Barn Find

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Some of you will remember the story about my “55 Barn Find” from a nearly a few years ago, some of you won’t. I’ll catch everyone up now.  I bought a 55 Chevrolet 2dr. Delray that I referred to as a “Barn Find.” It have been languishing in a “Barn” for some thirteen years under the ownership of the guy I bought it from. That dated back to 1999. Prior to that the car likely sat unused for a minimum of another 12 or 13 years. The last license date was 1987.

The car appeared to be in “OK” condition, even if unused for a lengthy slumber. I found only minor rust, really, considering the car’s age. A few dents, cracked windows, stuck latches, locks, flat tires etc. and it didn’t run, heck it barely rolled. The brakes were gone, battery dead and yet to me it was a beauty.

When trailered my treasure home from miles north of Seattle back to Oregon and I got the chance to look it over better I decided it looked like it would maybe run if I just woke it up.   decided to try and rebuilt the carb, the generator, replaced the distributor, repaired and replaced as necessary, the exhaust, the fuel lines, the fuel pump, the gas tank, the battery, the fan belt, the spark plugs, the oil and filter.

The engine turned over and eventually it even started, but it ran on about 3 of the 6 cylinders. The valves were stuck so I literally used a pri-bar to close the valves each time they stuck open and I kept doing that until eventually they began to open and close on their own. Once it got it to where it would run I addressed the brakes, repairing and replacing as needed to get the car to stop.
The maiden voyage was a sight to behold. Simply breathtaking! What an accomplishment. I was proud, until I actually got the car all the way up to 25 MPH. It was truly freightening. I think my comments included, “isn’t it cool?”

“Wow I’ve wanted another one of these for 40 plus years? “What a pile.”  “I don’t remember the one I used to have being so bad.” This thing was awful, worn out, even dangerous.  I had never intended to “restore” it back to stock, I just wanted to get it running and mobile so that I could drive it occasionally as I set about collecting the many parts I needed to create the car of my dreams. I had to laugh at myself, “car of my dreams?” it was a nightmare.

Fast forward some time now from then to 2016. The car sat around waiting while I bought parts, restored another frame for it, pulled the engine and transmission from a wrecked Chevy Suburban, built a narrowed 9in. posi-traction differential, relocated the rear springs to allow for wider wheels and tires, installed tubular A-arm, new springs etc. etc.

As it often happens one runs out of money before the run out of things to buy. That dilemma post-pones everything for a while and that brings me up to date.

After collecting parts and pieces as I could afford them, I’m now able to get back to work. I cleared away the moth balls, charged the low battery, hand choked it and fired it up a few weeks back. I pulled it out of the shop and drove it around the yard a little and then put it on the 2 post. It was at last the time to take the car apart enough to get it off its original frame. I disconnected the steering gear box from the frame, discovered I didn’t have a pitman arm puller or a socket big enough to remove the nut holding the pitman arm on the steering shaft, so I called a “real” mechanic, my friend Jim and he said yes he had both and yes I could borrow them. You know it’s amazing how easy the right tools make some jobs. I mean it, it took every bit of 2 minutes to get the nut off and then pull the pitman arm. Thanks Jim.  There are 14 bolts that actually bolt the body to the frame through the rubber mounting bushings, floors and body mount brackets. Surprisingly all of them came out without much fuss… except that one. Of course the one that was rusted/stuck badly had to be one that you couldn’t get to both ends of. After several different attempts to loosen it I decided I’d just drag out the plasma cutter and cut the nut off, easy huh?

I’m never surprised at my lack of patience. I can usually plod along on most jobs because I’m aware that it’s a process. Many steps have to be taken to get the work done. There just isn’t any fast way or a short cut one can use to significantly shorten the process, but I always have to try. I bet you do to. Back to the plasma cutter. The car is on the rack, up in the air (above me) so I can get to the bolt under the rear splash apron. It’s the bolt that’s right in a little “pocket” that you can get to but there, is a 90 degree closed corner behind the bolt. I figured it would be simple and my lack of patience convinced me I was right. I didn’t need to put on my welding jacket, I wasn’t “welding,” I was just going to cut the end off one little bolt. I didn’t think about the fact that there would be “sparks and molten metal, being splattered by the high pressure air from the plasma torch, into a corner where the only way out was right back at ME! The molten slag that went down my open coveralls only burned for a minute. Now three weeks later, I’ve healed almost completely, all except my pride.

