Moby Goes to Pete Aguereberry’s Camp

May 2014

Originally from a Basque family in France, Pete Aguereberry left home at sixteen and headed to California to search for gold. Along with Death Valley prospector Shorty Harris, Pete found gold here in 1905. The find fueled a temporary tent town as other prospectors arrived. Pete and Shorty agreed to call their town Harrisberry, but Shorty later called it Harrisburg and the name stuck. When it became apparent that this was not a rich strike, everyone left except Pete who remained behind and worked his little mine for a solitary forty years.

Aguereberry Camp
Aguereberry Camp
Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home
Pete's house?
Pete’s house?

This car sits just down the road on the edge of camp. Could this be Pete’s car? Larry is determined to find out.

Car parked near the house.
Car “parked” near the house.

Detective Larry lights a cigarette, leans into the car, and asks two key questions: 1) Could Pete have afforded a car? Even if he could, wouldn’t he rather have a truck?

Larry checks the interior for clues.
Larry checks the interior for clues.

Detective Larry opens a beer, leans into the car, his mind a steel trap: What kind of car is this? More importantly, when was it made?

Larry checks the engine for clues.
Larry checks for clues. How old is this car?

Detective Larry checks under the missing hood. Damn! Key evidence is gone. The missing Buick Fireball Dynaflash Eight engine would have been a straight-8, 320 cid, 144 hp, 4-barrel paired with a 3-speed automatic.

Buick Fireball
The missing engine: a Buick Fireball Dynaflash Eight

Larry learned a lot about old cars during the six years he spent restoring his 1956 Chevy station wagon. Suddenly he remembers: Eureka! Check the exhaust manifold for a parts number!

Larry inspects the manifold for clues.
Larry inspects the exhaust manifold for clues.

With the help of the Internet, Detective Larry determines that GM Part #1288764 belonged to a 1940’s Buick Roadmaster. But which year exactly? With no engine, the clues are slim, but Larry’s keen eye finds telling details. The placement of the tail lights, rear window, and the lack of portholes (ventiports) tells Larry that this car was built in 1948. Beginning in 1949, the Buick Roadmaster had four portholes as seen on this 1949 Roadmaster convertible.

1949 Buick Roadmaster with portholes

Detective Larry says that the Buick Roadmaster portholes are reminiscent of the portholes on WWII fighter aircraft like this Curtiss P-40 Warhawk.

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk with portholes

Did the 1948 Buick Roadmaster at Aguereberry Camp look like the one below before it was murdered and left to rust in the desert? Did the lawn at Aguereberry Camp look like this, too? Did Pete Aguereberry own the rusting Buick Roadmaster carcass at Aguereberry Camp? Did he use it to haul his gold ore to town? Detective Larry wants to know.

1948 Buick Roadmaster
1948 Buick Roadmaster like the one at Aguereberry Camp

Detective Larry does a little math and solves the Mystery of Aguereberry Camp and the Buick Roadmaster.

1948 Buick Roadmaster
1948 Buick Roadmaster

Pete Aguereberry died in 1945. Detective Larry puts his feet on his desk, gazes out the window, and arrives at a brilliant conclusion: Pete Aguereberry could not have owned this 1948 Buick having died three years before it was made!

Who owned this car, and how did it die at Aguereberry Camp? Detective Larry doesn’t have a clue, but you can hire him to find out.

13 thoughts

    1. Ah-grrr-berry (accent on first syllable). He probably made enough money to survive and not much more . . . but he was his own boss, so that’s worth something.

  1. You guys are a hoot! As I sit here and grade, I am envious of your adventures but not your gas bill. Cheers, Mark in Issy – quah

  2. Maybe Pete struck it rich, faked his own death, bought that car and stashed the money in it. You better get back there, Lar!

  3. you lost me when Larry asked why he wouldn’t rather have a truck. for all my years, all I can remember is the old Chevy being used as a truck. Maybe this Aguereberry dude is related to Larry. But from the Buick clan instead of the Chevy clan.

  4. Were clever detective work. I`ll hire Larry to find where all the chukars went. What`s the price? A beer , 2 beer? Gary

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