Ken’s first car was a 1950 Mercury
convertible that he bought on May 11, 1959
, at the cost of $125. "I was fifteen-years-old and worked on it after school and on weekends. The earliest modifications included shaving the hood & deck, shortening the side trim, making up a custom grille using pieces of discarded side trim, and lowering the tail lights two inches.
" Ken’s mother is standing by the fence in the photo. Photo from The Ken Bausert Photo Collection
Ken's Piston Pushers
club card. "We were supposed to hand these cards out to motorists if we helped them out if their car was stuck somewhere and we jump-started a dead battery or helped get them out of deep snow, or something like that. Quite ironic, because - at that time we made these up - nobody in the club had a driver's license. Hah!" Photo from The Ken Bausert Photo Collection
"The Midnight Ride" was a poem that Ken wrote in high school. It was published in his high school literary publication called “Dome,” that was published each semester. "This issue was the January 1961 issue. My senior year.
" Ken's poem starts out where Woodhaven Blvd crosses over the Belt Parkway
and becomes Cross Bay Blvd. "The Belt Parkway, going west, takes you to Brooklyn and eventually to New Jersey. Since there were always people who thought they had the fastest cars, I envisioned this guy in a Ford from Jersey coming over to meet the guy in the Chevy to settle the question.
" There were several popular areas for street racing in the Queens
area back in the 1950s
and the 1960s
. "One was Cross Bay Boulevard. Woodhaven Blvd runs North/South in Queens, from the Long Island Expressway to the Belt Parkway in the South. After the Belt Parkway, it becomes Cross Bay Blvd, and it runs through Howard Beach before crossing over a bridge known as the “first bridge.” Then it continues as a three-lane road, needed to handle beach traffic on hot summer weekends, through Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve, hence the name “Cross Bay,” and, because you were driving through an uninhabited area, there were no traffic lights or side roads intersecting it until you reached the town of Broad Channel, a sparsely-inhabited area, a couple miles further, and then the bridge taking you over to Rockaway Beach area, “second bridge.” Cross Bay Blvd. was ideal for drag racing because it was lightly traveled at night, there were no side roads or danger of other cars crossing in front of you, and once you drove down it to be sure there were no cops hanging out, you were pretty sure you wouldn’t get busted!
" Photo from The Ken Bausert Photo Collection
in a 1934 Ford
coupe project. The work was started by one of the guys at the 116th Street garages
in Richmond Hill
. He was in the process of chopping the top, but the car was just a body shell and needed a ton of work, so the fellow decided to get rid of it. He was going to tow it to a junkyard when Sal Consiglio
, John Consiglio
and Ken chipped in $5 apiece and bought the thing for $15. "After that, we didn't know where we were going to store it and what we were going to do with it so, in a week or so, we wound up towing it to the junkyard.
" Ken believes this photo was taken in the autumn of 1961
. Photo from The Ken Bausert Photo Collection
Ken Bausert of Richmond Hill, New York City, New York was a founding member of the 1320 Crusaders car club.
Ken Bausert's Cars
Ken Bausert's 1950 Mercury Convertible
Cars Painted or Pinstriped by Ken Bausert
Ken Szekretar's 1949 Ford
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