December 9, 2012

Deirdre Fleming: Breton's antique vehicle designs are truly eye-catching and unique

Richard Breton swears his Model A Ford is the only snowmobile/fish-bait freezer/ice-auger machine in the antique world. And his Model A Ford sugar shack truck is another brilliant creation.

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Richard Breton converted a Model A Ford into a sugar shack truck.

Courtesy Photos

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A combination snowmobile/fish-bait freezer/ice auger

"They just came out of my head," said Breton, who builds antique cars as a hobby.

Both were built in his barn at Maple Shade Farms in Vassalboro, where he has more than a dozen other antique cars in his home museum. And they're not for sale.

The "live bait" snowmobile and "sugar shack" truck will be on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in front of Cabela's in Scarborough. After that, look for them throughout the winter at ice derbies and outdoor shows.

Breton is not an ice fisherman, but he knew those who love the sport would appreciate the amenities in his antique sled.

It has a freezer to store bait in the back, as well as a stove to cook, not to mention an auger in the front.

"My stuff is just museum stuff. It just draws a crowd. You go to a snowmobile show, nobody is looking at anything else. There is so much to look at on the Live Bait sled, they are just amazed. I just call it the 'Live Bait Truck.' I don't have a good name for it yet."

But ask him what the truck has, and his pride soars like a tripped trap flag.

"A gas stove to cook your fish, ice fishing traps, a toboggan, skis, axes, a pick pole, wool blankets, ice saws. Everything is in this time period," Breton said of the 80-year-old sled.

The truck is made from all antique parts, and everything is more than 80 years old except the ice auger, which was just too fun not to fasten on the front. It even has antique hooks on the front to showcase that big togue, as well as a scale and yard stick to weigh and measure it.

While decked out with ample antique ice fishing gear, the truck is similar to snowmobiles of the 1930s. It has a tool box on the front and a battery.

"They carried tools with them to work on the car back in those days. Just six to eight tools, mostly wrenches. They were simple to fix," Breton said.

His sugar shack truck is similar, if fancier, with its bright red color and big Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang wheels. It has a stove in the back to boil sap on location, as well as sap pails.

The parts required some scouring across garages throughout the Northeast. But both are easy to drive, Breton assures.

The Model A Ford engine operates more like today's traditional standard transmission than the Model T engine. So it was the model Breton went with in his creations.

The manager of a heating and plumbing company, Breton builds antique cars on the side. After building 16, he's not done.

"I have other ideas, maybe for two others. But I won't say. It's good to surprise people when you just show up with them," he said.

For more information on the antique snow cars in Breton's Collectibles Museum in Vassalboro, email Breton at

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

Twitter: Flemingpph


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