Antique Car Club Visits S&S: Being cool while going slow.
Viola, WI. September 15, 2011. The AACA Illinois Brass & Gas Touring Group made a stop at the S&S facility in Viola, WI. The day started out cool with the first frost of the season, but warmed up nicely as the sun came up. That's a good thing because these are all open cars! That's why the old timers always wore those big car coats and goggles. Some of the cars were actually steam powered, so they had to fill up with water here at S&S.
The club is for owners of cars built before 1915. The reason they call it Brass and Gas is that up until 1915 the cars used a lot of brass in the radiators and other structural parts, but after WWI started, brass was in short supply, most of it going to the war effort for making ammunition. Later cars used painted or nickel plated steel. All the cars on the tour were fully restored and fully functional. It requires an incredible amount of dedication to restore and maintain these vehicles. Replacement parts are pretty much nonexistent and the amount of TLC and financial resources required are considerable. However it all pays off on a beautiful fall day, with an event like this.
The club holds a number of these tours during the year. They bring the cars in covered trailers to a specified location; in this case Richland Center, WI. Several day trips are planned by the club during the tour. The members don't really know where the will end up until they receive their trip book with detailed directions as to where to go and where to turn. At an average speed of 30 mph, the trip is a pleasant cruise. In most cases it's not about the destination, it's more about the trip. In the case of the S&S visit, the destination proved to be really cool too.
The group toured the S&S museum and manufacturing plant, and many picked up S&S t-shirts as souvenirs. Not only do the owners of these antique autos love cars, many of them have motorcycles and other toys too.
When S&S Engineering Manager, Jeff Bailey brought out our brand new Morgan three-wheeler test car they all fell in love with it on the spot. Even though this Morgan isn't an antique, it's modeled after the old time Morgans which were first produced in 1910.
The Morgan Motor Company of Malvern Link in Worcestershire, UK started out producing the three-wheelers in 1910 but discontinued them in 1954. However, Morgan is reintroducing the three-wheeler this year, and the modern version is powered by the S&S X-Wedge® engine. That's why S&S happens to have one of these yet to be released vehicles. It's here for testing and a fun part of that testing includes showing it to people to see what they think. "I think I need one!" is what most people say after they see one. After they have a ride in one that changes to "I know I need one!" Jeff gave rides to several of the antique car owners and they reciprocated by giving rides to several S&S employees. Good times!