Similarities in Nature
Look What I Got At The Hobby Shop Today 05/27/2005
Yes, I really did get this at the hobby shop. My semi-LHS owner has been thinning his collection of Mopars. I happen to like big cars, haven't had one in quite a while. Let me say, it fits like a glove!
It's a 1968 Dodge Monaco 500
383... only a 2 barrel (for the moment) brand new duals with crossover.
89K miles, nice body restoration, nice interior restoration. I can't afford a Charger, so I got the next bigger thing.
You should hear the "digital sound"... NOT!! Summer is here!
Everything is in full bloom, and the license plate on the Buick says 1960. So must be the late spring or early summer of that year, the kid with the wagon isn't 3 years old yet but already is in love with trains. Dad took this picture with a Leica IIIf and a 50mm Summitar, standing with his back to the garage entrance. How do I know where he was standing?
Because it's the same place I stood to take this picture, on May 9, 2004. I swear the trash can is the same one after 44 years but I guess it's probably been replaced a few times. So have the porch steps and downspout, and the concrete. The driveway has been widened, and no longer would chew the side off dad's Buick... but both are long gone. The kid with the wagon is behind the Leica M6 and 50mm Summicron. This picture is contrasty because it's actually a color photo I cropped, sized, and tried to match up to this one, and removed the color. Here is the full size original scanned image in color.
Some Remnants from My Earliest Days in the Hobby
These four hulks date back as far as Christmas of 1960. They were not my very first trains, but they were the first "real" HO models I had. It's weird to play archaeologist in your own basement.
There isn't much left of this Fleischmann baggage car. The car has some American elements, and sliding doors, and some kind of facsimile of a "Commonwealth" truck, but the other aspects are clearly European.
This is some serious, realistic rust here!
The car still has BOTH of its original horn-hook couplers! But no wheels.
The roof was a low-arch smooth gray plastic piece which was held in place by a screw in the center.
The curvature of the ends and the recessed ponger gives away the German heritage. This car was originally Union Pacific yellow, which you can see - but got brush painted with Floquil Tuscan around 1965, when I went on a Pennsy kick and slopped tuscan on everything.
I recently found a photo of Christmas 1960, which shows the three year old watching two diesels and three passenger cars running around the tree. That makes this the oldest "artifact", and makes me feel really old to look at the wreckage.
Another Fleischmann car, essentially identical to the baggage but you can see the remains of the original paint and lettering. Same chassis, roof, etc. Notice the translucent window material... the car did not have lights though, at least not that I remember.
The baggage came later, although the way my parents operated, it could have been purchased by them at the same time as this coach. Or at least, it looks kinda like a coach, although it says "Pullman". It was kind of a tradition for "Santa" to hold back a few things for later - as much as a year later - or as spares in case of breakage. So, perhaps that explains the two Fleischmann cars with the same pedigree.
This is devastation on a major scale. The loss of the chassis, roof, etc was basic childhood wear and tear. The partial crushing of the body was due to a staged "train wreck" and my discovery that bent sheet metal made a much more realistic "wreck" than cracked plastic.
This is both depressing and fascinating - like one of those History Channel shows that digs up artifacts from volcanic eruptions or sunken ships.
The heavy rusting probably occurred in my mom's basement (possibly even lying on the floor) between the late 1960s and the mid 1970s. In other words, this wreck - though now 44 years old - probably looked about as bad when it was less than 15 years old.
This brown/tuscan colored Fleischmann car is an anomaly. I do remember getting it, probably some time in 1961 or 62. It may have been a gift from a family friend who got it and didn't know what to do with it.
This car makes no attempt to be an American prototype and as such is probably far more accurate than the other two cars. I've been told the prototype is Swedish.
This car originally came with the Fleischmann hook-type couplers, and I couldn't run it until we got the guy at the hobby shop to replace them with horn hook "NMRA couplers". Back then, we still were putting the "new" NMRA couplers on to replace various Euro couplers as well as Mantuas, Bakers, MDCs, etc.
Most people will recognize this car. It's an Athearn heavyweight observation shell. This car is still available today, virtually unchanged -- and once again available as an assembled model! Its true, in 1960 you could buy RTR Athearn cars, shortly after, came the ubiquitous blue-box kits which were the norm for 35+ years.
Although the body is chipped and cracked, and has been used for airbrush painting practice and testing - more than once I dare say - compared with the tinplate Fleischmann cars, the body is still more or less intact. This was the third car of my 1960 train set, so it's the same age as the UP coach.
I don't have any intention to restore these cars, just to keep the cadavers as they are. But I am looking to buy mint (or as close to it) replacements of the Fleischmann UP coach, and the Athearn observation. I know I can buy an Athearn B&O obs brand new for just a few bucks, but I want one in the original look, in the original box if possible. The third car of my original train set was a Gilbert NP coach. More on that one soon.
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