The Shape of Speed

Did you miss it? I would have, had it not been for my neighbor Darlene Hardie. Darlene is a member of the Portland Art Museum. Several months ago she received a copy of their publication “Portal” announcing the opening of a new exhibit showcasing streamlining in automotive design. Seventeen cars and two motorcycles were put display, all having been created between the years of 1930 and 1942.

A Chrysler Airflow Coupe I expected to see, its styling was considered ground breaking when it appeared in showrooms in 1934 but it wasn’t a big seller. Contrast the cranberry colored 1938 Talbot Lago… considered by some to be the most beautiful automobile ever built. Other manufacturers represented were: Mercedes-Benz, Bugatti, BMW, Alfa Romeo, Delahaye and Cord. The motorcycles were built by BMW and Henderson. Included in the display were several “one offs” — the Scarab, arguably the first minivan and whimsical fish tailed Airomobile were two crowd pleasers.

A tip of the hat to guest curator Ken Gross, thanks for pulling together such a compelling show. A more eclectic collection of vehicles I’ve never seen. And thank you Darlene for bringing this significant exhibit to my attention.

MetalWorks Attends The MSRA’s 45th Annual “Back to the 50s” Car Show

Take a 320 acre State Fairgrounds and fill it to capacity with 12,000 pre-1965 show cars, 450 vendors, car auctions, live bands, a massive swap meet, and more greasy food than you can shake a stick at…and what do you have? The answer… the Minnesota Street Rod Associations incredible “Back to the 50s” car show.

Born and raised in the Midwest the BTT50s show had always been a local event for me, and one of the highlights of my summer. Now that I have moved a couple thousand miles away to the Pacific Northwest the event is anything but local, but it’s one I will continue to attend as there is nothing else like it. The mature State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, MN are the most beautiful I have ever encountered, and once you fill them with 12,000 show cars it become an amazing spectacle. Cars line both sides of the streets winding through the grounds, but the middle of the lanes are left for cruising, and that is exactly what people do non-stop for 3 days. The fact that people cruise brings the show to life verses just having cars on static display…you get to hear, feel, and even smell the cars. The best part is when you get tired of walking you can grab some cheese curds and a milk shake, sit under a shade tree, and let the car come to you…it’s amazing.

If you have a bucket list of car shows to attend, make sure the MSRA’s “Back to the 50s” show is on there. I’d suggest putting it on top as it is truly as good as it gets…hope to see you there next year!!

20th Annual Rockin’ Around the Block Cruise

It was a dark and stormy night… Somewhere. But not in sleepy little town of Gresham Oregon located just on the outskirts of bustling Portland. As the sun peeked over the Eastern Horizon on Saturday August 11th, it gave way to a cool crisp morning as the town began to enjoy a brief respite from a record-setting heat wave.

Off in the distance, finely-tuned ears could tell that something was amiss. A kind of cackling sound gradually approaching downtown Main Street. Those who were there will atttest to the rising cacophony of sounds that all of a sudden seemed to surround the town. The sounds seemed to approach from all directions… Ack ack ack, pocketa pocketa, whompa. For the 20th year the annual Rockin Around the Block Cruise was underway in Gresham.

And just as had been done for so many years before, Main Street quickly filled up with arriving hot rods, gassers, muscle cars and whatever else ones imagination could conjure up. Soon all of the surrounding streets and parking lots throughout downtown were filled.

This time there would be no need for the town fathers to call in the gendarmes, as this event is a result of the finely-tuned effort between the promoters, Northwest Motorsports Association, Mount Hood Community College automotive program,  Chamber of Commerce and all of the other partners, sponsors and volunteers who take part in this successful event.

Again this year there was dancing in the streets as the Ron Ruedi Band laid down his signature rock and roll Tunes. In addition, Spenellis brought in the band, Saturated Phats to entertain fans from their front porch. As always, there was plenty for the whole family along with the clowns, face painting and competitions for the kids. And as always, there were plenty of trophies for the big boys (and girls) and their toys.

In addition to the well over 300 cars, the vendors, sponsors and all of the other attractions make for quite a draw, resulting in far morer spectators than one would see at the average Cruise In.

Show promoter Jerry Lyons, heads up the Mount Hood Community College automotive program. he said they have set up two distinct accounts to directly benefit outstanding Automotive students with what has now resulted in well  over  $350, 000 in scholarships.

