Dear Absentee Voters (2) – The Owner of a Buick – Oct., 1940

This is the second half of a letter written by Grandpa to his four sons, one in Venezuela and three in Alaska. The first half was posted yesterday.

No. 3. might be termed the BIG news, at least as far as yours truly is concerned, and concerns the newest five wheel addition to the Guion ménage. I have been having increasing fuss and bother and expense with the Plymouth. I had difficulty in starting it in the morning, and it worried me to know what I would do in the winter if it were so hard to start in this mild weather. The other morning I came out and found a flat in the front left. I tried to pump enough air in it to carry me to the gas station, but being unsuccessful, I took a chance on running it over flat, with the result that it did not do the inner tube any good and in view of the fact that a blowout patch on the same shoe caused a shimmy like we used to have on one of our other cars (I forget which one), and my spare also had a blowout patch in it, it seemed necessary to spend more money for a tire. Then one day last week on a very rainy day I found my battery too low to start the car and had to call up the Blue Ribbon to send a man around with a hot shot battery (more expense). Then a new inspection period had arrived and I undoubtedly would have to incur more expense in getting it ready for that, the fact that the windshield wiper was very sluggish and sometimes would not work at all, etc., etc., all created in me an urge to do something about it before cold weather set in.

So I wrote to the salesmen who had been good enough to let me try out their cars and told them I was in a quandary as to whether to buy a 1940 model at a reduced price now or wait on the chance that the stock market would go up and perhaps permit me to buy a 1941 model, – – what have they to suggest.

Bill Schott of Packard was the first to respond. He had a 1940 demonstrator, similar to the one we tried out, that he could let me have for $900, based on an allowance of $183 for the Plymouth on the price of $1083, which was their sales price. He pointed out that the Plymouth was really worth about $50 but he would stretch this to $183 and take off one hundred dollars for the fact that it was a 1940 model and had been run about 3000 miles. This car had no extra equipment, no radio, heater or other accessories not standard equipment. There would be required a cash payment of $140 in addition, bringing the balance to to $760 which I could take care of at the rate of $70 for 12 months, $49.33 on the 18 months basis or $39.96 on a 24 month arrangement.

Bradley called and said they had no 1940 Studebaker’s on hand but the new 41 models were better, etc. Sizeman of the Buick asked me to come down and look at a 1940 car that had just been turned in by a doctor, who, every year, bought a new model. This was a little better car than the one he loaned us to try out and that it was a Super, with practically the same body that the 1941 cars had. It was the same length as the Special we were considering but 10 inches wider than the Special and lower. It had five white sidewall tires, was two-tone green, had been carefully driven, had run 2800 miles, had installed at factory a 7-tube radio, factory built and installed air heater, clock, collapsible steering wheel, air foam cushions, high-grade tan upholstery, division armrest in rear seat, and had been simonized and without the extras, cost originally $1389 white sidewall tires $20 extra. The Plymouth was appraised at $60 but they would allow $125 on it on the sale price of $1030, bringing the net cost to me to $905. The Nash man also had an Ambassador S, with twin ignition, his own car which he had driven 3500 miles, with twin ignition and a number of extras: clock, special steering wheel, air conditioning, divided rear seat armrest, cigar lighter, deluxe floor mats, equipped for radio, but no radio, the original cost of which was $1324. He too, estimated the Plymouth is worth about $60 but he also would allow $125 in a trade in, bringing the net cost to me to $875. Packard gave a years guarantee, Buick of 30 days guarantee.

This photo of a 1941 Buick Special – two-tone green –  is from the following URL –  

I then went back to the Buick people, not having heard from the Chrysler at all, and told them I had a better offer from the Nash people. Of course they tried to talk me into doing business with them, how much better turn in value there was in the Buick, etc., but I must have looked unconvinced so he went back and talked to Mr. A. L. Clark and finally told me he would knock off $50 but that was final, so I AM NOW THE PROUD OWNER OF A BUICK. Both Dick and Dave are wildly enthusiastic and I am a little pleased myself. The only chigger in the wood pile is the payments, and right here I must confess that your birthday present, Dan, yours, Ced, the amount to your credit Dan, which you authorized me to use in payment for the sale of the Willys, plus odds and ends of cash I have been able to put by for this purpose for the last year, all went into the kitty, which, plus borrowing to be later paid back as I can, still left me $75 short, for which I had to give a three-day note. Perhaps I was foolish in view of the fact that Dick’s weekly payments cease, the apartment rent stops and my Selectmen’s salary ceases, but there is still the hope that the stock market may boom a bit if the right man is elected in November, so keep your fingers crossed and remember me in your prayers. “Nothing ventured, nothing won” in true gambler’s spirit. So there you have item No. 3. Dick is almost ready to give up his trip with Bobby Kascak in order to drive the new car – –OCCASIONALLY.

Now to come back to the reason for this letter being late. Last night, Dick was so anxious to drive the car before he went away and wanted so much to use it in driving the gang to New York that I let him have it for the evening. This threw into the discard a promise I had made to Dave to take him to see “The Ramparts We Watch” Saturday PM if he cleaned the downstairs, which he did. I then arranged to have an early dinner today so we could go to the afternoon show because Dave had a Young People’s meeting at seven. Dick was supposed to go to a football game but thought he would be able to be home at 1:30. I had prepared a special going away dinner for him and told him it would be ready at 1:30. It was. No Dick. 2:30 no Dick, so Dave and I ate at 3:30. Dick had not even then put in an appearance, so we left anyway and have just gotten back. I have not seen Dick since, but suppose he will show up before he leaves, which he expects to do about 10:30. They expect to drive all night and spent a day in Washington, and then on south, eventually to Clearwater, Fla., where they have heard some Trumbull people live and where they expect to get a job. Depending on circumstances, they may head for California but there is a chance that they will be back in time to eat Thanksgiving dinner at the Knolls, where we have been invited by Aunt Betty.

Dave, today, “joined the church”. His school work is going satisfactorily, he is thrilled with the new car and he told me tonight the world looked rosy, or words to that effect.

Your birthday letters to him with their “interesting” enclosures arrived a day or so late but were none the less welcome on that account. On your account, Lad, I gave him a five dollar bill for clothes and promised to have his watch fixed at the jewelers. The latter, I have since learned, will cost about five dollars, which is more than I anticipated, so if you think a total of $10 is a little steep, say the word and we will make some other arrangement.

Your interesting letter, Lad, written on the 23rd, contains news that will surprise Dan. I referred to the fact that Fred Chion is working for Socony -Vacuum on a road construction gang. He had sent his wife back to the states because the country did not agree with her. Thanks for your letter, Ced, re: the ski slide and your airplane drunk. Good night, my boys three.


Tomorrow, I’ll start posting a three-part letter written by Grandpa to his four sons, three in Alaska and one in Venezuela.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll post “Special Pictures”.

Judy Guion


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