My First Car

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From time to time I’ve heard about or read a story about someone’s first car or even cars. How they found it or how it found them and often these stories are fun and entertaining. An example might be my first “car.”

Back when I was growing up it wasn’t considered a necessity to put anti-freeze in one’s cars. I vaguely recall that antifreeze wasn’t in fact used unless threatening weather was coming. At least such was the case in my family.

At this point I can’t honestly remember which car was my “first” car, but at about 13 or so a family friend told me that if I wanted “that old Ford” that I could have it. It was a ’49 Ford 2dr. sedan. It was pretty straight with the front sheet metal off and the engine missing. All I had to do was come tow it home. I talked my Dad into helping with the amazing stroke of luck? But we didn’t have a trailer or a tow bar. I rented a tow bar from A&A Rental on Molalla Avenue in Oregon City and away we went to bring home this amazing treasure.

Of course, hind sight is always clearer but I have to say, “What was I thinking”? I think we got pieces of the engine and loaded them in the trunk, rigged up the tow bar and dragged this pile home. It never became anything more than lawn art, that is until the day 5 years later that it became the donor car for a rear leaf spring rebuild that I had to do on my 55 Chevy after the main leaf snapped. I know what you’re thinking. No, I wasn’t doing a 4-grand clutch sidestep launch in an illegal street race. I can’t say that hadn’t happened to that 55 before I bought it but, it didn’t happen this time. I think the main leaf just died of fatigue that faithful evening as I was leaving the gas station where I worked. I heard a “snap” and the car listed slightly after I crossed the rather large dip at the driveway entrance/exit onto 7th street. I motored up the hill until I pulled into the Union station that was still open, where Jim worked and I told him what I’d heard. He said pull it in on the rack and we’ll see. Yes, it was the same Jim whom I’m still friends with today and it’s interesting to note that he has always been that same nice he is today.

We discovered the broken main leaf that was still hanging together fortunately, but it was evident that it wasn’t fixable only replaceable. I told Jim I didn’t have a spare and he volunteered that he had a set that needed to rebuilt. He also said that if I added one leaf it would raise the car slightly and of course stiffen the suspension a little. I told him I didn’t know anything about rebuilding or replacing a set of leaf springs and he volunteered information about how to do it. I bought the rebuildable set from Jim and used the components scavenged from the 49 Ford and new center bolts to create the springs I needed.

At five years after acquiring the 49 it had managed to get in the way enough that my Dad sent it to old junk car purgatory. The woods on his property where part of it rest till this day. Naturally with younger brothers and their friends and then my kids and then my siblings kids their ain’t much left of that first car.

At the beginning of this tale I mentioned I couldn’t remember “Which” car was first. You might also recall that I told a story about antifreeze being optional back then. Because of people considering it optional my uncle’s wife’s 50 Chevy 2dr. sedan developed a significant freeze crack along the right lower side of its original 6-cylinder block. To my total surprise one day my aunt and uncle drove in our driveway in separate cars. My uncle had driven the 50 Chevy. When asked why they had each driven he said that he was going to “GIVE” me the Chevy. It still ran good but leaked and I could use it to drive around on the farm to learn how to drive. At the ripe old age of 13 I thought I already knew how to drive but I didn’t say that because I was really excited about having my own, running, driving car. I felt like I was the coolest kid anywhere within many miles of Redland Oregon. My Own Car! I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel to see what she could do. I don’t remember how all that worked out but I do remember sitting in it dreaming about driving around in my Chevy.

As I mentioned, I had little brothers and a sister. If I’m right about my age at the time that would make my siblings 5, 3 and 2 ish. My 3-year-old little brother has always been the helpful kind of guy and even then, he wanted to help his big brother. He decided that since my car burned gas and gas was expensive, he would help me out. With the Chevy parked near the pump house and with his understand of putting gas in cars, trucks and equipment he filled up the gas tank on the Chevy for me. Unfortunately, he used the garden hose… with water. The next time I went out to start my car, it started but then died never to start again. Still I didn’t know why so I kept trying to start it. Eventually through conversation with my brothers I learned what had happened.

One day a family stopped and asked if “that old Chevy in the field ran?” After the explanation, they wanted to know what we would take for the car. We settled on $15.00 whole dollars. The woman accompanied my Mom into the house to retrieve the title while I help the man hook it up to be towed by the car they were driving. They seemed so nice and friendly, you know really nice people. They thanked us profusely, climbed into their tow vehicle and the Chevy and happily waved goodbye as they drove out of the drive way.

