BRIDGEWATER, CONN – The 25th annual car show for the Housatonic Valley Region of The Antique Automobile Club of America was held June 25 at the Bridgewater Fairgrounds. Heat and humidity took a back seat as hundreds took to the field to view twenty five classes of cars, from pre-1916 to modern. Vendors had a wide range of car parts, models, T-shirts, and literature. Car classes included T-Birds, Corvettes, street rods, military vehicles, fire equipment, custom and special interest cars.
A 1941 Cadillac 4-door convertible owned by Bart Schofield of Newtown seemed to embody the spirit of the show. The car is #231 of 400 such cars produced in 1941 and wears a coat of paint called Monica blue and is fitted with a bright red interior. This 4,500 pound car seats five and has innovations in 1941 including: two heaters, day/night rear-view mirror, trunk light, self-canceling turn signals, auto-choke and auto-throttle and windshield washers- all rdf_Descriptions we take for granted but not offered by too many auto makers in 1941. The car, model #41-6229D, came with a twenty-four page owner’s manual titled Operating Hints for the 1941 Cadillac. Simplicity at its best, all you needed were a few hints and off you went.
The engine, a L-head 346 cubic inch 110hp V-8 with two-barrel carburetor, was so strong and reliable it was used by hot-rodders to soup up their cars as well as by the military in pairs for the Stuart M-5 light tank. The ride is extremely comfortable and the car is enjoyed by Bart, his wife, Ruth, and mascots George and Gracy, their poodles. Three or four trips a week around town and parades keep the top down, the engine running and smiles on the Schofields faces as well as those who see the car.
“Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?” asked Jack Kerouac in On The Road. Kerouac in his own amblings probably wasn’t sure where he was heading or even which letter his compass was pointing but knew a car carries us away. Away from day to day. Back to yesterday. Ahead to tomorrow. A 1941 Cadillac convertible would work quite well for a trip, rear view mirror documenting where we had been and through the windshield…..all possibilities. A Cadillac such as the Schofield’s would certainly raise the question, ‘Whither goest us tonight, dear?’
Feel the dampness of a Summer’s night, know the heady feeling of a sky full of stars, ask, Whither goest the miles under these tires? Maybe this is as close as we get to a time machine; and what a machine. “Whither goest thou, America in the night?” Kerouac knew very well it was never the destination, it was always the trip. Turn the keys and go into the night. Anywhere.