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Q&A with Kit Foster: July 3, 2014

Q. The May 15 Q&A showed a pair of side lamps which I am sure came installed on certain models of early-1920s Studebakers. However, customizing was not limited to any particular period of automotive history. Many individuals or perhaps specialty companies such as Checker could have used them because of the appeal value. In my case, I have a pair installed on my 1920 Model TT Ford delivery truck which my wife, children and I restored in 1967. Henry didn’t start making his own cabs for the one-ton truck typically until 1923. Hence, many companies capitalized on the opportunity to fill a need and made various cabs, mostly in wood and often in rather boxy-looking configurations. I installed identical lights on this my truck for two reasons. Most importantly, my mother-in-law had found them in an antique store and gifted them to me, thinking I could use them in my growing collection of automobilia. Secondly, they were period-correct and looked right, as well as nice. And, yes, they are electric. If readers would like to see a picture of them installed on this truck, which has seen hundreds of parade miles, they may view it on the “brochure” page of our website www.

— Gil Mangels, Polson, Mont.

A. Indeed, lamps are usually made by specialty companies and can be used by any number of auto manufacturers. I homed in on Checker because the questioner had been told his lights were from a taxi. Now that you mention Studebaker, I see the same lights on photographs of a 1922 Big Six and a 1923 Special Six. I bet they look dandy on your Model T, too.



Q. A friend of mine found this lamp at St.Vincent DePaul in West Bend, Wis. I am hoping you or your readers can tell me something about it. Is it old? The lamp is 23.5 inches tall. The wood base is 6 x 10 inches. The model car is 8 inches long and 4 inches tall, made of brass (I think). The plaque on the front is 1 x 2.5 inches and says “Chevrolet Motor Company, R.H. Bales, Flint, Michigan U.S.A.” The lamp shade is 12 inches tall and 13 inches in diameter. It has the history of Chevrolet, starting with W.C. Durant finding the Chevrolet trade mark on a wallpaper sample in a motel in France in 1908. It lists dates with pictures of firsts for Chevrolet. The newest car is a 1960 Corvair and the newest date is 1963 for a Delcotron A.C. generator. I am hoping someone will know something about it.

— Jim Ackmann, Ashippun Wis.

A. My first reaction is that R.H. Bales might have been a Chevrolet dealer, but on thinking further, I wonder if he was a Chevy employee and this might have been a retirement gift. Other ideas? It can’t be older than 1963, according to the milestones listed on the shade.


Q. I have been looking all over for a six-volt battery jumper pack. I have called AutoZone, Battery Plus and all the local suppliers here around New Haven, Conn., as well as going online. No one seems to know where to get one. Any suggestions?

— Les Warner, Bethany, Conn.

A. Mr. Warner has consented to our publishing his e-mail address,, so that readers may contact him directly. I’m sure the demand for such a thing is pretty small, so manufacturers aren’t rushing to build them. It should be possible to construct one by “reverse engineering” a 12-volt pack, or even modifying one. I’ve never had one, so I’m not familiar with what’s inside. Readers?
To submit questions to this column: E-mail or mail to: Q&A, c/o Angelo Van Bogart, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001.

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