Jack’s Specialty Parts

Last month we put a picture of Jack Corley on the cover of the paper… I neglected to put a caption on that picture saying “Next Month” a story about Jack Corley. I got a few calls asking why did you put a picture and on the cover? “I looked all through the paper for the story and there isn’t one.” I laughed it off and made a couple lame excuses about it being a nice picture of Jack and that Jack is a good guy and long-time supporter of R & R NW. Well Jack is a nice guy and the picture in lasts month issue was a good picture and representative of what you’ll find at swap meets all over the Northwest throughout the year. He is a hard-working vendor helping old car enthusiasts from all over, to restore, rebuild, refurbish their old cars, me included!

Jack has been in the parts business longer than some of you reading this have been… He started in parts/sales in Portland at George Lawrence Co. Warehouse back in 1955. He moved to a manufacturers rep. with Niehoff in 1956 where he worked for just a few days/weeks short of 20 years. He’s been in the automotive/race car world before that. Starting in 1953 working for Ed Tonkin’s Motors, a Kaiser dealership, on then named, Union Avenue in Portland.

He simultaneously operated a “race car performance parts, side hustle” business, called Jack’s Specialty Speed starting in 1956 featuring race car stuff. He even built and rented complete race cars to racers and he bought and sold race cars too. Through his travels as he came across “excess inventory” at dealerships he would buy that inventory. Car manufacturers limited what and how much a dealership could return in terms of parts. Speaking from experience, I once was the “parts manager” at a dealership, the OE manufacturer seemed to make it as difficult as possible to return parts, I think in an effort to discourage returns. That’s just my opinion. This practice created an opportunity to acquire OE parts and Jack took advantage of it. He also bought out aftermarket parts stores excess inventories. Jack would load these buys in the trunk of his car which was often overloaded and take them home where he eventually built a 15,000 square foot building to store and inventory the stuff.

Essentially, he ended up with what I’ll call a “Parts House,” specializing in old, maybe obsolete, primarily “hard parts.” And he called it Jack’s Specialty Parts. For about 10 years Jack would hold a “Swap Meet” in the backyard parts paradise. They had a Friday night, movie night, camp out, the night before the swap meet. Unfortunately, I never attended, mostly because I was simply unaware, too bad. It sounds like that was a lot of fun.

In about 1999, Jack “retired”… well, he started selling parts from this parts house full time. About 10 years ago he moved to his currently location at 909 NE Cleveland Ave., in Gresham. If you never been there you should go visit him. Over the years he has collected way more than a few auto-related, what I’ll call memorabilia pieces and they decorate many square feet of the walls of his “store.” Jack tells me that he had to down size considerably, that part of his business when he moved.

If you’re looking for hard parts for your latest rebuild of your treasured old car, you have an old car parts house as close as your phone. Jack has many years of experience in parts to help you make that treasure as good as it can be. Give him call at 503-667-1725, or visit him at 909 NE Cleveland Ave. in Gresham, OR.

Points & Plugs

Building an old car or should I say resurrecting an old car, whether you restore it, resto-mod it or whatever, is both rewarding and frustrating both at the same time. You’ll always need parts and parts are often hard to find, or even not available at all. This has been the case for as long as people have been “restoring” anything that’s been out of production for many years.

The scenario has actually spawned an entire industry, reproduction parts, after-market parts, performance parts etc. not to mention the many shops that specialize in repairing/rebuilding old things for you.

Being a self-proclaimed “Car Guy” for as long as I can remember, I have been fixing/restoring these old cars for a long time. When I first jumped into a restoration with both feet (in 1973) the car I was restoring was just 13 years old. At that time older Corvettes were just that… old. Nobody restored them then really. The good news was a lot of parts were still available right from the dealer, but not everything. Specialty wrecking yards had come into being and because Corvettes were popular you could find most of what you needed either new or good used. Reproduction parts didn’t really exist then, except for reproduction body parts.

