Q&A with Kit Foster: March 14, 2013

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Q. I’m wondering if you could identify this dashboard-mounted electric unit. It is about three inches square with two big terminals on the back, plus three small ones. Also on the back is stamped “Anti-Stall, Inc., Mt. Vernon, N.Y., 6 to 8 volts” and “Pats. Pending.” Could it be for those Dodges that had a combination starter and generator?


— Mark Moberg, Bemidji, Minn.

A. No, the Dodge starter-generator was 12 volts, and lasted only through 1926. I believe this is an earlier version of what we came to know as Startix. Startix, which did away with floor pedals and dashboard buttons for starting, was introduced on 1931 Hudson and Essex cars. It soon became popular on medium- and high-priced cars like Studebaker, Willys-Knight, Pierce-Arrow, Packard, Franklin, Auburn and others. It was also available on the aftermarket for any car with a Bendix-type starter drive. With Startix, you just turned the ignition to “on” and the magic mechanism did the rest, even re-starting an engine that had stalled. It used a series of relays and solenoids, which sensed the presence of generator output once the engine started and disconnected the starter. It also had a time-out function that prevented overuse on a dead engine.

Anti-Stall was apparently similar to the Startix system, in that it started the engine as soon as the key was turned on and used generator output to determine when the engine was running. The dashboard control suggests that it had an additional safeguard for possible generator failure. If the generator failed while the engine was running, the driver was instructed to “remove cap and pull out button A.” Then by removing another cap and “start[ing] motor by removing cap B and pressing button B” the engine could be started normally. I found an article about Anti-Stall in Jan. 19, 1925, issue of The Daily Argus, a newspaper from Mount Vernon, N.Y. It seems Anti-Stall, Inc., made arrangements with General Optical Company of Mount Vernon to manufacture their device in General Optical’s plant. Anti-Stall, said the article, “does away with the foot starter and automatically keeps the engine running… Business already in prospect indicates a much greater demand than can be supplied for several months to come.” I wonder if there was any demand, because I’ve found no further trace of Anti-Stall, nor do I know if its availability on any late-1920s cars, or whether there was a connection between Anti-Stall and the later Startix, which was a product of the Eclipse Machine Co. of Elmira, N.Y., a division of Bendix located nearly 50 miles from Mount Vernon.

A friend of mine has a “coffin- nose” Cord with Startix. He refurbished the system while restoring the car. It works properly, but for peace of mind in everyday use he has by-passed it with an ordinary push button hidden under the dashboard. Sometimes it’s just as well to keep things simple.


Q. I know that this is not your field, but I simply cannot find a body shop worker who can install a hood emblem for my 2011 Buick LaCrosse. I’ve purchased the emblem, but because of a crease in the middle of the hood of the LaCrosse, no one can install the hood emblem. Any suggestions?

— Gerald Langelier, Forest Hills, N.Y.

A. It’s hard to say without seeing your emblem, but I suspect the problem is that the contour of its base does not match that of the hood. As a result, you’ll never get it to tighten firmly. I suspect some sort of custom fabrication will be necessary by a machine shop or a precision casting company, which will probably greatly exceed the cost of the emblem. It looks like Buick intended that this model should never have a hood ornament.



Q. I found this mascot in my father’s garage after he passed away. I have looked for it at shows, swap meets, auctions, eBay and Craigslist. Would you or any of your readers know what it fits or came from?

— Gary Lowe, Dunedin, Fla.

A. I think it’s from a 1949 Lincoln. Did your father ever own one?

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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