FREYA

Freya-Smith

If you’ve been to one of the local bullrings in the last twenty years, you’ve probably seen Freya Smith. She’s no shrinking violet and openly admits to committing every summer since 1995 to either River City (St. Helens) or Sunset (Banks) Speedway.
It was none other than Gary (Meep! Meep!) Meyers that indoctrinated her: “I started out crewing for Gary,” she explains “and knew right away that I wasn’t going to be content on the sidelines. I’m not one to sit and muss with my hair!” She wanted to know how everything worked and Meyers was willing to teach her. “I remember him explaining “stagger” to me, rolling around a Solo cup!”  Because of her hands on approach to the sport, it wasn’t long before she was being offered rides in the woman’s division. Freya believes she won her first race in ’96 driving somebody’s jalopy or low budget street stock. Clearly, it was no milestone in her book.
When Mike McCann took over Sunset Speedway, she left St. Helens and went to work for him. Freya occupied various posts at the clay oval but is probably best remembered for her work as Pit Steward. Ushering racers on and off the track in the heat of battle isn’t for the faint of heart. Freya was always easy to spot with her headset slammed down over her curly blonde locks, strutting about in Day-Glo pink sweat pants! She was content at this level of involvement for several years, but the desire to drive never left her.

Racing with Earl Claypool Jr. at Sunset Speedway

Racing with Earl Claypool Jr. at Sunset Speedway

Then when the right car at the right price became available, Freya couldn’t resist. It was a 1978 Camaro built for up and comer Colin Winebarger. In reality, the street stock had seen very little action as young Winebarger leap-frogged directly up to late models. Little needed to be done to prepare the Camaro for Freya other than relocating the seat. Green had become her trademark color and so her father Mike Batalgia blended something special and sponsor Mike Sweere gave it a good slathering. When Freya hit the track on opening day she had a racer that reflected her extroverted personality. It was neon lime with plum crazy purple scallops on the nose! On the flanks was #37- a tip of the hat to her mentor Meyers who runs #36 to this day.
The competition didn’t know what hit them. Between Freya’s experience and the fact that the Camaro was already sorted, no one could run with her. She won all but one event, effortlessly claiming the 2013 woman’s title. In retrospect, Freya downplays her accomplishment. “It was all in preparation to run with the (men) street stock class in 2014,” she says.
The following season started off well enough but an experience on Fan Appreciation Night changed everything. Freya invited a young terminally ill girl to sit in her car for a photograph. The next weekend prior to the races, the girl’s family came down to thank Freya again and inform her that the girl had passed away. They gave Freya the gift of a “Love Rock” which the emotional driver promptly tucked into the seat of her Camaro. That night she drove with new inspiration, starting in the back and charging forward. She won her first street stock feature and dedicated the win to her young fan. It was a special Fourth of July race weekend with another feature planned for the following night. For that event, Freya started on the pole and simply checked out. “I kept watching for the nose of another car,” she exclaimed afterward, “and I never saw one.” According to her crew, no one was even close. Freya finished out the season third in overall points.
Towards the end of last year Freya hauled her car to Willamette Speedway (Lebanon) and Grays Harbor (Elma, WA) to experience racing on a faster venue. At Elma she was looking at a top five finish until throwing a belt. Still she came away encouraged and wants to travel more.
Soon she and fiancé Mike Sweere will lay schedules from Banks, Willamette and Cottage Grove side by side and plot out their own schedule for 2015. Sweere runs an IMCA-type modified so they will go to tracks that feature street stocks and modifieds on the same card. Spending the summer at one racetrack or another…That’s what Freya has done for twenty years…Why would you change now?

