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Features The "VITZ" Coupe

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by doug free, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. doug free
    Joined: Jul 5, 2008
    Posts: 33

    doug free
    Member

    gonna try to get this story posted in the next few days. more to come but this is the start.


    The Vitz Coupe:
    I’ll admit that over the past few years I’ve been jealous of all the amazing stories and pictures I’ve heard and seen about “barn find” hot rods. How much cooler does it get than finding a “treasure”? Never did I ever expect that I would be lucky enough to stumble across such a car, but a chance conversation lead me to just that.

    October 2014 Wildwood, New Jersey: Spent the weekend admiring and dreaming about days gone by, wondering why I was born 50 years too late. “The Race of Gentlemen” what an awesome weekend. The cars that have survived, the no name and one-off race parts that still exist and are back on running, racing vehicles. It’s something to be seen to say the least. This event sparked a conversation the following week that led to a real deal hotrod being what I would hope to be considered, “saved”.

    October 2014 York, Pennsylvania: My girlfriend is at work and begins discussing what we had done over the weekend with one of her friends . Her friend Paula, says to her “my husband has an old model A in our garage that we would like to get rid of”. Truth be told I think Paula wanted to get rid of at least one thing in this garage, and her husband Chuck was possibly unaware of the “for sale” conversation taking place. That evening I was told about the car and was ready that second to go look at it. “Call Paula rite now let me go look at it” was my immediate response. A few days went by and Paula let us know that the car was buried in the back of their garage and that it would take a bit of cleaning before I could see it. For the next two months I walked the line of showing extreme interest in the car but not pestering them into just saying no. It was to the point of me asking for just a picture of the roof…

    While I was going crazy not being able to lay eyes on the car I began to get a little information about it. “It has a V-8”, “he drove it to school in 1962” clues like this were not helping my growing need to see the car, it was killing me. December 14th, I got the ok to see the car!! So come to find out the car was actually in Chucks Auto shop in Red Lion, PA which he had owned and operated since the early 70’s. The model A was the very first thing put in the shop and ohh my how much stuff had been put in after… I’m a bit of a “hoarder” when it comes to car parts, Chuck never got rid of anything. The shop was I guess 40x100, we had paths just wide enough to squeeze through, and the rear bumper of the “A” was up against the back wall. You’ll be able to get an idea of what I mean by “buried” when I get to posting pictures.

    The first sighting: all of these thoughts went through my head at a million miles per hour. It’s a coupe, looks like 32 headlights, the glass is good, the body is good, it sits so low, the taillights, the steering wheel, it’s all here and it’s actually a model A!!! My heart was racing, my head was about to explode I didn’t know what to do but I didn’t want to let my emotions out too much and let Chuck know that I was already sold no matter what the circumstances. Chuck began showing me everything, and the story behind the car. It just kept getting better… After an hour or so in the dark, freezing shop we worked our way out. Chuck didn’t seem overly enthused about selling the car and he most certainly wasn’t excited about the idea of getting it out of the shop. Honestly I wasn’t excited about trying to get it out either. We chatted for a few minutes, shook hands and I headed home. I called my dad immediately and said the car is amazing, but well never get it out. Its beyond buried, and the only way out is through the one overhead door in the front of the building. I didn’t think it would ever happen.

    After the holidays I called Chuck and we came to an agreement on the car, I couldn’t believe that he agreed to let it go. I offered to help any time to start cleaning the shop and he was very hesitant to get started cleaning. January, February, May, nothing…… I again started to lose hope. August, Paula let me know that Chuck and his son had been cleaning up the garage and hopefully soon we could get it. I told Chuck and Paula about a show in western Maryland that was known for featuring fresh “barn finds” and that I would like to put the car in the show in October. A firm date, we had set a weekend to finally make it happen! The first weekend in October my dad and I went up to help with final cleaning and to get a solid plan together to get the car out. We spent the whole day cleaning up and talking cars with Chuck and his son Barry who was the real driving force in getting the shop cleaned out. October 9th 2015, we met at Chuck's shop with plenty of help to push the car out and a few folks just to take pictures. (they’re coming I swear) I got the car home and didn’t touch it, I did however give her a name: The “Vitz” coupe, Chuck and Paula’s last name.

