Friday, February 17, 2006

1924 Gardner Touring Car

Walt and his sister in 1924 Gardner Touring Car (1941)

    My high school chum, Walt, sent me a picture from his files, and how it brought back memories. 

   One day Walt said, "We've got to go to Hollywood. Come on."  A friend had sold him a car for ten dollars.  It was a 1924 Gardner, open touring car.  It was the exact same age as we, all of us being 1924 models. As I recall, we had to tow it home. 

   The convertible top was long gone, so it was a fair weather car by now, a veritable chariot, so that's what we named it: The Chariot. Not only was the top gone, so was the generator.  Walt compensated for the lack of generator by "borrowing" the battery from the family car when he wanted to drive the Chariot, and returning it later, to be recharged. One full charge was good for a day's adventures, if we pushed to start it, so as to conserve the energy.

   One evening Walt forgot to replace the battery in the family car, and Walt's father tried to start in the morning and found his car dead.  He came to Walt, and said, gently, "My car won't start.  Will you see what is wrong?" Then he retired to his room to give Walt time to hastily return the battery and start the car. His dad never let on that he knew about the battery swapping.

   One memorable day we made the open top trip to Hollywood Department of Motor Vehicles to get it registered.  The examiner just shook his head in wonder and issued the license.  The Chariot ran for several months until one day a friend told Walt to "Rev it up."  With a mighty roar the ancient timing gear gave up the ghost.

   We towed the Chariot to my back yard and removed the unfortunate gear. It was made of fiber, and all the teeth were gone.  We carried the remains of the timing gear to the parts house, but, alas, Gardner Automobile Co. had gone out of business years before and there were no new timing gears available. Touring junk yards proved futile, too. The Garner just sat.

   At last my grandparents ordered the Chariot removed from the back yard, and it went for its last tow. 

   I can't remember where we towed it for its final voyage.  It is too sad to recall.


memes121 said...

What a great story!

lv2trnscrb said...

great story; Walt's dad was so very kind to handle the situation the way he did


jckfrstross said...

what a great memory i love it and the pic too have a good day


garnett109 said...

Nice story , I have had a few clunkers in my day , I have one sitting in the yard now ,just trying to decide if it is worth fixing, have a great day!

bamawmn46 said...

Great picture and story Chuck!!  I love the car, but I have never heard of Gardner cars before.....


mavarin said...

Great story, sad ending! - Karen

mtrib2 said...

Great story!   I was in the coverted bicycle with a "shim" bolted to the rear spokes and a v belt running to a lawn mower engine mounted on an angle iron welded to the frame motor mount.    They had no brakes and were illegal on the street but every now and then you would see a kid flying down the street with legs straddled across the engine and one hand working the carborator throttle.   I spent every day on my regular bicycle and rode every place possible to ride to.   Those were some wonderful times.    mark