The core support has 2 bolts that bolt it to the frame in front so those bolts had to come out. All the shift linkage, gas pedal linkage, brake lines at the master cylinder, wires from the firewall to the engine, emergency brake cable connections, battery cables, fuel line at the gas tank and the speedo cable were all disconnected. I set the car down on its tires again and using some 2X4’s under the rocker panels, I set the lift arms and slowly raise the body from the frame. On the 55 there is a small “L” bracket on each side of the frame at the bottom of front fender splash apron where the splash apron is bolted with a sheet metal screw. Though I took the bolts out, the apron flange and the frame bracket interfere with each other and require a little finesse to get them to clear each other as the body is lifted, and ‘VIOLA’ the body is off!

Remembering back to the patience I don’t have, I had to get the “new” frame rolled up under the body to attempt a test fit. Well that couldn’t work because I’ve installed an oversized frame mounted gas tank and the spare tire well won’t clear it and the steering column has to come out before I can attempt to put the body on the frame.

Well now we are kinda up to date on the “55 Barn Find.” I’ll put together another installment for a future issue. It is getting exciting for me. See you next time. ED.

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NWDRA Swap Meet

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Every January for quite a while now, the NWDRA has held a swap meet at the Clark County Event Center. This year the swap meet was bigger than in recent years but I like going to this meet because it’s smallish and I usually find good deals on good stuff.
Last year I ran across a Ford 8’ differential center section that looked to be brand new/rebuilt for a decent price. I didn’t need it but my friend Jim wanted one. He was in Turlock California at a swap meet there, so I called him and told him about what I found and he said he wanted it, so I bought it. He was pleased with the find when he saw it and it’s now in the Model A his is building.

I don’t know yet what the date for next year’s meet is but stay tuned to the “Coming Events” page in this paper as January approaches and plan to attend.

February 2016 Petersen Auction

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February 6th was the date for the first Petersen Collector Car Auction of 2016. It was held in Salem at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in the Jackman-Long Building. What a great showing of consigned cars and trucks as well as memorabilia.  There was also a great showing of bidders too.

The bidding started off with a flurry with the memorabilia crossing the block. A small amount of signs, clocks, gas station air stations and pumps.  All of these were in new/restored condition and a great addition to anyone’s TV room or “Man Cave.”  
There was a great turnout of potential bidders and they came to buy. The auction had a 60% sell through and the prices were respectable. The quality of the vehicles was very good and I think that both the sellers and the buyer went home happy.
I raised my hand to bid on a car just as the auctioneer hammered it sold and I missed it. I shouldn’t have hesitated, but that’s the way it goes.

If you’re looking to sell your special interest car or truck your Hot Rod or collector car, plan ahead and consign early for the next Petersen Collector Car Auction, July 9th at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Roseburg. I’ll see you there. Petersen Collector Car-541-689-6824.

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6th Annual Cruise to Downtown Oregon City

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Toward the end of the 2015 car show/cruise-in season Trick ‘n Racy Car Club held their 6th Annual Cruise to Historic Downtown Oregon City.

The weather couldn’t have been better with warm sun and a light breeze, it was just a beautiful day.  The turn-out was terrific as well, with nearly 400 cars for the second year in a row.

The Club teams up with the Downtown Oregon City Association to put this show together annually and it just seems to be getting bigger and better every year.

Just in case you didn’t know… the “Historic” part of the title relates to the fact that Oregon City was the first Capital of the Oregon Territory back in the 1800s, before Oregon became a State in 1859. Which also makes Oregon City an old town. The buildings and streets have changed over the years but are still layed out the same as they were 150 years ago. It’s a quaint little downtown area and it works out great for an open air car show.
Incedently, for two years in a row the show has filled up entirely and some potential entrants had to be turned away.  The show in 2016 will be held Saturday, September 17th. The organizers have decided to expand the car display area. All the details haven’t been worked out but they are working on plans to have enough room for as many as 800 cars and more vendor booths. Mark this one on your must go to list.