    Jalopyrama: October 23, 2015 the “Vitz” coupe made its first public appearance in 47 years. Inside, on the Shipley Arena floor for all to see. I invited Chuck and Paula to the show in hopes that Chuck would better understand why I wanted to keep the car the way it was and let him know that people appreciate that these cars still exist and are not street rods… The car was a hit to say the least. When someone would ask me a question about the car I would say “there is the guy that built it, ask him”. Chuck was a star and so was his hotrod. That was an awesome day! We loaded up and brought the car back home where I started to get a plan together on what exactly I was going to do with it. That’s my back story with the car.

    The “Vitz” coupe: 1930 Ford model “A” coupe was purchased from a private owner around the Hallam, PA area and built between 1961-1962 in York, PA by Chuck and his father Carl Vitz. Carl was an engineer and early hot rodder from California. Chuck drove this car to high school before his brother Brian took it to Michigan for his military duty. When Brian returned to Pennsylvania in 1968 Chuck took his hotrod out and while showing an exhibition of speed broke 2nd gear in the transmission. That night the car was towed back to Chuck's house where it sat until the early 70’s when Chuck opened his auto shop “Vitz” Automotive in Red Lion, PA. The car was one of the first things in and it sat there untouched until I found it.

    The Details: as built, 1930 Ford “A”. 1957 283 Chevy V-8, fan mount modified to move fan up. 1936 ford 3spd connected with Wilcap adapter, hydraulic clutch from 57 ford. 1939 Ford rear axle, 1946 Ford front axle with split bones. Boxed stock frame, modified lever shocks. 1951 Ford steering box. 1953 Ford Taillights, and steering wheel. Custom engine turned dash and custom gages. Cal custom lever operated exhaust cut outs. Pontiac fuse panel. 1949 Mercury wheels. Roof filled. Fiberglass rumbleseat lid.


    The future: MY plan is to carefully repair and preserve the car as much as possible. I love it just how it is, it’s a time capsule. The car will always be Chuck’s I'm just the care taker for it. Unfortunately Chuck was diagnosed with cancer only a few months after I got the car and he’s been battling ever since. When I heard his diagnosis I knew I had to get the car on the road and that our time frame was rather short. It took longer than I had hoped but I did my best and was able to take the car back to Chuck’s house and take him for a ride. His wife had invited friends and family over to have a “model A” party, another wonderful day. I think he was really surprised at how little I had changed, and that he should be damn proud of what him and his father built 55 years ago. I was able to take his wife Paula for a ride and two of his grandsons who said they had never seen the car.

    Ill post pictures and more of the details/story in the following few days.
     

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    Stogy, Lepus, Denns1989 and 14 others like this.
  2. Thor1
    Joined: Jun 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,333

    Thor1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    doug,

    I am looking forward to hearing and seeing more about your coupe. Thanks for sharing your and Chuck's story.
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  3. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 3,745

    sloppy jalopies
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    thank you...
    now that was a great day,
    smile knowing that mr. vitz will now have those memories with him...
    most of us were the hereo of whatever in our 20's, for him to be the hereo at his age had to be overwhelming...
    cain't wait for the pix...
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  4. Lowbuckboz
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 499

    Lowbuckboz
    Member

    Great story! Thanks for sharing!
     
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  5. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 6,320

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  6. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,796

    tfeverfred
    Member

    Sounds like an awesome find. Can't wait to see it. Repeat.......CAN'T wait to see it.
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  7. NashRodMan
    Joined: Jul 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,577

    NashRodMan
    Member

    Wow....glad you were able to give Vitz and his wife a ride in it.
     
