Portland Cars and Coffee

It has been said before that almost every weekend in the Portland and Willamette Valley area there will be a car show. This is a story about one that I have never been to: Portland Cars and Coffee.  This is held at World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville every Saturday morning throughout the summer.

With a great variety of cars, mostly high dollar exotic cars, the show was very different than shows in the Albany area. Cars such as Ferraris, Lamborghinis, McLarens, Cobras, Masseratis, Vipers, Corvettes, Audis, and an imported Ultima GRT.  The turn out of cars was great.

When you stand there admiring cars and taking photos you get to listen to owners talk about their cars. Michael Pierce from Portland came to the show in his 1967 Corvette Stingray. He has owned the car since 1980, and has kept it all original except the vintage mag wheels. The Vette is a daily driver, with a 435 HP 427 engine, and has 225,000 miles on it.

Just down the row was an Ultima GRT, from Tiger Eye Racing, owned by David out of Portland. It looks like something out of the 60’s running LeMans or Can Am with a mid engine 500HP Chevy V8 and a Porsche 6 speed transaxle. This is a true kit car, imported from England in pieces, except the engine and transaxle.  David has run it at PIR at speeds over 150MPH. He is in the process of building a GRT roadster.

One of my favorite cars was a home built silver roadster sports car, now this car looks like it came right off the track at LeMans in the 50’s. It is a front engine, rear wheel drive.The whole body is made out of hand formed aluminum. With a 1974 Corvette chassis and a Chevy V8 engine.the hood covers the whole front of the car and opens like an old XKE Jaguar. Owner Ray Parks said it took 7 years to build and it is a true work of art.

Tom Hendrickson is the proud owner of an original, unrestored, 1964 Cobra. The Cobra is a truly unrestored car. With chips in the paint, shift boot gone and tattered upholstery, it is still beautiful. Tom has owned this car for 53 years. Talk about a true daily driver, from 1966 to 1972 this was the only car Tom had, so he drove it in the rain or shine. The car has original chrome wire wheels, a 289 Ford V8 engine and a dual exhaust that sounds great.

The show was like the old cruise-ins, no entry fee, no judging, no trophies, just great looking cars coming and going all morning. What I liked most, though, was listening to the owners talking about their rolling pride and joys.

The Times… They Are a Changin’

Okay gals and GearHeads, how about we step right into the big news. We’ve talked about it before oh, and now it is here. If you have not been living in a cave then you know that the new mid engine 2020 Corvette supercar has been officially unveiled. In fact you might want to check out the Fireball Tim YouTube channel. He got some great coverage of the unveiling.

They have been showing up in showrooms. and they say they are starting at under 60k which is exciting. but if you put your order in don’t expect to see one til sometime next year. Matter of fact at press time they’re telling us that they may well be sold out of that run.

And then my favorite bartender, Wendy (CJ’s pub out in Fairview), informed me that the first one has been wrecked! Didn’t take long.
Oh how I do like writing about the ICE cars (internal combustion engined). so now I will throw out a little teaser about something new and exciting they are working on. Transient plasma ignition

So, here is another tidbit. The Indy cars are a-changing. They are saying that as the OEMs move further into electricity, it will filter down into racing. It looks like next year’s cars are going to be hybrids. Also they have added 50 horsepower to them.
How about this—Texas motor speedway bans all EV cars! It seems that some EV cars have been slapping around the ICE cars pretty bad down there. But the official reason is fires. It turns out that fighting these lithium ion battery fires is requiring some special fire fighting equipment. It seems they flare up even more when conventional foam hits them.

So finally, in a world where this author is observing more and more millennials behaving horribly awful, I want to give a shout out to the hot rodder rmillennials I am seeing out at the events. They seem to be showing a lot more common sense, integrity and respect. So, kudos to the millennial hot-rodders!

Nuf said, Chuck Fasst #GearHeadsWorld

Route 66 in a Corvette

Some facts about Route 66: It was commissioned in 1926; It was finished in asphalt in 1937; It starts in Chicago and finishes in Santa Monica; It crosses eight states and three time zones; It is 2,249 miles in length.

