- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.