Ray Chapdelaine began to accumulate his collection of Headless Witte engines between 1975 and 1977. With help from the mechanics at his family-owned GMC dealership, the collection, as you see it, was completed by 1979. Ray's favorite shows were the ones at Dublin, New Hampshire; Pepperell, Massachusetts; and of course, the CMSGMA at Orange, MA. The whole family would participate, especially in the parades, wearing t-shirts that said "GMC, Witte, John Deere"
In the past, the engines were displayed along with four 2-1/2 ton GMC trucks from the years 1939/1941, and some John Deere two-cylinder tractors. The matching wagons under the engines were homemade from old steel wheels that had been cut off and had new rims welded to them.
Unfortunately Ray passed away in 1988. The collection is still owned by the Chapdelaine family: Mark, Mike, Lisa, and their mother, Terry. It is through the efforts of Lisa's husband, Dan Grenier, that the collection has reappeared after twelve years in storage. Dan is a long-time member of the board of directors of CMSGMA; and, with the help of some of the other members who have trailers, the collection was taken out of storage in Lunenburg, cleaned up, and brought to Orange.
|You can't see the spokes on the flywheels in this picture, taken at the 2000 show! That's because all of the engines are running, including the MODEL!!|
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