Hot Rod Pile Up

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Have you ever been invited to a “Pileup?” Neither had I, that is until last August. I didn’t know what a Pileup was really but it seemed safe enough. The card said it started at 2pm, bring a side dish or dessert & beverage, with BBQ served at 6pm. Ah ha! Sounds like a food type gathering, not unlike many family and friends type summer outdoor happenings.
I still didn’t really know what it was or was for and then I read the invitation from the top. I never read things from the beginning. I always read who it’s from, who it’s to, when, you know get the high lights and then I think I know something.  I read assembly instructions the same way, if I read them at all.  But that usually only happens after a couple failed attempts at assembly. I’ve heard it said that’s a “guy thing,” whatever that means.

At the top of the invitation it said 2015 Hotrod Pileup!  OK, now it’s beginning to make more sense. It was from Jim Lindsay, the author of “Little Bastards.”  Apparently he has an annual get together at the family farm in Shedd, Oregon. Also apparently he invites his many friends and acquaintances that are into, what else? Hot Rods, to drive their Hot Rod and come spend a summer afternoon checking out each other’s cars, talking, eating and just plain enjoying each other’s company. Pretty cool, Huh?

Naturally, I had to drive my daily driver, since none of my “Hot rods” are usable yet. Though the ’48 Ford did drive across the driveway from one shop to another just last week. No windows, lights, paint or completed interior but the clutch didn’t chatter, the engine sounded like any flathead with glass packs and it stopped on its own.  Pretty cool, I thought. But, the turnout was impressive both in number and uniqueness of cars in attendance. There were some really nice looking restorations and or hot rods.

I had no idea that there were so many car guys out there in farm country but there sure is. Check out the pictures and you see what I mean.  I want to tell Jim thank you for the invitation it was a fun “Pileup,” and despite the name, I’m not aware of any injuries.

Jim tells me he is working on his latest book. We’ll let you know when we know more.

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Petersen Auction Group Salem Auction

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In October the Northwest’s own Petersen Auction Group held their Salem Auction at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. This one was the third and final auction for 2015.

The auction offered nearly 80 vehicles, some antiques, some modern muscle, some hot rods, in general some interesting and fun cars and trucks.  The first things to “cross the block” are usually automotive memorabilia. There is often restored service station gas pumps, air & water stations, signs and other collectibles. I like these nostalgia pieces, though I really don’t have any room for them.  The restored items are always beautifully done and are items we would all be proud to own.

The real fun began around 10 a.m. with a 1972 GMC Pickup crossing the block. The third car was a very well preserved 1971 Mercedes 250, 4dr. sedan. It appeared to be all stock and well cared for. I couldn’t believe it was a 44 year old car. A friend of mine bought it. Since he had two cars there I helped him get his daily driver home after the auction, he drove the Mercedes. His report was that he loved the car, everything worked, it ran great and he was fortunate to have gotten it.

February 2016 begins a new year of Petersen Auctions. Again at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, all inside, warm and dry on Saturday February 6th. See their ad in this issue for contact info for consignments or visit their website, www.petersencollectorcars.com. You just might find your next fun vehicle at the auction.

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The Original Canby Oregon Harvest Swap Meet

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One of my friends laughs at me and I don’t know why. Well, maybe I have an idea but he seems to usually be there with me so … You see he makes fun of me and rust. His comments include, “You must have rust in your veins, or grease … We often go to swap meets together and I’m usually found gazing in wide eyed wonder at some rust colored treasure that he hasn’t a clue about. He’ll ask “what’s that,” or he might just shake his head, turn away and chuckle as I stop to study some unidentifiable old part. He just doesn’t get it.

We do have different tastes in collectible cars and trucks but there is crossover. He sees humor in my knowledge of this part or that part for some old American car, while he on the other hand knows way to much about old Porsches, BMW’s, Auto Union (Is that a car brand?) or Mercedes.

Swap meets are a great place for us car guys to go find parts and pieces or even whole cars for future and current projects. The Canby Harvest Swap meet never disappoints. Usually in early October with a lot undercover at the Clackamas County Fair and Event Center, you might find just what you’re looking for.