Celebrating with a young fan after winning night two of the 4th of July doubleheader

Celebrating with a young fan after winning night two of the 4th of July doubleheader

Rodorama 2015

1941-SD-Coupe

The Showplex at the Washington State Fair Event Center in Puyallup was home to an amazing display of hot rods, cool rides, tricked out imports and more on March 28th & 29th at the Northwest Rodarama.
Much to the delight of the spectators, there’s something for everyone at Northwest Rodarama! It’s great to see a family come through the show where not only a grandson, father and grandfather find vehicles of interest to them, but mom and grandma too! During my 4 hour trip down memory lane, I took note of the many pictures being taken in front of the vintage motorized bicycle display, which was one of my favorites at the show.
A couple local celebrities, Lance Lambert of The Vintage Vehicle Show and David Dickinson, Editor of The Old Car Nut Book Series, were on hand throughout the weekend to sign autographs and books. There never seems to be a loss for words when guys get together to talk about old cars. Both bring a personal touch to the show and their presence was enjoyed by many.
If you’re building or restoring your own custom hot rod, there’s endless ideas that’s bound to get your creative juices going, with the vehicles on display, the automotive vendors, and the pin striping bash. If you weren’t able to attend this year’s show, be sure to check it out next year!

 

 

1965 Dodge A-100 Pick-Up

We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’  And neither are Hot Rods and Custom cars. In 1981 Art Laws owner of Timberline Dodge formerly in Portland Oregon was in southern California on a car buying trip, when he came across a 1965 Dodge A-100 pick-up. The truck had been used as a delivery truck.  It was in pretty rough shape, but it was an original V-8 automatic, very rare and very hard to find.  The majority of these trucks were 6 cylinder, 3-speeds.  Art had been looking for an A-100 like this to use for his own dealership, since it had the right power train, Art bought the truck and shipped it back to Portland.

Once it had arrived at his shop, he had his mechanics go over the truck and it was determined that the engine and transmission needed to be rebuilt.  Work commenced immediately and the engine and trans were out of the truck the next day.  The truck was rolled over to the body shop with the idea that when they had the spare time, they would work on the body and paint work it needed.

Over the years the truck sat in the body shop without much work being done to it.  In other words, it was put on the back burner so to speak.  In 1993 the motor was finally finished and it sat on an engine stand in the showroom on display for years.

When Art retired in 2009, the truck still sat in his warehouse awaiting completion.  In December 2013, Ed McLarty, a friend of Arts was asked if he wanted to help Art finish the restoration.  Ed agreed and he worked on it until its final completion.  That is, if projects are ever really complete.

The truck wasn’t an easy project because of its rarity with so few being built and so few remaining most companies don’t make after-market parts for this vehicle.  It’s also very hard to find good used parts.  What made it even harder was that a lot of the parts to the truck were missing by the time Ed started working on it.

Ed says that the truck couldn’t have been completed without the help of the following:  Wild Cat Auto Wrecking, Vicious Brand Auto Art, Russ’z Auto Upholstery and Restorations, Mt. Hood Glass, Industrial Finishes and Terry Sorvik.

Now that it is finished Art and Ed are looking forward to displaying it at the Portland Roadster Show and a couple Good Guys event this summer, along with Beaches Cruise-In on Wednesday evenings at PIR in Portland.

49th Early Bird Swap Meet

The Early Bird Swap Meet held in mid-February at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup Washington is indeed one of the earliest of the year. I’ve gone in the past when it barely rained and now I can say I’ve gone when it poured. Fortunately a lot of the vendors where inside one of the many buildings. This years’ event seemed a little bigger than last year even though the weather was threatening. I know I’ve told you I like swap meets but I really like this one. There always seems to be a ton of great used parts available and at very reasonable prices too. I’ve been going to this one for many years and it never disappoints. You should put it on your list for next year.

1960 Rolls Royce Hot Rod

Remember the story we did on the big block Rolls, build-in-progress some time back? Well, it’s down on all fours now, it runs, goes, steers and stops. But there is no place to sit, unless you count the up-turned 5 gal bucket and the floor. Now it is going to Ross’s Upholstery, 514 S. McLoughlin Blvd., Oregon City, awaiting it’s new interior install. Look for another feature on this one later.

