Hot Rods for Heros

The American Legion, Post 83, in Eugene hosted their Hot Rods For Heros Car Show this past September 8th. An overcast and threatening Sunday scared away some, but only the brave and intrepid shrugged it off as just another September squall. Some sprinkles—just enough to wet the cars – fell around mid morning. As soon as most of the participants had dried their vehicles, another bigger cloud opened up and washed them down again.

I must admit I did take partial shelter under a spreading tree. The brief rain found me, along with some car owners, my wife Patty and our dog April. The skies cleared again and back out came my camera. I was able to shoot the ladies from ‘’Oregon Pin Ups For A Cause’’ with a Willis Jeep done up in olive drab, along with another truck they admired. I got to dream about owning a ‘39 Ford that was for sale, and then a beautiful 95 point station wagon that too, was looking for a new owner. Stock colors, detailed engine, lots of glass won me over. The 1955 Pontiac Safari is a long stretch from bumper to bumper. Current owner Larry Krause told me has bocu-bucks into the green and ivory land yacht but that the time has come for a new custodian of the gorgeous gargantuan. He’s happy with his bright red pick up that he’s keeping. (His son drove the wagon to the show.)

Whilst under that tree I mentioned a while back, I ran into Jack Tillery who is the proud owner and builder of a completely modified Ford Starliner. His 1960 bright yellow two-door custom is off the wall. The flat pan, bumper-less rear of the car is the only added metal on the ride. The wings and marriage of Ford sheet metal and custom treatments are done in fiberglass. Always great to see a Ford in a Ford, Jack’s creation sports a Dearborn 428.
How about a Pontiac in a Pontiac? Simon and Diane Carranza built their ‘52 Pontiac Chieftain and stuffed it with a 400 cubic inch from a 1971. Backed up with a turbo 400 it sports 272 cruisin gears. Headlights are frenched in. So are the tail lights.

I did enjoy The Survivors band that played some pretty good tunes. We had a pressing family commitment on our calendar and was sorry I couldn’t stay the full day.

One last thing I need to add; fellow car nut and photographer Jim Wray was there with his 50’s Dodge truck. Jim always seemed to be able to attend multiple shows in a weekend. What we did not know that this was to be his final car show. I learned only two days after, that Jim was felled by a heart attack. His photos (on Facebook) will keep his memory alive for a lot of us. RIP my friend.

Green with Envy

I recently had the opportunity to visit the World of Speed Motorsports Museum as well as meet with other writers of this paper. Without much advance planning, I took the bull by the horns and committed. It was going to be an incredibly packed Saturday morning. `
The Museum, on 95th Avenue in Wilsonville was (and still is) hosting “Mario Andretti: Racing Royalty.” The Museum set out and delivered on honoring the most successful American race car driver of all time with their displays of (1) not only Mario’s first car but (2) the GT-40 he co-drove to win the 1966 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The GT 40 was the poster on my teenage bedroom wall. Seeing this car in person was an incredible opportunity for me. It is the first car you see as you enter the museum floor. Bright yellow, the KarKraft T-44 4-speed ‘’eyes’’ you with those racing-lens lamps, low, sexy stance, and competition provenance. Bruce McLaren (of Can Am racing fame) paired with Mario to win in this very 427 cubic inch Ford V-8 fitted with a trans axle. It was Ford’s 1-2-3 sweep that year. Oh, the history!
Back to Mr. Andretti’s wins; Pikes Peak, The Indy 500 — you get the picture. Unless if you are one of a rare few, whom are not knowing of Mario’s fifty years of motor sports endeavors. I am not one for statistics, and therefore will not enumerate any further on his successes. Needless to say, you should get to the museum before the chance to see this fine exhibit escapes.

The World of Speed Motorsports Museum also hosts a “Cars and Coffee” each Saturday morning, year round. It was packed when we visited. On hand were another two examples from my ‘coveted car’ list – both green – as in British Racing Green. I will only mention them (an AC Cobra and a big-block 1967 Corvette Stingray) as you will find out more about them in this issue.
(See page 4 for Steve Beireis’ story)

I was truly ‘’green with envy’’ of the original-owner vehicles that were parked in front of me. Was every Saturday like this? Cars parked here and there in 4 parking lots. Too much to take in, and share this all with Veltman and Beireis. And visit the museum.

It was Alex Mills Day that Saturday. Celebrating his 35 years on the planet, Alex was taken too soon by cancer. One of the first Portland Cars and Coffee Volunteers, his Dodge Viper stood in silent salute to his automotive efforts. Alex was instrumental in bringing the United Kingdom’s Top Gear television program to the United States via his ‘Final Gear’ web presence.

Back to inside the building: Mr. STP (Andy Granatelli) has his life in motor sports showcased. So do the “Women In Racing” (a rotating driver exhibit) Simulators for Lotus Formula, Lotus Indy and a NASCAR Taurus, along with a true replica of the 31 degree incline that makes up the Daytona Banking Wall. You may have seen the NASCAR vehicles through the windows of the museum if you cruise I-5 in Wilsonville.

Stop instead of passing by, pick any day (except Mondays when the museum is closed) and check it out. Just don’t stop on a nice day in the summer like I did without committing to a full morning of cars, racecars, stockcars, drag cars.

Springhill North Albany Car Show

A small group of folks have been hosting a cool show in North Albany each July for the past seven years. The show was held on Sunday, July 14th and traditionally coincides with the National Collector Car Appreciation Day weekend. (National Collector Car Appreciation Day was Friday, July 12th this year.) David Faller, a town resident created the event with the premise of giving back. For the past few years, South Willamette Valley Honor Flight has been the recipient of the monies raised.

Honor Flight was organized to recognize veterans for their service to our country by sending them to their respective memorials in Washington DC. They were a large presence at the show, and good reason for large turn-out. Trophies, plaques and lots of raffle items add to the excitement of the day that is crammed with beautiful cars, trucks, military and emergency vehicles. ”Pin Ups for a Cause” and the ”Battling Betties” add flavor to the nostalgia of the event. Our Nation’s armed services were represented with the multitude of veterans who either own collector vehicles or came as spectators. Grateful past-participants of Honor Flights were there too.

When Registration opened at 08:00, a flood of vehicles passed through the gates. During the first hour, close to one hundred vehicles were already on the field—the tenth fairway actually. Anxious participants had lined up early on the road to the Springhill North Albany Golf and Event Center and overflowed onto Springhill Road itself. At 09:00 a color guard presented The Flag, and “Praise in 3D” sang the National Anthem. Show cars rolled in all day long for the charitable assembly.

Mr. Faller posted on The Springhill North Albany Car Show Facebook page: ”The 7th annual Springhill North Albany Car Show is in the books and by all indications was a huge success. We had 211 fantastic vehicles on the 10th fairway of an awesome venue, terrific food vendors and other vendors, fantastic raffle items, great crowds that were having a great time, and we made a lot of money for South Willamette Valley Honor Flight. We should know the total amount in a few days. I want to thank our tremendous staff for planning this awesome event. We started in early February and are starting to think about next year’s show, which will be on Sunday, July 19, 2020.”

Ed Bock, director of the South Willamette Honor Flight told me that in addition to the anticipated monies from the show car registration, “The proceeds from just these two raffle areas (and the 50/50 raffle) are enough to send two veterans to DC”. Last year’s show generated a $6,179.20 check to Honor Flight. Although tallies were not in at press time, Bock and Faller expect another record amount will have been generated.