This years’ swap meet was a pretty good one. I took some unneeded but usable stuff and I sold everything I took except for one piece. I also found somethings that I just couldn’t live without, though I’m happy to say I brought home far less than I took. My friend sort of took a car and brought home a different one. I must say, things were changing hands at a brisk pace.  Put this one on your to do list for next fall. Oh, and next month, in January, don’t forget the NWDRA Performance Swap meet. (See coming events this issue) One of my favorites too.

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24th Annual Hot Rod Reunion

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The 24th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion Presented by Automobile Club of Southern California at Auto Club Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield California is in the history books for another year.  Getting your nostalgia fix for old time drag racing is sure to be satisfied at this event.

In addition to the drag racing there is a car show/cruise-in in the “Grove” right behind the grandstands that covers about a ¼ mile with historic drag machines and new hot rods alike. Beyond that adjacent to the track there is a swap meet where you can find amazing hot rod stuff. I’ve never seen so many “Blowers” for sale, in my life, some very vintage and some not so old. There’s a vendor row between the pits and the Grove, where you can find tons of stuff. I bought a hot rod t-shirt for my newest grandson. Naturally, it was too big, but he’ll grow into it.

This event is quite a spectator event. The stands at Famoso run almost from the starting line to the finish line and they were nearly full most of the time. There were a few mishaps. A couple wrecks, some broken parts and a lot of old time front engine dragsters. Saturday night at dusk, these old race cars put on quite a show. Most of them are push start cars and the owners did just that, pushed them one at a time down the return road in front of the packed stands and lit up about 75 of ‘em. They then drove them around the Jersey barrier behind the water box and out onto the track. They idled them down the track and starting near the finish line, they parked them diagonally one by one where they sat and “Cackled” until they ran out of fuel. The line ran almost all the way back up the track to the “tree.”

By this time it was completely dark and the flames were popping out of the zoomies as they cackled until their fuel was gone. If you’ve never seen or heard a “Cackle Fest,” It’s pretty cool.

While wandering through the swap meet we stumbled onto a vendor booth operated by none other than Mr. Gene Winfield. He very graciously offered to pose for a picture and he even held up his copy of Roddin’ & Racin’ Northwest. Man, I’d love to know all the hot rod history he has experienced. A little farther down the aisle a golf cart pulled up to my buddy Jim who was wearing a vintage Ed Iskederian t-shirt and the passenger was none other than the man himself, Mr. Ed Iskenderian. He asked Jim if his shirt was an original (old) shirt, which it wasn’t, but a new reproduction of an old one.  He also asked if we used any of his cams, which we do and have and he offered his hand to this nobody and introduced himself. I was impressed with his gracious friendliness. He has been working at this hot rod stuff for a while too.

Back at the beginning of this article I mentioned there was drag racing going on, tons of it. Nitro burning rails, Funny cars, Altereds, lots of the old stuff you might remember seeing back in the sixties, gassers etc. and newer stuff as well. In the front of the pit area nearest the staging lanes there we vintage race cars, push cars/trucks, old gassers galore. It was a pretty cool weekend and it was the 24th annual, which suggests the likelihood of a 25th annual. It’s worth the trip if you like hot rods and race cars, but take your sunblock and hat because it was pretty sunny and you will definitely get burnt if you’re not protected.  Look for next years’ event again in mid to late October.

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HEADS UP PEOPLE!

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Recently I was talking with Cliff at Cliff’s Classic Chevys and he mentioned a recent rash of thefts and burglaries that have been happening all over rural Clackamas County here in Oregon. It’s not known if they are related but it seems that many home shops have been broken into under cover of darkness and a myriad of specialty car parts have been stolen. Additionally some cars have been stolen as well as tools, equipment and trailers. I decided I needed to write a little story about this to send out a warning, so I called a half dozen victims of these crimes to learn more.

Apparently these thieves have “cased” their targets seeking the parts, tools and cars etc. One victim told me that they must be very proficient at it and therefore very practiced because he didn’t hear a thing. They may be slipping a thin piece of metal between the door and the jamb to trip the knob lock in some cases. To load out all of what has been taken must take a considerable amount of time too.

