serial number was a replacement and was red. However, it appears from other information that the original color was a gray-green. There is a color called GMC medium green but we are not sure if that was the color. It could be that since the power train was military the engine could have been a military green. Is there anyone out there that knows for sure. Maybe some PARADER that worked on the engine remembers. Call or let us know via e-mail if you know the answer to this question.
We recently found a source to make our hubcaps. However, this will not be a donation so we will take it out of people’s previous financial donations. We appreciate any donation whether it is cash or services or work here in Zeeland.
PARADE OF PROGRESS
The local Antique Automobile Club of America held a car show recently in a local mall, Rogers Plaza. Many of our volunteers belong to this AACA. Mike, our archivist took our portable Futurliner display and set it up. Today, Art and Donna Takkinen visited our work site with a folder full of information about the 1936 - 1937 Parade of Progress. Art's uncle, Elmer J. Takkinen, worked in the Parade of Progress in 1936 -1937 driving one of the trucks. After Art passed away, this material was stored in a trunk. Later Art and Donna came across it and fortunately saved it. At the car show they came across Mike's display and immediately decided to donate the material. Although there are no pictures there is about 1" of type written pages describing the "Paraders" duties and instructions. In addition, there are over 20 letters, bulletins and separate instructions for the Paraders. There is also a list of the places visited in this time period which include Canada and Mexico. This is a significant contribution since we had very little type written information for the 1936 through 1940 Parade. It will take some time to sort through this material and present a summary of it.
Walter Davenport who lives in Brighton, Michigan flew his Mooney airplane to Zeeland and Wayne picked him up. Walter is a retired Michigan State Trooper and at one time two of the Futurliners were given to the State of Michigan Police by GM (1959). One of the Futurliners was converted to a Michigan State Police Safety Liner and toured the state. The other was used primarily as a source for parts. Up to this point we only had one photo from a Michigan State Police Annual Report that showed the Safety Liner. Walter brought with him a package of photos. There are 15 original photos of the Safety Liner and the display that was presented to the people of Michigan. Again, we will put these on the web pages to further add to the history of how the Futurliners were used.
Mike has a full time job with all the material that we keep receiving. In addition, he is preparing information so that we can use it in researching the Futurliners, the Parade of Progress and making presentations. Thanks Mike for all the hard work.
The Kalamazoo Antique Auto Restorers Club visited our work site while Carol and I were on vacation. Del, Mike, and Dick did the hosting. They came in full strength with over 35 antique cars and close to 100 people. Having visits like this has helped in information gathering as well as sources for services to get work performed.
Again, we want to thank all the volunteers for this project that has let us make all this progress.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Tony Becker, Bruce Beimers, Del Carpenter, Sue Carpenter,
Conrad DeJong, Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton,
Wes Myrick, Jerry Sigler, John Wiltjer
and Wally Snow. Tony provided goodies for our coffee
break. Sue provided an apple salad for lunch and Carol fixed and served
Bud and Wally, with Connie welding, completed the sheet metal repairs on one of the rear people access doors. There is still a lot of work left to finish this door as well as all the rear trim that houses the turn signals, brake lights, tail lights and license plate housing is missing. Our Futurliner had been rear ended in its life so all this trim was destroyed. It was originally a 17" X 20" aluminum casting on each of these two rear doors. We believe we can fabricate these two housings.
Wally also removed the front center housing that holds the aluminum grill for further metal work and completed that work.
Jerry, fresh back from Florida started right in on rebuilding the right lower cargo doors with Wes working with him. As they fabricated sections, they had Connie weld them in place on the front right cargo door.
Jim continued to fabricate and weld in metal at the right rear of the Futurliner.
Del and Jeff installed another one of the drive shafts. Now they must wait on the engine before they install any more drive shafts. Next, they started gathering up the gasoline tank saddles and all the nuts and bolts that hold these in place. Jeff left at lunch and after lunch Wayne worked with Del and they installed both the right and left gasoline tank saddles.
John showed up after lunch again to see if Weller Truck could help. John ended up going back to Weller to locate two end caps that we needed for a universal.
Bruce removed the glass windshield washer bottle that was broken and then made a sketch of it so we can find one at a car swap meet. He also removed the bottle holder and worked at freeing it from years of rust. He actually got the adjustment screw working.
As we have mentioned previously, we are in need of a complete set of hubcaps. John Martin Smith, the President of NATMUS recently sent me a note of a person that makes hubcaps. I called him and he believes that he can make the Futurliner hubcaps. Bruce and Wayne assembled a box to hold each of the two types of hubcaps. We will get an estimate of their costs and proceed from there. We need a set of seven. Four for the Futurliner, two for the power train trailer that we plan to make to display the power train (engine, transmissions, etc.) and one for a spare.
Last week Mike took the cabinet home that he purchased and mounted it on a platform with casters. Mike also has been in communication with a firm that does plastic work for displays. They have offered their services free to help us. Mike is working with them to have the front "GM" letters reproduced in light weight plastic so he can mount them on his display board. Mike also loaded his truck to haul the Futurliner display for setup at a local shopping mall that will have car show this weekend.
is the work report for a special work session for the Futurliner
restoration project held on Thursday 4-19-01.
VOLUNTEERS: Del Carpenter, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton and Joshua Vuyst.
Although the day started cool (34 F) the sun was shinning and just a light breeze, a perfect day for sandblasting. Del arrived at 9 AM and we went through the set up of all the sandblasting equipment. Next, we pulled the Futurliner out of the barn.
Del donned his sandblasting suit and proceeded to sandblast. It is just a slow process when you are working on a vehicle that is almost 12 feet tall and 33 feet long. Don and Joshua (grandson) also did some sandblasting to give Del a break.
By early afternoon we finished the cab and front roof and started on the back. At 6 PM we broke for supper. We finished at 8:30 PM including cleanup and getting the Futurliner back in the work barn. Now it (the Futurliner ) is an ugly, naked beast. We did discover some more holes in the skin as a result of the sandblasting. So additional metal will have to cut out and replaced with new.
AACA - Flint Spring Dust-Off April 22, 2001
The AACA from Flint, Michigan planned their spring dust off tour with a stop at the Futurliner restoration project. There were 32 members of the Flint AACA. They also presented us with a cash donation to our project. A lot of GM Plant retirees were in the group with two remembering the Futurliners and the Parade of Progress in the 1950s. Thanks to the Flint AACA for the cash donation.
Next stop for the Flint AACA was Del and Sue's place and to look at Del's car collection.
Stu Allen headed up the tour and he is also one of our volunteers. If you recall he took the rusty air cleaner assembly home to restore. He returned it fully restored and painted. Thanks Stu.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Bruce Biemers, Del Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed
DeVries, Bud Dinger, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Jeff Miller, Wes Myrick,
Dick Saddler, Wally Snow, Laura Vuyst and John Wiltjer. Carol provided and
served lunch. Our grand daughter, Laura made cookies for our coffee break.
