A vintage Christmas tree adventure

Episode 293

December 8, 2019

Vintage Christmas visit

The only time that Hale Tree Farms has been visited by a family in a 1933 Plymouth in 40 years in business. It formerly was a stock car, now an antique street car. (Stacy Robey photo)

Disclaimer; I am the owner of Hale Tree Farms where this story originated.

In 1979 at Hale Tree Farms in Westmanland, Maine, I sold my first Christmas tree (I wish I could remember who that was sold to). In all those 40 years, not one person or family showed up to choose and cut their Christmas tree in a vintage car which also served as a stock car in its former life.

Several years ago, I did have a lady arrive in a new style VW Beetle convertible with the top down. She wanted to be able to transport her tree and get it out of her car easily.

Tyler Raymond, my helper, and I were talking to a husband and wife, who had just finished loading the family Christmas tree and were buckling their children into their safety seats, when the above car went by the mouth of the driveway. The driver, Jesse Michaud and his girlfriend Stacy Robey, Caribou drove by having missed the entrance.

My jaw dropped as I saw the duo back their 1933 Plymouth with big red # 6 on the side, up the hill slightly and drive into our lot. The car was like a dust magnet, it attracted everyone to view the unique car.

A rear view of the #6 Plymouth stock car converted to a vintage street car. Note the license plate, “OILY RAG” (Stacy Robey photo).

Jesse Michaud’s father Fred, was a stock car racer at Spud Speedway with the red/white #6 car in the lower right. Fred died at age 59 on April 13, 2012 from Parkinson’s Disease. Fred was dearly loved by his son and his fiance Stacy. They all shared a love for race cars and motorcycles. The Camaro in the lower left was Jesse’s tribute stock car he raced at area tracks several years ago. His vintage Plymouth is pictured at the top. (Michaud family composite photo)

The 1933 Plymouth history

How did a former stock car make the transition to street car? The car has a story as told by Michaud:

“The car is a 1933 Plymouth powered by a 232 Hudson flat head six with a Hudson three speed trans. Rosey Gerry, Lincolnville, found the car behind a barn twenty-five plus years ago.

Rosey found the motor and trans in the Uncle Henry’s Swap & Sell Guide. It was assembled on a pallet running off a one gallon gas jug. The estate of the original owner was selling it.

Apparently the guy bought a brand new 1953 Hudson Wasp and wrecked it not long after while under the influence of alcohol. Before the car went to the junk yard, he pulled the motor and trans, assembled it on the pallet, and would go out and start it and sit and listen to it run while he tried to find the bottom of a whiskey bottle. He did this one gallon of gas at a time.

At the time the Wicked Good (Vintage Tour) was in its planning stages and Rosey put the motor and trans in the Plymouth for the Wicked Good Bomber class. He ran it in the Wicked Good’s very first race which was held at Speedway 95 in 2006.  It then went on to race at Unity.

That was the last time it raced. It was underpowered, undertired, no setup, etc. Racing it allowed Rosey to see he would really have to hack the car up to compete. At that time he threw on a set of 34 Buick headlights, and 1950’s  Pontiac tail lights. He drove it on the street, climbing in through the window with its straight pipe exhaust, fuel cell sitting in the back, etc.

At some point in time it was at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) Vintage Celebration (Loudon, New Hampshire) and did laps around the 1.058 mile track. I think that was 2007, although I am not sure. The sticker is on the car.

Gerry ran it around the streets of Lincolnville, Owls Head, Fryeburg and various other car shows until 2012 when he parked the car in his barn. In late 2017 or early 2018 the car ended up at Neil Martin’s Goldenrod Garage, Freeport, Maine, for sale.

I have always liked the car since I first saw pictures of it from about 2009. One thing leads to another after selling my VW Beetle I am in the hunt for a new street car.

Right after Christmas of 2018, Stacy and I take a look at that car and a few others. I looked at a bunch of stuff from all over. This one really fit me the best as I love jalopys, old race cars, and mechanical stuff. This one had all of it but had been sitting for some time.

A deal was made and we picked the car up the first weekend of April 2019. I got it running and proceeded to install door hinges, door latches, moved the battery, installed a fuel tank, redesigned the shifter, relined the brakes (relining is something you don’t hear anymore), added turn signals, speedometer, gas gauge, seat belts, windows and exhaust in one months time while working a full-time job. I had my hands full.

After that I proceeded to drive the car last summer. All told I did 831 miles with it. It really goes down the road well. Radial tires would do it wonders, but I like the period correct look it has. Plenty of stuff I want to change but for now it gets me from A to B like they would have 80 years ago.”

Jesse Michaud straps his Christmas tree to the roof the same way it would have been done in the 1930s. Note the white wall bias ply tires. Not a hint of a snow tire tread pattern. With mostly bare roads, Michaud commented that he had a relatively easy 47 mile round trip. The 19 degree temperatures were a factor as well since the car did not have a heater. A glass cleaner bottle and paper towels served as a window cleaner if needed. Driver and passenger were bundled up for the ride. (Stacy Robey photo)

The Christmas tree on display at Michaud’s garage with lights, reindeer, and plenty of presents. (Stacy Robey photo)

Snowmobile radar run Saturday

Caribou Snowmobile Club to host radar run at Caribou Lake Saturday December 14.

Caribou Snowmobile Club members and other volunteers have been busy clearing the surface of Caribou Lake in preparation for the upcoming radar runs. According to Team OCD member, Rick Taggett, Woodland, the lake has a minimum of 6 inches and 8-10 inches of ice in most places. (Taggett Racing photo)

Light Parade in Presque Isle features Brian’s Ride float

Mega Meltdown Vintage Snowmobile Race Tour will invade Caribou March 21, 2020 at the Northern Maine Brewing Company. Proceeds will benefit Cary Medical Center’s Brian’s Ride Fund. Jim Leighton and others put together this float for the Annual Light Parade in Presque Isle Saturday evening December 7, 2019. (Black Dot Photography-Jim Leighton photo)

Local kart racing champions work on Eagle Scout community service project

Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) 2019 Junior Kart Champion, Gage Theriault, Limestone, assists with the construction of benches for the Houlton Elementary School Apple Orchard. He was helping with this Eagle Scout project based in Houlton. (Morror photo)

NMKA 2016-18 Junior Kart Champion Bryan Searles on left with Evan Berube, and Jacob Deschenes on right. Ryan Cole is in the back. All these Boy Scouts were helping with the Eagle Scout project in Houlton. (Morror photo)

The finished benches for the Houlton Elementary School Apple Orchard. All helpers earned credit for their work. (Morror photo)

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine