In 1901 Connecticut was the first state to establish a speed limit. It was 15 mph on country roads, and 12 mph on city streets.
That was one fact of many shared at this year’s Vintage Vehicles Antique & Classic Car Show sponsored by the Shelton Historical Society on Father’s Day.
Car enthusiasts from Shelton and surrounding towns brought their vehicles to the historical society’s annual event, including Joseph Palmucci of Shelton.
Palmucci bought his 1927 Ford Model T in 2009 from Roy Glover, who originally restored the vehicle. He said he made a few changes to the car — including changing the color to red.
Not all early cars were black
“One of the biggest fallacies was that all the cars were black,” Palmucci said. He said when Model T’s were first being made, they came in a variety of colors.
The production of black cars only came as the demand grew, and it was just easier to use one color, Palmucci said.
His Model T holds 10 gallons of gas in its tank, and he gets about 25 miles to the gallon. However, there’s no gas gauge.
Palmucci has to remember to keep track of how far he drives, and the times he needs to check how much is in there, he takes a wooden ruler and sticks it in the gas tank and wherever it is marked off, that’s how much gas is in there.
Stored in barn for 60 years
There were a lot of stories behind how the owners of the antique cars came across their vehicles.
Joseph Giordano was combing through the Bargain News for parts to rebuild a Model T Speedster. That’s when he found a listing from a man in Bethel who was looking to sell his 1916 car.
“It was in [a barn] for 60 years,” Giordano said. The car hadn’t been started in many years, but started up when he went to look at it. “It’s a Ford,” he said.
The only maintenance work he had to do with this car is replace the tires, redo the upholstery and replace the fan belt. The upholstery was a given, as it was ripping his clothes and he is a car upholsterer by trade.
Giordano actually still has the original fan belt in the trunk (called the turtle deck) as a spare.
Show dedicated to ‘Cleve’ Curtiss
This year’s Shelton Historical Society car show was dedicated to Shelton resident Clarence “Cleve” Curtiss, who died this past February.
A dedication to him was written in the front of literature from the historical society.
Curtiss bought his first car for $10 in 1938, and drove it more than 200,000 miles.
Bringing back memories
Owning a vintage car also brings back memories. Ken Stevitz of Stratford brought his 1942 Packard to show.
“My dad had a car like this at his passing,” said Stevitz, 98. He saw the Packard at a show in Westport. “I said ‘If you ever want to part with [it] I’m interested,’” Stevitz said.
Sure enough that owner called him five years ago, and Stevitz bought it.
The only change he made was changing it from gray color to cream. “The best part of it is driving it,” Stevitz said.