John Wiltjer dropped in to check on our progress and see if Weller Truck could do anything again.
Jeff Miller, our volunteer working on the design of the brakes with Bendix Brakes dropped in to check on our progress.
Bud completed the fabrication of both the air vents for the right and left front wheelhouses. Connie finished up the welding and now these front wheel houses are complete except for paint preparation and painting.
Jim continues to work at the rear of the Futurliner, cutting out rusted metal, fabricating sections and then welding the fabricated sections in place.
Wally finished fabricating the upper doorframe opening for the right front door and then Connie welded in place. Next he moved to the left door and fabricated this upper doorframe opening and again Connie welded it in place.
Dick continued to work assembling the cab hatch and its frame with Connie again welding.
Wes and Don attached the inner and outer door skins (fabricated metal) to the two left lower cargo doors. Next they moved to the right side and started the preparations of installing the right cargo doors. (The right cargo doors have not been restored yet.)
Ed worked at finishing the metal repairs on the right front passenger door. Connie also began the process of metal finishing this door.
Bruce took the two carriages that are in the roof, that are part of the apparatus that raises the lighting fin, and after detailing their assembly with drawings and photos, he next disassembled and cataloged all the parts. The purpose of disassembling these carriages is to remove the stripped out ACME threaded nut portion so new ones can be made.
Del with the help of whoever was available at the time installed the rear (third) restored transmission in the Futurliner. Next, he installed the drive shaft that connects this transmission to the differential. He then installed the carrier bracket for the drive shaft that is at the rear of the engine - transmission combination.
One of our volunteers working at home, Tom Kuhlman, has completed the PTO driveshaft and the jack shaft.
Wyrick has again provided the project with welding, sanding and finishing materials at a great reduced cost from retail. Thanks again.
Ryan DeVries constructed a die and has started forming the aluminum end cap pieces for the lower aluminum trim. He has completed eight of the 16 pieces required. Ryan is a one man business and we have to pay for this service but it is at 2/3's the cost of the other quote we had. The pieces look like a piece of polished glass. Ryan has a fire bell business, making and repairing fire bells for antique fire trucks. He also casts small parts for antique cars out of brass and aluminum. He recently cast a pair of 1936 Buick model 81 trunk hinges for me that I have failed to find at Hershey for the past 10 years. He does outstanding work. For all you folks looking for those fire bells his number is (616) 453- 8254.
A local glass company, ARNIE'S GLASS CENTER, has volunteered to install our front windshield. Just as a refresher the front windshield we purchased from the Canadian firm that owns and operates the "FIDO" Futurliner (see the web site). The front windshield is in the shape of a semi circle and wraps 180 degrees. Wally spent time with their assistant manager looking the job over.
"Auto Week's" April 16, 2001 edition had an excellent article on page 34 about the Futurliner restoration project. The article was written by Jeff Sabatini.
Mike continues to add to our archives and organize everything. He has put together a display for a local car show that will occur in the next couple of weeks. In addition, he has put together a package of photos and slides that are going to Old Cars weekly. If you get Old Cars you know that they have been advertising for photos for antique GMC trucks. Old Cars is putting together a book in preparation for GMC Truck's 75 anniversary that will occur in 2002. We have been in contact with the editor of Old Cars, John Gunnell, and we have committed to their project for the Futurliner portion.
Work Session, April 16) -- VOLUNTEERS: Del Carpenter, Bud Dinger,
Don Mayton, and Carol Mayton.
Today would be the third time we attempted to drag the Futurliner out of the barn and sand blast the upper portion of the cab and the upper portion of the rear section.
Our restoration work has moved to this area and we need to remove the rust prior to the restoration of this area. If you recall we had attempted this two other times but cancelled via phone due to the weather.
When I woke up, and prior to getting dressed, I walked out on our bedroom porch to check the weather. It was very cloudy, the wind was blowing and cold (38 F). Since we would be working outside it would be a day for long underwear and wool socks.
At 9:30 AM Del rolled in with his 1966 Ford stake body farm truck loaded down with bags of sand, his sand blaster and pulling his Dietz diesel powered, rotary 125 CFM leaf blower. Yes, Del uses a construction size air compressor to blow leaves. He lives in an area surrounded by trees and he says he can shoot those leaves 100' high. Shortly afterwards Bud arrived.
We used my old plow truck and chained the Futurliner to it and dragged the Futurliner outside. Next we setup up our rolling scaffold adjacent to the Futurliner and backed Del's truck up to the rolling scaffold to give Del as much hose as possible. About this time the first snow squall blew in. We decided to wait awhile since you cannot sandblast with snow or rain flying around. About 20 minutes later it cleared, the sun came out and we finished preparations for sand blasting. Del suited up with his helmet and sand blasting suit and he started at the left of the cab of the Futurliner while Bud worked the controls on the blasting equipment. By this time the temperature had dropped down to 34 F.
Del got in a good 30 minutes of blasting and the next snow squall rolled in off of Lake Michigan. Again we stopped, quickly spreading a tarp over the sandblasted area. By this time we were all cold and retreated to the warm work area for a hot cup of coffee. The snow squall never let up and the clouds got darker. Since it did not seem conditions would get better we decided to try another day. So far the score is not good: WEATHER 3 to SANDBLASTERS 0
Last weeks work session had to be cancelled at the last minute due to us
having to travel to a funeral in Ohio.)
VOLUNTEERS: Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter,
Sue Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Wayne Jackson,
Don Mayton, Wes Myrick, Dick Saddler and Wally Snow.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del
Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Carol
Mayton, Don Mayton, Wes Myrick, Dick Saddler, Wally Snow and John Wiltjer,
Carol fixed and served lunch.
Jeff hails from Fennville, Michigan about 40 miles south of here. Jeff works in Holland as an electrician on the 11 PM to 7 AM shift for the Donnelly Corporation. He maintains their casting machines. Jeff's expertise as an industrial electrician will greatly help us in the future, as we start to do the 110-volt wiring. He and his wife have a 1949 Oldsmobile and a 1930 GMC Fire Truck, which is powered by a Buick 6-cylinder OHV engine. This engine is an ancestor of the 302 GMC 6 cylinder OHV engine.
Wally worked at grinding welds on the front of the Futurliner, preparing it for the future when we can start adding the outer skin. Wally and Fred, in the afternoon, drilled and tapped holes in the aluminum grill for mounting it in the grill housing. Final tapping could not be completed until a bottom tap is obtained.
Don and Wes worked at fitting the front grill housing to its opening. New fastening bolts were fabricated and welded in place. At the end of the day, the fit was getting close.
Dick continued to cut and fit metal to build the top hatch frame as well as the hatch.
Jim continued to weld in outer skin sections at the belt line in the back of the Futurliner.
