One Man’s Junk…

Today ”junk yards” or “wrecking yards” are referred to as “auto recyclers.” This change wasn’t made to be politically correct. “Recycler” better describes what the proprietors of these businesses do. I also believe that calling the parts and pieces that fill these establishments “recyclables” acknowledges that they have value. We know as car guys that this stuff isn’t “junk” just because it was scavenged from a wrecked vehicle.
I love wrecking yards and I always have. To me they are magical places filled with history as well as possibilities for the future. I have a very early memory of visiting my uncle Gene when he worked for Schnitzer Steel. From an elevated office I remember watching the crane with the enormous magnet pick up scrap and drop it in the gigantic compactor. You know, the one that transforms the assorted bits into a perfect cube? Wow! How cool was that? I was perhaps four or five years old and I will take that memory to the grave!

In high school I quit my job bussing tables to work for a wrecking yard in San Jose, CA called VW Used Parts Center. I spent my days completely dismantling Beetles with another kid named “Gary”. We learned how to use air tools like impacts and chisels but the cutting torch was by far our tool of choice. (It was supposed to be our last resort but we were always making excuses for using it.) We were two teenagers virtually unsupervised, being paid a couple bucks an hour to PLAY WITH FIRE! Gawd, it was fun! Once we got to assemble an engine and start it on the garage floor. It ran…but not for long. Working for the wrecking yard was all fun and games until I got a mouthful of gasoline while learning how to siphon. Seriously, I’m surprised that neither Gary nor I were ever injured… I guess when you’re a teenager you don’t think about it. I caught the pant leg of my overalls on fire once. Suddenly I felt the heat on my calf! I simply patted it out and kept on cutting.

My senior year in college I bought a ’51 Studebaker Champion. It was a complete running car with cosmetic needs so it was back to the wrecking yards. My girlfriend and I spent weekends seeking replacement parts in any yard where someone had made a “Bullet-nose” sighting. Sometimes the cars ended up being Fords of the same vintage but usually we’d sniff out a Stude. And typically the donor car had something I wanted; an unblemished emblem or a taillight lens. The treasure hunt aspect of the journey made it great fun for my girlfriend and I. Though I was a little older by this time, I was still pretty fearless (reckless?) when I think about it. Eventually the Stude became my daily driver. I drove it all over the bay area without a worry about breakdown and it never did leave us stranded anywhere.

These days my sister is restoring an early edition ’55 Chevy Pickup and her quest for parts and pieces has taken her to all those familiar places. She discovered a wonderful wrecking yard just east of Eugene, OR called: Springfield Auto Recyclers. The place was established in 1949 and specializes in 1930’s to 1970’s vintage car and truck parts. Most of their business is conducted online via an eBay store.

Exploring the grounds (which owner “Chuck” made us feel welcome to do) immediately took me back to my roots. If you are a fan of American Pickers (Rock the Rust!), the sights at this venue will transport you to a lost episode – Magically you will find yourself trudging along behind Mike and Frank!

In addition to multiple acres of donor cars and trucks, the building which houses the parts counter is loaded with automobilia. Sadly these items (excepting the old manuals) are for display only. Chuck explained that like the vehicles themselves, much of the inventory which clutters the office was donated.

“I don’t remember where it came from,” he admits with a shrug. “People didn’t give it to me to sell. They would be disappointed if they came back in and it wasn’t here.” Okay, so it’s like viewing somebody’s collection or going to a museum. Either way, it is a worthwhile visit- it certainly made me feel nostalgic.

It made me want to pull on my overalls and tear into one of those old hulks lounging in the yard…

“Gary! Get the torch!’

Welcome to the Brave New World and Toaster Cars

At press time we have just entered into the New Year and the CES Show is rolling out their latest in technology with an emphasis on new. But first we must mention a name that should be familiar to many of you Northwest Street Rodders, Mitch Kim could use your thoughts. He has fought his way through a few maladies recently and is now locked in battle with liver cancer.

Now everyone hold your breath. Then let out with a loud, collective, hip hip hooray! Early believers are now receiving shipment of their new Tesla Model 3. As we have previously mentioned, Elon Musk has been experiencing his fair share of problems concerning getting his latest planet saving autocar shipped out to the prepaid buyers. Yay for him.

Now how about this, what if you could get a Tesla station wagon? For those who waited, maybe they can plop down their dollars on one. It seems that Qwest has completed the first working prototype.

