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Fred Steele RIP

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by roadwarrior32, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Jalopyrama Mike
    Joined: Dec 21, 2006
    Posts: 334

    Jalopyrama Mike
    Member

    I met Fred at the Ty-Rods meet back in the 70s as well as the Rockabilly Rumble events in Conn. As stated he always had a story and brought a smile to your lips or a question in your mind about what he meant by his decals on his cars, usually on the window that was rolled down. There was one decal about alter boys... RIP Fred
     
  2. Fenders
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,922

    Fenders
    Member

    I first met Fred at a Ty-Rods show years ago when they held them in Concord, Mass., the purple roadster was there too. Fred had many nice rods and customs, his basement was full of them and he had them stashed in other nearby places too.

    But his vehicle I remember best (apart from the roadster of course) was his Harley chopper.... no front brake... "how much rake, Fred?".... "One inch!" ... That's back when rake was measured by the cut spread in the headstock... As I recall that was in a couple magazines too.

    Remember Fred at car shows holding a beer bottle with a nipple on the top?

    RIP Fred.
     
  3. modelAsteve
    Joined: Jan 9, 2009
    Posts: 347

    modelAsteve
    Member

    Fred and I have been friends since 1957. I can not believe how dull the last 57 years would have been if it wasn't for him. I hope where ever he is there is a battery for every car.
     
  4. 1929rats
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 598

    1929rats
    Member

    just learned this today...RIP Fred Steele, I'm lucky to have a video of him driving his 28 model A across the country. I was always friendly with him....always warned my girlfriend around before I spoke with him too at meets ..... always in good fun though.

    I always admired the WWI cannon he had at his house. Ive been looking for one since!

    RIP
     
  5. desoto
    Joined: Mar 23, 2001
    Posts: 715

    desoto
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Ayer, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB
    2. Early Hemi Tech

    I spent many a Saturday in Fred's basement wiring his yellow Merc back in the mid seventies. Fred ALWAYS had a gallon or two of ink Catabwa wine on hand to keep things moving along.

    Was Fred vulgar, you bet! He delighted in embarrassing anyone in sight with his loud, booming voice. A famous Fred-ism was asking a mutual friend "who's the xxxx broad that's always in the pictures" during a slide show one evening. That story STILL comes up and that hadda be 30 years ago or better. Fred was Fred.

    Was Fred kind and considerate? Yes, he was that, too. Without an audience, he was a pleasure to be around. He was always showing up at my place on a Saturday afternoon with a six pack under his arm. It used to be a 12 pack but he had been cutting back in recent years.

    He was a plastics salesman then he wet to work as a salesman fo Westvaco. One of his customers was the Budweiser plant in Merrimack, NH. Fred'd call me late in the morning and we'd go to lunch as I was working for Digital in Merrimack at the time. It was always good for a laugh. Back then, Fred usually picked up the tab, too.

    Years later I re-wired his purple roadster in the SAME building where it had been painted in 1952. (I bought the building in '78). He sold it shortly thereafter and it was subsequently picked as one of the 75 significant '32 Fords.

    Fred was never one to do things in a small way. I have a closet full of posters that Fred made for all occasions. Christmas, Martin Luther King day, Easter, Monica Lewinski, etc. NOTHING was sacred with Fred. I'm glad I never threw any of them away. They're priceless, what with Fred's skill for coming up with just the right caption for a picture or the right words coming out of someone's mouth via one of those, white, stick-on cartoon conversation "bubbles".

    Fred and Patricia are my younger daughter's God parents. Allison's 36 now so that'll give you an idea of how long we were friends.

    I have a lot of memories of Fred.

    My condolences go out to at and Cheryl. They'll have their hands full disposing of all of Fred's "stuff".

    Too many memories, not enough space to write 'em all down.
     