Sometime later I asked my Mom for the $15.00 the lady gave her when she surrendered the title. She said she gave her the title but she didn’t get the money and asked “didn’t you get the money from the man when you were helping him hook it up to be towed?” What a sinking feeling! No car, no money, no name or address from them, no nothing.

That, Ladies and Gentlemen is the story of my “first” car (s). Maybe you’d like to share your “First Car” experience? Hopefully it was better than mine. We’d like to hear your story and share it with our readers. If you have a “First Car” story you’d like to share please type it up and send it to us @
R & R NW, 17273 So. Steiner Rd., Beavercreek, OR. 97004 or email the copy to us @ roddinracinnw@gmail.com. We’ll give you the byline and print your story in an upcoming issue. I don’t have any pictures but if you do and would like to include them please also include a self-address stamped envelope so we can send them back or email them to us as a jpeg attachment to an email. We look forward to hearing and sharing your stories. ED.

7th Annual Cruise to Historic Downtown Oregon City

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Trick ‘n Racy Car Club together with the Downtown Oregon City Association, has been putting this show/cruise on for 7 years with never a rain out. It’s generally nice in Oregon in September. Until 2016 that is. The weather was great for the seven days before September 17th and the five or so days after the 17th, but the day of it decided to rain and rain it did. It would let up a little once in a while but it never really quit, so the cruise got drenched.
This show/cruise has become very popular and has grown over the years in fact it had outgrown the space that was allotted so for 2016 they expanded the “footprint” so they wouldn’t have to turn anyone away, like had happened in recent years. Unfortunately “Mother Nature” had other plans. It wasn’t a total rain out thanks to some true diehards who showed up anyway and every one of them stuck it out to the bitter end. The organizers would like to thank all who helped and all who participated.

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Hot August Nights

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There are many really big annual and kinda famous Cruise-Ins/Car shows throughout this great country.

The back the 50’s Cruise in Minnesota is one. The Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise in, in Detroit is another. Of course the NSRA and The Good-guys put together great weekend cruises all across the country. They are all fun and usually BIG.

Out here in the West we have our own really BIG cruise-in/car show, Yup, Hot August Nights in Reno/Sparks. This cruise is 30 years old and still going strong. 2016 was no disappointment.

The main drag, Virginia Street, and several cross streets are blocked off during the day and participants display their cars on those blocked off streets each day. Toward evening the streets are cleared and crowd control barricades are brought it and placed along the curbs of Virginia and those cars that were displayed all day and many many more cars form up on North Virginia Street and cruise, double file, south on Virginia to the delight of 1000’s of on lookers from the sidewalks.

This downtown cruise and daily car show is sponsored by the downtown Casinos like, Harrah’s, The Silver Legacy, Circus Circus, The Eldorado and other businesses. There’s live music, great food and of course CARS.

For three days Summit Racing sponsors what I call a, mini trade show, at the Reno Event Center Downtown, billed as Big Boy Toys. A long list of vendors brings their products and knowledgeable representatives with expertise in their chosen fields/products to help you with your next build. Summit Racing sets up a remote order desk right at the show so you can order your needs right there and then pick it up later at their store/warehouse a few miles down the road in Sparks. Or it can be set up for shipment to your home address, so you don’t have to worry about having the room to carry your purchases home in your car. Very convenient!  I’ve used this method myself many times.

In addition to the downtown venue many of the other Casino/Resorts all over the area sponsor and hold their own car show/cruise-ins right at their locations, with valuable prizes, live music, food etc. In fact the whole town/area gets into the spirit with something going on all the time, every day, the whole week. There are mini cruises at most of the outlying Casinos throughout the days and evenings. And like in downtown Reno, Sparks blocks off their main drag and cruises double file throughout the evenings.

With nearly 6000 registered participants there were Hot Rods, Street Rods, Street Machines, box stock restorations, race cars, you name it. Everywhere.
There is a swap meet too, at the Reno/Sparks Livestock Expo. I like swap meets whether I’m in need of more rusty parts or not. The same organizers have been running the HAN Swap Meet for several years now and it just get bigger and better every year. Plus, they have a car for sale corral inside out of the weather in the Expo Arena. There were some good buys available this year. You could have bought your next project or finished project there and participated in the fun all week and then driven it home.

