Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Country Squire



(click on image for larger view)

I was almost home. I was kind of in a hurry. I had met my wife for lunch and on the way home saw a "used toy and collectibles" store and purchased some 20 bucks worth of plastic and metal toy cars. (Another story.)

I was approaching my street when I thought "No. Maybe there's something unique between here and the highway today. I'll just go up there past LeDuc's frozen custard stand, and turn around in the parking lot of Wilke's Auto."

Sometimes Wilkes has some interesting stuff in the lot. Not today.

As I pulled out and headed back towards home, I saw a pair of round headlights coming at me from a quarter mile away. They were rimmed by bright metal, gleaming even on this cold, overcast afternoon. As the vehicle came into relief, I saw that it was a late 50s Ford, and as it slid by me I saw it was a Country Squire station wagon, with all the "wood" intact and a gorgeous lipstick red paint job.

It's always hard to tell how people will react when you start following them. You wonder when they notice. After my U-turn, we took a couple of turns "in town" and then onto a county road.

After we got through a twisty bit, The Squire roared quite rudely and began to shrink with alarming speed. I knew by the tires and dual exhaust that this was not a standard Fairlane, but its acceleration was truly impressive. I had to work to stay with him, but finally, some 10 miles later, he pulled up in his driveway.

I rolled down my window and asked the driver if he would mind if I took a few photos of his car, and his response was "Want a beer?" A Country Squire indeed.

When we entered his "garage" to tap a couple of glasses of the Delafield Brew Haus's finest, I noticed right away a lot of Formula One memorabilia, and I knew The Squire was no mere hot rodder.

For the next 90 minutes or so, the Squire regaled me with tales of his career as a pit crew chief for all kinds racing teams including the legendary Can-AM series, some of the wildest sports car racing this continent has ever seen.

So do be careful when you follow strangers home, but don't rule it out. Sometimes you make a new friend.

Thanks, Curt. See ya around.



(click on image for larger view)

All contents copyright 2009 Jeff Blackwell

7 comments:

  1. dude, you should write for Autoweek.....and that Kurt guy and the Country Squire, what a find!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, Thanks!

    As Curt told me, he's "Into Go, not show."

    A great guy with several projects going on. He's contemplating putting an electric motor into his RX-7 because it spit a seal and the ultralight plane builders have snatched up all the rotary engines.

    An electric RX-7 Would that be slick?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello,

    I'm really glad to see that my old Country Squire is still in good hands. Several years ago I started the project of shoehorning the stroked 460 (514ci) 385 series Ford engine into that tiny engine bay. If I recall correctly there was about 1/2" on the passenger side and 1/4" in the driver side between the control arms and the manifolds. When it left my shop it still had a ways to go and thankfully my old pal and mentor welded in the trans cross-member, finished fitting the customer aluminum Howe radiator, installed disc brakes, etc, etc, etc. Not only does that machine drop jaw but it flys! Thanks for keeping her in good hands Curt. I miss you guys! There is so much to say about this project and many others I better hang it up for the night.

    See you soon,

    Jeremiah
    Klamath Falls, OR

    ps great article and awesome pics!

    ReplyDelete
  4. One more thing...

    It's a '59!
    Originally a 352" 4bbl Interceptor with a Cruise-O-Matic 3-spd. VERY cool car.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jeremiah -

    Thanks for writing!

    Duly noted - '59.

    It is really an amazing car, and you can rest assured that Curt is giving it proper exercise!

    I'm glad I was able to keep up with him, and found my way to his garage. Great guy.

    What are you working on now?

    Jeff

    PS. How did you find my blog, if I may ask.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Jeff,

    I still keep in touch with Curt and he pointed me in your direction. We drove the hell out of that wagon and it will always be close to my heart.

    I met Curt through at the age of 15 or so working at the local hotrod/race car shop. He showed me how to do body work and a million other things. One of my longest and best friends.

    What am I working on now? Well things are a little out of hand here due to one factor - No Rust! Moving from WI to Oregon I sold all of my cars except for the following:

    1976 Plymouth Valiant 4-dr:
    -408 360-based stroker motor with a roller cam etc.
    -833 4-speed
    -4.10 gears with a sure-grip
    -whitewall snow tires, driven year round in WI and Oregon : ) Sleeper!
    -This can be seen at:
    http://www.photoblog.com/Jeremiah/2008/04/18/an-excursion-to-dairy-or.html

    1966 Charger:
    Big block, four speed, 4.30's and no interior. This one can be seen at:
    http://www.photoblog.com/Jeremiah/2008/05/25/my-old-beater.html

    1970 Monaco:
    -Curt helped me paint this when I was 17! Still looks great.
    -My brother now has this on the West side of the Cascades...it has 17" Torq Thrusts on it now.
    -I once made it from Dallas, TX to Hartland, WI in less than 14 hours in this car when I was a bit younger and MUCH more foolish!
    -Can be seen (sort of) at:
    http://www.photoblog.com/Jeremiah/2008/05/28/resurrection.html

    I'll bet you are sorry you asked what I am working on by now so here is the short list:

    1970 Dodge SWB Regular Bed W100 Power Wagon
    1965 Dodge SWB Utiline Bed 3/4 Ton Power Wagon
    1965 Olds 88 2dr 400/TH400/12 Bolt
    1974 Dart Sport, /6 Auto
    1973 Gold Duster, Survivor /6 Auto
    1972 D100 Survivor 2wd LWB

    Who knows what we will buy next week. : D

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am proud to say the Country Squire is my Uncle Curt. What a beautiful car! Looking forward to doing some touring this summer....

    KG

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting! Double clutch!!