2015 Winter Rod & Speed Show

Dell Bartolome's 1956 Chevy PU

Dell Bartolome’s 1956 Chevy PU


This show is billed as the “First car show of the Year” and it has happened the first weekend in January for a while now, at the fairgrounds in Albany. It’s a one day show and it draws a lot of really neat cars from around the area. This year’s show was dedicated to Mike Vogler, the founder of the car club, The American Street Masters and lifetime car guy. He passed away in November 2014. Mark your calendar to plan to attend next years’ Winter Rod and Speed Show.


What’s It?

whats-it-web
Do you remember the two “what’s its”? Well just a little update. We don’t have anything new to report on the little gray car. We did get a ton of info from all over on this car though. I was trying to find out more about the claim that it was built kind of like a “shop truck” by the employees at Freightliner in Portland but as of yet, nothing new. I also was hoping to be able to report that I had received a response form the Crosley club, but not so far. I’m still working on it.

The red and white “Custom,” seems to have hit a dead end completely, not one response to it as of this writing. I was hoping someone would see it and know all about it and would share that info but, nothing.

Based on the almost over whelming response (thank you) to the little gray car I had hoped that I’d get additional pics and info from all of you on interesting cars you had seen. Even if you know what it is and it’s unusual and you would like to share your knowledge and pictures for publication, send them in for consideration. Any submissions can be mailed to:

Roddin’ & Racin’ NorthWest
“What’s IT”
17273 S. Steiner Rd.
Beavercreek, OR. 97004

If you send in pictures that you want back please send in a self-addressed STAMPED envelope, so your pictures can be returned. Thank You. Ed.

Lost, but Found!

Famous-Cuda-1

If you have ever “lost” something you’ll know what I’m talking about.  I parked my pickup in the driveway one night and didn’t go out again until the morning.  As I walked out to where I thought I had parked my truck I became confused, it wasn’t where I thought I left it.  I turned and looked around at other places I sometimes left it but no, it wasn’t parked elsewhere either.  I stopped and thought for a few seconds. . . what had I done, did I drive something else and forget?

One day I came home from somewhere and as I was parking my car I noticed the front door of my house was ajar.  It wasn’t closed.  I hadn’t been gone a long time, had I forgotten to close it completely?  In both of these incidences, as reality started to set in, I began to be overcome with a sinking feeling, a very scary vulnerable feeling.  I was at first confused, then in denial, then angry, then afraid, “What if the burglar is still here?”  “What if I never get my truck back?”  I didn’t like what was going on nor did I like being victimized.

In March 1970 Rick White went to Westway Chrysler-Plymouth Inc. in Beaverton, Oregon to order his new car.  He didn’t pick one off the lot he wanted it equipped the way ‘he’ wanted it, he wanted it to be special. What he ordered was a 1970 Plymouth, Barracuda or ‘Cuda.  This car was to have a 440 cubic inch engine with three 2 barrel carburetors, a “Super track Pak package, a 4 speed transmission with a Hurst shifter, a console, a Dana 60 posi-traction rear end.  Spoked road wheels, a Shaker hood package, a full lighting group etc.  It was just the way Rick wanted it.  The car arrived at the dealership in April 1970 and Rick picked it up.

Over the years he met and married Jackie, started a family, worked in the construction business and as a family and with a partner they drove and raced the ‘Cuda at PIR and Woodburn Drag Strips.  When the expense of racing got too much for him the car was stored many years until it was retro-fitted back to its stock configuration so it could be driven on the street.  Rick registered the ‘Cuda in his and his sons name because he never intended to sell it, it was always going to remain in the family.

On April 18th 2001 Rick experienced that sinking feeling I described above when he discovered the garage door where the car was stored had been extensively damage and the ‘Cuda was GONE!  Unfortunately Rick did not have the car insured for theft because it was safely tucked away out of sight in a garage.  They reported it stolen, ran ads offering rewards, passed out flyers, literally went looking for the car but it had completely vanished.  His beloved Factory Ordered, one owner Muscle car was apparently gone forever.  Years passed with nothing surfacing on the ‘Cuda.

