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Q&A with Kit Foster: October 10, 2013


Q. This is an old street scene taken in Cazenovia, Wis., in 1921. Can you or any of your readers identify the make of the vehicle in the foreground with the “U-shaped” radiator? I am not sure if it is a REO or what. It appears to be a truck or hack of sorts.

— Joe Jax, Menomonie, Wis.

A. Yes, it’s a truck, as I can see a flat bed behind the cockpit. It appears to have a roadster-type top, too, somewhat usual for trucks of the period, which were often open or sometimes fitted with a C-cab, sometimes completely enclosed. This one may have been converted from a passenger car. Right-hand drive suggests pre-1915, but some trucks adhered to RHD for longer. Does anyone recognize it?


Q. Here is a tip on loose and turning wheel covers. It was given to me by an old-timer at a car show years ago. Using his advice I’ve never lost a hubcap or a wheel cover. Jack up the car, front or back, or if you have a lift, raise the car. Remove the hubcaps or wheel covers. Check the tabs – all should look even. Next, lightly sand the area where the cap or wheel cover tabs come in contact with the rim.

If spraying, tape off the area, wipe off the loose dust, spray on or brush on at least two coats of matching paint. I always put on two coats. Let it dry until it becomes tacky (almost dry to the touch), then put on the caps or wheel covers and you’re good to go. I’ve used this method and never lost a wheel cover. You’ll have to repeat this procedure if you ever take off a hub cap or wheel cover down the road.

— James Miller, White Hall, Pa.

A. Very interesting. I gather that the fresh paint sets up around the tab of the wheel cover or cap, giving it additional purchase. I don’t have a “cap-throwing” car to try it on at the moment. If you remove a cap while on the road, I guess it would be easiest to leave it off until you return home to re-apply it according to this procedure.


Q. I was at a bluegrass jam and we were talking about old cars. One of the men there talked about his father having a Whippet and cutting the back seat off to use it to push hay into piles. We started talking about old car names and I mentioned “Hornet.” The man who hosts the jam said that he saw someone once take a rear wheel off a Hornet and hook it to a belt and run a sawmill with it. My brother said there used to be a tractor that had some sort of extra pulley, and that it was not unusual for tractors to be hooked to a belt to run saw mills, grist mills or other unusual demands. I have not heard of this before. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

— Jerry Brittain, Warrenton, Va.

A. Heard of it? Heck, I’ve done it. I grew up in rural northwest Connecticut in the 1950s, when it was very much an agricultural region. As an early adolescent, I was eager to do all sorts of work on neighboring farms as it gave me a chance to drive their tractors and farm trucks. Back then, nearly all the big tractors, the Farmalls and John Deeres, had a flat “power-takeoff” pulley on the side, useful not only for saw mills but, more importantly, for silage chopper-blowers, filling silos with winter feed. Hit-and-miss stationary engines, mounted on old wagon chassis, were often used to cut cordwood. Not all tractors had the pulleys. The little gray Fords and Fergusons did not, but there was an accessory pulley that could be bolted onto the rear of the tractor, to the shaft that powered tillers or balers. In fact, early postwar Jeeps could be had with a rear-mounted power-takeoff, to which a flat pulley could be attached. I haven’t been down on a farm in some time. How do farmers fill their silos these days?

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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