Original Owner.........Hank Wilgus of Mass.
Body # ?
Engine #SC02E-2323614......... 1982 Honda 1100cc
Alan Goldman, Chicago, purchased this 1986 Pulse in August 2000. Al says that his Pulse always draws a crowd when he cruises his hometown of Chicago. "I have even had other drivers take my picture, while on the interstate at 65 MPH".
Al bought it from Hank Wilgus, a Conn. Pulse dealer. According to Hank, he sold about 28 Pulse vehicles and also did some 'road testing' for Owosso Motor Car Co. He did skid testing, drove on ice and even rolled one unit over. Hank drove a Pulse to Colorado on an endurance run. And he recalls that Coors bought about 6 units and Coke bought about 9 units for promotional purposes. Also some of the Pulses, when purchased by pilot types, where ordered with a aircraft tailfin and a horizontal stabilizer from the factory.
Al adds, "I do have what I believe was the factory C.B. Radio--a Realistic(R) TRC-418 40-channel (including the owner's manual for the radio). I also have what I believe is the factory stereo--a Pioneer(R) KE-3232 or 2222 (again, with the owner's manual)".
"I was told that my vehicle is almost all original, but I believe was repainted from green to the current yellow after an accident with a Miata (which also resulted in the replacement of the right outrigger). Otherwise, everything is straight from the factory in great condition and did not need restoration", Al said.
Based upon my recollection of discussions that I had with Mr. Wilgus during July and August of 2000, Mr. Wilgus was trying to become a Pulse dealer in the Northeastern U.S. He had some sort of continuing relationship with OMCC. In fact, I have an original letter on OMCC stationery signed by Ed Butcher authorizing Mr. Wilgus to drive Yellow Pulse #301 across the U.S. as part of a sales and promotional relationship.
He said that he had done some test driving both on the test track and on the road including traction/skid testing on snow and ice. He said that he rolled one in testing.
Mr. Wilgus said that he had bought and sold some 25-30 Pulse vehicles during his association with OMCC, but was not yet an official dealer when OMCC closed its doors in 1990.
I believe that he had several vehicles in his possession (three?) when OMCC closed in 1990 including Pulse #309 that I purchased from him on July 16, 2000. He said that this one was his baby!
Mr. Wilgus was hit by a Mazda Miata. No injuries. Accident substantially damaged the right outrigger which has been replaced.
Basically, I was lucky. My vehicle was in excellent condition when I bought it from Hank Wilgus on July 16, 2000. I had never seen a Pulse before then, and I knew little about it when I bought it from Hank. It's a good story . . . .
My girlfriend's family owns a home on Lake Congamond on the Massachusetts - Connecticut border between Hartford, CT, and Springfield, MA -- and I mean right on the border. In fact, their place is on Two States Avenue -- one side of the road is West Suffield, CT, and the other side is Southwick, MA (where Hank still resides). Patrice and I spend time out there each summer visiting her family.
While visiting last summer, we went to the local ice cream parlor in Southwick. As we pulled into the parking lot, Patrice's brother said, "Hey! Hank's here with his Rocket Car" [as it is known locally]. Her brother added jokingly, "Al, you should buy it! It's for sale!" I thought it was simply incredible. Without knowing more, based upon the unique look and excellent exterior and interior condition of the vehicle, I presumed that Hank would be asking much more than I would want to spend on a novelty-type recreational vehicle.
Patrice's brother spotted Hank and introduced us. Hank is a unique character -- a great storyteller (and salesman) -- and was only too happy to regale us with stories about the "Rocket Car," both the history of the Pulse and his personal experiences with it. As we talked, I looked closely at his "For Sale" sign and was surprised. It was much more affordable than I had expected, especially considering that this was one of only 347 vehicles that had been produced (as Hank had informed us). Hank and I continued talking, and I got as much information as I could from him before he left.
Hank explained that he had tried to sell the vehicle on the Internet for some time but had not received any serious inquiries. After he took his ad off the Internet, he dropped the price because he planned to sell the vehicle locally and would not be required to ship/deliver it as he may have had to if he had sold over the Internet. He had been trying to sell it locally for several months before I became interested.
Southwick is a small New England town, and Hank is very well-known with or without his Rocket Car. I believe that his trouble selling the vehicle locally was due in large part to the local residents' strong association of the Rocket Car with Hank -- any local buyer would always be driving "Hank's Rocket Car." This was not going to be a problem for me in Chicago, and initially, I was focused on buying the Pulse as an investment to be sold quickly and easily once I got it back to Chicago.
As Patrice said when comparing the residents of Southwick to those of Chicago, "There are a lot more people in Chicago with more money than brains." I still ask her which group of Chicagoans she meant to include me in.
That evening, I got serious. First, I called my sister's husband back in Chicago. Paul is an extraordinary mechanic and has experience with all sorts of vehicles -- from building and repairing boats and motorcycles to restoring classic cars. Although Paul did not know specific details about the Pulse, he knew what it was. Over the past couple of years, he had seen one (maybe two?) in or near Fort Lauderdale, FL. We discussed ways to determine (or at least estimate) the number of other Pulses remaining from the 347 originals, the mechanical condition of the 1983 1100cc Goldwing engine (and related parts) in Hank's vehicle, and its possible market value.
Second, I searched the Internet for any information about OMCC or the Pulse and also located a few related news reports by searching a fee-based database service. I found a very limited amount of information, none of which contradicted what Hank had told us. In fact, I was able to verify bits and pieces of Hank's information.
Finally, I asked the husband of one of Patrice's friends to come and take a look at the vehicle. Although Jim works as a computer technician, he recently restored an old VW Beetle and has owned and maintained motorcycles in the past.
After considering all opinions and information, I bought the Pulse from Hank after a brief negotiation. Because Patrice and I had driven out from Chicago in her car (with our dog), I was obligated to share with her the 16-hour drive back to Chicago and was unable to take the Pulse back immediately.
In mid-August, I flew to Mass/Conn and rented a 20-foot truck. Hank and some friends loaded and tied down the Pulse, and I drove the truck to Chicago without incident.
EXCERPT FROM OWNERS" SURVEY:
Original Owners name? (optional) [Henry "Captain Hammer" Wilgus--Southwick, MA]
Original Dealership of origin?
[Based upon my recollection of discussions that I had with Mr. Wilgus during July and August of 2000, Mr. Wilgus was trying to become a Pulse dealer in the Northeastern U.S. He had some sort of continuing relationship with OMCC.
In fact, I have an original letter on OMCC stationery signed by Ed Butcher authorizing Mr. Wilgus to drive Yellow Pulse #301 "across the U.S." as part of a "sales and promotional relationship." He said that he had done some test driving both on the test track and on the road including traction/skid testing on snow and ice. (He said that he "rolled one" in testing.)
Mr. Wilgus said that he had bought and sold some 25-30 Pulse vehicles during his association with OMCC, but was not yet an official dealer when OMCC closed its doors in 1990. I believe that he had several vehicles in his possession (three?) when OMCC closed in 1990 including Pulse #309 that I purchased from him on July 16, 2000. He said that this one was his baby!]
Original Color? ...... [Green]
Original Upholstery scheme? ........ [Beige w/ brown and white stripes; beige carpeting]
Do you know of any accidents or injuries associated with this vehicle?
[Mr. Wilgus was hit by a Mazda Miata. No injuries. Accident substantially damaged the right outrigger which has been replaced.]
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