Fred worked at making metal covers for the back inside of the Futurliner. He finally had to move out of the back of the Futurliner as Del moved in with the differential.
Bud cut, formed and fit sheet metal for both the right and left side of the front wheel housings with Ed helping as much as he could. Ed is still recovering from his shoulder surgery.
Del and his crew started preparing to install the differential. First Wes and Ed assembled and set up the engine hoist. Next Wes, Ed, Del Jim and Jeff rigged the differential with chain. At one point in this process, they found some bad threads in the differential housing. They sent Ed to the local hardware for helicoils to repair the threads. Once that was taken care of, they continued. They then installed a come-along by chaining it to the back roof of the Futurliner. They then picked up the differential with the engine hoist, rolled it as close to the differential housing as possible, lowered the hook on the come-along and swung the differential over the differential housing. Next, they started the process of lowering it in place. Once the differential was in place, Del retrieved the two axle shafts. About this time, John showed up to check how we were progressing and found out that Del needed two gaskets for the axle shafts. John then drove to Weller Truck and returned with the two gaskets.
Our volunteer, Tom Kuhlman, down in the SW corner of Michigan told me via e-mail that he has completed the restoration of the PTO drive shaft. The air conditioner and defroster motors he took to refurbish all run. He is now working on the jack-shaft. He gave to his son-in-law the air cylinder operated step to overhaul.
Peter Pan Bus Company has sent us a drawing of the brake system that they installed on their Futurliner. Thanks to Bill Sinico from Peter Pan. I received an e-mail from Jeff Miller that he is still working with Bendix on the design of our Futurliner brake system.
I also received an e-mail from Bill Bicknell that he is now assembling the engine. He also has been in contact with Don Nichols in Canada for parts that Don is donating so that Bill can complete the engine.
GM Body Design has supplied us with the drawings for the roof. We will be getting quotes from local businesses for the construction of this roof.
IMMEDIATE NEED: We still need a fabricator to build this roof as a contribution to this project.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Sue Carpenter, Conrad DeJong,
Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Dick Saddler, Audrey Snow
and Wally Snow. Carol prepared and served lunch. Sue
provided pumpkin pie for desert and Audrey supplied cake for our coffee
Del and Bud worked at building and fitting the frame for the left wheelhouse. Connie did the welding.
Jim started the replacement of metal on the outer skin at the left rear of the Futurliner. He both fabricated the metal and welded it in place.
Wally, Don and Connie worked at fitting the large metal fabrication that houses the aluminum grill. This housing had been hit and it had to be straighten as well fit to the aluminum grill that had previously been repaired by Ryan DeVries.
Fred worked at making and installing the metal covers on an electrical junction box at the rear of the Futurliner.
Dick, using the formed pieces (drain channels) that Bud made at home started the fabrication of the cab hatch frame.
Ed, still cannot work due to his shoulder operation but delivered metal that he had picked up from a steel supplier.
Connie also had taken home the gasoline tank frames for final painting. He brought those back all painted a shinny black.
Del also worked at preparing the Futurliner to roll outside next week for sandblasting the upper cockpit and the rear outer of the Futurliner. He had to make sure all the tires were aired, the rear wheels bolted up tight, and he installed the front tire - wheel assemblies. In addition, all the blocking had to be removed. The weather has to cooperate next week for the sandblasting to take place outside.
Mike continued to file material that had arrived this week as well as being the resource for the workers wanting to look at pictures. Mike also took the 72 slides received a few weeks ago, cleaned them, and then remounted them into new frames. The old frames were badly warped.
This past Sunday, March 18, 2001 a local paper The Muskegon Chronicle ran an excellent article on the Parade of Progress, the Futurliners. In addition, they had a second article on the volunteers and the restoration project. The writer was Terry Judd, a Chronicle Staff Writer.
One of our repeating donors just sent us another donation of material he has found. Dave Mikol sent us an original copy of Motor Magazine, July 1955 that was published in Toronto, Canada. The headline feature was about the Parade of Progress, the Futurliners and the Paraders.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Fred Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Bud Dinger, Carol
Mayton, Don Mayton, Dick Saddler, Wally Snow and John Wiltjer. Carol
served and prepared lunch for the crew.
John stopped in to check on our progress and to see if Weller Truck could do anything else.
Jim continued to work welding the fabricated pieces he made in the rear of the Futurliner. He also welded in a fabricated section in the right rear wheelhouse.
Fred installed the inner plate to the folding step at the rear entrance of the Futurliner. This inner plate must be removed at a later date to install the center rubber bumper section. So, he mounted it by drilling and tapping for removable screws. To enter the rear the right rear door must be opened, then the left rear door opened, and then this center step unlatched and swung down. He also started making the covers for the electrical junction boxes at the right inside rear of the Futurliner.
Bud and Connie fabricated and welded in all the sheet metal over the frame for the right front wheelhouse. They also started on the left front wheelhouse by cutting out the old rusted metal. Next they started the fitting process of the outer wheelhouse frame.
Dick worked up in the cockpit measuring for the top-opening hatch. Next, he started the design of the hatch. Our hatch was completely missing so between photos of the original Futurliners and the video we have he has been able to design a new one. The hatch sits on the center of the roof directly above the cockpit. It is hinged towards the front of the Futurliner. The rusted remnants of the hatch frame shows that it had a sealing surface to keep out water as well as a draining trough like a trunk drain trough coupled to a hose that drained down through the walls of the rear of the cab. In addition, the hatch itself followed the curved contour of the roof.
The drawings for the roof and end frames that GM Body Design is doing arrived by fax a few days ago and after lunch Don and Dick took them to check for final measurements. Every thing looked good.
Wally worked at measuring the large "GM" letters for their proper mounting position in the front of the Futurliner. Although he could find the old mounting places on the inside of the Futurliner the new letters mounting locations did not match up. He had to drill and relocate the mounting position.
GM had the Hydramatic Transmission picked up last Thursday and it is on its way to the restoration shop.
Tom Kuhlman, another of our volunteers had previously picked up the two (right and left) 110-volt gear motors and took them home for over haul. Via E-Mail he informed me that they were done. He disassembled them and after removing the water and thickened grease from the gearboxes cleaned them, checked over the gears and bearings, lubricated them with new gear oil and assembled them. He also checked the motor bearings and replaced motor brushes. Then he tested them by running them. Tomorrow he will be dropping off the completed gearboxes and taking other items home for restoration.
Tom will be taking home the 4' drive shaft with its two universals from the PTO to the 220-volt generator for overhaul. In addition, he will be picking up the defroster blower motor for over haul as well as two squirrel cage motors for the air-conditioned unit for over haul. The jack shaft assembly that drives the top lighting fin needs to he checked out and Tom will perform that operation. In addition, he will be taking home the air cylinder assembly that actuates the step for entering the cockpit. Thanks to Tom for volunteering to do this work at home. Tom lives over two hours away and although he has been here for work sessions, it is a bit too far for a weekly ride.