  6. desoto
    Joined: Mar 23, 2001
    Posts: 715

    desoto
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Ayer, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB
    2. Early Hemi Tech

    Steve,

    He got better at the battery thing in recent years. I think it was because it was too difficult for him to keep swapping batteries around. :)
     
  7. downlojoe33
    Joined: Jul 25, 2013
    Posts: 287

    downlojoe33
    Member

    Didn't know the man other than what I read in the mags through the years about him and his cars. I feel like I know him better now that I've read all of your musings about him. Sounds like he was a kick in the ass to be around. R.I.P. Fred.
     
  8. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,933

    pitman

    A legend passes...godspeed Fred!
     
  9. rails32
    Joined: Oct 29, 2008
    Posts: 110

    rails32
    Member

    I met Fred at York in 2011 and spent most of the day with him. He was bigger then life. He showed me pics of all his cars and told the stories behind them.His California tales were confirmed by our late friend Norm. Heaven will never be the same with those two together again.We shared many long phone calls and letters.His roadster can be seen at the Three Dog Garage Muesem in Boyertown,Pa. R.I.P. my friend.
     
  10. hotrodwalt
    Joined: Jul 16, 2001
    Posts: 365

    hotrodwalt
    Member

    Fred was always very generous toward me and always made sure he would visit me in Florida. He helped me out many times with parts. Yes he was a crazy person....... but he had a heart of gold and I always loved his stories. RIP Fred.
     
  11. desoto
    Joined: Mar 23, 2001
    Posts: 715

    desoto
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Ayer, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB
    2. Early Hemi Tech

    I shot these back in '01 before Fred sold the Harley and the two roadsters.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    One of the few cars red still owned at the time of his death

    [​IMG]
    Ray and Matt Kinnunen, Fred and myself (used a tripod and delayed exposure)

    [​IMG]
     
  12. desoto
    Joined: Mar 23, 2001
    Posts: 715

    desoto
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Ayer, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB
    2. Early Hemi Tech

    [​IMG]
    1976 when we finished wiring the Merc

    [​IMG]
    Back when the Merc was new....1976

    [​IMG]
    Northeast Rod Run, Sturbridge, MA
     
  13. 39 Ford
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,558

    39 Ford
    Member

    Fred came to the Dearborn 73 Early Ford V-8 Meet with a green 40 coupe converted to RHD. That was the only time I talked to him.
     
  14. desoto
    Joined: Mar 23, 2001
    Posts: 715

    desoto
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Ayer, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB
    2. Early Hemi Tech

    That car was sold to a gentleman from the north shore who converted it back to stock LHD.
     
  15. hoop
    Joined: Mar 21, 2007
    Posts: 585

    hoop
    Member

    Fred towed my Model T with a tire chain ,when I broke down on Route 128 . He didn`t know me but saw I needed help. Great guy!
     
  16. 327-365hp
    Joined: Feb 5, 2006
    Posts: 5,342

    327-365hp
    Member
    from Mass

    Great pics and stories Skip(desoto) I was sorry to hear of Fred's passing. He was a bigger than life legend. I've heard some pretty wild stories about him. I would say RIP, but I know that's not going to happen!
     
  17. RoddyB34
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 541

    RoddyB34
    Member

    R.I.P. Fred ,,enjoyed reading the stories of your antics,,,,,and "1080",,,
     
  18. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,358

    bowie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Never met the man, but have been reading about him and his fine cars for decades. Seems he was a very colorfull fellow. Always loved that pic of him in the leather jacket with his buddys. To me ; another one of those larger than life kind of guys. God speed Fred "chrome" Steele.
     
