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‘Barn find’ wins Brooklyn car owner award

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Story and photos by John Hummer
Exponent staff writer
Over 600 visitors came to Cambridge Junction Historic State Park on Aug. 6, many of whom took in the Walker on Wheels classic car show.
Owners of cars or trucks older than 1967 were there to show off their vintage vehicles and compete for prizes.
The winner of the first-place award among those showing their cars was built in 1936 – a car that put auto tourism and history on wheels. It belongs to Brooklyn’s Rick Robinson. His 1936 Ford Model 68 4-Door Sedan garnered the most votes from among those attending. The car has a flathead V-8 engine.
“It’s all original; this was my grandfather’s car,” Robinson said. His grandfather had bought the car in Adrian in 1940 and quit driving it in 1958.
“It’s kind of a barn find,” he added.
Brooklyn’s Robert Walby brought his 1956 Plymouth Fury to Walker on Wheels and brought home the second-place prize. He’s owned the car for about three years.
“I bought it in a thousand pieces from Utica, Mich. (northeast Detroit suburb),” he said. Walby said the previous owner had two of them and had taken them apart in the early 2000s.
“It had to be put back on the frame so I could bring it home,” he said.
“It’s quite a unique car. I’ve restored it from the ground up, as close as I could to factory specs – everything” he said. “It’s only been shown three or four times. I thought it would be fun to bring it out here.”
Walby finished restoring the car in July 2016 and is proud of his rebuild job.
“It’s Plymouth’s first muscle car,” he said. “It even has the built-in tachometer in the dash. It’s fairly unusual because it has a Chrysler Windsor engine in it. At that time Plymouth didn’t have a big enough engine, so they went to Canada. It’s a 303, 240 horsepower engine. The car actually set a land speed record back in ’56 at 142 miles per hour.”
But the one car that caught the eyes of all those who wandered through Walker on Wheels was Larry Gardon’s 1940 Studebaker Champion. Gardon, of Quincy, converted the old car into a “new” village taxi. The car one of two People’s Choice awards at the event.
“I bought the car a year ago on ebay from someone in Connecticut,” he said. The car badly needed to be reupholstered and painted, so Gardon decided to have a little fun with it and convert it into a taxi. He and his wife did the upholstery work and he had it painted bright yellow with burgundy fenders. He found a taxi meter, new lights, and roof lights for the vehicle all on ebay as well. This isn’t Gardon’s first Studebaker.
“I own eight Studebakers from 1919 to 1963,” he proudly states. Gardon lived in Brooklyn from 1978 to 2003 before moving to Quincy.
“Other awards went to Don Robertson of Manchester (third place) for his 1960 Chevy and to Jasper’s Kent Brown who took home the second “People’s Choice” award for his 1930 Model A Ford.”
Walker Tavern is celebrating its 95th year as a tourist attraction in the Irish Hills, a feat made possible by auto tourism of the early 20th century.
The park staff thanks Oh These Irish Hills! for supporting this year’s awards and to the Friends of Walker Tavern who hosted and organized this year’s event. They also would like to thank all those who showed off their antique gems and classics.

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