Received an update on the engine overhaul from Bill Bicknell down in Ohio. He decided to disassemble the NOS short block we purchased and found several problems. He discovered the two center camshaft bearings not properly installed. In addition, he discovered metal machining chips left inside the oil passages. Bill has corrected all these items. Thanks Bill.
We receive many e-mails and phone calls with information or questions about the Futurliner and we welcome these. It is through these contacts that we have gained much of our information. Also we have visitors many times on Tuesday and we under stand Lou Ironside will be visiting us.
Andy Elliott from Canada has contacted us and is willing to try to search the vin records in Ontario to see if we can locate those last two Futurliners.
Lorrie Bailey sent us an e-mail stating that her 87 year old Father, Bernard A. Zink worked the Parade of Progress starting in 1936. Lorrie then proceeded to send via e -mail 24 photos of the Parade in this era. THIS IS THE FIRST CONTACT THAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MAKE WITH SOME ONE THAT WORKED THE FIRST PARADE FROM 1936 THROUGH 1940. The photos were great and included Lorrie's Father in many shots. It also shows some how the Parade was set up, the vehicles that were used; Streamliners, and the people involved. One of the photos shows her Father receiving a $10 award for keeping the best unit in shape. Many of the photos show the Paraders at work including one of them letting air out of the tires of the Streamliners to get it under an overpass. We had up to this point very little information on the 1936 to 1940 Parade. To see the photos check the web site www.futurliner.com/36parade Many thanks to Lorrie and her Father for these precious pictures.
Received a phone call from Parader Douglas Livy here in Michigan. Douglas was in the 1941 Parade up until it ended with the start of World War II. Douglas lectured on the Old Scout exhibit as well as starting the car. One of the stories that he told me was that he was training an understudy to work this exhibit. Some one suggested that they install a car bomb. Remember those? Well, after the lecture that this trainee gave he went to start Old Scout and at first the car started to whistle and next the smoke started pouring out. About that time our trainee had jumped down from the platform and was running away as fast as he could.
He and Bill Graham also worked the sound stage for the main Aero Dome tent. Douglas asked me what ever happened to the Aero Dome tent. DOES ANYONE OUT THERE KNOW?
Douglas stated it only took one day to set up the entire show from start to finish. First they drove in the trucks and set them in a circle. Next, the tent was put up in the center. Then the Futurliners were put into position.
They drove as a Parade and when coming into the towns they always had a police escort and many times a old fashion home town parade. Many times the mayor and other city officials would ride in one or more of the Futurliners.
He stated they were given $26/week for food and with that you would eat like a king.
Their dress for the Parade in 1941 consisted of white coveralls for work clothes with Parade of Progress printed on the backs. Their dress uniforms were blue double breasted suits, white shirts, blue ties and captains hats. Very sharp indeed.
In 1942 one of the Futurliners was used for a stage inside the Aero Dome tent. (In 1953 a special trailer was constructed for this purpose.)
The Futurliners were extremely hard to steer without power steering. (Power steering was added in 1952 when they were prepared for the 1953 Parade.) They had 4 cylinder, 2 cycle diesels with manual transmissions. (In 1952 the Futurliners power trains was changed to the 302 gas 6 cylinder OHV engine coupled to a military Hydramatic.) Many times, because of the height of the Futurliners and the fact the cabs were hot, the hatches were left opened and then were knocked off when passing under a low overpass. (Air conditioning added in 1952 as well as the roof design changed to let in less sunlight.)
Douglas went into the service in World War II. After that he continued with GM in the selling and marketing of automobiles. He stated the best job he ever had was working the Parade of Progress. He will be 80 this March 21 and he recalls a lot about the good times of the Parade. Douglas thanks for sharing all this with us.
In addition to all the archive work he is doing he also designed and constructed a portable display to show case this restoration project. This past Saturday the local AACA had a garage hop here at our work site. Mike came and assembled the display and it was shown for the first time. He did a great job. It will be used in future places where we have to do a show and tell away from our work site.
Mike Ball, Fred Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Bud Dinger, Carol Mayton, Don
Mayton and Dick Saddler. Carol fixed and served lunch.
Fred worked at the rear on the right door. It was decided that since the lower aluminum frame trim that housed the tail lights, brake lights and turn signals does not exist that the door would be removed until this frame work could be constructed. (More about this later.) He then worked to fit the rear folding step metal before finally attaching it. This piece must be removable in order to later fasten the rear rubber bumper.
Bud worked rebuilding the left rear door inner panel. He fabricated metal and had Connie weld it in place. He also removed the right front passenger door so that Connie could finish all the welding that had to be done here.
Dick worked at measuring and designing the top cab hatch framework. The top hatch door as well as its hinges were completely missing from the Futurliner. The hatch frame itself is badly rusted and will have to be totally fabricated. In fact, so much is missing that Dick had to do considerable research from the photos we have of other Futurliners.
Don fabricated metal for the cab floor and Connie welded it in place.
With our ace mechanic (Del) in Florida the only mechanical work was preparing the Hydramatic transmission for shipment. Thursday a truck is to arrive and take it to have it restored.
I mentioned above that the trim that houses the brake lights, the taillights and the turn signal lights on the rear is missing from our Futurliner. Our Futurliner had been rear ended some time in its life. These cast aluminum trim pieces are about 18" X 12" and are mounted on the bottoms of each of the rear doors. This morning while working on these doors we were discussing how to get these built. We decided that another of our volunteers (Ryan DeVries) that repaired the cast aluminum grill could fabricate these. But first we needed either a sample or excellent dimensions. About an hour later Hal Reinstra called (He works for Brad Boyajian, CA who has two unrestored Futurliners.) Hal had called to give me some information from a previous e-mail. Hal agreed to get me as accurate dimensions as he could so we could get Ryan to fabricate these aluminum pieces. Hal also said he would do the same for the rear door handles. Again since our Futurliner had been wrecked in the rear they were also missing. Thanks to Brad and Hal for their cooperation in this project.
Anyone else needing these rear aluminum door sections we can have them fabricated by Ryan. Since Ryan is a one-man business, we will be paying Ryan for this work. In addition Ryan has made a die and has been able to manufacturer the thin aluminum trim pieces (16) that we thought we had to have made in Canada.
I failed to mention that last week Montana Paint through its local distributor (Wyrick Products) has supplied the body sealer. Also I will be going there tomorrow for more paint products.
Inliners International through their magazine the "12 Port News" has mentioned our restoration project. The members of this organization have been most helpful in directing us to find parts. In fact, they are the ones who told us of the source to purchase two NOS 302 engines. Several of their members have already donated parts for our engine as well as technical manuals. Thanks to the folks from Inliners International.
