Q&A with Kit Foster: May 22, 2014

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Q. Can anybody identify these turn signals? They are made of chromed pot metal, and the lenses are faceted glass. Somebody told my friend who owns them that he thought they came from a ’37 Chevy, but I can’t find anything like it.

— Satch Reed, Salem, Va.

A. They don’t look familiar to me, either. They might be some form of running light, rather than turn signals, and might even have a marine connection. Does anyone recognize them?

 

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Q. To follow up on the “Chrysler-Plymouth Millionaires Club” (April 17), I guess I was not clear on the significance of the one-million challenge. I think it was for the U.S. Chrysler-Plymouth dealers to sell collectively one million cars. The 1973 Chrysler Corporation Annual Report indicates that U.S. dealers (including Dodge) sold 1,568,882 cars and 332,751 trucks at retail. Total U.S. sales (including fleet) were 1,628,736 cars and 343,603 trucks. Without a divisional breakout, I would guess the C-P dealers did it.

— Larry Baker, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

A. I did misunderstand you, but I don’t agree with your explanation. This is partly because “millionaire,” in my experience, has always been associated with money or wealth, not with a quantity of objects like cars. Also, while I haven’t yet come across calendar 1973 sales figures for individual Chrysler Corporation makes, I have found the model year totals for Chrysler (including Imperial) and Plymouth, and they add up to 997,779, a bit short of the million mark. But then I heard from William Filbert (below) and it seems we’re both wrong. The whole promotion was based around monthly sales targets.

 

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Q. Regarding the Chrysler-Plymouth Millionaires Club, this was a sales incentive contest for Chrysler-Plymouth dealerships in 1973. The items were made by Jostens. Any dealership reaching their sales objective for the month received one of the medals, which are sterling silver and very well made with detail. There were 12 medals in total. In addition there were additional prizes handed out, which included metal mugs with the Millionaires logo on them, loving cups, bookends, ash trays, and note paper with a wooden holder. These are what I remember, but there may have been more. The factory personnel and dealers could also earn miniature replicas of the sterling silver medals as charms for a charm bracelet for their spouse. They also received cuff links, tie tacks and money clips, all with the Millionaires logo on them. The 12 medals on the tombstone and the very hard-to-find charm bracelet are very collectible. No serious collector of Chrysler memorabilia would be without at least a tombstone and the 12 medals, and if you had the charm bracelet it would be a collectible home run. Unfortunately, many have passed up the opportunity to buy these sets when they have come up for sale in the past because they did not realize the significance of the collection. They are not easy to find today. Each medal came in a plastic case with a history card about the particular car that was enclosed. The medallions represented important cars from the Chrysler-Plymouth Division past: 1924 Chrysler, 1926 Imperial 80, 1928 Plymouth, 1929 Chrysler 75, 1930 Plymouth, 1931 Imperial Phaeton CG, 1931 Plymouth PA, 1932 Chrysler 8 CP, 1933 Imperial 8 CQ, 1934 Chrysler Airflow CU, 1934 Plymouth PF, and 1936 Plymouth P2.

— William Filbert, Easton, Pa.

A. Thanks for that complete explanation. It seems like the word “Millionaires,” though, was used in a figurative sense.

 

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Q. I own a 1985 Lincoln Mark VII, which is a factory [air suspension] car. Someone has put in a coil spring kit which is not the correct one because it has broken the driver’s front coil. Do you have any suggestions to replace it, or could I use a lower A-arm off a Town Car or Crown Vic of this vintage and a coil spring off that vintage year to replace this?

— Marilyn Myers, Eureka, Kan.

A. There are many conversion kits for these cars on the market, so I wouldn’t mess around with parts for another model, new or used. Springs are designed for specific applications, loads and geometry. Yours may have been the correct springs and merely broken. It does happen, even with the right parts, particularly in the aftermarket. You’ll find kits from Suncore, Arnott and American Air Suspension, to name a few suppliers, for $400 or less. That’s for all four wheels, less installation of course. If it were my car and I wanted to drive it for a few years, I’d have all four corners re-sprung.

 

To submit questions to this column: E-mail angelo.vanbogart@fwmedia.com or mail to: Q&A, c/o Angelo Van Bogart, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001.

 

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One Response to Q&A with Kit Foster: May 22, 2014

  1. EFudd45C says:

    I have these on my ’39 Packard Super 8, and I haven’t got turn signals. The tale the previous owner told me is that they were aftermarket parking indicators which were required to be switched on if the car were parked on the street (in Philadelphia) during a WWII blackout. They were intended to allow emergency workers to spot and avoid colliding with our cars when the streets were otherwise dark.

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