1934 – 1940 Timeline
This is the second half of a long letter written by my Grandfather to his sons about several items. Yesterday, my post included Item No. 1 – Biss, Zeke and baby Butch moving out of the apartment and Carl Wayne (Red Horse Service Station) wanting to rent the apartment for Ethel Bushey, his fiance, and himself. Item No. 2 was all about the move of Guion Advertising to their new headquarters on Main Street. This post covers Item No. 3, which Grandpa said was the BIG news, as far as he was concerned.
No. 3 might be termed the BIG ONE, at least as far as yours truly is concerned, and concerns the newest five-wheel addition to the Guion garage. 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 as to what I would do in the winter if it were hard to start in the mild weather. The other morning I came out and found a flat in the front left. I had to pump enough air into it to carry me to the gas station, but being unsuccessful, I took a chance on running it over flat.The result was that it did not do the inner tube any good, and in view of the fact that a blowout patch caused a shimmy, ( like we had in one of the other cars, I forget which one), and my spare tire had a blowout patch on 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). When the inspection 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 could 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 salesman who had been real nice to let us try out their cars and told them I was in a quandary as to whether to buy the 1940 model at a reduced price now or wait on the chance that the steel market would go up and perhaps permit us 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 us have for $900, based on an allowance of $193 for the Plymouth on the price of $1093 which was their sales price. He pointed out that the Plymouth was really worth about $50 and he would stretch this $93 and take off $100 for the fact that it was a 1940 model and had been run about 3000 miles. The car had no extra equipment, no radiator, heater or other accessories, only standard equipment. They would be repaired, cash payment of $140 in addition. We could have the car at the rate of $70.40 for 20 months.
Willys called and said they had no 1940 Studebaker’s on hand but the new 41 models were better, etc.
Eisenman, of Buick, asked us 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’s was a super, with practically the same body that the 41 cars had. It had the same length as the Special we were considering but 10 inches wider than the Special and lower. It had five white sidewall tires, the spare had never been used, was two-tone green, had been carefully driven, had run 1300 miles, and installed-at-the-factory a 7-tube radio, factory built and installed air heater, clock, air foam cushions, high-grade tan upholstery, division armrests in rear seat, had been sanitized without the extra cost. Originally, $1389 and white sidewall tires $20 extra. The Plymouth was appraised at $60 but they could allow $135 on it on the sales price of $1050, bringing the net cost to me to $925.
The Nash man also had an ambassador-8, with twin ignition and a number of extras – clock, special steering wheel, air conditioner, 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 as worth about $60 but he also would allow $125 in a trade it, bringing the net cost to me to $875.
Packard gave a years guarantee, Buick a 30 day guarantee. Then I went back 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’ve 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 AN OWNER OF A BUICK.
1940 Buick Roadmaster
Both Dick and Dave are wildly enthusiastic and I am a little pleased myself. The only bug 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 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 3-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 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 made to Dave to take him to see “The Ramparts We Watched” 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 been 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 at about 10:30. They expect to drive all night and spent the day in Washington, and then on South, eventually to Clearwater, Florida, 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 nonetheless 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 has sent his wife back to the states because the country did not agree with her. It is a coincidence that I should have sent you his letter to Dan, last week. Thanks for your letter, Ced, re: the ski slide and your airplane drunk.
Good night, my boys three.
Tomorrow will be another Tribute to Arla and on Sunday, we’ll check in to 1943 and find out what is happening to Lad, in California, Dan in England, Dick in Brazil and Ced in Alaska. We’ll take a break on Tuesday, the 11th, for another Guest Post from gpcox about the involvement of Hollywood in the War effort. We’ll finish out the week in 1943.