As good used parts began to disappear and GM discontinued production on the older stuff “repops” of the many hard to find parts became available. Some of the first reproduction parts were just ok at best but as time passed better quality repro parts were produced, thankfully.

For many metal cars when new OE parts weren’t available you had to search high and low for good used ones and when those became scarce another aspect of the after-market/reproduction parts industry was born even to include entire bodies being stamped and or new parts/cars made of fiberglass.

Unfortunately, some of the repro parts looked good but didn’t fit or weren’t made quite right, poor bends, wrong size, thinner metal. As time passed improvements have been made but I personally have recently experienced extreme frustration with the quality, fit and finish of after market parts for my 55 Chevy Sedan. I bought repro-doors. They look amazing! They aren’t cheap to buy or ship, and they don’t fit… period. I’ve expressed my disappointment to some of the “pros” I know and asked if they had experienced the same thing. The answer was uniformly a resounding “YES.” I couldn’t believe it! These parts are expensive! They cost a ton and to have them not fit really makes me mad.

I know that the fit and finish of a 55 Chevy from new wasn’t as precise as modern cars are today, so I have to say I expected a little bit of fitment issues but… when you look close the style lines aren’t straight, the bends aren’t crisp, the mating surfaces are way off plumb, the upper front corners where they meet the cowl and the fender are at least ¼ of an inch too high and not shaped correctly to match up with the cowl and fender. They aren’t even close! And to repair them would take a master metal man, not a novice like me.

I have six old OE doors but they too need repair (a qualified metal man) and would likely cost a lot of money to repair them but having to spend a lot of money on repairing brand new doors that you just spent a lot of money to buy is really disappointing. Don’t’ get me wrong reproduction parts have improved dramatically but these doors are a long way from being a bolt on and go, part.

I hope this poor quality fit and finish gets fixed soon and it has improved some but there is a long way to go before I’ll be happy. Buyer Beware.

Medford Rod & Custom Show

It’s always exciting when spring arrives. Better weather is coming and with it, car shows, cruise-ins, swap meets and other fun car related events begin to happen everywhere. Of course, there are big car shows in January, February, March, and April through-out the Northwest. In fact, there are so many that this lowly reporter just can’t get to all of them. Luckily, (and thankfully) I have several dedicated volunteers who can cover some of them and that lets us be able to bring you stories about them.

One I’ve been covering for a number of years now, is the Medford Rod & Custom Show. Promoter, Rich Wilson, always does a great job of getting new and different entrants to bring their cars for all of us to enjoy. It would be pretty boring to see the same cars, trucks, and motorcycles every year. At this show you don’t have to worry, there’s something different every year.

Many of you reading this may recall the marque Kaiser and/or Frazier. Some of you, probably have never heard of them. Fewer still, of you have ever actually seen either of them in person. There was a Frazier on display at the Medford Rod and Custom Show. It wasn’t a hot rod or a custom, but a restored and well preserved old car that took me down memory lane.

I’ve mention before that Rich does something that I’ve only seen at his show. Any of you that have shown your cars in a show like this can confirm that it is a lot of work. Cleaning, polishing, setting up your display and then maintaining it throughout the show can be a challenge and with your car on display you’re kind of stuck. You can’t really go home, you may not live locally, you can’t go back to your hotel, you have to keep your display looking clean and fresh. Rich creates a small “Participants Lounge” area at the show, where you can go to get a snack, a soda or just relax when all that dusting becomes too tedious. I’ve only ever seen this terrific idea at the Medford Rod & Custom Show. Other show promoters take note!

This year the weather co-operated and stayed clear and sunny for the most part. The better weather resulted in a very busy Hot Rod parking area just outside the several display buildings. Many who came to see the show drove their own old car/hot rod etc. which created an outdoor cruise atmosphere and additional car display for everyone to enjoy.

If you’ve never participated in or gone to this great show as a spectator, put it on your “to do list” for 2019. It’s worth it!