Vern Farris is sergeant-at-arms of the Northwest Motorsports Association and has promoted this event many years. His answer as to what makes this event so successful is short and sweet. He says – it is just the coolest. This Association is a conglomeration of a number of car clubs. Other car clubs out there who would like to become involved should inquire. ’nuff said.

Chuck Fasst
GearHeadsWorld.blogspot.com

La Grande Car Show

In July, some friends of mine made a second trip to La Grande, Oregon to participate in the Grande Ronde-A-View Car Show. This time one couple, Jim & Sylvia took their ’39 Ford Sedan and the other couple, Wes & Becki, took their ’40 Chevy Sedan. The Cruise is put on by the Timber Cruisers Car Club. (www.timbercruiserscarclub.com) As I mentioned, this was their second time to go to this cruise. This must speak to the fun this show offers, it’s around 200 miles from Beavercreek.

They stayed in the renovated, “The Landing Hotel” a mixture of rustic and modern decor in downtown La Grande. They all liked sitting on the second-floor veranda right above their cars displayed below on the main drag. Jim told me that there were a couple hundred cars with some from far reaching places, Lake Havasu, Arizona for instance, some from Canada, of course Oregon, Washington, Idaho and other places I can’t remember.

This is a three-day show, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Sponsored by local businesses and it’s held right on the main drag through town and at Riverside Park. In addition, there is a Poker Run and a Country side cruise up into the local mountains. The local businesses/sponsors include Les Schwab Tires, Baxter Auto Parts, Market Place, M. J. Goss Motors Co. and La Grande Gold & Silver.

Next years show is scheduled for July 19th thru the 21st. Maybe it should be on your list.

Sadly, this was Wes Warner’s last car show. He passed away after a stroke on August 4th. He will be missed.

National Collector Car Appreciation Day

As this goes to press, it is Friday the 13th, National Collector Car Appreciation Day. Congress has honored all Gearheads by making this our special holiday. We hope it was special for you.

The Wednesday night Beaches cruise-ins opened out at PIR June 6th. And what a Whopper it was, reportedly over 1800 cars in attendance. Unfortunately I have no coverage of this event as the pixel 2 work phone holding thatinfo, mysteriously disappeared Into Thin Air out there. #GearHeadsWorld is still on the lookout for it.

Tesla Makes The News Again:

Another Tesla Model S has gone up in flames. This one belongs to a movie star who had parked it on Santa Monica Boulevard. Some of you may have seen the viral video. in the meantime, Elon Musk has fired a load of his mid-level managers. Looks like he is trimming things down.

Next we have a self-driving Uber that has fatally killed a bicyclist. The driver was behind the wheel streaming “The Voice.” Charges have been brought.

Speaking of bicycles, did you hear the one about the Motorcycle Company who goes back to building bicycles just like they did a hundred years ago when they started? Yep, we are talking about Harley. It seems that the bubble has burst that consisted of the successful baby boomers who climbed aboard their Harleys in the wake of the tremendously successful Discovery show American Chopper which has also settled back down to earth.
Now Harley is looking at the millennial yuppies who don’t want motorcycles. They prefer Nifty bicycles so Harley will be supplying them. They won’t be cheap. You will have to drop around 4 Grand for one. So, now the word bike will have a whole new meaning for Harley.

We like to put in a good word for the RPM bill which continues to be successfully lobbied. Now we have a new wrinkle, it seems that EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, has resigned under pressure. Now we wait to see how all that shakes out.

Now, here is our high performance news of the week. And this, most definitely is a harbinger of things to come. The Pikes Peak competition has recently wrapped. There has been a world record run hosted by an electric car. This was the VW l. D. R electric car. It posted a 7. 57 at 148 mph, which is the fastest run for any kind of vehicle ever!
In conclusion we would like to make mention of The Rockin Around The Block cruise in which is coming right up in Gresham. This is the event put on by the Northwest Motorsports Association to benefit the Mount Hood Community College automotive department. Hot rods will take over the entire downtown for the entire day on Saturday August 11th.

’nuff said, Chuck Fasst.
GearHeadsWorld@blogspot.com

Corvettes at World of Speed

The World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville, Oregon periodically changes their displays. Currently they are displaying a number of Corvettes. This display nearly spans the 65 years of the Corvettes existence.

