Talked to the Original Owner of my '84 Today

Or more accurately the son of the original owner.

A week or so ago I was bored and decided to call a phone number on a Midas receipt I found in my '84 Allegro. It was the number of the owner at the time, but since it had sat so long I was pretty sure the number wasn't good anymore. But an answering machine picked up, with no custom message - just a robot voice saying to leave a message. I did. I didn't hear back from anyone until today when the son of the original owner returned the call..

Long story short, the story I was told by the tow yard guy that I bought it from was not 100% factual. He said he bought it from the original owner when the engine failed and they towed it in. Sort of true but not really.

The guy I spoke to today said his dad bought it new in '84. He loved it and drove all around the country in it. He had fond memories of traveling with his mom and dad in it. They visited the Tiffin factory in Red Bay Alabama twice (quite a trip from their Eastern Pennsylvania home). They visited NASCAR tracks all over the country. He got it from his dad (I didn't ask about his dad because it sounded like his parents had passed long ago). The engine blew in Allentown PA on the way to a race in Dover, Delaware back in 2008.  His story deviates a bit from the tow yard guy in that it turns out his wife and the wife of the tow yard guy were friends. It sat somewhere for a couple of years before the tow yard guy towed it to the yard. He said it was pristine when he gave it to him.

When I got it, it was covered in years of neglect - mostly mildew - inside and out. I told him that and he couldn't believe it. Tow yard guy told him that he found a 454 engine for it in Philadelphia and had it running. Nope. I told him I put the engine in that thing and got it going again. I did tell him that the tow yard guy insisted that I not scrap it, I agreed and I honored my word. He said that was the promise he made the tow yard guy make.

We talked for about 20 minutes. Toward the end he asked how I got the engine out of it. He had decided that it would be too much work. I told him, to his dismay, that it came right out the driver's side door - with the heads on it. I think he would have kept it had he known it was that easy.

Anyhow, he's doing Indy at Pocono in August so I'm going to try to get there too. If not we're going to meet up in Dover, Delaware which, ironically, is where the rig was headed when the engine blew apart almost a decade ago now.

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Comment by Jim Stoltz on July 1, 2017 at 4:53pm

Yes! I have the square one with the picture of the P30 on it. I'm kind of jealous - he said they met Bob Tiffin both times they were out. He says there are also Allegro rallies. I'll have to do some more research

Richard - good idea but I tossed the clock. It wasn't really a unique piece anyway. It was a run-of-the-mill wall clock modified to fit a custom wall mount.

Comment by richard nance on July 1, 2017 at 4:50pm

there are companies that restore classic car clocks that may be able to help.

Comment by Daniel Long on July 1, 2017 at 4:48pm

The square resin keychain with the picture of a P30 Allegro on it? I've got that and the cheap "mail this back to red bay" version if lost. Glad to have it!

Comment by Jim Stoltz on July 1, 2017 at 4:38pm

I tried to restore our Allegro clock but failed. I replaced the guts but just couldn't get it going. It's mounted on the wall in the back bedroom. I replaced it with a Walmart clock that I modified to fit the original mount. He did leave a really nice Allegro keychain behind. Mike also told me that there is a "Roughing it Smoothly" magazine that he still gets. It's free to all Allegro owners. I'll have to look into it.

Comment by Daniel Long on July 1, 2017 at 4:33pm

HA! He may want it back since you did such a good job getting her back on the road! I do enjoy looking over the stuff the PO's left in the RV. One item was that Allegro clock that was missing when I got her only to find it tucked away in a drawer!  A new battery later and re-installed and she's running like a.... clock.

Comment by Jim Stoltz on July 1, 2017 at 4:29pm

Lakota - not korny at all. There are still things in the cabinets from the original owner - random tools, etc. I kept them on purpose to keep those old memories as we make new ones.

Daniel - I do roll with the generator running much of the time. Most of my trips are summertime trips and I run both A/Cs while en route. And yeah, the 454 didn't just hop out of the engine bay and out the door. It did require a bit of engineering, measuring, removal of both seats and the steering column. But it did come out! There's a small dent under the driver's door from the piston on the cherry picker. The boom just barely reached. Mike (son of the original owner) said that they had pondered the engine removal quite a bit before ultimately deciding to sell it. Like I said in my original post, I think he'd have taken on that engine swap if he knew how (sort of) easy it was. He was thinking the fiberglass nose had to come off of it in order to pull it out the front.

I can't wait for him to see it in August.

Comment by Lakota Wolf on July 1, 2017 at 3:33pm

Not to sound Mushy,,,, But,,, As with any old, RV, you restore it, bringing it back to life to travel the roads again. And with that,, your taking along OLD memories from the previous owners to share with your new memories. Its called the Casper effect,( I know, sounds korny ) But an old full timer told me that once while we chatted through out the wee hours,, Its like a mirror,, it holds the Aura of all who have looked into it. Its like a rain drop,, it falls and collects to a stream and the stream connects to the ocean, then becomes another rain drop.

Its great to connect with an original previous owner,, its very rare that a rig has only had a single owner,,, many get passed down from a generation to another generation, Reviving life of the old rig over and over.

Comment by Daniel Long on July 1, 2017 at 3:25pm

Each old RV has some story. Glad you managed to talk with at least the first family of the Allegro. That mileage is about the same for my '87 with the generator running. I try and draft any friendly truck driver when I can. As for the 454 coming right out the driver's side door... I'm sure it took a bit more finessing to get her out (and maybe it bit of colourful language to boot!).

Comment by Jim Stoltz on July 1, 2017 at 1:53pm

Yes it was odd that the towing company guy made up parts of the story - there was really no reason to lie about it. I'm so horrible with names - I think he said his name was Mike. So let's run with that. Mike said he loved driving the old Allegro. I told him that I find it quite terrifying. I'll have to check out the suspension and whatnot a little more. He said it was always smooth and tracked nice.

I also told him about all of the numbers written on every available space in the cab, in pencil. He said his dad did that. The fuel gauge sender failed pretty early on so that's how he kept track of the mileage. I use a pen and paper, but to each his own. He, too, investigated replacing the sender but the tank just won't drop out of there for some reason. I tried, too. He said they'd get around 600 miles out of a full tank or about 7 MPG. I don't do that well - it will flirt with 6 MPG on occasion - but I have a different engine and a heavy right foot.  

Comment by Russ Johnson on June 30, 2017 at 9:26pm

Great story, thanks for sharing this Jim. Nothing like gilding the lily on the part of the towing company, like the whole truth was not good enough.

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