Portland Swap Meet

The 54th Annual Portland Swap Meet has come and gone again for another year. The weather even co-operated mostly this year. That doesn’t mean the wind didn’t blow and that it didn’t rain… No, it means the weather has been worse during other years. It rained some and the wind blew some, but the swap meet was as successful as ever.

One of my friends has accused me of having rust in my veins… I don’t! Well at least I don’t think I do, but I am getting old. However, back to the PSM. It’s been around a long time. It’s changed some, grown, it’s shrunk, it’s been rained on etc. and yet it continues to be a one of the best swap meets on the west coast.

The organization that puts it on has gotten it down to a science at this point. There are large parking areas conveniently near by where one can catch any number of shuttle buses that will take you to and from quickly and easily. This swap meet is well attended and the attention to traffic flow and transportation is much appreciated and well-orchestrated by the organizer.
I always find most if not all of what I’m needing for my projects. I’m looking forward to the next Portland Swap Meet, which by the way, is scheduled for April 5-6 & 7 2019. Put the date on your calendar and plan to attend.

Corvettes at World of Speed

The World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville, Oregon periodically changes their displays. Currently they are displaying a number of Corvettes. This display nearly spans the 65 years of the Corvettes existence.

The first production Corvette was built in June of 1953 in Flint Michigan. The Corvette is referred to as “Americas Sports Car.” Also in this display is a 1959 Ferrari TR, also known as a 250 Testa Rossa. These Ferraris dominated the World Sportscar Championship Series at the time.
Next the museum will change out these displays and have a Porsche display opening on April 28th. Please support our local automobile museum.


FULL CUSTOM

There aren’t many FULL customs being built any more. Full resto-mods, full high dollar builds yes; but customs like those that were being built at many custom shops back in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s aren’t being built much any more. Tom Zink’s 1941 Ford “Custom” “Victoria” is a custom built in the tradition mentioned above.

Tom and Marsha Zink of Gresham Oregon bought a fairly straight 41 Ford Coupe a few years back and then set about turning it into what you see here. The list of “Mods” is extensive with not much of the original sheet metal, trim, glass or any part really is left untouched. We don’t have room to list all of the changes that made but we’ll touch on as many as we can.

The frame is a Jim Meyers Racing fabrication. (Jim Meyer Racing Products, Lincoln City, OR. 541-994-7717.) Made specifically for this car with GMC independent front suspension, chromed, a Mustang rack & pinion steering, power disc brakes and stainless steel exhaust. The rear diff is a Dutchman 9”unit, narrowed 4”, the trans is a Ford AOD that backs up a Ford 351 Windsor bored .030 over and polished or chromed wherever possible. This then is in keeping with the latest trend to put a Ford in a Ford. Nice.

Fenders on stock 41 Fords are bolt on units. These have been reshaped, wheel openings changed and massaged, before they were welded in place. The body sides have been extended down and channeled over the frame and the hood reshaped, sectioned, and welded to make it a one-piece hood from the original two-piece.

The coupe top has been modified using the top and vent windows from a 51 Ford Victoria hardtop with hand formed side glass frames to create possibly the only 41 Ford 2 dr. hardtop alive. The other body mods are countless.

The interior sports power windows, handmade or modified 51 Ford Victoria pieces, modified Corvette seats, Chrysler dash, creature comforts from Vintage Air, Ididit Steering all wrapped in beautiful beige leather with contrasting dark blue carpet. Almost no part of the beautiful car has been left untouched. It’s simply beautiful from top to bottom, inside and out.

As I place this story in the March issue, Tom, Marsha and “Victoria” are at the Sacramento Autorama, one of the longest running Car Shows in America. I hope she brings home some more gold in the form of another Best of Show Trophy.
“Victoria,” has placed first in the following shows as a Radical Custom in 2017. Forest Grove, Portland Roadster Show, Spokane Speed and Custom, Boise Roadster Show and the “Grand Daddy” here in the West, The Grand National Roadster Show, Pomona California.

As I place this story in the March issue Tom, Marsha and “Victoria” are at the Sacramento Autorama, one of the longest running Car Shows in America. I hope she brings home some more gold in the form of another Best of Show Trophy or trophys.

