Sunday, November 29, 2015

Another CLE race track's unsung hero, Conrad our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario.....

Conrad Trombelli was another unsung hero of our old Canadian Lakehead Exhibition racing days.  About a year ago I received an email from a young lady who was a friend of Conrad's son....sadly I can't find the specific email, but apparently his son had never seen photos of his father in his racing days.  I was able to put some pictures together and send them off to the delight of both his son and friend.  
It starts with a small photo taken from a 1953 program seen further below.  The media often misspelled Conrad's last name, so I corrected it here.  The drivers also posed with other driver's helmets for program photos, so I changed the number that was on Conrad's helmet to the correct number of his race car.  Here also is a typical racing advertisement in our local newspapers.

For those that don't remember, the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition Race Track was located between Fort William Road, Northern Avenue and Memorial Ave.  In this photo, Northern Ave runs parallel to the bottom of the photo and Fort William Road is the street running vertical on the right hand side.  Memorial can be seen along the left and top of the photo along the line of trees.

Here's Conrad mixing it up on the backstretch.  The house across Northern Ave in this photos still exists today as shown in the next photo.  Click on all the photos to enlarge them.

The coupe that Conrad is driving is a 1932 Pontiac.  The photo below is how it would have looked before it was cut up for a stock those days, old cars were just scrap and many very rare and interesting cars were wrecked at the old CLE track.

The pictures and clippings in this post are from 1953 to 1955.  The program insert in the next photo show Conrad in the points race in 1953.  If you're old like me, you will recognize many of the other names on this list.

This one shows Trombelli's car stuck together with Merv Dove's #31.  That's Merv outside his car on the right.  Merv is still with us today and he and his wife Dolly lead a very active lifestyle.

This panorama photo shows the turn 1&2.  The barns in the background were quite close to the Coliseum building and the track, and many jalopies crashed through the fence and into some of those barns.  There are still many of the old buildings including the Coliseum and the Dorothy Dove building still within our fairgrounds.

The write-ups in these clippings were so well done in the day.  If you click once or twice on them, they can be enlarged enough to read.....take the time and enjoy them.

In the note below, My friend Al Yahn (my proof reader) Looked up addresses and names in the 1954, 1958 and 1962 Henderson Directory to find that the old Wes and Jerry's (Wes Inkster and Jerry Whittaker) White Rose station at 231 N. May Street was later owned by Conrad Trombelli and Mel Kompon in 1962.  Al also helps with research on this blog site (thanks Al...much appreciated).

Here is a racing line-up for the 1953 season.  Glen Kettering and Wally Prokosh were both mechanics, and Bob Harkness(the flagman) and Johnny Panvica were selling new and used cars all working for Jessiman Motors then.  Jessiman motors was located on the South/West corner of May and Bethune Street.  The 231 May Street address where Con's was and the old Jessiman Motors property are both vacant lots today.

The line-up above shows that Dominion Motors as Conrad Trombelli's Sponsor.  Below is a late 1940's or early 1950's photo of Dominion Motors as it was on May Street, and sadly how the property deteriorated and lost all it's flair over time in the photo below 

Conrad also drove a 1937 Pontiac Business Coupe shown here.

.....and this is how the '37 Pontiac looked done up for Conrad to race.

Another of Conrad's cars was a 1936 Pontiac 3-window coupe....a very beautiful and rare car in today's hot rod world.

.....and this is how it looked out at the old CLE track.

Here's one more photo of Conrad's '36 Pontiac 3W coupe mixing it up on the track with the boys of summer 1955.

I hope you enjoyed this post about another unsung hero from our old Canadian Lakehead Exhibition Days....The entertainment these guys gave was second to none.  All this was so heavily embedded in my childhood and teen years that I'm constantly compelled to bring you these stories for your entertainment.
These last two clips were added for your reading enjoyment.  Thanks for dropping by Hot Rods and Jalopies.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

My '26 Ford "T" Coach here at home.....progress report....

