’54 Plymouth and Wrigley Field

My dad, Lloyd Dunn, loved to tell stories as his children and grandchildren would attest.

With the Chicago Cubs returning to Wrigley Field Friday for the first World Series game there in 71 years, it’s fitting that I bring up a story my dad talked about an incident right outside of Wrigley Field when I was a young boy.

The story is included in his 2009 book, Eloise & Lloyd’s Limos, about all the cars my family ever owned up to that point.

Here is how the story goes:

“In 1954 I started on a plan of buying a new car every five years. We bought this ’54 Plymouth two-door from my old Army friend in Clarinda [Iowa] and it quickly showed a major defect. It would stall for no reason at all and would restart after sitting for five minutes or so. Classic case of vapor lock. The dealer could find nothing wrong until I got him in the car and we headed south on Highway 2.

“Nothing happened, of course, and he insisted that we turn back, but I said, ‘No, we’re going to drive till this thing stalls!’ And stall it did, just short of Braddyville, about 14 miles from Clarinda.

“When we got back to the garage, they replaced the carburetor with one out of a show (room) model car. Problem solved.

“On the Saturday before we started back for Chicago, they called me in and said they had to replace the carburetor with another one and assured me that all was well. We left at 6 a.m. on Saturday and just short of Tenville, some 20 miles, the car stalled. I called the dealer in Clarinda, getting him out of bed and for some reason accepted his statement that if we would continue on our journey, we would have no more trouble.

Wrigley field

Together, they paint a picture of nostalgia and enduring charm, capturing the essence of a bygone era that continues to captivate enthusiasts and fans alike.

“We made it as promised and had no further problem until we went to a Cub game the following Sunday and the engine stalled in the big intersection in front of Wrigley Field [at Clark and Addison streets]. Very embarrassing. We got the car pushed out of the way and in a few minutes it started. I finally got it corrected at a dealer in Maywood, Ill. They had a mechanic who said he knew the problem. He made a shield out of some old sheet metal and placed it between the manifold and the carburetor. That did the job!”

My dad and mom replaced that car five years later with a two-door Ford Fairlane sedan.

I would have been as old as our oldest granddaughter, Kaylee, at the time of the incident in front of Wrigley Field. I’m pretty sure I was there when it happened because my dad started taking me to Cub games when I was pretty young. Plus, I was the only child in the family at that point. (Brother Jeff didn’t come along until two years later.)

So I’m dedicating this World Series to my dad and that 1954 two-door Plymouth.

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