Mike is not only busy filing and cataloging all our information but has become research resource. When somebody has a question about something or needs a specific photo he goes digging.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Sue Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Bud
Dinger, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Dick
Saddler and John Wiltjer. Carol fixed and served lunch and Sue provided
VISITORS - DONATION
One of our contributors Dave Mikol came this past Friday, 2-23-01 and donated to the project six used 10:00 X 20 truck tires. These tires will be used to replace the very bad tires that are presently on the Futurliner. We will be able to use these tires for moving the Futurliner and its trial runs until we receive the official white-walled raised letter Futurliner tires. These used tires are in excellent shape. In order to donate these tires Dave's significant other, Sherry Mullins, donated the use of her truck to haul the tires from the East Side of Michigan to our location. Dave is also involved in bidding on more Parade of Progress memorabilia he keeps finding on the web. Thanks to Dave and Sherry for the tire donation.
Traveling with Dave was his friend Mack Martin from Hickory Corners, Michigan to take a look and see.
Bud continued to fabricate metal for the frame around the right front door. In addition he worked at replacing the bottom 1/3 of the skin on the right front door.
Connie brought along his 30 ton jack for straightening out the front center of the frame. As I mentioned in previous reports we found that the cast aluminum grill had been caved in at the bottom. The vehicle had been hit so hard that the center of the frame was buckled. Connie, along with Jack and Bud were able to jack it back in place.
Dick continued to work in the cab fabricating sections. He also cut metal to take to his friend that is using an English wheel to form the outer skin of the left rear entrance door.
Jim, with all the horizontal sections tack welded in place is in the process of doing the final welding.
Don continued to cut metal for the floor of the cab as Connie welded it in place.
No mechanical work was done today but Del started preparing the lower floor for painting. Before he can start installing the differential and drive shafts the frame must be painted as well and the lower floor that previously had been restored. Once the drive shafts are in place it would be very difficult to do this painting. The main frame is approximately 18" above the lower storage floor. Inside the two main frame rails is where the drive shafts are placed. Del spent the day sealing all the welded joints so that we can paint this area. The frame gets painted black but the lower storage area is painted white. Thanks to color photos from the Paraders we have been able to sort out these colors.
Jeff Sabatini, Associate Editor from Auto Week magazine, along with his photographer, Anthony LaPenna spent the day with us. They are very interested in the project and the volunteers that are working on it. Although they were interested in the technical aspect they were more focused on the people involved in the project and how a group of people can come together to work on such a huge project. So, look for a future issue of Auto Week with an article on the Futurliner Restoration Project.
Rennie Goyette, Parader from 1954 until the end of the Parade in 1956 visited us today. Rennie flew into the local Zeeland airport (about 6 miles from here) in his Cessna 120. Rennie has been flying, even back when he was a Parader. Up until now we knew the Parade ended in 1956 but thought it was August. However Rennie said it was late June of 1956 that the Parade ended. In fact, the last show was in Oregon and they got back to Detroit July 6, 1956. Rennie brought along his personal collection of Parade color slides. We set up a projector in the shop and looked at approximately 72 color slides of the Parade. Rennie donated the slides to the project. Again, like all the information we receive we learned more about the Futurliners, the Parade and the people involved in the Parade. Along with the technical side were many stories as the Parade traveled from town to town. He even had photos of when he drove a Futurliner to the Dave Garroway TV show in New York City. (I know you youngsters will not remember Dave Garroway.) Rennie was chief electrician to keep the American Crossroads exhibit running along with driving the trucks and Futurliners. Like many, he stated they were not easy to maneuver. Thanks for all the slides and just coming to share your experiences.
Had a call from Parader Bill Graham, Slidell, LA. Bill was in the Parade of Progress in 1941. Bill's job on the Parade included driving a 6X6 Army truck, operating the boom truck that lifted the aluminum frame work for the large POP tent, operating the sound truck during the performances, and driving a Futurliner. He stated that the Futurliners had a 4 cylinder diesel and the cabs were very, very hot. They had to drive with the hatches open all the time just to survive. When the Futurliners were first built, they did not have air conditioning in the cab. Later when they were refurbished for the 1953 Parade of Progress, air conditioning was added. They were in Fort Worth, Texas putting on a show when Pearl Harbor was bombed which of course ended the Parade until it was restarted in 1953.
Bill also gave us names of two other 1941 Paraders; Doug Livy and Tom Raleigh. Bill told us one of the jobs that Doug had was starting Old Scout. Old Scout was the 1902 Oldsmobile that traveled with the show and was started frequently. We will be trying to contact them.
Just a reminder from last weeks work report. We have a show stopper and that is to find a fabricator for the 18' roof.
Our progress to date has been steady. GM is almost done with the drawings for the roof. Our sheet metal guys are starting to work at the top of the cab. Although it will take a long time to complete this area, we cannot start any re-skinning of the Futurliner until the new roof is manufactured and installed. Also, we cannot hang the upper doors (not started yet) until the new roof is on the Futurliner. Here is our need. We need a company or manufacturer that can fabricate this roof once we get the drawings. We need a contact with an owner or someone that has the authority to get this roof built in their shop. We are asking for this to be donated, labor and material. We do have a local firm that can build it but they are too small to absorb the costs. So the alternate to this is a donation of money specifically for this roof. Since we do not have the drawings yet, I cannot get a firm quote but will describe it so if you know anyone that could do this work you can talk to them.
The roof center section for the Futurliner measures 16' long by 5' wide. It will have extensions on it for tying it into the present Futurliner. So the over all length will approach 18'. It will be constructed of standard steel sections like channel iron, angle iron, square and rectangular tubing. All this would be mild steel. It has a small parallel track in the center that must be accurate. The business that takes this on will have to have a layout table large enough to handle the roof. Its construction is all welding fabrication with the exception of the track, which is bolted in place. The final sheet metal covering we will do once the roof is constructed and installed. The construction process will require field measurements. Also due to its size, whoever takes this on will have to deliver it and unload it at our work site in Zeeland.
Because the original roof was so weak, GM engineers are adding vertical supports at each end of the Futurliner to support the ends of the roof. These two end supports are of similar construction. Their dimensions are 8' X 8'. This would be part of the package as all measurements could be verified at the builder’s place between the roof and the supports.
So far with all the help of all the volunteers, GM, and the local businesses the project has not stopped. I know that there is someone out there that can take this on. For a large company, this is not a big job. So, anyone out there that has any contact with someone that could take this on please call me. (616) 875-3058
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Connie DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Don Mayton, Dick Saddler and Wally Snow. (Carol was sick with the flu so Fred went to Burger King and picked up sandwiches for everyone.)
Bud concentrated on the right front door opening. He finished fabricating the metal and after a lot of fitting had Connie weld it in place. Part of this fabrication replaces a section of the front panel that was rusted out.
Wally worked at preparing the body structure on the left of the cab for a new skin by grinding all the high welds down smooth. Later he removed the rivets in the left top of the cab section where the new roof will be tied in.