Late NOTE: Victoria cleaned up at the Sacramento Autorama in the Custom D’ Elegance class with Five Awards. Outstanding Under Carriage, Outstanding Paint, Outstanding Interior, Outstanding Detail, and an Achievement Award. Congratulations Tom and Marsha.

Petersen Collector Auction

I guess the best way to sum up the February 3rd, collector car auction is a single word is, . . . WOW!

I’ve been going to this auction for many years now and I have to say the consignments (92 this year) were some of the best I’ve seen there.

As always, they sell a few automobilia items first thing and then it’s off to the cars. I was wishing I had been able to get my Chevy Biscayne done in time but alas it wasn’t to be. I just ran out of time. To bad too because with a nearly 50% sell thru, this was a successful auction.

There were a number of very nicely restored cars and trucks available, some big dollar cars and they sold. One in particular was a super nice 63 Nova that was restor-moded very tastefully and it brought worthy bids and found a new home.

There were a couple newer Challengers, two Hellcats, neither quite met reserve but came close. Of course, though some cars were no sales at the auction; however, they may still be available. Call Curt or Susan @ 541-689-6824 if there is one you are still interested in. For instance, there was a nice old 1920 Model T Ford Truck that would be a great advertising tool for a business that’s still available for sale. It might look great with your company name hand painted on wooden side racks.

There were a number of special interest dealers in attendance too and they came to buy, and they did just that. You can be assured that the cars were right as were the prices because some of these buyers took several cars back to their places of business.

The next Oregon’s original Oregonian owned Collector Car Auction will be in Roseburg at the Douglas County Fair Grounds, July 7th. Mark your calendars, consign early and plan to attend.

Charity Car Show and Cruise In at Benny’s

Every winter in December there is a Charity Car show/cruse-in at Benny’s Rod & Custom Pizza Café in Vancouver Washington. Some years it’s raining, some not and still other times it’s freezing cold, but none of that seems to dampen the spirits of the die-hard car people that bring their unwrapped toys and food donations along with the cars, out for little gathering.

The attendees are always different cars you don’t usually see. It is put on by the Road Masters Car Club and held at Benny’s, who creates a one day only breakfast menu that’s terrific and very reasonably priced.

It’s worth attending even if only for Benny’s great food and hot rod atmosphere and it’s all for charity.


The Albany Indoor Swap Meet

The Albany Indoor Swap Meet has proven to be a terrific swap meet year after year. One of the best parts is that it’s indoors as the title says. Even though it’s in November, in Oregon, you don’t need to spend much time out in the rain, slopping around in mud. It’s inside at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center in Albany Oregon.

I’ve been attending this meet for many years and I always find things I can’t live without. This year it’s probably good I didn’t have at lot of discretionary income because I found several cars for sale that I’d very likely own if I did have that extra money. I did buy a couple of things for my project I’m working on but the best deal I got was a GM distributor hold down that Bob White from Graffiti Alley in Eugene gave me when I picked it up and asked how much. Thanks Bob.
My buddy found several pieces he was looking for at great prices for his projects. There isn’t usually much to choose from for the car hobbyist during the winter here in the Northwest, but this swap meet needs to be on your list for next fall for sure.


NWDRA Swap Meet

Every January the NWDRA holds a swap meet at the Clark County Event Center and I go every year. It’s a one-day event and usually I end up finding something I must have. You notice, I didn’t say “something I need.” Sometimes it something as simple as valve covers or as large as a differential, or some wheels.

The club, the Northwest Drag Racing Association of course draws vendors with a focus on drag racing but that’s not all you’ll find, not only racing stuff. A couple years ago I found an 8” Ford rear end that a friend of mine needed for one of his builds. It turned out to be a great buy and it was in new condition. This year that same friend was with me and he found a valve cover for a six (6) cylinder that he needed to replace the one he had that was no longer usable. Add this swap meet to your next year’s list, it’s a good one.