This is a story inspired by a 93 year old
man, his 1936 Oldsmobile, and Lou who owns the
Last Chance Garage in Unionville, PA ....
When was the last time you heard of a full service garage housed in a building constructed
in the 1800's that handles everything from wood body and metal restoration work to
complete mechanical services done 'old school' style by real mechanics ...
Including Model T and all early Fords ....
Turn back the clock and enter a bygone era
Meet a 93 year old enthusiastic car lover and hear him recount his memories dating back to 1935 with the car he still owns and drives.
The quoted sections are his own words ....
The story begins in 1935 .....
" She had been backed into the garage while I was at church on Christmas Eve of 1935.
Her odometer read 00007 miles when I opened her door and met that wonderful smell of a new car.
How could Dad have given me such a beautiful Christmas present?
I didn’t even have a driver’s license and wouldn’t until I turned sixteen two weeks later. "
" Dad had already given me new Indian Sport Scout last spring to drive around the place” and it now had 4100 miles on it,
so he knew it was doing a good deal more than just driving around the place.
Now I must really behave myself with this beautiful Oldsmobile F-36 touring coupe
(two door sedan with trunk),
black with two red pinstripes that extended along the body bead from the headlights to the trailing end of the rear windows.
I lifted the hood and found the engine was just like the F-36 four door touring sedan
that served as a family car since October. "
" My birthday, January 8th, fell on a Sunday so I had to wait another whole day to go
to the Motor Vehicle Department to apply for my Driver’s license.
Cap Walsh was going to drive me there after school, but instead, he met me before school
and handed me my driver’s license - - just like that.
No trip to the Department, No test, there it was.
I later found out that Cap and the Secretary of State of Delaware were both
32nd degree masons, so voi la, - - a driver’s license. "
" 1953 transferred me back to the home office In Wilmington, DE.
F-36 continued as a go-to-work car, but living only two miles from the office,
I rode the bus or walked on most workdays.
She was an ideal car to leave at the airport, being almost immune to theft,
but she was not appropriate for picking up customers or driving with a boss.
Alas, in 1956 she was put in the back of the garage and replaced by a 1956 Volkswagen Convertible.
Six years later she was reactivated by my daughter and later continued
as a fun car until her 1969 registration ran out.
By then my job got such that there wasn’t any time to do maintenance needed
to pass state inspection and my enthusiasm flagged.
I drove her illegally (unregistered vehicle) to 1997 “One Hundred Years of Oldsmobile”
at Hagley Museum.
After that, she just sat in the garage with 155195 miles on her odometer.
A borrowed battery allowed her to go around the farm once in a while,
but there was no fire in my belly to fix her up ... "
" Eleven years later, An amazing thing happened.
I took my 1918 Cadillac to the Last Chance Garage to have the clutch worked on
and one thing lead to another.
In June of 2008 the garage proprietor, Lou Mandich, was making the
F-36 Oldsmobile touring Coupe into a roadworthy vehicle.
Brakes, shock absorbers, fuel pump, exhaust system and
a hopeless spring shackle mount were all good as new.
Four new tires replaced the flat-spotty nylons of fifty years ago.
Even her amateurishly touched up original finish was polished
to give an actual shine in some places.
It took a day and seventy miles of driving to visit all the locations that the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles
could dream up to assure themselves that I had a clear title to the car I have owned since it was new.
I even had to go to a detective’s office to have his signature verifying the VIN
which anybody could see on the frame beside the steering box.
By the end of the day the F-36 was insured and registered with a proper license plate.
Now at age 88 I get more of a thrill out driving that car than I got on Christmas Eve, 1935.
Back then, it made me feel older.
Today, it makes me feel younger! "
Ir'en'ee du Pont, Jr
How many folks do you know that have owned the same car since 1935 ?
How many of those are still driving that very car today ?
I had never heard of Lou or The Last Chance Garage.
I had never heard of Ir'en'ee du Pont, Jr.
The passages above recount one mans' love of his 1936 Oldsmobile from Christmas Eve 1935 until 2008 (when his story was put to paper).
Today, at 93 Ir'en'ee still visits Lou.
Two of his cars were at The Last Chance Garage on this day to pick up a 1931 Model A Roadster.
One was that very same 1936 Oldsmobile.
If you live in the area, you owe it to yourself to visit Lou.
Housed in a building dating back to the 1800's is The Last Chance Garage.
Lou is a retired teacher of English.
Lou is a lover of old cars.
Last Chance Garage
13 Cemetery Lane
Unionville, PA 19375
Phone: (610) 347-2394
I hope you enjoy the pictures of The Last Chance Garage !
Any more pictures?
I tried loading them here but they are too big.
I have a thread with lots of pictures over on the AACA Forum @ http://forums.aaca.org/f169/1936-oldsmobile-ir-n-e-du-347732.html
Irenee' duPont, Jr.? Is he related to THE Irenee' duPont?
Bill I'm pretty sure....the family owns a little place called Delaware....
Hence the part about the drivers license.
On an interesting side note .....
Lou is the one asking about the 1928 Model A Wagon
in this thread;
It is in his shop now .....
It belongs to one of his customers who
is trying to figure out what he has ....
Any help would be appreciated ....
Here is a picture of Lou ....
The brain is a little cloudy...but is this the same guy who sells same day fresh picked mushrooms out of a refrigerator in the left side of the building?
If so, I've stopped by on one of my jaunts to Schwalms or something else nearby and it is a bit fascinating...tell him you are an old car guy and he just let's you wander about his shop and take a good hard look at anything he is working on...and the mushrooms are also indeed fantastic...
I don't anything about the mushrooms ...
Lou is well known, his shop is full
of early model cars.
"Lou is the one asking about the 1928 Model A Wagon in this thread..."
From what you say, Lou should know a Model A when he sees one. Why doesn't he just tell the owner that's what it is?
Lou knows the difference.
He owns a Model A Phaeton.
He contacted me in hopes of getting additional
information for the current owner about
the origin of the wagon.
The current owner (since 1997) was sold
a story with the wagon and is trying to
see what truth lies in it ....
A big part of discovering what anything
really " is " lies in eliminating what
it " is not " .....