Fast forward to June 14, 2014 they receive a letter from a lien company saying a local towing/storage company was going to hold lien auction for one Plymouth ‘Cuda for accumulated storage fees amounting to four thousand plus dollars.  Rick and Jackie received the lien auction notice because the registration was apparently still in the glove box where Rick had put it years before and it had his name and address on it.  This was their missing/stolen 1970 Plymouth ‘ Cuda.  Missing for more than 13 years.  Very odd.  Where had it been for all those years?

Rick contacted the lien company who told Rick the name of the local towing company that had the car.  Rick call the towing company and was told yes the car was there, yes it was in pretty fair shape and together with towing company representative confirmed the license number and descriptive information via the phone.  Rick informed the towing company that it was his car, and that it was stolen, and that he, Rick had the title and file full of proof it was his car.  Rick told them not to do anything with the car that he was going to contact the police and send them there to see about the car.  Rick called the police and an officer responded to his house to verify the paperwork and proof of ownership of the car.  Rick showed them the title, original order forms, keys etc.  The officer called the towing company only hours after Rick had talked to them and was informed that the storage fees had been paid and the towing company had delivered the car to the man that had paid the fees.  The officer got the contact info for that person and called him saying he was coming to see the car and was he going to cooperate.  The policeman was told ‘Yes’ the man who had the car now, would cooperate.

From this point onward the story takes many turns.  KATU Channel 2’s Kerry Tomlinson picked up the story and did several prime time news reports on what had transpired.  If you go to their web site you can learn more.  (Visit www.katu.com/news/problemsolvers/ and search White’s Cuda Story for more info.)   Lars Larson from KXL Radio, here in Portland picked up the story, talked to the man who had the car on his live radio program, asking qu-estions like “Where and when did you get the car?”  “Did you get the title?” “The car was reported stolen, twice.”  “Shouldn’t you give him his car back?”

The police said the statute of limitations had expired on the original stolen car report so Rick filed a new stolen car report hoping the police would be able to impound the car.  As time always does, it marched on and the car didn’t get it impounded until July and when they went to pick it up it was completely dismantled.  Many of the parts were “missing,” They got some of the parts back over time but it took quite a bit of time.  Some parts are specific to this model as originally built and many of those parts remain missing.  Because they are specific they are rare, hard to find and very expensive.
Famous-Cuda-12
Rick finally got the car and parts back from the sheriff’s impound on November 14, 2014, 13 years, 210 days after it first vanished.  Because the story had received wide spread coverage, a number of people locally and worldwide had gotten involved sending money, volunteering to help with the reassembly of the ‘Cuda.  Mopar/restoration experts stepped up to help the Whites, who are now retired and simply can’t afford the cost of repair and reassembly of the car.

Dave Lentz spear headed the rebuild which began on November 15th when he picked it up on his old “Rat Roddish” tow truck.  Rod Hardison and Dave co-directed the rebuild with the help of Chris Border and Dan Wendland making up the mechanical crew.  Other Technical assistance was provided by Steve Canton, Randy Emery-Bad Boy Toys, (@13635 SE Division, Portland, OR. 503-477-4347) Ralph Albrich, and Sean Machado.  Parts and services were donated by:

Get Bent Mandrel Bending, 10315 SE Highway 212, Clackamas, OR. 503-607-0443
Finishline Coatings, 2889 SE Silversprings Rd. Portland, OR. 503-659-4278
Parts-Mike Parker
Totally Auto-Shaker paint
Advanced Letterpress-Bill Washburn
Craig & Brenda Satalick
Gene Prein

Other Donations; George Denson, Dyre Vaa, David Annin, Vitamins N Things, Bob Land, Christopher Okeefe, Steve Canton, Robert Rice, Tom Nolen, John Lindback, Timothy Hatley-Smith, Scott Luinshi, Kenneth Mutschink, Angela & Ken Jones, Charlie Keel, Michael, Foster, Michael Brinkman, Kirsten Miller, Dave Pilcher, Mike Spooner, Mike Boyce, Mike Foster, Bill Brown, Gary Wade, Jeff Currie, Reed Herring, Stan Ochs, Rian Hamby, Dan Osborne and Bruce Gibson.

These kind and generous folks rebuilt/reassembled the White’s ‘Cuda and it runs, drives, and sits at home in their garage because of their generosity.  The White Family thanks all of those involved for their time, work and aid in the ‘Cuda Project.

