Monday, January 17, 2011

Artie Lee....Old Enough To Know Better...still too young to care!...and MORE Car Club stuff!

Something I've been wanting to do for some time......Last week I had the distinct pleasure having coffee with Artie Lee, and old friend from way back. Even though I am just a couple of years younger than Art, we knew each other in the 196o's for a number of reasons, one being that he had an awesome huge slot car racing track in his basement and when we weren't supplying our need for speed on the real dirt at Riverview Raceways back then, we used up our frustrations racing 1:25 scale slot cars...there were a number of tracks around the Fort William area. Artie was gracious enough to bring his photo album for me to peruse and bring home to scan a few photos....As you will see. Artie was a typical gear head in the Fort William area along with the rest of us, who over time all became good friends.

Here's Artie's '49 Ford before it was yellow with Cruiser Skirts and '49 Mercury Grill. Hey, Art's buddy had a not too shabby '53 Plymouth custom convertible in the background. The next picture here is the interior of the '49 Ford in all its glory back in 1959. Hey Artie, you were drivin' already and I still had a year to go...had to wait until 1960 :-(
LOVE the wide whites....DUH!

Here is how the '49 Ford looked in yellow. These pictures were taken just east of Kam Motors, across the lane way and behind "The Palace" confectionery......(this is where I bought all my car magazines during this time).

You know I have to say sure to click on all pictures once and twice for extra big, and if you do you will see the name painted on the rear quarter of Artie's car "The Lady Lee". We had all done that in those days, I had "Wild One" painted on the side of my '49 Chevy 2-door sedan until my dad sanded it off after a minor traffic infraction! The picture looks like it was taken on Selkirk Street next to Vickers Park(which thankfully still exists today).
More of Artie's cars NEXT!

These photos were taken in the winter and spring of 1962 and like they say in "American Graffiti"....Where were you in '62. Anyone my age can recount tons of stories from that era.
Here is Artie's 1950 Oldsmobile with Dodge Lancer hubcaps. What a beautiful car. I believe that Artie and Tom Nesbitt were the only two guys around with these cars. Artie had the torpedo back and Tom had the 2-door Coach.....with very fast factory V8 Engines "The Oldsmobile Rockets". Love the Mooneyes on the front fenders! The coloured picture has a little sign on a garage that says "CTC Parking Lot" which means Canadian Tire Company and at that time it was actually on Simpson Street. A story about that is forthcoming!!

Here in the winter of 1963 is Artie's incredible '54 Mercury Convertible with power everything. Ford surely did make wonderful cars during this era too! BUT...even incredible cars break down at one time or another......NEXT!
Who is this??? ...under Artie's Mercury and standing beside it!!.....None other than Tom Nesbitt. In the summer of 1963 Tom and Artie decided that a trip to California in Art's car was in off they went.... They found that clutches do break down occasionally and heading into mountainous areas they decided that before it got any worse, it needed changing....but in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the searing heat in a parking lot?....and holy crap Tom even had to remove the intake manifold to get the engine low enough to change the clutch. Nice Job TOM!! ....and off they went to California!
NEXT - The '34 etc..
Here's a younger Artie Lee in 1981 at the Fort William Gardens and Curling Club car show with his newly completed and first time shown 1934 Ford Coupe. The next picture shows Art's coupe and also his '68 Dodge Monaco convertible in deep lime green. Artie said the Dodge started out with only a $200. purchase.....beautiful cars Artie. The yellow coupe now belongs to Rick Stokaluk who did a complete makeover again with the car.
Here is Artie Chauffeuring around Thunder Bay's own "Elvis", Daylin James(a fantastic Elvis Presley tribute artist). I have heard him many times...and he is great. The last two pictures here are Artie in about a 30 year span......and like the title says "Old enough to know better....and still too young to care"!! Looking good pal!
NEXT - All the following except for a couple were also in Artie's photo album...WOW!
The next few photos are calling cards for a number of clubs that travelled the roads of Fort William and Port Arthur. Some of these I don't remember but these cards are living proof that they existed. Here are the "Freewheelers" with the words "Hot Rod" used more than once. We all tried to help the public realize that we were not a bunch of hoodlums, but sincere auto enthusiasts that are always willing to help someone in distress. The "Knights" auto club was started by Dave Foreman.
Here is the Twin City Road Angels card and the "Purpose" stated is pretty much what car clubs were about back then. The Lakehead Road Gents Car Club and the NOTA was already mentioned in previous posts on this website. You can click on these two links then come back to read the rest:
The Road Gents card is courtesy of Jerry McKenzie.
NEXT - The Untouchables and why they changed their name!!!!
Here is an "Untouchables Car Club" calling card and also a picture of Artie Lee's "Untouchables" car club jacket hanging in the rear window of his '50 Olds.
Clicking to enlarge these two 1964 clippings will help you understand how the Untouchables became the Northwestern Ontario Timing Association. I myself joined the N.O.T.A. shortly after this photo was taken when I owned my '57 Chevy. We used to have our meetings at the Blue Swan Inn on Kingsway Street then at the Emergency Measures building which used to be on the corner of Waterloo and Victoria Avenue on the north/west corner of that intersection near Friendship Gardens.
This first NOTA calling card is Artie's card and the last one here was a later card and was my own.
Many thanks to Artie Lee, a great guy and for his input along with the photos. Artie did own a few other cars such as a '56 Ford Wagon, a '69 Gran Torino GT, a'74 Pontiac Ventura, a '33 Dodge plus many others that we can't add at this time.
A final note to click on all the photos to enlarge!


Ralph Goff said...

Great photos and stories. I love the fifties cars, especially the 54 Merc. My Dad drove a 52 when I was a kid. It had the first automatic transmission (air cooled).

George Rogers said...

Great photos from Artie Lee. I knew Artie as a counterman at Canadian Tire when you could buy a new tire for under $10. His '50 Olds fastback was a lovely automobile. Seemed many cars at that time wore names. My '52 Victoria hardtop was "Rollin' Stone" for a short while before I realized the name was a cop magnet and I carefully chipped it off.

Dave said...

Yup George...Wild One was a cop magnet too, so you can understand why my body man father could easily remove it!! Always love you comments George. Dave