In 1960 a new television show called Route 66 was introduced to America. The show starred Martin Milner and George Maharis and ran through the 1964 season before disappearing. The concept of the show was two young men driving Route 66 and encountering various adventures. In reality, very few of the shows were filmed on Route 66 and the road was rarely even referred to in the script.

The third star of the show was the car that was driven, a Chevrolet Corvette. The first season it was a 1960. Chevrolet updated the car throughout the series and the final season featured a 1963 Stringray. The show has endured as a cherished part of the American Culture. It also led to one additional fact about Route 66: The Corvette is a Route 66 icon.

In 2018, my wife Sue and I participated in the Route 66 Fun Run in Arizona. We drove our 1966 Mustang to and from the event. This year she indicated that a repeat of that trip was off the table. She said she would fly to Las Vegas and I could pick her up there. I was not totally comfortable doing a solo trip of that length with any of our classic cars. As it turned out, we both flew to Las Vegas and rented a 2017 Corvette and drove that for the Fun Run. Much more comfortable than the old Mustang and how can you beat driving an open car in 80-100 degree heat when it has air conditioned seats?

The Route 66 Fun Run is sponsored by the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. It began in 1987 when a group of people, mostly from the Seligman and Kingman area got together dedicated themselves to getting Route 66 its historic designation. The event has now been going on for 32 years with the continuing goal of preserving and maintaining the highway.

Once again this year, nearly 800 cars were registered for the Run. Cars of all makes and years are welcome. The variety of vehicles is impressive with cars from the early 20s through late model vehicles. Foreign and domestic vehicles are both welcome. The large majority of the vehicles are classic cars and hot rods. Once again this year it appeared that the largest single category of cars was the Corvette. We observed everything from a tie-dyed Subaru to military vehicles, T-buckets to DeLoreans and roadsters to limos.

The Fun Run is a two day event that starts in Seligman and proceeds to Kingman for a huge car show on the main street. The Run continues the next morning departing Kingman and proceeding over the mountains, through Oatman, and ending in Topock.

The Corvette we were driving performed flawlessly. Being virtually brand new (only 6,000 miles) that was to be expected. Not everyone was so lucky. We encountered a 1952 Chevy pickup that was temporarily stranded along the road. Apparently running out of gas on the first day had led to some dregs from the bottom of the fuel tank being picked up and causing a clogged carburetor. A few minutes with a wrench and screwdriver and it was back on the road in short order. In keeping with the nature of these types of events, several cars stopped and offered help, including a Sheriff’s Deputy.

This is an adventure well worth attending. Preserving this historic highway should be something that all car lovers can support.

The 2019 Great Race

Hemmings Motor News “Great Race,” Sponsored by Haggerty Insurance, an annual event since 1983, evolved into what it is today, a time-speed-endurance rally for vintage cars, 1974 & older. Each year there is a different route. In 2019 the starting point was Riverside California and the finish line was Tacoma Washington at The LeMay, America’s Car Museum. It was about a 2300-mile trek.

Some 150 cars/trucks/participants left Riverside on Saturday, June 22nd and finished in Tacoma on Sunday, June 30th. The Overall winners were Howard and Doug Sharp, a father son team who drove a 1916 Hudson and hailed from Fairport New York.

The race has become so popular it usually fills up well in advance and would be participants, must put their name on a waiting list just to get a spot. There are classes, cash prizes and what looks like just plain fun traveling with like-minded car crazy people.

Jim Estes and Bill Nelson took a short trip to Hood River Oregon, one of the stops, to get some pics and learn about the race and the participants. They asked me if I wanted to go too but I had other commitments for that day. I did make it to Vancouver Washington for another stop later that day.

A kinda comical story was the 4 guys from Finland who started the rally in a 1910, 11, 12 or something, Simplex. The Simplex threw a rod early on day one so… They bought a Mercedes sedan in which to finish the rally. The Simplex was an open car (as were most cars from that era) so these guys from Finland were outfitted with leather helmets, goggles, rain gear etc. but with the Simplex out and a later model Mercedes sedan, stand-in, (closed car) it was decided that they should continue in an open car, they might as well make the Mercedes stand-in an open car too. They cut the roof off, windshield and all! In a tribute to the retired Simplex they attached the broken rod from the car to the hood of the Mercedes. There is a picture of the Mercedes crossing the finish line in Tacoma, on the web site.

www.greatrace.com. It sounds like this could be just plain fun.