This year Motorsport Auction Group held a collector car auction at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center. This was their first time at this event and what a great job they did putting on a pretty big time auction. Lots of nicely restored, hot rodded, etc. cars and trucks changed hands. Dave Kindig with Kindig-it-Design was on hand at the auction with several of the cars his shop in Utah had recently completed. Some you probably saw on TV on his show “Bitchin’ Rides.” He and “Kev Dog” Kevin Schiele were on hand to field everyone’s questions. They are a couple really nice guys and they build absolutely fabulous cars and trucks. Check out the TV show on Velocity TV.

Marsha and I decided last year we were going and made our reservations way early. Always a good plan since we like to use our time share which is right in downtown Reno. It’s a condo like set up with 2 bedrooms, more room than we need so we asked another couple, who had NEVER been to HAN, if they wanted to go and they jumped at the chance. I’m not sure after spending a week there us, they were still as excited but we did have fun. Fortunately, they are car nuts too and they seem to like Margaritas as well, so all is well.

There is an opportunity to win prizes and money if your car is judged and receives an award. The Main Host Hotel is the Grand Sierra. If you plan to attend next year’s Hot August Nights, August 8th – 13th. Registration is open now and you can register online at www.hotaugustnights.net. Register early and save. The website has a host of valuable info so check it out. What’s not to like about a week of Cool Cars and Rock ‘n Roll music?


Milwaukie Cruise-In

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This year’s Cruise-In was held back on August 6th from 3pm to 10 pm at the Milwaukie Bowl located on Harrison Ave. across the Expressway from co-sponsor Mike’s Drive-In. 69 fantastic awards were given out including 5 special Sponsor Pick Trophies. With over 136 Street Rods, Custom Classic Cars and Trucks in attendance including the local MOPAR Club with over 10 cars registered. Live Music was provided by Ron Ruedi in a fenced off special Beer Garden area. The Benefit for the Missing in America Project and the Veterans Lines for Life, raised over $2800 dollars for the two local Veterans programs sponsored by the Pharaohs Street Rodders. It was a great show complete with Dash Plaques, Special T-Shirts, $1.00 Root Beer Floats & Hot Dogs and Chips plus special Glow Bowling games all day inside. Dirty Dave the Record Slave played Golden Oldies on request till 6pm to the hundreds of people in attendance.

Thanks to all for helping raise funds for our local veterans programs and thanks to all the volunteers making this year’s Milwaukie Cruise-In show one of the best ever.

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GoogGuys

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The GoodGuys host three-day weekend, first class car shows all over America every year starting in March and continuing through November. We, here in the NorthWest are lucky enough to get two of these events right here in our own back yard, one in the Seattle area, Puyallup Washington and one in Spokane. Pleasanton California, their home turf or kinda where it all began, gets four shows a year. Definitely worth the drive from almost anywhere out west and beyond.

I’ve been going to these long before Roddin’ & Racin’ NorthWest ever started but I have to say that this year’s 29th WESCO Pacific Northwest Nationals at the Washington State Fair Event Center in Puyallup Washington was really a great one.

There seemed to be tons of cars in attendance that I had never seen before. It’s really gratifying to an old car enthusiast like me to see that our hobby is going strong, in large part thanks to organizations like the GoodGuys Rod & Custom Association. Memberships and info are available on line. www.good-guys.com. The 2017 schedule isn’t out yet but check back on their site or better yet become a member and you’ll be notified when the new year schedule is out and come check out the fun next year.

Scholarships Announcement

Trick “N Racy Cars Club is pleased to announce that it has awarded three annual scholarships to three deserving Clackamas Community College students studying in the Automotive program for the 2016-2017 school year.
The recipients are Tanner Burdick, Adrian Camacho and Garrett Watson. Each student selected had strong academic credential and interest in the school’s car repair programs as well as a strong desire to improve their lives through education.
Congratulations to these hard working students who are working to improve their lives.

The 29th WESCO Pacific Northwest Nationals is “in the can” as they say.

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I’ve been going to these Goodguys Rod & Custom Association for a lot of years now and I think this year’s show was maybe bigger, more cars, than any I’ve been to in recent years. The number and quality of cars present was pretty impressive. The Swap meet grew this year too. A few more parts, more cars for sale and more people.

I’m always impressed with the quality of cars that come from Canada. Our brothers from up north really turn out some fantastic builds and I’m glad they come to the US to share their work with us.