Dick continued to fabricate and have Connie weld in sections inside the cab. Dick also was doing quite a bit of finish grinding. With Wally and Dick grinding for much of the day, we had grinders in stereo. Also, floor reinforcements were welded in place on the left of the cab. Dick, at the end of the day, took the one door skin from the rear that needs to be made from an English Wheel. He knows someone that has one and is going to see if he will make us a new skin for this door. The other door we have been able to repair as it was not totally rusted out like this door.
Connie welded the rear step pieces that had been fabricated.
Jim completed the installation of the horizontal body sections in the rear.
Fred and Mike installed a rack to hold our portable display board. Fred then worked at fitting the right rear door to its opening so it can be repaired properly. This required considerable rework to the hinges.
Don worked at keeping steel cut as Connie welded.
Del completed the front axle assemble including putting on the newly chromed hubs that another volunteer had chromed. Del and Ed installed the right front wheels to check for wheel clearance for the new wheel well support. Del then cleaned off the center section of the Futurliner so that he could start caulking the seams in preparation of painting the lower floor and the frame rails. Del intends to start the installation of the differential next week.
If you recall Ed had his shoulder operated on last week. Although he could only use one arm, he did what he could. Ed did bring back the aluminum cast grill from the Futurliner that he and his son, Ryan had picked up a few weeks ago. The bottom bar was so badly bent that Ryan cut it out, fabricated a new one and then had Sparta Sheet Metal weld it in place. Together they did a beautiful job. Except for it needing polishing, it looks like new.
+ One photo of the 1941 Parade of Progress shows the Futurliners crossing a bridge in Florida with their top hatches opened. Each Futurliner had painted on the hatch that Futurliner's number.
+ Another article and photo is from "FACTORY NEWS - GMC Truck and Coach - Division General Motors Corporation" newsletter dated May 22, 1953. It describes in some detail the redesign and rebuilding of the 1941 Futurliners into the 1953 versions. Of particular note, the caption under one photo showing all the Futurliners in one building being rebuilt it states: "Shown working on the Futurliners in Building 34 are Coach Division employees (too long of a list). Originally built in 1940, changes in the 12 vehicles were completed here in approximately 4 months. One major improvement was the installation of Hydra-Matic drive. We did this by inserting into each Futurliner the famous 302 truck engine coupled with Hydra-Matic, the same power used in our Army 6 X 6".
FOR YOU ANTIQUE BUFFS WE WOULD LIKE TO GET AN ORIGINAL COPY OF THIS NEWSLETTER. We would like to add this article to our web page but the copy is of another copy.
+ Another new piece of information is in an article in the September 15, 1956 issue of "MATERIAL UTILIZATION TOPICS," another GM publication. It states that after the Parade of Progress ended the twelve Futurliners were equipped with new displays and one assigned to each division of GM to travel to the different factory sites for promoting material utilization in the business of manufacturing automobiles and parts. This is our first knowledge of GM using these vehicles after the Parade of Progress. Again, like above we would like to have an original copy of this article and any subsequent articles about the Futurliners use.
+ The last piece of new information is that one of the Futurliners was acquired by the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association in 1959. Quoting from the article it states: "The Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association purchased the bus from General Motors at a fraction of its original value of $75,000 . Now turned into a means of taking Christianity to the masses, its possibilities are tremendous." The article said that they renamed the vehicle "Cathedral Cruiser." According to the article, it traveled south into Mexico and Central America. The article came from a "FACTORY NEWS" newsletter without a date. So, we need this one also. DOES ANYONE HAVE A COMPLETE SET OF THESE "FACTORY NEWS" newsletters?
We also received from Tom Van Voorhis (Parader) via mail a pewter mug with the inscription "PARADE OF PROGRESS" and "CANADA - 1955". Tom stated that he bought this in Montreal in 1955 when he was there with the Parade. It is a nice addition to our memorabilia. Include were cards given to Tom, one from Galveston, Texas allowing him to park anywhere. It seems he got a ticket for parking and because he was with the Parade the Police of Galveston issued him this special card so he would get no more tickets. The other card was a press card for Montreal.
Even thought Mike is busy filing things we can also give him more.
I had a call from a museum in Turkey wanting to borrow the Futurliner for their display. That is another story I will tell some day!
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Fred Carpenter (New volunteer), Jack Corcoran (New
volunteer), Bud Dinger, Don Mayton, Dick Saddler and Wally Snow. (No lunch
from the ladies as Carol had to go to her daughter's house.) Del is
recuperating from eye surgery and Ed is recuperating from shoulder
Jim continued to both fabricate and weld in sections at the rear of the Futurliner. Don fabricated and painted sections for the rear floor, rear entranceway, and rear step. Fred and Bud concentrated on fabricating the metal around the right front door opening and then tack welding it in place. This is slow going since all the fabricated pieces have compound curves. Wally worked at removing the rusted metal at the trim level just at the lower edge of the windshield. Dick is fabricating the metal for the inside of the cab. Jack worked at cleaning up some metal in preparation for painting.
When we started this project, we were given 4,000 pounds of body sheet steel. We are fast using it up. One of our short term needs will be to find another donor for sheet steel. So anyone out there that can donate and ship to us some body sheet steel let us know. This donation has allowed us to continue with this project without stopping.
ARCHIVES AND HISTORY
Mike has purchased some portable stands for show casing the project. He also installed hangers for storing the portable stand. Also he is busy filing and cataloging the many pictures and information that we have accumulated.
I mentioned once before that one of the "Paraders" (Raffee Johns) visited us and loaned us his "Lecture Uniform" and his "Work Uniform." Our intentions are to have these uniforms reproduced. Again, this is an expense. However, a local clothier has offered to make the "Lecture Uniforms" as long as we buy the material. So far, he has been able to find the manufacturer of the original material used in the "Lecture Uniform." They are attempting to match materials at present. No progress on the "Work Uniforms" so far.
Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Sue Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Bud Dinger, Judy
Huisingh, Tom Kuhlman, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Dick Saddler and Wally
Snow. Carol fixed and served a chicken casserole lunch. Judy made Amish
Bread for our coffee breaks. Sue made a salad for lunch.
Volunteer Ed DeVries had rotor cup shoulder surgery today. Del goes in for his second cataract eye surgery next Monday. We need to keep them both in our prayers.
Del continued to assemble the left wheel components. He is still lacking some bolts so off to the fastener store again. Del then worked with Wally removing paint.
Tom took the two 110 volt electric gear motors that operate each sides set of 16' doors and checked them to see if they worked electrically. Both motors worked properly in both directions. Next he disassembled them and found water and contaminated grease in the gear box portions. He decided to take them home so that he could thoroughly wash them out, check all the bearings and then replace the gear box oil. It appears from first looking at them and the fact that they run ok that after a cleaning they will be ok. A gear motor is a motor that has mounted permanently to it a gearbox that greatly reduces the output RPM.