In some of the pictures you’ll notice cars that are plastered with stickers that look alike. The significance of these stickers is, each one represents a different Great Race that the car participated in. Obviously, some of these folks a diehard rallyers, participating year of year.

Next years race route starts is San Antonio Texas on June 20th and finishes in Greenville South Carolina on June 28th. They say there is $150,000 in prize money, WOW! For more info call 800-989-7223 or email jeff@greatrace.com. Or visit their website.

Déjà-visité

The month of September sweeps in as August walks away, slowly, leaving Summer’s promises in ashes. Pat was winding down a long day and had strolled out to his shop to again try and make gains on his roadster pick up project. All of the pieces seemed to be falling into place; yet, he was missing a solid K member and a gennie Deuce grille shell. Many of his pals had chided him on this detail. “Dude, just buy a repo piece!”  “So-Cal has a decent piece.”  “Call Bob Drake, they have them.”  And so on, so on and… well Pat heard every detail but on his RPU he wanted the real deal. Pat smiled and agreed, yet.  With all of the efforts he had put place on his hot rod, reproduction  would not suffice.

He’s kind of like that. The frame was an original set of ’32 rails he had found in a abandoned mining camp in Montana. The cab and bed he had scored from a long abandoned tug boat station in the ‘Couve. The mill was from a ’44 Ford, a 59L block that had been found in a crate in St Johns. It seemed that for the most part, every piece of his hot rod had come together by chance or word of mouth. Yet, his connections either had a grille they were not parting with or, they knew a guy who had a friend who… well, you know. Pat leaned back on his work bench and looked at his pickup. So.  Damned. Close.

He shook his head. In his mind he did a mental recap of the parts he had gathered to create what his heart and mind had created. It’s not every day one is rescuing a less than 500 ever produced vehicle, or that shakes up things and dares to make it a hot rod. He shook his head and hit the lights. His ‘70 Dodge Demon 340 seemed like a cake walk compared to this pile of metal.

As he had done for all his 58 years he rose, greeted the day with questions and a spark somewhere in his psyche’ made him rethink his daily routine. It was Sunday, September 1st. Summer’s last 20 days were here and on this bright crisp day Pat knew this was the day and where to find that last part.  He placed his cell phone into the glove box of his ’64 El Camino and just drove. He left his home in the outskirts of Vancouver, Washington, got onto I-5 and headed North.

The Elky’s 327 sang through the twice pipes and Pat felt like a passenger as his body drove and he observed. He crossed the Lewis and Clark Bridge out of Longview and headed across the Columbia River and into Oregon, and then he was driving West toward the coast. Highway 30 has this incredible climb outside or Rainier and as Pat had done so in all his years, marveled at the view as he drove on. At the crest of the hill, he down shifted and got into the left lane and took a side road and headed South.

He had never been down this road.

And he had spent nearly 40 years as a tow truck driver in the Northwest. The road split into a Y and he banked to the left. Around him the trees has started to turn colour as Autumn kept teasing her arrival. Pat reveled in the landscape and soon he slowed and on his right was a very old wrecking yard. He had never seen or had known this placed existed, yet, it felt like he knew where it was all along.

He killed the ignition and the 327 became silent.  Around him were the occasionally chatting birds and the wind as it swept through the trees and evergreens. The El Camino’s engine ticked as she cooled down.  There was an iron archway with Gallagher’s in faded letters. No signs forbid his entrance. With caution, he walked into the yard and saw a very old Spartan trailer parked next to the gate.

Outside on a stump an old man sat with a pipe between his lips and was whittling a piece of Fir into a sharpened point. “Eh youngster, can I help ya?” Pat paused. Why had he driven here?  What was he after?  Then he spoke and he heard what he said, more than knew what he was going to say. “I am here after that old ’32 Ford grille shell, the purple one.” Pat cocked his head to the side and the old man nodded, “Yassir, right over near that shed.“ He did not have to point; Pat nodded and walked right to it. “$80, right?” and the old man nodded. Pat peeled off the bills, they shook hands and he was back into his El Camino and headed home. The ride home was a blur. It was not til he was a few miles away from home that he lost that foggy mental state and felt himself driving again. But he knew where he had gone to, knew how to get there and what the reward was once he had arrived. Yet had never had set foot in that yard before.

