Futurliner News
GM Futurliner Restoration Project
National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States
ISSUE #16 -- APRIL 2003

   April 2003
Additional Newsletters

This is the 16th newsletter to keep our supporters, volunteer workers and other interested people informed on the status of the restoration project. This is an all-volunteer effort with one goal - restore one of the twelve GM Futurliners to an original and functional condition. The vehicle is owned by the National Auto and Truck Museum(NATM) in Auburn, Indiana and is being rebuilt under the volunteer direction of Don Mayton in Zeeland, Michigan.

Don M. Mayton, Project Director
4521 Majestic Vue, Zeeland, MI 49464
616 875-3058

Dean G. Tryon, Newsletter Editor
2516 Laurelford Ln., Wake Forest, NC 27587
919 562-4660

  • The biggest news this issue is the fact that General Motors has requested that the vehicle be available in Detroit on June 21 & 22. On the 21st, GM is celebrating the 75th anniversary of GM Styling. The second day is a show with Ford and Chrysler called EYES OF DESIGN. Both will be held at the Design Staff Building at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan. Don outlined the items that need to be completed for this to happen and as a result, GM has made a significant financial donation to the project to facilitate completion.
  • The vehicle will not be "done" by then but will be completed to the point of bringing it to Detroit. The work crew is excited about this possibility and has pitched in with ever-greater fervor (if that is possible)! We expect that the engine and drivetrain will be running, the large side doors operating, body painted and most of the trim installed. There will be a number of items to be completed this fall of course.
  • As a result of the above donation, the vehicle has been sent out to another truck body shop (Valley Truck in Grandville, Michigan to have the rest of the body sheet metal finished and the painting completed. It should be back by mid April. Photos are on the web site as it was partially finished in December and as it left for Valley Truck.
  • As you recall in the last newsletter, the lower part of the body was finished and painted by B & M Customs in Zeeland, Michigan. We actually ran out of money for them to finish it so the above donation from GM is especially appreciated.
  • Even without a vehicle on site, the work crew has been busy. One complete day was spent by the 16 guys and gals there finishing and polishing the aluminum trim. The trim is a mixture of some from our vehicle, some from Canada, some from Calif. and some that was remade. This involved sanding, straightening, welding and polishing. Thanks to Fred and Marge Carpenter and Ryan DeVries for leading this effort - no small task for just this one item.
  • Ryan DeVries has taken the donated letters (General Motors and Parade of Progress) for the sides and tapped 200 mounting holes. Then he along with his father Ed, drilled the 200 holes in the side of the Futurliner to install the letters after the vehicle is painted. The letters still need final polishing before mounting.
  • We have almost all of the rubber bumpers but one piece is missing and needs to be made. Jim Baker is making a mold for us so it can be cast.
  • The 4 lower cargo doors have been completed and are being primed and painted on-site by Art Meidema and Connie DeJong.
  • One of the fascinating aspects of the project was in locating the holes to mount all the lettering on the side. Joel Dirnberger in Minn. has been building a scale model of the Futurliner and in the process, has a computer model of the vehicle. Don called him with the dilemma of how to accurately locate these letters and Joel ran full-size prints of the sides and front of the Futurliner and sent them to Don overnight. They put these up to the vehicle and they matched exactly. Incredible! They then simply punched locating marks thru the paper and located all the lettering exactly. Joel’s drawings are also being used to locate the red-white break line for the paint.
  • Two carburetors have been rebuilt by Dean Tryon in NC giving us 3 now for the 2 engines. The interesting part of this rebuild was the fact that the Futurliner carburetors were mounted on Dean’s 1959 Buick as a final test since they have the same bore and bolt spacing. We have more parts that can be made into operational carburetors if we could find another rebuild kit.
  • The new brake system is completed and we thank Bendix for the donation, Del Carpenter and Stan Bowers for the installation and Jeff Miller for making the contact with Bendix.
  • A new hatch over the driver’s compartment was fabricated by Dick Saddler since ours had none when it was received.
  • Del Carpenter, Tom Kuhlman and Stan Bowers have nearly finished installing the engine, transmission, exhaust system, new linkage and drive shafts. A wiring loom has been designed and fabricated by Wally Snow and is also nearly complete. Wally is also completing the instrument panel. The powertrain should be ready to fire up soon after the vehicle returns.
