The Rod Spalding Car Collection

6/20/2019
Greg Zyla
Q: Hello Greg, it's Rod Spalding here. I want to tell you about my three collectible cars.

First, I own a 1948 Willys Jeep CJ-2A with only 19,396 actual miles and it still has three of four original tires. The three original tires are military while one is a civilian recap. 

As for the Jeep, Otto Gabler, who operated the "Otto Gabler Willys" dealership in Troy, PA, tracked down the 1948 Jeep thanks to Sam Canedy's widow, who told us that her husband, the original owner, took the Jeep on Armenia Mountain and was "huckleberrying" around when he ran over a tree stump, ruining a tire.

In the meantime, Jerry Sims and I bought Otto's dealership in 1972 and we called it "Sims & Spaulding Jeep." Thanks to Otto, we knew of the 1948 Jeep and being that Mr. Canedy had passed away in 1960, we went to see Mrs. Canedy to ask if she would sell the Jeep. She said yes, and Sims & Spaulding Jeep bought it. We immediately put it in storage for years and never took it out except for one time, when we found it had a burned valve on number four cylinder. We then put it right back in storage. I still have it to this day.

My second antique is a 1961 Corvair 300, a two-door with automatic transmission. The Corvair automatics didn't have a "Park" selection, so I had to use the emergency brake every time I parked. My parents bought it new in 1961 and this Corvair is the one I took on my first date when I got my license in 1962. Today, it has much value to me both as an antique car and because of the many memories.

My third and final antique is a 1969 Chevy C-10 short box with a 350-V8, automatic, air and power steering and brakes. I spent about five years looking for one as I wanted one of the last Chevy short box trucks with round headlamps. I found the truck at State Line Auto Auction in Waverly, NY, which has an antique car auction yearly.

Greg, I want to thank you very much for your articles as they really bring back the memories. Sincerely, Rod Spalding, Troy, PA.

A: Thanks so much Rod and your letter will soon find a place in my den with a frame on it. To inform my readers, Rod Spalding is still a big name in the NY-PA-NJ area for his outstanding motorsport accomplishments as a driver in the NASCAR Modified division in the 1980s. After winning several feature events and known as a solid top five driver, Rod was seriously injured in a racing accident at Rougemont Speedway, North Carolina, in 1988. 

The aftermath of the accident resulted in serious head injuries, difficulty speaking and confining Rod to a wheelchair. To this day, Rod is still on top of things, and has directly or indirectly helped many injured drivers and motorsports personalities though his The Spalding Foundation, a non-profit organization formed by Betty Sherwood in 1989. Sherwood initially organized an event for Spalding that was held at Quinlan Park, Waverly, NY, where fans helped her raise more than $25,000 for Rod's expenses.

Since its formation in 1989, The Spalding Foundation has donated over $125,000 to more than 135 individuals and families. The Spalding Foundation is supported solely by donations and from various fundraising events, so if you would like to contribute, please visit The Spalding Foundation or send your tax-deductible donation to: The Spalding Foundation, 1074 Sulpher Springs Rd., Owego, NY, 13827.

Most recent was The Spalding Foundation's help to my friend Al Robinson, former Dover Downs and NASCAR North Series public relations specialist and track announcer. Al suffered a near fatal stroke in 2011 and when needed most, the Spalding Foundation came forward with over $15,000 in funds that allowed Robinson to keep his house and pay his backlog of bills.
 
Further, Al and I are planning to visit Rod Spalding very soon, and I'll get a few photos of his three vehicles and run them in this column before Christmas.

Thanks Rod Spalding for your "make my day" letter and God bless you and Betty Sherwood. To my readers, how about we show The Spalding Foundation that "Cars We Remember" readers really do care, as even a $1.00 donation makes a big difference. Tell them Rod and Greg sent you!
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