It’s unfortunate that others think it’s ok to take things that don’t belong to them.

The 57 Chevrolet seen elsewhere in R&R NW for some time now, has not been recovered or seen since the day it disappeared. The Camaro pictured here was stolen in August. I’m not certain whether this one has been recovered or not, but it wouldn’t hurt to call the police if you see it.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Speaking of being safe, some of the thefts took place where no alarms were present… or sorry, years ago I put in an alarm right AFTER a break in. It’s safe to say that getting a monitored alarm BEFORE a break in is much better idea. Security cameras are a good idea too. In some of these thefts these thieves had to have a truck and it had to be close because carrying the stolen items very far would have been extremely difficult. Security cameras with recording devices could have captured a vehicle allow for a description or an identifying number.

I’m trying to encourage you to keep your eyes open for potentially stolen property and for your own security. Look over what you have done to secure your stuff.  If locks need to be update, do it. If alarms systems, video security cameras need updating, do yourself a favor and update everything before you’re stuff gets stolen. Also, review your insurance coverage. One victim told me that he thought he was covered only find out his insurance didn’t cover “car parts” “that weren’t attached to a car?” Are you kidding?  I’ll do my best to be kind but, some insurance coverage “fine print,” just ain’t right. Check with your agent to make certain your coverage is what you think it should be and correct it if it isn’t. He lost years’ worth of parts he had collected for his projects, that probably totaled $20,000 worth, all uninsured because of one clause in his policy he didn’t realize was there.   If your insurance doesn’t give you the coverage you want, go shopping! He did and found Haggerty was just what he wanted. They may be one of only a few companies to offer the right coverage for our hobby.

I heard an unconfirmed rumor that the police had arrested some people and recovered a cache of potentially stolen property in Clackamas County.  If you have been a victim of a theft described above, call your county sheriff if you live in a rural area, or your city police department to check the recovered stolen property that they might not be able to identify as yours, but you could if you saw it. You could get some of your stuff back.

As violated as a break-in makes you feel, you can help prevent it by being vigilant about your security. I don’t think thieves ever take a day off.

GoodGuys Rod & Custom Show

The GoodGuys Rod & Custom Association show schedule kicked off in mid-March 2015 at WestWorld in Scottsdale Arizona, the first of 22 shows held all over the country, culminating with a final show for the year, back at WestWorld the weekend before Thanksgiving, November 20-22 2015. Many of these events have titles that include in their description things like the “14th Annual” and the “28th Annual,” with some as old as 33rd and new as the 1st.

Many of these shows attract literally thousands of Rods, Customs and others, not to mention many thousands more spectators who come out just to see the spectacularly built machines that are in attendance.

This year I made it, to cover at least, the 28th Annual WESCO Autobody Supply, Pacific Northwest Nationals at the fairgrounds in Puyallup Washington and the 14th Annual Great Northwest Nationals held at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center in, where else, Spokane.

In both shows I have to give a hat tip to our brethren from north of the border, Canada. Those guys build some absolutely fantastic cars and trucks.  In mentioning that fact in conversations with some of them and other friends, I heard several reasons for the high quality builds, one in particular that came up many times was, “Long Lonely Winters.”  That might be true but truly, they build very high quality, innovative cars and trucks, for sure. Check out some of the pictures detailing a few.

Chadly Johnson was fortunate to be able to make it to some of the GoodGuy events in California this year. Like I said, there were 22 events from corner to corner all across the US. He shared his pictures with R&R NW and some of those are represented here too. No matter where you live in this great country of ours, if you’re a car guy or gal you can travel a little or a lot visiting new destinations and taking in a premier event like the ones the GoodGuys’ put together

Look for the GoodGuys 2016 Schedule in a future issue of Roddin’ & Racin’ NorthWest. These cars are fun to build and to drive.  Enjoy!

1971 Mustang "scratch built body, in bare metal." - Lyle Vass - Strathmore, Alberta.

1971 Mustang “scratch built body, in bare metal.” – Lyle Vass – Strathmore, Alberta.