  • A new worker has joined the Tuesday crew – Phil Prinzing who lives in Muskegon, MI.
  • Al Batts continues to be our photographer for the weekly web site additions. He also does video taping weekly to add to the archives. Mike Ball continues to add items to the archives as they arrived.
  • A volunteer has stepped forward (Randy VanderBrook) from New York state to do all the seats and interior. He has located the right material and we thank Randy for taking on this large project.
  • We have been trying to find someone for the past four years to make us whitewall tires. Howard Sullivan, who lives in Muskegon Michigan, stopped at a local tire shop in Muskegon and talked to the owner Bill Ginman. Bill said he thought he could make a whitewall tire for us. He took one of our previously donated tires (from Dave Mikol) and ground down the side and using machinery that recaps the side walls of truck tires, bonded a 1/8" thick white rubber donut to our tire. Next week he plans to do three more for us. The one tire we picked up from Bill looks great! Although we will not have the raised letters in the whitewall, we will at least have whitewall tires.
  • Victor Garske and Tom Van Voorhis have again supplied us with more material for our archives. They have found more GM 16-mm film that has been converted to videotapes. The latest that they have sent us includes the following on one video tape:
  • GM Caravan of Progress (This is what the Parade was called in 1941) [20 Min.]
  • 1953 Parade of Progress Newsreel [3 Min.]
  • GM Parade of Progress - 1953 [10 Min. ]
  • Parade of Progress Exhibit "AMERICAN CROSSROADS " when it was moved to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. [23 Min.]
  • US Auto Industry Jubilee - 50th Anniversary & Parade in Detroit [18 Min.]
  • Vic and Tom as well as other Paraders have furnished us with a bountiful treasure of material for the Museum's archives. We used a previous film (that Vic and Tom supplied) at the Kalamazoo swap meet in February and you could not believe the people it attracted. Thanks to Vic and Tom for another donation.
  • We have previously been loaned both the lecture uniform as well as the work uniform. Some day when we have enough cash we plan to reproduce these for those that go on tour with the vehicle. In addition we have been donated the official rubber rain coat with its rubber rain hat. These are real rubber and weigh a ton.
  • Recently there were original photographs of the 1950's Parade of Progress and the Futurliners auctioned on e-bay. Our California support BRAD BOYAJIAN not only got the high bid for these photos but then had negatives made and sent us two sets of copies. One set will go to Joel Dirnberger in Minnesota who is building a scale model of the Futurliner. Of course the other set will reside with our archives. The importance of these photos is that they give excellent detail of the interior of the Futurliner. This will help us in the restoration of the interior of the driver's compartment as well as the hardware for the hatch. We thank Brad for this generous donation.
Posters &
  • Posters and hats are still available thru NATM for $10 each plus $3 shipping. Quantity orders will have a break on shipping and will be approximately 20% above the single item shipping charge. Contact Bobbie Smith at NATM for specifics for your quantity. A good number were sold at Hershey and NATM is beginning to receive orders. An order form and additional info is on the web site. The mailing address is below on the Donation Form – please use the street address and not the PO box. Credit cards are accepted at the museum.
  • You can also see the poster (along with it’s history) and the hat on the web site (http://www.futurliner.com/poster.htm).
  • We are still looking for an original Parader's trunk. I understand it looked like a steamer trunk, red and white, and each had a number. It would be nice to add to our collection.
  • Hubcaps – No progress yet, still looking for a source
  • Another carburetor rebuild kit would be nice to find. We have used 2 types and both are acceptable – a Holley #85R-254 or a #1009 kit by Classic Carburetor. These kits fit Holley carburetors #885FF, 1901F and 1901FFG. If you can locate one for us, we’ll build another carburetor.
  • The book about the Parade of Progress that Bruce Berghoff is writing is in the first draft version and is being reviewed by members of Don’s crew. This will have a lot of information about the project along with much of the info that has been collected for the archive by the project.
  • Al Batts has been the official photographer for the project and his photos are sent to Jim Crame for adding to the web site. If you have not visited the site recently, there are a lot of photos documenting the progress.
  • A booth was set up at the Kalamazoo Antique Car Swap Meet in Feb. with a display and video. Thanks to Stan, Dick, Mike, Al and Howard for obtaining the space, setting it up and manning the booth over the 2 days.

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