2016 Medford Roadster Show

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February and March appear to be “Car Show” months, at least here in the Northwest.

With the Salem Roadster Show in February and the 60th Annual Portland Roadster Show in March. The first one though was a little ways down the road in mid-February in Medford Oregon.

Rich Wilson of Central Point, Oregon is the promoter for the first time this year and it really turned out to be a great show. Even though this is Rich first Medford Roadster Show, I think he has done this before and folks he is good at it.

The show was spread out through three or four buildings at the Jackson County Expo Center with lots of vendors and separate displays of other than “show cars,” like Rat Rods and stock restorations.  There were hot rods and street machines in the main building, which has two levels, the main floor and a mezzanine like level, which gives you an overview look at the mail floor. Different and it worked.

They advertised a $1000.00 Cash Prize for Best of Show and gave a percentage of the profits to Charity.

Rich did something that I’ve never seen before and what a great idea. If you’ve ever entered your car in a show before you know you get pretty tired what with the set up and polishing and dusting and in general just hanging around once all that work is done. Well Rich created a little “Participants Lounge” if you will that was equipped with easy chairs, sofas, tables and chairs etc. and it was stocked with food and beverage and volunteer help where one could go take a break and get a bite to eat, and it was all included. Yep no charge.  The food was terrific too. Spaghetti for one meal. Coffee and donuts in the morning, enchiladas for another lunch. Like I said I’ve never seen that before but it was a great idea and much appreciated by all who participated.
Put the 2016 Medford Roadster Show on your list for next year, it’s a good show.

Early Bird Swap Meet

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We ascertained before that there are a lot of car people out there and despite the Northwest reputation for rain, (I know I’m shocked too) there is actually a lot going on even during the winter. Swap meets seem to be happening all over the area and yes it has been raining some but the spirits of the participants and the people who attended didn’t seem to be dampened much.

The Early Bird Swap Meet in Puyallup turned out to be quite a good swap meet, with lots of great deals on what could have been your next project and or parts for your current one.

Did it rain?  Yes but not a lot and a great deal of it was inside or at least undercover.  Put this one on your list for next year.


Corvette Cave-In Now Open

Corvette Cave in Pic

On February 12, 2014 the National Corvette Museum experienced a massive sinkhole collapse in the Skydome of the Museum, taking with it eight prized Corvettes—and it was all caught on security footage that has since been viewed more than 8.6 million times. The Corvettes have been recovered, two have been restored, and the hole has been filed.

Due to the popularity of the sinkhole story, the Museum worked with Creative Arts Unlimited to develop an immersive exhibit chronicling the story. On Friday February 12, 2016, the second anniversary of the sink-hole disaster,  the Museum opened the Skydome Sinkhole Exhibit at the National Corvette Museum in Boling Green Kentucky.

If you are looking for a vacation destination consider a stop at the National Corvette Museum where you can check out this new display and well as enjoy the history of Americas Sports Car. Don’t forget the Corvette factory is just across the freeway where you can take a tour and see new Corvettes being built. A real treat for most any gearhead.

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.

1955 chevy

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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