One of the pleasantest ways to escape the savage rhythms of modern life, as the owners of the venerable cars shown on the following pages have discovered, is to don goggles and dusters and drive with all deliberate speed into the tranquil past. From the moment a man swings a crank handle and hears an antique engine give an answering tocketa-toc-toc-toc, thoughts of rock 'n' roll idiocies, switchblade delinquency and fallout jeopardy fade blessedly away, and the silent gears of the mind shift back to a time happily remembered for the unhurried pleasures of harvest dinners and long draughts of well water from a tin dipper.
Passengers aboard the 89 shiningly restored old cars that will roll through south central Michigan next weekend in the sixth annual WOODland Tour (it is sponsored by WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids) will be doubly blessed. The tear-it-down-and-build-it-cheaper blight of this age has not yet obliterated the period charm of the elm-shaded towns en route. A number of unsophisticated Main Streets, like Middleville's (left), visited by the tour last year, have not completely forgotten the cracker barrel and the cigar store Indian.
When the high-wheeled old beauties on these pages, along with accompanying Pierce-Arrows, Overlands, Stutzes, Knoxes and such, chuff into such places as Muir and Pewamo and Eagle, the townspeople will come arunning to finger the brightwork and look back nostalgically for a little while, too.
1914 APPERSON JACK RABBIT
Burnished wood and gleaming brass testify to the meticulous labors of Lawrence Baum, Hastings, Mich., in restoring dilapidated but rare old speedster (75 mph) whose 45-hp engine had been ignominiously used to turn a lathe. Baum paid $150 for it, spent additional $1,500.
May 29, 1960
1910 BUICK ROADSTER
Glistening 16-hp runabout was a mud-covered eyesore in 1950 when Floyd Colley of Ionia, Mich, traded a TV set for it. Under hood, says Colley, is "the smoothest 2-cylinder engine ever made."
1911 CADILLAC TOURER
High-topped, spoke-wheeled touring model with a copper water-jacketed engine stood idle for 36 years before Doyle Stratton of Grand Rapids, Mich, in 1956 won four-year campaign to buy it.
1909 MODEL T FORD
Wood body, kerosene head lamps are among nostalgic items laboriously assembled from all over the country by Arthur C. Doering of Grand Rapids for his 23-hp, four-passenger collector's item.
1914 BUICK TOURER
Hula-Hoop-sized spare tire (diameter 32 inches) requiring 60 pounds of pressure adorns four-square old favorite—first with an electric starter. Owner Basil Lewis of Kalamazoo restored it from near-junk state.