This year I attended the drag races on Friday night at the Pacific Raceway, formerly SIR, Seattle International Raceway. It seemed like a “run what ya brung” kinda race. There were some amazingly fast cars there, some with a turbo or two, and blowers and then there were some that had trouble getting out of their own way. But it was fun just the same. A couple pro-mod cars were just frighteningly fast but certainly fun to watch.

A few of my friends brought their cars and picked a great spot in the shade to park since it was quite warm this year. I like going to these big shows like this because of all the vendors in attendance. When the big companies come and bring their big trailers full of product it’s great. You get to speak directly to someone with a lot of knowledge and you can get an up close look at the parts. More vendors ought to put these shows on the AD budget. It may or may not produce an instant boost in sales but I’ll bet it produces sales going forward for some time. I’m living proof of that. I checked out the Flowmaster display and learned all I could about what I wanted for my truck. I didn’t buy them at the show but I did buy them some months later when I was ready, all because of the info I got at a manufacturers booth at a car show.

Put the Goodguys 30th Annual Pacific Northwest Nationals on your July 2017 calendar and look for the exact dates in Roddin’ & Racin’ NorthWest in the spring next year. More coverage next month.

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Advertiser Update: Ron Wagner Fabrication

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The side trim on the Barn Find 55 had more than its share of dents as you can see in the pictures. I Thought that the one that’s smashed and bent almost to a 90-degree bend, was just scrap metal, but I decided to show it to Ron Wagner of Ron Wagner Fabrications to see what he thought. He said he could fix it. Well, as you can see he indeed did fix it. Amazing! And it’s beautiful.
He gave me a tour and showed me his shop and equipment. Ron has been doing this type of repair for many years. He explained that he can even make you a new part, from scratch, if he has a pattern. Ron creates dies as needed to repair or build your damaged or missing trim piece for your car or truck.

If your trim is bent, dull, nearly destroyed or missing, Ron can probably help you bring your pride and joy back to life. Give him a call at 503-568-2000 or email him at 
metalmanwag@gmail.com

The Hess Family

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Here’s a story about a family who are really car people.

Bill Hess is a car guy, always has been and continues to be. Bill has worked many years in the parts business and his “hobby” is, wait for it, Cars. He currently works at NAPA, High Desert Automotive Supply in Bend, Oregon.

You’ve all heard the saying, “The apple doesn’t fall from the tree.” Well that’s true in the case in spades.
Bill’s Son, Brent also works at the same auto parts store and one of his hobbies is also cars. But wait, that’s not all. Remember that apple thing? Well Brent’s son, Tucker is a car guy and he works for NAPA in Bend as well. He told me that he is interested in auto mechanics.

Each of these guys, three generations worth, have a special interest car. In addition, another one of Bills sons is also a car guy. Joe owns a 1953 Chevy 210, club coupe. I once owned a ’53 150 club coupe. You don’t see many of those, and Joe lives not far from me and I’ve seen his car on the road several times. Plus, to show you how deep the 30W flows in this family, David, another of Bill’s sons, owns a 1941 Dodge ½ ton Pickup that Bill rebuilt the mid-fifties Mopar six for. David doesn’t work in the auto industry but that doesn’t mean he’s not a car guy. He works at Clark’s Lumber & True Value in Tualatin Oregon. And they have a car show there every year. You’ve probably heard about it. Unfortunately I didn’t get any advanced notice of the 2016 show in time to include it in our coming events for May.

Bill has a very original 1952 Chevy, 4dr sedan. It’s not a hot rod but it’s well preserved and with a little newer 235 engine it’s a cool old car. He tells me too that he is working a 1963 Rambler Ambassador wagon with a stock 327 and an automatic. You don’t see many of those either. I didn’t get any pictures of the Ambassador the day I visited the Hess Family Car Guys at their work but I’m sure I’ll see it at a car function in the future.
Son, Brent has a 1967 Chevy Nova 2dr Hardtop with a 350 4spd. His Daughter has a 1966 VW Bug. See I told you they had a car family.

Tucker, who is a student, has a 1991 Pontiac Firebird, with a 350-5spd, that his Dad and his Grandfather helped him put together.

It’s pretty cool that three generations of the same family work in the auto parts industry, together, and all have cars they’ve built to their liking. The Car hobby is going strong in the Hess family of Central Oregon.

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