I don't usually do blog posts on my projects...I usually leave that to my facebook page however, I've had several messages asking how the "T" is coming along.  At one point I was going to do a complete build photo series, but I have over 200 photos of this project.  I may do another on how the body was chopped and shortened.  Anyway...I will start with a photo of where the body was found.  The one with primer on the right is the one I chose, but had to buy two bodies to get the four doors the seller had plus other parts.  
As I always say in these sure to click on all the photos at least once and if you get a + sign click again for super large.

This is how the body looked in June and early July of this year(2015).  I had some health issues and had actually started to loose interest in the project somewhat.   As I was contemplating this, I decided I would actually have to hire someone to help me with some of the body work, in particular adding a bondo skin to the whole car to get it ultra straight.

This is the rear 3/4 shot.....most of the difficult metal work was done, but it needed the bondo skin which I could not do due to the back issues I was having.

Here's how we got a huge number of the small dents out....using a pin welder and pulling them out...What a great tool for doing this...I had done the same on my model "A" project about 10 years ago.

As luck would have it....I met Kristofer Reiner, as I had known his father Kevin from local cruises.  Kristofer is a young and very talented apprentice body man who has great hands on experience working in a local body shop and doing rust work...and not just gluing panels on like so many shops do today.  Kristofer and I hit it off quite well, so I hired him to help with the project.  Kristofer not only helped me with the block sanding and skinning, but gave me the incentive to finish this project to the end and not give up on it....I owe him a huge bout of gratitude for that alone.

Here's Christofer looking quite happy that he took on this project!
Here he is again checking on some of "my" work.

The body is starting to look pretty good here........

....and here too......    ......NEXT...Primer!!

Here it is after a coat of Epoxy primer and three coats of high build primer.......

...and now the doors and dash....
doors and dash

Here's Kristofer looking pretty proud of himself after the job was finished...and so well deserved.  From raw metal to this in about 5 weeks part time.  Great job Kristofer.

Having our beer toast now that all the "HARD" work is finished.  Thank You....
Coincidentally we both had Canada Day shirts on....☺

....Now with the doors on........

I don't do any garage work in the winter months anymore for health getting it this far was more than I had hoped for this year.  My fabulous painter Shaun Hopkins suggested that I paint the firewall my colour and put the body back on the chassis in primer, as he will paint the body on the chassis after all the block sanding is done next spring.  
I  completed all the undercarriage including brake lines, fuel lines and the exhaust system before we put the body back on the chassis as well.  So here is the custom's called "Thai Teal", and very similar...well maybe a bit richer than the '55 to '57 Chevy colour "Sea Foam Green"
The Chassis ready for the body.

Here is my favourite view of the car.  There will be no red wheels in the end...they will be painted the body colour, or maybe Chrome Reverse will be added later.

Nerf Bar and twin tailpipes...

Passenger's side....

Now...the best story is here at the end of this post.  
I built the custom dash from a 1941 Chevrolet dash......cutting an molding it to fit....however in January of 2014 my friend Dennis Winko and I attended the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona California....which had been #1 on my bucket list for years.  Very talented guys were pin-striping panels to auction off and raise funds for Ronald McDonald House in Cali.  They also said you could bring a panel of your own and make a I had Shaun Hopkins quickly paint the glove box door gloss black so I could take it with me.  As you can see in these next two pictures that the glove box door is pin-striped and also autographed by none other than "George Barris" (RIP) George just passed away early last week.....and another famous hot rod and custom car builder Gene Winfield.  We also documented the autographing and so glad we did as you will see.......

The '41 Chevy Dash narrowed 7" and shortened 8" front to back.  That's not the final steering will be a two tone black and teal Corvair wheel.

The first picture here is Rick Malicoat who did the beautiful striping job.  Thank you Rick.

Here is Gene Winfield signing the glove box door at his booth at the GNRS in Pomona, 2014...with some very interested onlookers.

Thank you Gene........what a great guy!!

Dennis and I found George Barris and his grandson out judging cars and I cornered him to sign the dash piece.....he was very gracious about it.  Thank you George.

Finally....Dennis and I spent part of a day after the GNRS was over back at George Barris' shop for a tour.  We enjoyed being there very much and meeting George for the 4th time for me was quite a pleasure.  We'll miss you George....RIP.  
NOTE: thanks for watching HR&J....the next post will be more CLE racing in Fort William, Ontario