An Incredible Journey! Completely original unmolested survivor & museum piece!
On May 8, 1951 John P. Ferrill owner of the Albert Pike Hotel in Little Rock Arkansas plunked down $3,063.32 including tax to purchase my 1951 Oldsmobile Rocket Deluxe from the local Oldsmobile dealership Balch Motors. The Olds was then ordered from GM but unfortunately Ferrill died before he could take delivery. Eugenia Ferrill, Johns wife, became the rightful owner but sadly she had no interest in the car. Eugenia had the car stored in a heated garage and made arrangements for Balch Motors to check on and start the car every month which they did diligently for 18 years.
Eugenia passed away in 1969 and the Olds was sold by the bank as part of the estate. The new owner, a fellow by the name of Bill Wiseman, who owned a dealership called Wiseman Motor Sales in Marion, North Carolina, knew a good deal when he saw one. It seems his intention all along was to flip the car. In a typewritten letter (I have the original copy) to a prospective buyer.
Mr. Wiseman sold the Olds on February 1, 1973 to a fellow named Sam Netkin from Hamilton Ontario who kept the car but barely drove it for the next 5 years. On October 13, 1978 Mr. Netkin sold the Olds to Cecil Hickling of North York, Ontario. At this time the car had only 1,509 miles on it, not bad for a 27 year old car!
Over the next 39 years Cecil, a huge car buff himself, amassed a total of 14,565 additional miles, predominantly to car shows and tours with his A4C car club. The bulk of the total mileage to date included one cross Canada trip to BC and back in 1992.
2005 was the last time that Mr. Hickling licensed the Olds, after that it remained untouched in a storage barn until I was able to purchase it in 2017. I have known the Hickling family now for over 30 years and went to college with Cecils daughter, we have remained great friends ever since. When it became time to move Cecil to a retirement home I was called in, being a realtor, to sell the Hickling family home. Of course, because Cecil was a huge car buff and collector, the conversation with family always turned to cars. I was surprised that they decided not to hold on to either the Olds or his other treasure, a 1953 Plymouth Cranbrook, both sitting in their barn at the family cottage. Although I wanted both cars logic prevailed (not enough storage!) so I targeted the Olds and after about 6 months of negotiations we finally came to an agreement. I loved the car, the story and of course the low mileage of 16,074 and its completely preserved, original state. Although the car had been properly mechanically stored it was not running, also because it was stored in an unheated barn in the country the original lacquer paint had crackled, and some small chips were apparent. I had the car hauled back to my home in Oakville, Ontario, drained the 13 year old fuel, dropped the gas tank and had it blasted and sealed, replaced the leaking rad with a freshly rebuilt one (I kept the original which is included), rebuilt the Rochester 2 barrel and fuel pump and changed out the spark plugs. With virtually no hesitation that Rocket 303 jumped back to life and purred like a cream fed kitten (as Cecil described it!). All the gauges & lights came back to life and our first trip around the block was the most fun I have ever had driving a car, laughing like a giddy little kid!
2018 was my first full summer with the Olds and it was a busy one. Before showing the car I did the best I could to buff out the cracked paint using Jet Black wax by Turtle Wax and it did an amazing job, the car still clearly displayed the effects of being original for 67 years but to me that added to its charm. Also the interior, like the rest of the car, is original but the drivers door panel has a massive stain on it which I have also left untouched. I installed new white walls but on the original rims.
Our first show to test the waters was the regular Boston Pizza night here in Oakville held every Tuesday. July brought us to The Canadian Warplanes Museum for their annual show and shine where we could take pics of our cars with a couple of the planes. Things started to ramp up with our first big roadtrip (yes she dcrives like a dream!) to Michigan in August for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise including a day trip to Flint for their Back to the Bricks event. We have been to Woodward a few times and it is more than fun! The Olds ran flawlessly (big sigh of relief) with over 1000 miles added to the odometer. In September I was invited to show the Olds at Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance in the Preservation Class. Unfortunately we didn't win but had such a fun time. This museum piece comes complete with all documentation, original ownership, original correspondence, original license plate and spare tire and so much more!
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