Wally continued to use the heat gun and was able to remove the remaining paint on the front of the cab of the Futurliner.
Bud picked up our new scaffold and he and Wally assembled it. It is just the correct height for working at the top of the cab.
Bud then worked fabricating the upper right front door opening structural member. He completed this section and then he and Wally installed it. They will not weld it in permanently until they have a chance to fit this door in place. Presently this door is at the sand blaster.
Dick worked inside the cab fitting fabricated sections and making sketches and dimensions for future structural pieces.
Connie and Don worked at fabricating the rear entrance floor structural sections. Once fabricated, they were welded in place by Connie.
Mike had purchased material to set up a portable display that can be taken to car club meetings or in case of Wyrick Products to their open house in late April. He set us the display and by our coffee break time we got to see it. He did a great job. He also had lots of filing to do as we had more pictures that we take of our restoration project that needed put in our notebook.
The Parade of Progress was Charles Kettering's idea to communicate the 1933-1934 Worlds Fair and the progress that this nation was making in scientific discoveries out to the public of the United States. Charles Kettering was GM's first VP Director of Engineering and Research. Jim Baker, one of our volunteers, came across a book titled "BOSS KET, A Life of Charles F. Kettering" by Rosamond McPherson Young. I have read it and it is fun reading about the life of a great inventor. For you history buffs you might want to find a copy to read.
Carol and I were in Washington DC last week to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, which was great by the way. We combined this trip with visiting a daughter in Connecticut and then on to Washington DC for few days of touring and sightseeing. While on the Gray Line tour in Washington we were dropped off at the Smithsonian's American History Museum. The driver gave us 1-1/2 hours to tour. Try to do this museum in an 1-1/2 hours including getting lunch. We decided to just do one floor (actually got in 1/2 of one floor). While in the section specializing in the 1930's Carol heard a voice she recognized coming out of a small room where there was a video presentation taking place. The voice she heard was the newsman announcing the Parade of Progress in 1941. Here spliced in a longer video was about a 20 second segment of the 1941 Parade of Progress showing the Futurliners. Of course, I then had to sit through the whole video. However, there was only that 20 second segment. Next, as we walked out of that room about 20' away was a display of memorabilia of that era. In a glass case Carol spotted a cast aluminum toy about 8" to 10" long that looked exactly like a 1936 Streamliner. It was painted a light blue but faded. I took a picture and hope it comes out taking through a glass case. Now you old toy collectors, find one and donate it to NATMUS. Carol's only comment as we walked away was "I can't get away from this project no matter where I go."
By now, all of you should have received our free quarterly publication "Futurliner News" via US Mail or e-mail. If not on our list, give us an e-mail and we will add your name. Dean Tryon, another volunteer living in North Carolina, is the publisher and does an excellent job.
The American Truck Historical Society's January-February publication (Vol. 22, No. 1) has a Parade or Progress article in it that covers 1936 through 1956. It is a great article and has facts in it about the first series Parade of Progress (1936 - 1940) that we were unaware of. It also has some great pictures. We will put this article on our web site as soon as I can get it to Jim Crame our web site manager. This article was written by two authors; Fred W. Fairbrother was a truck driver for the 1936 Parade of Progress and he supplied the photographs for that year and Bill Rhodes the second author is a member of ATHS.
American Truck Historical Society
PO Box 531168
Birmingham, AL 35253 - 1168
phone (205) 870-0566
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter
, Ed DeVries, Ryan DeVries, Conrad DeJong, Bud Dinger, Carol Mayton, Don
Mayton, Dick Saddler and Wally Snow. Carol again fed 10 hungry men.
Jim continued to weld in horizontal braces in the rear section of the Futurliner. Don tore out the rusted floor in the rear and started the process of cutting angle iron and building a new floor structure in this area.
Wally, using an electric paint remover, peeled off all the paint off the center front of the Futurliner. Off came the "Driesbock and Sons Cadillac" that had been painted on the front. Apparently, in this Futurliners’ life after GM, it was used as a rolling billboard for a Detroit, Michigan Cadillac dealer. Wally and Bud removed the right front door so that it could be taken to the sand blaster. All the repairs and metal fabrication have been completed on this door.
Bud worked at fabricating the upper door frame structural member for this right front door. This section was completely rusted out. Bud had to fabricate a section that followed the changing contour of the door outline. Bud also picked up the scaffold that we purchased so that we can work up the higher on the Futurliner.
Dick worked at fabricating sections in the cab. He then had Connie weld them in place. Connie also welded for Don, Wally and Bud.
Ed and Ryan stopped late morning. Ed recently tore his rotor cup in his right shoulder and cannot perform any physical work. However, while there they decided to take with them the front center fabricated assembly that holds the grill in place. This is a 3' X 4' steel fabrication. The grill itself is a 36" X 20" aluminum casting that is bolted into the steel fabricated assembly. At one time the Futurliner had been hit dead center and the aluminum cast grill is badly bent as well as the steel fabricated assembly. They decided that they could restore this at home. It will require replacing the lower bar of the aluminum cast grill by welding a new section in place. Likewise, the steel fabricated assembly will have to be repaired.
As we started looking closer at the Futurliner we found in this area the frame is also bent a small amount. We will have to straighten this out in the future.
I have mentioned that MONTANA PAINT is supplying all the paint through WYRICK PRODUCTS here in Zeeland, Michigan. However there are a lot of paint type supplies that do not come through Montana. WYRICK has been giving us a discount on those supplies that is really helping us in the restoration efforts.
As we start to get nearer to the point of starting to install body trim we know we are lacking a lot of pieces. One of the things that Wane Jackson discovered is that the top running lights were made from Chevrolet pickup truck fender mounted parking lights. Dick, as he left today, took the old original ones as well as the Chevrolet parking lights that Wayne had found at Carlisle. Dick thinks he knows someone that can make what we need.
Although we have new side aluminum trim pieces that run the entire length of the Futurliner we do not have the little trim termination pieces. The side aluminum pieces run horizontally and there are seven running parallel. At the end of all the doors is where these little trim termination pieces are mounted. They close up the ends of the seven-side horizontal trim pieces. These small termination pieces are about 22" long and made from very thin sheet aluminum. The Canadian Futurliner (FIDO) folks had these made by an individual that made the tooling and then hand formed each one. I sent a letter to Mario Petit to see if this person could still possibly make these for us. Each Futurliner requires 16 of these trim pieces. Mario contacted the person and he still has the tooling and is willing to make them at $250 (Canadian $) each. Multiply this by 16 and it is $4,000 (Canadian $). That is about $2500 US.
Del proceeded to assemble the left front brakes, hubs, bearings, and all the linkages. He would have finished but ran out of the right size bolts. Although we had bought bolts based on when the right side was assembled the left side used different sized bolts??