  19. I've been looking around my shop for some of Fred's infamous posters he sent to me.He would always address the envelopes,the." Reverend Ray Smith" from,"Jesus;Mary.Joseph and Fred". I couldn't wait to see what antics were being portrayed on them.
    I remember one from his trip to Hershey(or Carlisle;I forget which now)with some of his Australian buddies.They were putting up flyers all over the place(mostly in the PortaPotties)advertising their Ugliest Woman Content and had a big sign at their space offering free breast exams and Fred walking around with the huge condom on his head.I believe the powers that be finally tiired of their antics and threw them all out.
    Another commemorated Fred's trip to see his daughter in Egypt where she worked at the US consulate.Pictures of animals hung up in the market place skinned and ready for sale with a blurb about the flies purifying the meat.I believe he was asked to leave the country after a certain incident took place.
    I remember a time at the Ty-Rods show in Hudson where Fred who had consumed a few adult beverages commandeered a golf cart and we were riding merrily around the show looking at all the cars and ogling the women when several of the club members on carts cornered us and nearly ran us into the pond. I also did some lettering on the yellow Deuce that day(before the adult beverages)painting something slightly less than flattering about a certain roadster club he had once belonged to and also the acronym D.A.M.M.(Drunks Against Mad Mothers)on the rear of the car.
    He also got pissed at me at another Ty-Rods show because I refused to go over the striping on the purple Deuce because it would have ruined the originality of the car.He later apologized and thanked me for not listening to him.
    I will post pics of those posters when I find them.He is REALLY going to be missed by a whole lot of people.Rest in peace Father Fred.
     
  20. desoto
    Joined: Mar 23, 2001
    Posts: 715

    desoto
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Ayer, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB
    2. Early Hemi Tech

    Most of my posters are too racy (some downright vulgar) to post here.


    How about the Disney legal matter?
    Fred printed up, and was selling, t-shirts at Bike Week in Daytona. "F*ck Disney World, I'm going to Bike Week"
    Disney came after Fred and the thing dragged out for a number of years but not until after Fred had sold a lot of those shirts in Daytona.
     
  21. Too many crazy stories Skip.Yeah most of the posters were pretty outrageous but that was Fred.
    I remember him coming down to Kelsey's once with the 50 Mercury airport limo and asking him how much it would be to shop it.I think Kelsey was going to take him up on it as many years ago he did a brand new Dodge window van(71 I think).It belonged to a guy that worked for Kelsey and had been in an accident.When the insurance adjuster came to look at it the roof was cut off and had been sliced into four or five pieces across.Freaked the adjuster completely!
    We painted something on his chopped Riviera(I forget what now)about Pat Keating.He was always doing something like that.
     
  22. glassguy
    Joined: Feb 12, 2003
    Posts: 2,261

    glassguy
    Member

    damn sad news.. i always liked talking to fred as long as i wasnt with my girlfriend. cuz she would have kicked him in the nuts!!! lol i will try to get a pic of some posters he sent me. and post them... RIP fred!
     
  23. roadwarrior32
    Joined: Mar 20, 2009
    Posts: 108

    roadwarrior32
    Member

    I received this from my old friend, Don Spinney, this morning. It seems Fred and his father were heading out of state for the funeral for Fred's grandfather. It was 1952, before freeways, that Fred spotted his now famous, purple channeled '32. Evidently, the car was on an old two lane road, leading west out of Mass. After the funeral, Fred rushed back where he had spied the deuce and bought it. The rest is history. Thanks to Don for the story and this rare photo.
     

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  24. Firecat7
    Joined: Dec 11, 2011
    Posts: 254

    Firecat7
    Member

    ATTA BOY ,Fred.....one helluva ride eh brother?.....glad my son got to meet ya along with me aswell. .....LMAO ...story of the ducks at nesro...lol...thanx 48BILL:D:D:D:D:eek:;):p................R I P My friend.......
     
  25. hotrodwalt
    Joined: Jul 16, 2001
    Posts: 365

    hotrodwalt
    Member

    I still have my pink Road Fairies Car Club shirt.......... out of the closet, onto the street !! Haha........ he was truly out of control.
     
  26. 48bill
    Joined: Mar 27, 2001
    Posts: 382

    48bill
    Member

    Forgot about that T shirt. Got mine in 1980 at the KKOA show in Springfield, OH. It's long gone now. Fred and Red McCormack were selling them there.
     

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