Now, most of us know that Elon Musk has been getting his fingers into all kinds of different projects ranging from under the Earth to the furthest limits of outer space. Now, here is one that should make your collective mouths water, GearHeads: Drive Ins. Yes Homer, you heard that right. Now we don’t know if he is talking about the kind with the big screen and teenagers making out in the front seats of cars. But we do know that it involves roller skates. Watch for the first one to pop up down in Southern California somewhere.

How about this, can we talk about something that actually burns good ole gas? Super sly shutterbugs have been releasing camera spy shots of the new C8 Corvette which they are now saying is due to be released in 2020. Of course the shots are all camoed out. But it sure looks like the mid-engined monster that everyone has been talking about. Word has it that it will be powered by the latest LS design with dual turbos. Horsepower numbers? Who knows but up there for sure.

Now wouldn’t it be rad to pull up to one of those Tesla Drive Ins in one of these bad boys? Speaking of bad boys I would like to call your attention to the #BaddazzPortlandCarz list of the baddest Portland area cars featured at GearHeadsWorld. Just go to YouTube and punch into the search bar – Blown ’67 Chevelle Outlaw Street Racer to find the very first feature we ever did. And there are a number of badd Vettes in the list as well.

Okay now let’s get back to the truly important news of our future. That would, of course be what the tech Geeks have in store for all of us. No place better to find out about that, than the CES Show. We are hearing that China has opened an office in Silicon Valley to tout their new future car called Byton. This will be a slick piece featuring what they call an “Intuitive Digital Experience.”

This ride will feature facial recognition sensors that will open your door for you. The first vehicles will be level 3 autonomous, meaning that you will be able to take your hands off the wheel from time to time. They will be capable of connecting to Smart devices such as your phones and watches. Amazon’s Alexa will be integrated into your fine experience. They will be introduced in China in 2019. Expect to see them here in the US of A in 2020.

Then we have Nissan Intelligence Mobility which will leave the Driving Experience to the human brain. Will your brain be ready for that? And with no further adieu we introduce to you this month’s featured wondercar, the Toyota Palette Transport Vehicle a k a Toaster Car.
This fine representation of the future of humanity features the pictured 6-pack shaped vehicle which can be utilized to haul all manner of humans and whatever else. Just pop open the sunroofs in the top and drop the humans down in vertically where they will be stacked side-by-side. Okay… We don’t exactly know how the humans will be loaded into these things.

GearHeads, just make sure you don’t find yourselves in one of these things.

’nuff said,
Chuck Fasst  GearHeadsWorld@blogspot.com

Barrett-Jackson at Scottsdale AZ

This 2018 edition of the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction was its 47th year in Scottsdale Arizona. In 1967 Tom Barrett and Russ Jackson held a special car show that also featured some of their antique, vintage and classic vehicles. The event went so well that they decided to hold an auction in December of 1971. The first auction, was basically to sell some of their personal collection of classic automobiles, including two Mercedes-Benz 770K Phaetons, that were part of Hitler’s staff cars. One of them sold for a world record, at the time, $153,000. That first auction sold some other high-end classic vehicles such as Duesenberg, Packard, Rolls Royce etc. That auction started the annual event that has always been in Scottsdale, where it continues today.

Russ Jackson passed away in 1993 and Tom Barrett in 2004. Also in the 1990’s the auction had gotten so big, attracting nearly 100,000 people, that they needed to find a new location. The sprawling WestWorld Equestrian Center in North Scottsdale was that facility and where it continues to this day. Back then WestWorld consisted of a huge grassy polo field, a few horse arenas, a few barns and some smaller buildings and many acres of desert land. The Barrett-Jackson auction was held in a large tent. Today, WestWorld is a world class equestrian and special events facility with multiple barns and arenas. The auction tent has given way to a massive pre-fab building that can house over 5000 people in the auction stadium. For the last several years, there have been over 4000 registered bidders, making Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale one of, if not the largest vehicle auctions in the world. The beautiful grassy polo field is still there and much of that desert land has been converted to well-groomed gravel parking areas for the hundreds of thousands of people that came to WestWorld every year. The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association now holds their opening (March) and season ending (November) events at WestWorld.