Later that night as he bolted the grille shell into place and he tried to explain it to his friend who had dropped by, it still did not make sense. Lonnie asked, “Well could ya drive there again?” Pat shook his head. “I do not think I could.” Lonnie nodded. They fell silent and marveled at how great the roadster pick up looked with that purple grille shell on it.
Sometimes parts just find their way home.

—Written by Mark Karol-Chik August 10, 2019

Revvie

He could have been anything. His father was Martin Revson, a founding partner of Revlon Cosmetics. He was rich, well educated, athletic and looked like a movie star. According to their sister Jennifer, Peter and her brother Douglas excelled at all things but chose to drive race cars.

While attending the University of Hawaii in 1960, Peter entered his first race. To the chagrin of his mother, it seemed he was a natural at this endeavor as well. He finished second in his first attempt, won his second outing and was reprimanded for aggressive driving in the third. Aghast, his parents promptly withdrew their financial support. Peter took the balance of his funds earmarked for college and moved to England. There, he nurtured his relationship with Teddy Mayer (whom he had met while attending Cornell). Mayer was more interested in the business side of professional racing and did not drive. Through their association, Revson made good contacts and ultimately gained access to more sophisticated machines.

After knocking around Europe for a few years, “Revvie” (as friends had begun to call him) returned to the United States to race big bore sports cars. The new Canadian American (Can-Am) series had just been introduced with advertised purses that exceeded those of Formula One. Both Peter and Douglas were front and center from the inaugural race on. Peter performed well enough to capture the attention of Ford executives and soon endurance racing and pony car seats were being offered. Meanwhile Mayer (who was by now managing Team McLaren), was on hand to monitor Revson’s progress.

When Douglas perished in a racing accident in 1968, Peter was understandably shaken. The brothers had made a pact however, and both had agreed to carry on even if one had paid the ultimate price.

In ’69 Peter got his first opportunity to race at Indianapolis. His mount was an underpowered Brabham but he squeaked into the Show and motored from dead last to fifth. After finishing in the money at Sebring as well, actor Steve McQueen hired him to co-drive his Porsche 908 in the 1970 edition of their twelve hour contest. The story has become legend as the factory teams one by one fell by the wayside and the duo of Revson and McQueen found themselves leading the event. Literally in the eleventh hour, Team Ferrari pulled Mario Andretti off the bench and put him in their sole remaining entry. In total darkness, Andretti began turning laps at qualifying pace. He eventually caught and passed the little Porsche and crossed the finish line twenty four seconds ahead. Reportedly McQueen took most of the credit for their near upset but the more informed recognized that Revson had done most of the heavy lifting.

Finally in 1971, Mayer felt that Revson had reached his full potential and offered him a contract with Team McLaren. Peter responded by putting his state of the art M16 on the pole at Indianapolis and finished second in only his third start in the 500. In Can-Am racing he was now driving for the dominate team. Revson won half of the races outright and finished on the podium in another three. His points accumulated were enough to earn him his first championship.

In spite of his successes, Mayer didn’t offer him a fulltime ride in Formula One until the following season. In this arena Revson was winless although he finished in the runner-up spot once and in the “show position” three times. The result was a fifth in the 1972 point standings. In Can-Am racing McLaren had lost its edge and the title had gone to Porsche. In Indycar a McLaren had won its first 500 but that was in the capable hands of Privateer Roger Penske.

In 1973 Peter’s dream of winning Formula One races was realized when he won both the British and Canadian Grand Prix. When Mayer had the opportunity to hire ’72 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi (who came with Marlboro sponsorship) however, he did so and Revson was left without a ride. For the 1974 Formula One campaign Revson signed with Don Nichol’s new Shadow Team. The ensemble failed to make the first two races on the schedule and jumped at the opportunity to practice prior to the third round in Kyalami South Africa. On 3/22/74 Revson crashed his DN3 racecar when a titanium ball joint failed at a high rate of speed. He was reportedly killed instantly.

