GOUGEON STREAMLINER: 80-Year-Old Concept Car From Bay City Found in Florida
April 19, 2017
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By: Dave Rogers
Geoff Hacker poses with Gougeon Streamliner after a test drive in 2011.
Jerry Jopke snapped this photo of the plaque accompanying the Streamliner at the Sarasota Classic Car Museum.
Anybody who knew Ronny Gougeon "back in the day," as they say, never forgot him.
Mr. Gougeon was one of the few avant-garde innovative Bay Cityans who thought futuristically.
He built an ultra-modern home of his own design at Lagoon Beach on the lines of Frank Lloyd and Alden Dow designs using fiberglass and other modern materials. The house became a gathering place for the sailing set after World War II and many shallow draft sailboats were parked in the water in front of his house. The sailors dubbed it "the Lagoon Beach Yacht Club," and it was the forerunner of the Bay City Yacht Club now located at the mouth of the Saginaw River.
I remember peddling newspapers downtown in the 1940s and seeing Ronny's sleek Streamliner parked in front of the beauty shop, a car so startling it drew scads of the curious wherever he drove it.
He built it in a workshop at his home in the mid-1930s using a "teardrop" aluminum body on a 1934 Ford frame with an eight-cylinder Ford engine mounted in the rear that provided front wheel drive linked to a three-speed 1932 Ford Model B transmission.
Mr. Gougeon died in 1963 at age 52. He was a cousin of the noted Gougeon Brothers, Meade, the late Jan, and Joel, who started Bay City's Gougeon Brothers in the burned ruins of the Huskins Boat Yard on the river in Banks and became world famous both for their sailing exploits and their West System epoxy that revolutionized the way wood is joined. Joel also was a jet pilot in Viet Nam and served in the Michigan State Senate.
Well, the car has survived these 80 years hence and is now at the Sarasota Classic Car Museum where it was spotted and photographed by Bay City maven Jerry Jopke, a retired Oldsmobile executive and president of the board of the Dobson Antique Toy and Fire Truck Museum on Patterson Road.
The Gougeon Streamliner car has migrated to the museum from the garage of Geoff Hacker, a college professor and automotive historian, who was working on restoring it and even took it for a test spin in 2011. You can see the old vehicle putt-putting along on Florida streets in the following YouTube video.
Jopke also noted the museum had a replica of Abraham Lincoln's funeral hearse, one of several located around the country. The hearse, of course, had the only horsepower. Some accounts say it was drawn by 16 horses, others say just six. The real hearse was destroyed in an 1887 fire in a St. Louis livery stable.
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at email@example.com)
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