    Denns1989 likes this.
  8. My favorite kind of post. Right on


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
    Denns1989 likes this.
  9. doug free
    Joined: Jul 5, 2008
    Posts: 33

    doug free
    Member

    heres a few pictures of the shop when I first got there. literally had paths to walk down. a few of the cleanup and the start of the extraction. couldn't believe the car rolled and the tires all held air.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. 1-SHOT
    Joined: Sep 23, 2014
    Posts: 1,689

    1-SHOT
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    IMG_6075.GIF Ode to 3 window Larry (Patiently Waiting)
     
  11. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 3,745

    sloppy jalopies
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    so the grandkids didn't know he had it..... just wait till they get their learner's permits...
    then again it might be pretty cool to let one of the grandsons drive [you at shotgun] for a slow lap around the fairgrounds... driven by 3 generations of Vitz
     
  12. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 5,830

    scrap metal 48
    Member

    Cool find.. I'll be watching this one...
     
    Denns1989 likes this.
  13. IronTrap
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 448

    IronTrap
    Member

    Dang! Such a rad find, this is what it's all about!
     
    Denns1989 likes this.
  14. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,407

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

    Wow. Thanks for sharing. What a great story and find.
    Pic pic.
     
  15. Cheapstreet duster
    Joined: Jan 17, 2008
    Posts: 256

    Cheapstreet duster
    Member
    from georgia

    That old car in a barn smell.. i could smell it while looking at those photos.
    nice job.. post pics of it in sunshine plz
     
  16. Damn ! Nice Find, I like how your caring for it - ausome... yes patiently waiting for pictures of it running around.. ok impatiently waiting...
     
  17. doug free
    Joined: Jul 5, 2008
    Posts: 33

    doug free
    Member

    A few pics from the trip back to Chuck and Paula's house. Chucks brother Brian was there also and talked about driving the car to and from Michigan up the Pennsylvania turnpike.
     

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  18. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 6,395

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

  19. GASSERBOB
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 520

    GASSERBOB
    Member
    from USA

    That's really cool . Keep us updated please and pictures. Thanks . Bob,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
     
  20. doug free
    Joined: Jul 5, 2008
    Posts: 33

    doug free
    Member

    Heartbreaking news from the Vitz family, Chuck passed away yesterday. He was at home with family. RIP Chuck, thank you for everything.
     
  21. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,407

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

    :( sad.
    It's great that you were able to get him in it for the last ride.
    Always Chucks car.
     
    Denns1989 likes this.
  22. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 3,745

    sloppy jalopies
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    that was a good deed taking him for a ride ! ... bravo.
     
    Denns1989 likes this.
  23. doug free
    Joined: Jul 5, 2008
    Posts: 33

    doug free
    Member

    To lighten the mood of Chucks passing, here is something I found that made me laugh. Apparently this taillight lense needed a little shim at some point, Chuck didn't recall putting it there but I made sure it went back just the way it was.
     

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  24. doug free
    Joined: Jul 5, 2008
    Posts: 33

    doug free
    Member

    I had given up hope of ever finding pictures of the car but the family reached out to me the other day with news. They found the last registration from 68, a few pictures and some negatives, I had the negatives developed and here are a few of them. Build pics from 59-60 and color pics from 1967 when the car was in Michigan. I’m so happy these turned up.
     

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    slv63, Denns1989, Aaron D. and 3 others like this.
  25. doug free
    Joined: Jul 5, 2008
    Posts: 33

    doug free
    Member

    Few more of the next owner as well, my son Jack.
     

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    slv63, Stogy, harpo1313 and 4 others like this.
  26. Sweet & Low
    Joined: Feb 13, 2014
    Posts: 267

    Sweet & Low
    Member

    It's really cool that you documented this great story to go with the car's history forever. It's as though it was meant to a happen with all of your delays and Chuck got to hang on to take one last Ride. Man That's Cool.
     
  27. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 15,777

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I missed this story. Good to see it back to the top...I take it Chuck was the older fella in the grey shirt...He really did take it for a drive...

    I remember when I was 18 I bought a time capsule 57 Hydraglide and literally unpacked it from a darkened spot in a busy dry garage.

    The Owner an Older eclectic man helped get it running once out in daylight for the first time in ions...Didn't he just hop on that old cycle kick it into gear and take off down the drive onto the road and do a couple of rips back and forth...it was priceless...

    I'm sure you witnessed something very similar with Chuck that day...I'm sure he had a momentary connection with his past with that coupe.

    Don't be shy with sharing what's going on...cool story @doug free
     

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