“He gave 100 percent of himself every time he went out on the track,” Jennifer Revson told George Levy in his book on the Can-Am. “He hated losing. He hated coming in second. Had he lived, I believe he would have realized his goal of becoming World Champion.”

Green with Envy

I recently had the opportunity to visit the World of Speed Motorsports Museum as well as meet with other writers of this paper. Without much advance planning, I took the bull by the horns and committed. It was going to be an incredibly packed Saturday morning. `
The Museum, on 95th Avenue in Wilsonville was (and still is) hosting “Mario Andretti: Racing Royalty.” The Museum set out and delivered on honoring the most successful American race car driver of all time with their displays of (1) not only Mario’s first car but (2) the GT-40 he co-drove to win the 1966 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The GT 40 was the poster on my teenage bedroom wall. Seeing this car in person was an incredible opportunity for me. It is the first car you see as you enter the museum floor. Bright yellow, the KarKraft T-44 4-speed ‘’eyes’’ you with those racing-lens lamps, low, sexy stance, and competition provenance. Bruce McLaren (of Can Am racing fame) paired with Mario to win in this very 427 cubic inch Ford V-8 fitted with a trans axle. It was Ford’s 1-2-3 sweep that year. Oh, the history!
Back to Mr. Andretti’s wins; Pikes Peak, The Indy 500 — you get the picture. Unless if you are one of a rare few, whom are not knowing of Mario’s fifty years of motor sports endeavors. I am not one for statistics, and therefore will not enumerate any further on his successes. Needless to say, you should get to the museum before the chance to see this fine exhibit escapes.

The World of Speed Motorsports Museum also hosts a “Cars and Coffee” each Saturday morning, year round. It was packed when we visited. On hand were another two examples from my ‘coveted car’ list – both green – as in British Racing Green. I will only mention them (an AC Cobra and a big-block 1967 Corvette Stingray) as you will find out more about them in this issue.
(See page 4 for Steve Beireis’ story)

I was truly ‘’green with envy’’ of the original-owner vehicles that were parked in front of me. Was every Saturday like this? Cars parked here and there in 4 parking lots. Too much to take in, and share this all with Veltman and Beireis. And visit the museum.

It was Alex Mills Day that Saturday. Celebrating his 35 years on the planet, Alex was taken too soon by cancer. One of the first Portland Cars and Coffee Volunteers, his Dodge Viper stood in silent salute to his automotive efforts. Alex was instrumental in bringing the United Kingdom’s Top Gear television program to the United States via his ‘Final Gear’ web presence.

Back to inside the building: Mr. STP (Andy Granatelli) has his life in motor sports showcased. So do the “Women In Racing” (a rotating driver exhibit) Simulators for Lotus Formula, Lotus Indy and a NASCAR Taurus, along with a true replica of the 31 degree incline that makes up the Daytona Banking Wall. You may have seen the NASCAR vehicles through the windows of the museum if you cruise I-5 in Wilsonville.

Stop instead of passing by, pick any day (except Mondays when the museum is closed) and check it out. Just don’t stop on a nice day in the summer like I did without committing to a full morning of cars, racecars, stockcars, drag cars.

Petersen Roseburg Auction

Graffiti Weekend in Roseburg Oregon has a lot of things going on every July. One of the happenings is the Petersen Collector Car Auction, held at the Douglas County Fair Grounds.

This year offered a number of very nice collector cars. As usual the auction was well attended. My friend Bill Nelson and I have been making a habit of going to this auction each year for the last several. There were some great deals to be had. I shoulda bought that last car across the block… what a dummy I am.

The 60 Biscayne was really nice and it went to a new home. So did a very nice 63 Chevrolet Impala.

Petersen’s Auction is a family owned and operated, Oregon based company that really does a great job with each of their auctions, usually three per year. This one in Roseburg in July and two in Salem, one in the fall and one typically in February. Check them out either as a buyer or a consigner. You might find your next old car treasure, or you could thin your own herd.

Visit their web site www.petersencollectorcars.com to see what’s coming up on the block in Salem September 28.th Or call Curt or Susan @ 541-689-6824.