07/28/2002 - Updated 11:32 PM ET 

New York Nash meets California Rambler

Detail of the Rambler from California

Kenosha, WI - July 28, 2002
Two old cars, of the type guaranteed to turn onlooker's heads and attract smiles and thumbs-up, met head-on in Kenosha, WI today, after traveling from opposite ends of the USA. Car #1, a 1963 Rambler American, set out from Yucaipa, CA last Tuesday. Car #2, described as 'America's first compact car', a 1953 Nash Rambler Country Club sedan, departed Albany, NY early Thursday morning. Both cars were bound for Kenosha, WI, site of the 100th Anniversary celebration of the first Rambler and the Nash Motors Corporation.

"At first I was skeptical," said Damian Rutherford, owner and driver of the 1963 car, "I didn't know where Kenosha was and then seeing it on a map, it looked a long way off. Then I noticed that Route 66 goes nearby and decided, what the hey, why not?" Enlisting a partner for the journey, Rutherford loaded up the Rambler and headed east. 

Meanwhile, in Albany, final preparations were being made to the more ancient, 1953 Nash. "My mechanic, a Russian immigrant, had never seen such a car before," said Ned Foss, owner and international businessman.

"Once he found out that his metric tools would work, we were ready to roll." "Except," added Foss's partner, navigator and documentarian, Jan Galligan, "one or another of the hubcaps kept popping off, everytime we'd turn a corner during our test drives. I told Foss, 'Let's just go without 'em, put 'em in the trunk.', but he wouldn't hear it, so every hundred miles or so we'd stop and I'd have to run back and pick up a dropped wheel cover."

The New York team combined old car technology with space age advances. According to Foss,interviewed via his cell phone while driving westward across Indiana, every mechanical and electrical system of  his Nash is wired to a central data harness which plugs into his laptop computer. Using analytical software, developed specifically for this trip, Foss is able to monitor all operations of the car, in real time. In addition, Foss has employed wireless DSL to connect his laptop to the internet and access GPS positioning data which allows exact monitoring of their progress, "to the foot, if necessary," stated Foss. This same internet connection allowed Galligan to post real-time photos and updates to a long list of correspondents around the world, and to his website, 75Grand.com.

Asked about their encounter on Main Street, downtown Kenosha, Rutherford said, "I had no idea who we might run into, and I certainly never expected another vehicle to be carrying the 'KENOSHA OR BUST' sign. In fact, for me it was a last minute decision, I didn't have time to make a proper sign, so I just sprayed it on the back window with the dregs of a can of Old Spice shaving creme." Galligan added, "We didn't know what to expect ourselves, but never shying from publicity, we had sent out press notices and emails [ed. note: the source for this story] and have been in regular contact with various media representatives along the way. We call our trip KENOSHA OR BUST: the 20/20/20 Trip." "That's right," interjected Foss, "20 hours out, 20 hours there, and 20 hours to get back home. So far, we're right on schedule."

Questioned about a previous media adventure in Prague in November, 2001, Galligan was asked about charges that he had impersonated a New York Times photographer in order to take unauthorized photographs. Galligan offered no comment and would not elaborate when pressed for more information.