Mandrel bent exhaust by GBE Mandrel Bending

Mandrel bent exhaust by GBE Mandrel Bending

Auction Central

Phoenix 2016 084

Just about any day is a good day to go check out special interest cars, restored antiques, muscle cars, hot rods etc.  But in the Northwest January often tends to be a little wet and cold and most of those types of cars are snuggled in their respective garages away from that bad weather and out of site.

There are also a number of us old timers that are, what is referred to as, “Snowbirds.”  During the winter months up north the Snowbirds head south to warmer climes, often Arizona.  January in Arizona is just about perfect with regard to the weather.  Usually in the 60’s or 70’s with warm sunshine and blue skies, Arizona offers us a great place to go thaw out, as it were.

January in Arizona has become a destination for car nuts too.  I don’t really know what started it all but my guess is Barrett Jackson created that gravitational pull that draws car guys and gals in from all over the world.  And, as it turns out 5 other auction companies hold their own auctions in the Phoenix area in January as well.  Barrett Jackson is of course televised, semi-live and I’m certain a lot of you watched the coverage on Velocity and The History Channel this year.  I usually watch some of it myself.  This year I talked myself into flying to Phoenix to “cover” the auction scene in person so I could get first hand exposure to what appears on television to be the best and largest car show ever.  It didn’t disappoint either.

Barrett Jackson has a reputation of only selling the best of the best.  This year, long time collector, Ron Pratt was essentially liquidating his “best of the best” collection, many of which were purchased over the years at previous Barrett Jackson Auctions, as we have witnessed if we watched during those years.  Ron’s collection included many ‘one only’ cars, trucks etc. that were purchased for millions and as you probably already know sold for millions this January.  He also had an extensive collection of “Automobilia,” like dealership signs, old gas pumps etc. all in as new condition.  The auction was attended by many collectors that jumped at the chance to get some of that memorabilia and totals exceeding 6.5 million dollars’ worth changed hands, not all of it was Mr. Pratt’s, but you get the idea.  I was completely intimidated by the bids I witnessed when those collectables were crossing the block.  Signs selling for twice as much as I paid for my first house and they weren’t even big signs. This auction was extended five days to accommodate the Pratt Collection.  98% of the cars and memorabilia crossed the block at NO reserve and this year’s sales set a record at $130+ million in sales for Barrett Jackson alone.  See what I mean about intimidation?  That’s an amazing amount of money! See their website barrett-jackson.com to learn more.

Ron Pratt's Parade for Progress. Sold for charity, $4 million.

Ron Pratt’s Parade for Progress. Sold for charity, $4 million.

Locally, Mark Young’s, Northwest House of Hardtops, who has a reputation for only selling “the best of the best” Muscle cars and Corvettes, took some fabulous cars to Scottsdale for the Barrett Jackson Auction.  Most ran through at “no reserve.”  When Mark was telling me about the cars he was taking he mentioned the “no reserve” part.  That raised my eyebrows and I emphasized that that was pretty brave but they all sold through but one, the “Bunkie Knudsen,” 1963 Corvette, that did have a reserve, which wasn’t met.  The rest drew respectable prices because of his rep and Barrett Jackson’s rep, everybody seems assured that these cars were in fact nearly perfect and worth the price.  Mark also bought some cars there and when we were talking about his cars he mentioned that “… if you stand around long enough you’re bound to find a ‘sleeper,’ you just hope it isn’t one of yours.”  Meaning of course that there are deals to be had even at Barrett Jackson.   One things for sure, with 1620 plus cars and trucks, it’s probably the biggest car show in the world and the majority of them are beautifully restored or built and in nearly perfect condition.   nwhouseofhardtops.com

Russo and Steele were also in Scottsdale.  They offered 628 cars for sale, sold 65% of them for a total sell through of nearly $19 million.  The highest selling car was a 1968 L88 Corvette Convertible which sold for $687,500.00.  The least expensive car sold for $4675.00, it was a 1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 Convertible.

