A friend acquired this 1931 Gardner Roadster after his step-father’s passing. This vehicle has had a frame off restoration several years ago and still today gleams beautifully. After posting the car’s resurrection on my Facebook page, Bob Gardner of the Gardner Car Club offered up the story of this vehicles past history. It gives this car, whom I named Ed, a life of its own. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. IF you read the previous story on the Gardner to understand how I ended up to have been honored to work on such a prestigious automobile. Enjoy.
I was born in St. Louis in the fall of 1930, but they called me a 1931. I guess that’s ok as I don’t mind telling people I’m a year younger.
To avoid confusion about what year I am they printed it in bold numbers on my crank hole cover. Don’t look for that on other cars; you won’t find it.
We had a very small family; less than 200 siblings that year and most of them were sedans. I felt very special in those early days, we were
made up of three different models and I was the biggest and best. More horsepower and a longer wheel base; yeah I was special.
When I hit the road, there was nothing that could catch me, 126HP, the light roadster body and a high speed rear end. I was told over and over
about how the CHIPS officers were unable to catch the bootleggers, that is until Lt. Moynahan bought a Gardner roadster. He was test driving
a new 1926 Chrysler and doing 85mph when the Gardner went by him, in his words “like we were chained to a fence post”. Four more Gardner’s
went into service right afterwards.
In the days of my youth I wanted to run like the wind, but those gravel roads would have my driver bouncing up and down. So we would cruise
at a reduced speed. I remember about 1934 and seeing the new cars, and how times had changed. My styling was outstanding in ’30 but now
I was beginning to be dated at the age of three. Still times were hard and as long as I could keep up with the other cars I had a job.
I had a shed of my own where I would rest, and I was there that day in September 1938, when it happened. They called it “The great hurricane
of 1938” and boy was it. Part of my shed fell on top of me and I guess my owner thought I should not be driven anymore. I sat in there for over
30 years, and wondered if I’d ever be someone’s pride and joy. My owner moved and left me behind, the new tenant called him and said “get
that old car out of here or I’ll send it to the junk yard”. I’ve passed by junk yards, I knew what that meant. If only someone would see my potential,
I knew I could have a new home.
Sure enough Ed walked into my shed and could see what I once was; and could be again. He spent the time and money to make me look young again.
Ed saved me; and as for the tenant, well she must have been a good person because years later she became Ed’s wife and was proud I was part of the family.
Today I’m in my early 80’s and look like I’m almost new, but I’m a little tired and need some help to be my old self. I can’t wait till that happens, the roads are so much better – I’ll go like the wind.