2003 Project Notes
The following are miscellaneous notes that Don Mayton receives or makes that are relevant to the project. The notes read from the bottom to the top with the most recent on top.
|Sept.||LOWBOY TRAILER -- Returning
back to the "EYES ON DESIGN" show we uncovered a new need. The
day prior to the show GM had made arrangements with a major antique
transporter to move the Futurliner from here [Zeeland] to Warren, Michigan
about a 3 hour drive. The tractor with its low boy trailer arrived on
time. Immediately when the driver climbed out of the cab he recognized
that the flat portion of the low boy was too short to accompany the
Futurliner. The driver spent the next hour trying to locate a low boy with
a low enough bed plus a long bed [34'] to move the Futurliner. To make a
long story short we ended up hiring a tow truck to haul the Futurliner.
However the rear axles had to be removed prior to towing the Futurliner
and then reassembled once the Futurliner arrived in Warren. Of course this
procedure had to be reversed when the Futurliner returned.
This created a need to be able to transport the Futurliner to shows across the country when the vehicle is completed. We roughed out the specifications and working through NATMUS we had a company that builds specialized trailers give us a quote on a new trailer. The quote came to approximately $35,000. It would be our desired goal to have a new trailer with a detachable goose neck with a self contained hydraulic wet pack. With the self contained hydraulic system any over the road tractor can be hooked up and tow the Futurliner to wherever. However we have not found any one to write the check.
In the meantime our faithful volunteers have been looking at the back of every local construction company storage yard looking for a low boy trailer even if it had to be modified.
Last Wednesday, September 3, Wayne Jackson was headed to his daughters about 1-1/2 mile from his home when he observed a lot of activity going on at a lumber company that had previously closed it doors about a year ago. Wayne kept looking as he drove by and he thought he spotted a low boy trailer in the yard behind a building. Wayne turned around and headed into the yard. Sure enough in the weeds was a very worn and weathered low boy trailed much too short for our Futurliner. Wayne took out a one dollar bill and knowing it was 6" long measured the flat area of the trailer to determined its exact length. He spotted a worker clearing the area and asked about the trailer and he stated to talk to the fork truck driver.
Wayne approached the fork truck driver and asked him about the trailer and the driver told Wayne if you want the trailer take it but it must be out of here by Friday or I am having the Sheriff impound it. Wayne immediately called Ed DeVries and as fast as Ed could get to the location they inspected the trailer with flashlights [by now it was dark]. Wayne that night could not sleep as he thought about the fact that it had to be gone by Friday. The next day [Thursday] he returned and they confirmed it had to be gone by the next morning. Wayne again called Ed.
Ed then when to a local construction company [Marsman Construction] where he knew the owner. Ed, in his way to talk people into doing things that they really never intended to do, told them about the Futurliner project, about the transportation problem, and then about getting a "FREE" trailer and convinced them to send a mobile crane with a tractor and low boy trailer to pick up this donated free one. So down the highway a small caravan of construction equipment headed. The "free low boy trailer" using the mobile crane was loaded on the Marsman low boy and again the caravan headed down the highway to Ed DeVries work shop. There again the construction equipment was used to unload the "freebee".
All is not that easy. There is major structural rust that will require steel beams to be replaced. In addition the bed must be lengthen. A hydraulic self-contained power pack must be purchased. The brake system must be updated like we updated the Futurliner's brakes. Although this represents another challenge we have the skilled labor to accomplish this task. One of our volunteers, Fred Carpenter, has already volunteered to try to find "free" structural steel. Our welder, Howard Sullivan, and his welding skills will really be used as this is the type of welding he did all his life.
Although the axles look ok we will have to go through them mechanically. The trailer will have to be completely rewired. Most of the tires look excellent, in fact some of then look new.
Although refurbishing this trailer will be a lot less than the $35,000 quote we will still need funds to complete the Futurliner as well as purchase items for this trailer.
Stay tuned! Don
I've been scanning a bunch of old slides which my father took in the '60s. This one may be of interest to you. I'm hoping for a few more, but it's a tedious process and will take me some time to finish.
The event was a National Sunfish Regatta at Indian Lake, just outside of Dowagiac. The junior yacht club (of which I was commodore) was having their meeting. If I recall correctly, we also used the stage for a "hootenanny" later in the evening. The vehicle was donated by Dreisbach Chevrolet in Dowagiac. Will send you more pics if I get them.
I stumbled across your web site some time back, can't even tell you how, it may have been through one of GM's history web pages and have watched the progress over the last several years. What you and all of your help are doing is Great. I find allot of joy just looking at a forgotten piece of American / GM history that at one point touched many people with something very advanced and informative. I think classic/antique automobile history is very interesting; so if someone hasn't told you and the volunteers lately, please keep up the good work - and our family will make the trip to see the bus/display when your finished - thank you for the step back in time. Jim L.
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