Mike continued sorting and cataloging the photos, newspaper articles, and other material we have. Mike is also taking with him the newspaper articles and getting them copied on paper that will not deteriorate. Mike has also been working to create a portable display that will first be used when WYRICK PRODUCTS has an open house in late April. Later it can be used at other events.
Dean Tryon, Stu Allen and John H. (sorry I lost the note to his last name) stopped this past Saturday. Dean brought along the carburetor, governor, and distributor that he restored. Dean is also the editor to our Futurliner News and does his restoring via long distance since he lives in North Carolina. Dean on the following day (Sunday) on his way back to North Carolina stopped at Bill Bicknells (near Springfield, Ohio) to drop off these restored items so Bill can use them on the engine that he is restoring. Bill intends to run the engine on his test stand once restored. Stu, upon leaving, took along the air cleaner assembly and its brackets to restore them at his place in Cleo, Michigan. Cleo is north of Flint, Michigan. Dean, Stu and John are all retirees of GM.
As I mentioned last week the only remaining Futurliner exhibit was moved by GM from the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry to COBO Hall for the Detroit Auto Show that took place last week. Although I did not get to go see it I received several e-mails from people that saw it and some said that the crowd was so thick that they could not get close. Dave Mikol and his daughter Cory went and Cory did a Futurliner report at school. Dean and Stu were also at the Detroit Auto show and took both photographs and digital camera shots of the American Crossroads. While here Saturday Dean got the film processed and we looked at the digital shots on the computer. It is a great working exhibit and in talking with another GM employee it will be on permanent display at GM's World Headquarters sometime this summer. I will let folks know as soon as I find out it is on display.
There will not be a work session next week as Carol and I will be away visiting a daughter on the East Coast. Again I want to thank all the volunteers that have allowed this project to continue.
Dave Mikol and his daughter, Cory visited our work site on Tuesday. Dave is a member of the Tin Can Tourists (TNT) and he receives our e-mail updates through that organization. Dave is also a member of the Cadillac - LaSalle Car Club and very active in the old car hobby with 20 vintage cars and campers. He and Cory viewed our progress and the volunteers showed the work that they were doing and what has been accomplished so far. We took some pictures of Dave and Cory up in the cab of the Futurliner so when we get them back we will add them to the web site.
Dave also brought along a 1936 Post Card that he purchased on e-bay and donated to our historical archives. The post card is of the first Parade or Progress and shows the setup for the Parade with the tent surrounded by the Streamliners and the GM 1936 automobiles. Dave also brought along a 3/4" drive socket set he had just purchased and donated to the cause. As you can see this completely fills out our socket set needs as outlined below:
Socket set - 1/4" drive.....3/16" - 1/2" On loan from volunteer.
Socket set - 3/8" drive.....3/8" - 3/4" " " " "
Socket set - 1/2" drive.....1/2" - 1-1/8" " " " "
Socket set - 3/4" drive.....7/8" - 2" DAVE'S DONATION
Socket set - 3/4" drive.... 2-1/16" - 2-1/2" Previous donation
Dave and Cory stayed for lunch and enjoyed the fellowship. We want to thank Dave for his contributions and for him and his daughter just coming to visit and support us in this effort.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Sue Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Bud Dinger, Tom Kuhlman, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Dick Saddler and Wally Snow.
Carol provided and served lunch and Sue provided our desert. Thanks to our support from our wives.
Jim continued to add metal to the rear of the Futurliner. He is a welder and spent a lot of time with one of the wire welders installing his fabricated metal.
Dick concentrated fabricating and having Connie weld in the metal that surrounds the drivers raised floor in the cab of the Futurliner. He also started the fabrication of a section below the instrument panel.
Bud and Wally continued to build the lower portion of the driver's door and fit the door to the opening. Connie also welded in the sections as they fabricated them. After making and installing permanent shims at the hinges at the end of the day, the door fit perfectly in its opening.
Don fabricated and had Connie weld in horizontal braces at the left rear of the cab.
Mike continued to put in order all the material that we have received. He has taken some of the fragile newspaper articles that we have received and got copies made. This will preserve this information as some of the papers were in terrible condition. He will also be putting together a display board for our paint supplier.
Wyrick Products who is the distributor for Montana Paints have been donating all of our paint supplies. Wyrick is having an open house in the spring and ask us to set up a display. Mike as some great ideas to make it as portable as possible so we can use it for other functions as well.
Del, back from his successful cataract surgery, completely finished the assembly of the right front axle, brakes, brake drums etc. Even the newly chrome hub was mounted. On the right front side, the only thing left to do is for the wheels to be sandblasted, painted and some new whitewall tires installed which we do not have. Coker Tire has committed the whitewall tires except for the cost of changing to tire molds to include "GENERAL MOTORS", "PARADE OF PROGRESS" , "US ROYAL", and "FLEETWAY" as in the original tires. The cost of changing the mold is $35,000.
Tom came in late. Tom lives 1-1/2 hours away. Tom is a farmer and with all the snow, he and his neighbor farmers have spent all their time trying to get the heavy snow off the roofs of their barns. They use shovels and snow blowers or whatever other means works. Although Tom has not lost any buildings, many of his farmer friends have had their barn collapse this winter. When Tom arrived, he and Del proceeded to install the inner bearing races in the left wheel assembly. Del had previously took them out side and buried them in the snow so that they would shrink. It worked, and the bearing races easily slid into their places.
If you recall from last weeks message Tom has also donated an old Korean War vintage army truck to our project. Tom has kept this truck for years as a spare parts truck. He has a similar truck that he uses for a snowplow. The truck he is donating has the engine and transmission that we need. He also is donating many spare parts that we need. As soon as some of this stuff melts we well be going to Tom's place to extract the engine and transmission. The Army truck (minus engine and transmission) will then go to the museum (NATMUS).
Connie brought the generator that has been overhauled by Lohrberg Sales. We again want to thank them for this contribution. They had previously overhauled the starter.
AMERICAN CROSS ROADS
We have mentioned in the past about the only Futurliner display that still exists. This display is called the "American Cross Roads" and was built in 1940 for GM's Parade of Progress that first used the Futurliner's in 1941. This display was refurbished in 1952 for the Parade that restarted in 1953 and used until the Parade was halted in 1956. This display is a diorama of the changes that occurred over time as a result of the automobile. It is a display that have moving miniature automobiles and the scenes change (rotate) three times based on the era that is being shown.
This display has been on loan by GM to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago for some time. We received an e-mail from Jeff Miller that it is now at Cobo Hall in Detroit at the auto show. We also received an e-mail from Larry Faloon that it is working and receiving a lot of attention. You folks in that part of the state need to go take a look. I hope some one will get a good video of it working and pass it along.
We again want to thank all the volunteers and those that contribute information that help us accurately put this history together.
|2001||Next scheduled work session is January 9, 2001.|
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