We looked at every car they were offering and we were impressed with the overall level of quality at the Russo & Steele auction.  My observation of their people working on the block was very favorable.  They were very good at what they do.  I’d recommend a Russo & Steele auction to anyone searching for a collector car. Check out russoandsteele.com for more info.

1956 Jaguar XK-140 SE Roadster. Sold $115,500.

1956 Jaguar XK-140 SE Roadster. Sold $115,500.

I’d bet some of you have seen Gooding and Company Auctions on television.  Wayne Carrini with Chasing Classic Cars attends their auctions both as a seller and a buyer. They offer many of the higher end cars that sell in the millions quite often.  Their total sales were $51,516,600.00 with the 10% premium included.  Many of the 162 “lots” sold were Ferraris’, Porsches’, Alfa Romeos’, Jaguars’, Mercedes-Benzs’, Maseratis’ even Volkswagens.  An Aston Martin DB4 Series II, that was a one family owned, left hand drive, unrestored that frankly looked like it had seen better days, and sold for $462,000.00, with the premium.  There was one Camaro, two Corvettes, one Mustang, one 1933 Ford Traditional Hot Rod Roadster, one Crown Victoria, and a few other American Marques, but if you were looking for a large variety of American cars you didn’t find it at Gooding & Company.  What you did find was some absolutely fabulous European make collector cars. goodingco.com for more info.

RM Auctions, a Canadian Classic/Collectable car auction company was in Phoenix this past January as well.  RM Auctions is another company that attracts the million and multimillion dollar cars to its auctions.  Their auction in Phoenix 2015 was amazing.

They had 165 “Lots” and all but 13 sold.  Some were American Cars but the majority had names like Ferrari, Porsche, Bugatti, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Aston Martin, Mercedes, Bentley and more.  The numbers were staggering to a poor old retired guy like me.  RM apparently doesn’t publish a total sales number for their auctions but judging from the “sold” list I’d say it’s safe to say the number was enormous.  Seventeen cars sold in the seven figure range with the top seller being a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM by Scaglietti for $9,625,000.00.  That name just sounds expensive doesn’t it?  I’d try to add up the totals for you but I don’t have a calculator that goes that high, seriously!  There were only 22 cars that sold for under $100,000.00 and some of those not that far under.  The least expensive sale was for $16,500.00 of which there were two at that price and one was a motorcycle.  RM Auctions sold some fantastic investment quality cars in Arizona 2015.  Visit rmauctions.com to learn more.

Silver Auction Company based in Spokane Washington was in town in January too.  They too had a significant number of consignments for their auction.  They don’t publish a consignment count or sell through count that I could find; however, I tallied the “solds” and “still for sales” and came up with a total of 320 lots with 208 sold for a 65% sell through, ESTIMATED.  That seems respectable to me.  Their list ranged from collector, special interest cars to modern 2012 models.

From the looks of the pictures of some of the consignments they had some nice looking collector/special interest cars available and judging from the bids many of the bidders agree with me.  They don’t appear to publish a sales total list either so I can’t tell you what that number is but most of the sale prices shown were right in line with the car values I’m familiar with.  Check out their web site for upcoming auctions. silverauctions.com

Bonham & Butterfield Auction is the last auction I’ll talk about for January 2015.  They too were in Scottsdale with a publicized list of 184 lots.  The first 100 consisted of memorabilia, art, sculptures, pedal cars and the like.  The last 84 lots were cars and trucks with marques from all over the world.  Like some of the other auction companies Bonham’s sold cars worth in the multimillions.  One Ferrari sold for almost nine and half million with the premium.  Those Ferraris really sell for a lot of money.  It’s just a coincidence that I’m writing this story on February 18th which happens to be Enzo Ferraris birthday.  He was born this day in 1898.  Bonham’s website is bonhams.com

If you like cars and nice weather you ought to plan on taking the trip to Phoenix one of these Januarys. In fact, that would be a good bucket lister, don’t you think?

1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special, Motorama concept car. Sold $3,300,000.

1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special, Motorama concept car. Sold $3,300,000.