The first production Corvette was built in June of 1953 in Flint Michigan. The Corvette is referred to as “Americas Sports Car.” Also in this display is a 1959 Ferrari TR, also known as a 250 Testa Rossa. These Ferraris dominated the World Sportscar Championship Series at the time.
Next the museum will change out these displays and have a Porsche display opening on April 28th. Please support our local automobile museum.


The Cutting Edge

“I love this show” says Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian, Donald Davidson. “Everyone that you see, aisle after aisle, booth after booth. Everyone that you see is employed in motorsports. You wouldn’t believe how big it is.” Draped in respect from his peers, the humble racing expert cannot walk more than a couple paces without someone recognizing him. They grab his arms, his jacket, a celebrity based on knowledge. Davidson is one of thousands of racing enthusiasts that flock to the downtown convention center in Indianapolis for the Performance Racing Industry, or PRI show. Though Davidson doesn’t merely attend the show, he is an esteemed guest. He was invited to speak about the four A.J. Foyt Indy 500 winning cars on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum booth adjacent to the main thoroughfare. Groups of onlookers gather as the interviewer sets up a professional camera and lights. They listen, eager to hear a tidbit from the Grand Master himself.

Happenings like this occur all over the 3,400-booth showroom floor. Sister event to the SEMA show, the PRI show celebrated its 30th birthday this year. Unlike SEMA, PRI is focused specifically on auto racing. For one weekend in December, this is the center of the racing world.
No one gets into the racing industry by accident. Walking through the aisles, anyone can see that this is a passion-based profession. Booth topics go from shock absorbers to exhaust systems, brake pads, chassis, racing sanctioning bodies and publications. Seminars go on in the morning, hosted by trendsetters and industry leaders. Some are as technical as “Battery, Cranking & Charging System Myths Explained!” While others focus on the human element like “Derek Daly Academy Driver Development Seminar.”

Professionals, team owners, drivers, and engineers are invited. This is not an event open to the public until the last day. In more recent years, both PRI and SEMA have put a larger emphasis on educational development. By investing in college-age students, they are keeping the industry alive and evolving. My personal favorite example of such student/corporate partnership was a virtual reality prototype introduced to me by a student that I happened to meet in the Online Resources booth.

He introduced himself as Taylor, the lead Project Manager for the IU School of Informatics and Computing on the Augmented Reality application presented in front of us. A college student with one of the coolest homework projects I have ever heard of, he pointed to the 1958 Monza 500 winning Indy Roadster and explained. “Me and a team of students worked on this all semester. We made a digital 3D model of the engine.” Holding up an iPad to the Race of Two Worlds Champion, a digital model of the car’s engine appeared on the screen. As you moved left and right, the digital rendering followed, changing perspective. “You can use this technology to create a living dictionary of engines,” he said. With more time and resources, applications like this can be used to peel away components to virtually look into the inner workings of just about anything. Motorsports is just one application of such a program. Students like Taylor are doing research like this all over the world to further development in everything from engineering to biology. This is just the beginning.

As big as the PRI show is, it comes nowhere close to the notoriety that SEMA earns, and I think it should. Though it is not as physically big as SEMA, the PRI show should be a MUST ATTEND for anyone that aspires to work in racing. Simply being there can be educational in every definition of the word. You never know who you are going to meet, what you are going to learn or what connections you can make. The PRI show displays the cutting edge of what is happening now in the racing industry. Mark your calendars for next year. The PRI show returns December 6-8 2018.

Downtown Oregon City Cruise

The eighth annual Downtown Oregon City Cruise is now in the history books. This year, unlike last year’s cruise, had perfect weather. Always a popular cruise, 2017 had nearly 350 cars, trucks, and motor cycles on display.

The cruise is hosted by Trick ‘n Racy Cars, car club and the Downtown Oregon City Association. Several blocks on Main Street from 7th to 10th and the neighboring side streets are closed for the Saturday show.

Oregon City was once the territorial capitol before Oregon became a state and was the end of the Barlow Trail during the wagon train era in the mid-1800s, it has an historic charm and is a picturesque venue.

Many of the downtown businesses support the cruise and the cruise really draws a lot of spectators. With perfect weather, it was great fun for the participants and spectators alike.