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Q&A with Kit Foster: May 28, 2015


Q. This is a picture of my Uncle Ray, who was a Milwaukee police officer. Can you or your readers help identify the make, model and year of his patrol car. ­

— James Ackmann, Ashippun, Wis.

A. The interesting fender contour tells us we’re looking at a 1961 Dodge Dart, probably a Seneca, the least expensive series and most likely choice for government fleets. The Dart, of course, was initially a Plymouth-based Dodge, part of a corporate re-alignment that saw Dodge dealers relieved of their Plymouth franchises in 1960. What I don’t recognize is the disc-like thing protruding from the side of the car. Some sort of radar antenna, perhaps?

Q. In your April 30 Q&A, Mark Linville had a question about what appeared to be a trunk latch. There is no mention of the size of his emblem, but most of these emblems were about one inch tall by about a half-inch wide and can be found on 1950s Crosley radios. If you were to do an internet search for Crosley “Dashboard” Radios (named because of the look, not that it went in a car) you’ll find the logo between the two round pods. The logos I’ve seen are usually red or blue, but I have seen two-tone logos like the one Mr. Linville has pictured. I have never seen the same logo on the Crosley cars, but then I haven’t seen that many Crosley cars, so maybe some cars did have the same logos on or in them.

— Richard Hivon, Roseville, Calif.

A. You’re right. I think you nailed it. As car people we tend to view every emblem as an automobile badge, but this is not always the case. In this instance the lightning bolt is a clue: all sorts of radio products and activities have used this theme over the years. We couldn’t reproduce Mr. Linville’s photo in color, but the background is orange over green. I’ve seen plenty of Crosley cars, but never one with this badge.

Q. I’m restoring a 1956 Dodge C-3 Town Panel. My truck has the flathead six with a three-speed manual transmission. Overdrive was an option that year and I’d like to add this. I’ve been looking on line and only find vendors for Ford or Chevy. Will any of their units cross over to Dodge? Do I need to find the whole transmission or just the overdrive unit and controls. Is there anything aftermarket that will work?

— Bernie Pranica, Sobieski,Wis.

A. I think Ford, Chevy and Dodge all used the same basic Borg Warner overdrives in this period, but according to my Hollander interchange manual the part numbers are mostly different, making it hard to tell if there are any bolt-in applications. The same subtle variations occur between cars and trucks of the same make, by the way. Someone who has done this may be able to offer advice, and at least one aftermarket vendor (Gear Vendors, claims to supply custom kits for nearly any vehicle.

You will also need the control elements (lock-out cable, kick-down switch and solenoid, etc., but those are relatively generic and easily sourced. You’ll also need to shorten the driveshaft. Alternatively, you might consider changing the rear axle to a “taller” ratio, but the overdrive will give you more useful gears.

Q. In regards to the Apr. 23 Q&A on Dave Renfrow’s 1939 Ford truck, I have the following information on the weight class for this truck. As Dave mentions, the license plate reads “YA7253” registered in Minnesota 1970. In Minnesota any truck over 3/4-ton, such as a one-ton, is required to have a “Y” plate. As for the weight class, this truck would be a one-ton or greater. Hope this helps with the classification for his truck.

— Scott Peterson, Duluth, Minn.

A. Thanks. We should point out that “3/4-ton” was Ford’s rating for the 122-inch wheelbase Model 92D. This is a nominal designation, and the actual load capacity depends on the gross vehicle rating of the truck, which is much more specific – and also on the body fitted. I haven’t been able to find the GVW rating for this model, but it’s quite possible that it would permit a payload greater than 1,500 lbs. and thus require a Minnesota “Y” plate.

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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