Story and photos by Ron Kowalke
Clyde Baumgart fondly recalls his late father, Wilfred, as being a “gearhead.” When viewing his eight vintage vehicles recently pulled from longterm storage in a shed and lined up off Highway N north of Little Chute, Wis., it’s evident Wilfred Baumgart was, indeed, a car guy. Not a Ford guy, not a Chevy guy, but an overall car guy who had a passion for saving old cars and trucks.
The eight vehicles are a 1968 Chrysler Newport hardtop, ’48 Plymouth Special Deluxe five-window coupe, ’48 Nash five-window coupe, ’48 Chrysler Windsor sedan, ’48 Chevrolet Fleetline Aero two-door sedan, ’48 International KB-1 panel converted into a pickup, ’27 Ford Model T coupe modified into a pickup and a ’48 Packard Custom 8 sedan.
Possibly, with six of the eight vehicles being 1948 models, Old Cars Weekly asked if Wilfred was partial to collecting examples from that year. “No, that’s just random,” Clyde Baumgart replied. It’s ironic, though, that Wilfred actually drove only two of the eight cars, according to Clyde, the ’27 Model T and ’68 Chrysler. The six vehicles from ’48 Wilfred purchased during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s and tucked away in the shed for restoration at a later date. Restoration of the Nash coupe appears to have been started, but Clyde couldn’t confirm if that was the work of his father or if Wilfred purchased the car in primer and stripped of its chrome (still inside the car).
Parade duty was the main function of this 1927 Model T Ford before being stored for decades in a shed. A battered Great Depression-year, 1929 license plate still hangs from its front bumper. This Model T began life as a coupe before being converted into a pickup.
The decades of storage in the shed protected the vehicles from Mother Nature’s fury, but critter deposits and interior gnawing damage is severe on several of the cars. Both the Chrysler Windsor and Chevy Fleetline have suffered roof damage, cause unknown. Each of the vehicles is complete, but many of the trim parts have been removed and are stored in their interiors or trunks.
Even indoor longterm storage can take its toll on vehicles in the form of dry rot and critters. (Above) The entire right sidewall of this snow-chain-equipped tire on a 1948 International KB-1 truck has split and separated, leaving the tube rubbing against the chains. And it still holds air! (Below) Varmints had built such a large nest inside the engine bay of this ’48 Chevrolet Fleetline Aero sedan that it spilled out through the grille and from the hood when it was opened after decades of being closed.
As previously mentioned, both the Model T coupe and International panel were chopped and converted into pickups. Clyde Baumgart explained, “A license for a car cost money, but if it was a farm truck there was no charge [for the license], so those two were made into pickups.” The International also features a home-built hydraulic snow plow attachment that is belt-operated from the truck engine’s pulley system. Clyde admitted that the whereabouts of the plow blade is a mystery.
1948 was a very good year…. (Above) A Nash five-window coupe that appears to be a just-started restoration project and (below) a Chevy Fleetline Aero sedan are two of the cars stored by Wilfred Baumgart.
He said all the vehicles ran when they were parked in the shed. Wilfred drove the Chrysler Newport “for quite a few years,” Clyde added. Along with Wilfred, Clyde said he also logged considerable time behind the wheel of the Model T, driving it in parades. “We appeared like the Beverly Hillbillies.”
Clyde said his father passed away many years ago, and his mother died last fall. That prompted he and his seven brothers and one sister to agree to empty the shed and sell the vehicles to old car hobbyists who can restore them or make use of their parts. Clyde told Old Cars Weekly that, like his father, he at one time had aspirations of restoring the vehicles, but now, nearing age 70, said, “My time’s running out.”
In addition to the eight vehicles, Clyde said there are additional loose parts still stacked in the shed. He recalled, “There are Model T and Model A parts and [parts] for 1930s Fords.”
The Baumgart family invites everyone interested to visit the vehicles’ Highway N location. Questions about the vehicles or parts or offers to buy can be posted at e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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