The mid to late-1980s was the age of the railway motor car on the Southern Michigan Railroad, which owned the line between Clinton and Lenawee Junction, Mich. The recent large sales of used motor cars by the Norfolk and Western Railroad at nearby Bellevue, Ohio had brought many well-used motor cars to the SMR yard in Clinton.
While most purchasers restored their own cars, Dave Haugan of Harper Woods, Mich. asked me if I could work on his car for him. He wished to leave it at the SMR and have it available for general use, so we agreed that the ex-N&W car should be restored to look like a New York Central car, and work took place in the summer of 1986.
The car itself was not in bad shape coming from the N&W. No major body parts needed to be repaired, so the overall restoration required a general mechanical overhaul, glass replacement, and a paint job. A new headlight was also fitted.
The NYC aspect required an overall safety yellow paint job, including the wheels. I then fashioned NYC number plates for the front and back from tin. These were painted and lettered with lettering from an NYC standards book. (With the number 110S, this would signify a signal department car.) Finally the NYC logo was applied to both sides of the car, using a stencil made from an original NYC car that was at the SMR.