Thursday, December 17, 2015

Rubel Castle, Vehicles

Tucked into sheds, garages and corners around the two-acre grounds of Rubel Castle you'll find lots of old cars. Our tour guide Scott Rubel had a story about each of them. Since I don't know a lot about antique vehicles, I enlisted Scott's help with this post. His additions are in italics. Thank you, Scott!

1. The large Ford flat bed truck you have viewed from the front is a 1949, given to Michael [Rubel] by his former tenant Glen Speer, builder of Mongoose Junction, a shopping center hand-built from stone (where did he get the idea?) in the Virgin Islands.


It's possible some of these have seen their last active days.

2. These are the 1924 International and 1924 Chevy flatbed trucks. Although they are rusting away, they were used in our field trips to collect stones for the Castle, and the last time they were run was in the 1987 Glendora centennial parade.



Full on...

...driver's side...

...passenger side. All three are views of the same truck.

3. These three pictures are of the 1925 Chevy one-ton flatbed.


You might notice a lot of dust. Though most of these old vehicles are in sheds, due to the nature of the Castle many of them are partially exposed to the elements. There's no staff to keep them shiny. The dust, rust and lopsided junk at Rubel Castle are part of its funky charm.

4. The 1932 Ford Tudor is the first year V8 was made. Even though we had a bulletproof Mercedes, this Ford was more commonly used for our evening car when we were being spiffy. (The Studebaker was strictly for the best occasions.) I always like to mention that the Tudor was a gift to Michael from Edson Rorabeck, who was a beau of my grandmother's [Dorothy Deuel Rubel]. 


This is the front of an old tractor.

5. The Cletrac I cannot provide an accurate date. Giving a round number I usually say it's a 1918. Cletrac was made by the Cleveland Tractor Co. The last time all these tractors were put to much use was during the 1969 floods.


A couple of the cars were locked in a special shed. This is the grille of the car below.

6. The car with the "9" in front of the grill is a a six-cylinder 1929 GJ model. Only 1,200 were made that year. The "9" is supposed to be a "6", but my uncle [Michael Rubel], when he wasn't exaggerating numbers, at least would get things upside-down when he worked on things.


That's Scott Rubel on the right, with my husband, John Sandel, on the left. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Scott grew up at "the Pharm" and even had a hand in building the Castle.


This is the interior of the "bullet-proof Mercedes." I don't know why anybody at Rubel Castle needed a bullet-proof car, but I can tell you the doors are damned heavy.

7. The bulletproof Mercedes is a 1957 model. It was a parade car for dignitaries. Charles De Gaulle rode in it for one parade, allegedly. It had a telephone in it which worked back then by radio. When my uncle and I drove it around in the 60s, he would pick up the telephone and pretend to talk on it whenever someone was watching. In the days before mobile phones this performance was a head-turner.

Michael would pick these cars and trucks up for nearly nothing during the 1950s. People were prospering after WWII, and during the 50s these old vehicles began to sit around in the Glendora ranches because they were being replaced by new vehicles. They were so easy to come by, just for the asking, that young teenage Michael had no way of valuing them. Some vehicles he didn’t manage to keep for a day because of his mistreatment of them. He was a superb mechanic at a very early age and could get an old truck or tractor running after it had been rusting for ten years in a field, then speed off through the orange groves until they would meet their end.

Thank you, Scott! And believe it or not, there's more to come. We haven't talked about the artists yet.

14 comments:

William Kendall said...

Yes, some of those cars have seen their last active days! Terrific shots.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks. I loved visiting these grand beauties.

altadenahiker said...

I'll bet there are some gear-heads out there just itching to get these up and running again.

Ann Erdman said...

There is such beauty in those old fenders, grills and emblems. Your photography really captures that, Petrea.

Petrea Burchard said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the Glendora Historical Society would welcome that.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Ann. I'm not really a car afficionado but I have a soft spot for lovely old things.

Lowell said...

I really enjoyed this post. As a little kid, we rode in 1930s cars and I knew people who owned and drove Model A and Model T Fords. Later, when I was 15, I bought my first car - a 1937 Chevy for $175, money that I had made delivering the Hollywood Citizen News and the Los Angeles Times in an area that included part of Beverly Hills. That bulletproof Mercedes intrigues me. I wonder if it was ever in the Rose Parade.

Petrea Burchard said...

Lowell, I hadn't realized you grew up around here. It sounds like your paper route was lucrative and fun. I hope to return to the Castle and take more pictures of the Mercedes. I think Scott would have told us if it had been in the Rose Parade, but maybe he'll check in here and let us know. Many of the Castle's cars were in the Glendora centennial parade some years ago.

Irina Rekhviashvili said...

Wow, this is serious research and so detailed in photos and history.
Thank you so much.
Happy holidays to you and your family!

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Irina! Scott did all the research. It was fun sharing his information.

Happy holidays to you as well!

Bellis said...

This will turn a lot of gear-heads on! Wonderful photos, and the additional information by Scott is really interesting.

Petrea Burchard said...

I just posted more pics. The place is endless!

José Mendonça said...

WOW! This place is fantastic! Love the top image.

Petrea Burchard said...

The Castle is a trove of quiet old treasures. A marvel of eccentricity.