1912 White GAD 30 Touring
While speaking with an old friend, (Mr. Jack Tallman of Decatur, IL), on one of the Glidden Tours, I confided that I was looking to purchase a smaller brass age touring car. He confided with me that he actually had such a car and he was interested in selling it. As soon as we were both back home, he sent me three pictures of the car through “snail-mail.” (That’s all we had back then). As soon as I got the pictures, I called Jack and asked him to arrange for the transport as I was putting the check in the mail as we spoke.
The 1912 White GAD 30 was a five-passenger touring car that had been retrofitted with a 1914 starter. The brass was perfect, the upholstery was older, but in great shape and, as with all of Jack’s cars, the White was very reliable. When Jack first restored it, he painted it dark blue with a red chassis. But, every time someone would ask him which car was his, he would point to a blue car and say: “That one. The White.” To which people would always say: “Do you mean that BLUE car?” So, his answer to the problem identity was to repaint the car in white. Now he owned a white White.
The summer after I purchased this car, I was taking my wife, children and best friend on a little ride over to Anniston, Alabama in search of a rumored car-show. It turned out not to be an accurate report but, the ride over was still very beautiful. We took the parkway road. The sun was high and the air was cool. The problem was that cars kept passing us over double yellow lines and it became obvious that our route home should be a different one than this two-lane option. We decided to take Interstate 20 for our route home.
As we approached the state line into Georgia, we noticed a car that had started to pass us. As came along our side, we recognized each other as neighbors and he started to slow down and fall in behind us. As he did so, his bumper latched onto our left rear spring. At fifty miles an hour, the car was turned sideways and it “barrel-rolled” down the highway.
All four of our family got thrown to the pavement. My best friend Dave got tangled in the top and never made it out of the car. My daughter (age 3) and wife only had scrapped knees. My son (age 2) had broken his leg at the top of his femur. Dave and I both died.
Shortly after I stopped breathing, a motorist who came up behind us turned out to be an off-duty paramedic. He was able to get my heart and lungs restarted. Dave was not as fortunate. I had thirteen skull fractures and that is very nearly what saved my life. The broken skull allowed by brain to swell without causing further damage. I was air-transported (after dieing two more times on the table) to a special neurological hospital in Montgomery, Alabama and was allowed to go back home after only two weeks.
Within a few months, my son and I had both fully recovered and it was time to look at the White. The damage was bad enough that the car was “totaled” by the insurance company. The top and windshield were ripped off, the right side of the car had suffered significant damage and the radiator was smashed in. One of the wheels had splintered into pieces. Two others were damaged as well.
The towing company was fabulous! They had scoured the entire crash site for even the smallest piece of the car and saved everything. I was able to reassemble the wood pieces of the steering wheel. All of the oak framework from the damaged sections of the body were recovered and I was able to either use them on the car or as patterns for reproduction. Almost all of the mechanical parts of the car remained in tact, so making the car whole again was easier than it appeared it would be initially.
The photo of the White that is above this article was taken after the majority of the work was complete. By this point, the car was running again but you can still see what was left of the side-view mirror on top of the spare tires. By this point, I had just about all the experiences that I wanted with the White, and so, I sold it.
The last victim of this terrible tragedy was the young man who accidentally caused it. A college student of great religious faith and commitment, his recovery from the mental trauma that this accident brought was much slower that the flesh and bones injuries that the rest of us suffered. He was a good neighbor, a kind soul, a good student and a responsible member of our small town society. I will always have his redemption in my prayers.