Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas Car Story from Long Ago: The Pierce-Arrow Grill and a Tangle with a Judge!











Hi folks -- it was two nights before Christmas, 1968, and I was home in Kenmore, New York, recovering from a tough semester at Davidson College. On that snowy night I went with two of my old high school friends, George Frescholtz and Doug Meyer, to a bar (then the Pierce-Arrow Grill -- now Jimmy's on Elmwood) located across the street from the old Pierce-Arrow administration building on Elmwood Avenue, in Buffalo, NY. Remember now students who look up to me as a role model -- -- at that time the legal age for drinking was 18 not 21. It was decades before I had a serious interest in auto history and Pierce-Arrows, although after that evening the Pierce-Arrow Brand was burned into my memory.
After a night of pool, we left with George driving his father's 1959 Ford Fairlane. It was a very pretty white and turquoise car, and big enough so that all three of us could sit in the front seat, although I have no idea looking back why we wanted to be so close!
I have to add too that during the evening, a major snow storm as only north Buffalo right off the Niagara River could experience it, hit us, with near zero visibility.
The rest of the story remains in controversy. As George was backing out, he asked whoever was sitting in the front seat by the window if any car was coming from the south. Whoever it was -- I think it was Doug, but Doug insisted i was the culprit-- said "No." What happened next was jolt on the rear quarter panel. As it turned out, we just happened to back into the street while a judge was coming down the road! I still can see that old man out of his car in this blizzard surveying the damage to his big Chrysler. Whoever was guilty, George suffered with jacked up insurance rates. And I was an unwelcome visitor to his home, garnering angry looks from his father whenever I walked up the driveway.

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