In 1997 co-founder Russ Jackson’s son Craig Jackson who had worked in the company since the beginning, was promoted to President/CEO, and in 2004 Steve Davis was named President. Also in 1997 the Speed Channel TV network began airing live coverage of the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction. With the TV coverage came more and more innovations, including adding other auction locations. When Speed TV ended, FOX TV took over coverage and in 2015 Discovery Network and Velocity TV have televised the Barrett-Jackson auctions with many hours of live auction coverage. The TV coverage has helped raise attendance in Scottsdale to close to 300,000 people, making it one of the two biggest events each year in Arizona, eclipsed only by the Waist Management Phoenix Open PGA Golf tournament, that’s held right after the auction, just a few miles down the freeway also in Scottsdale.

Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions are well known for their commitment to helping local and national charities. Just since 2006 they have raised over 94 million dollars for charity and the 2018 Scottsdale auction could increase that number to 100 million. If it doesn’t happen at Scottsdale, it will certainly be reached during 2018 with three other auctions on the schedule. Palm Beach FL. April 12-14, Mohegon Sun in Uncasville CT. June 21-23 and Mandelay Bay in Las Vegas September 27-29. www.barrett-jackson.com for more information.


The Rolla Way

“There is the right way, the wrong way and the Vollstedt way.”

Rolla Vollstedt, who lived by his own code, died of natural causes October 22nd 2017. He was ninety nine years old.
Several hundred family members and friends gathered at the World of Speed racing museum in Wilsonville, OR in early November to pay their respects and share their memories of a truly unique individual- An icon of auto racing that called the Pacific Northwest his home. Vollstedt was an engineer and innovator that started out in bucket-T roadsters and rose to the pinnacle of motorsports- Indianapolis. He compete at the Brickyard for nearly twenty years beginning in 1964 with a groundbreaking racer he assembled in the basement of his Portland home.

One former crew member told a story about the “monkey see-monkey do” games Vollstedt played with his fellow competitors- fibbing about practice times and installing then removing aerodynamic do-dads just to give their team a psychological edge. Writer Bob Kehoe related an anecdote about Linda Vaughn calling in during a radio interview with Vollstedt. The two (who had known each other for years) played coy for the listeners to the amusement of all. Fellow Portlander and accomplished wheelman Monte Shelton received a ribbing from Vollstedt once at PIR (Portland International Raceway). After no less than three consecutive engine failures in a weekend, Shelton announced he was throwing in the towel. “Humph,” responded Vollstedt, “I guess you’re no racer!”

I didn’t interview Vollstedt until long after he had retired from Indy car. I followed him around his machine shop in Raleigh Hills, notebook in hand, sleeping infant daughter strapped to my back. Vollstedt toiled away, barely making eye contact with me. I think he disapproved of my style but he never uttered a word about it. Twenty years later my daughter Cora (who also writes for Roddin’ and Racin’) met Vollstedt out at PIR. We were among a small group assembled to watch Michael McKinney fire his ’67 Vollstedt Ford. When offered a set of ear plugs, the veteran car owner declined. After feasting on the exquisite song of the four cammer, I believe all present were a little light-headed!

Cora slowly approached Vollstedt’s wheelchair and kneeled beside him, he smiled reassuringly. She told him how honored she was to make his acquaintance and he thanked her. Then he cautiously reached out, lifting her braid off her shoulder, “Oooooo! He exclaimed, “Are there two of these?” “Yes,” she blushed, showing him the other.

To this day, Cora braids her hair on race day. She will forever call them: “Rolla braids”.

I was delighted to share breakfast with Vollstedt at Bill’s Steak House on an occasion or two. Vollstedt would call in his order in advance so that he was served promptly after his arrival- eggs benedict, I believe.

While Vollstedt busily slurped his hollandaise sauce, across the table I lamented about another race night with engine woes. “That Pontiac motor just won’t run,” I related to Corley, “That motor just lies down.”
Without looking up from his plate, Vollstedt interjected: “You don’t have a Pontiac motor.”
“Huh?” I responded. “Excuse me?”
“You don’t have a Pontiac motor,” he repeated putting a forkful of egg in his mouth.
“I don’t?” I said.
“No,” he asserted without looking up. “You have a Pontiac engine, he explained. “Motors have cords.”

Advertiser Update: CROCKER BLASTING SERVICES

Hopefully, you noticed the double ‘Business Card Ad” on the business card page these last couple of months, Crocker Blasting Services, Dustless Blasting. A few people asked me “What is Dustless Blasting”? Well let’s talk about what Colin Crocker and his “Dustless Blasting,” process is and what it can do for you and your project.

First of all, he will come to you, yep it’s mobile. Second, it is indeed “dustless.” If you have ever “Sand Blasted” anything, you know there can be a huge dust cloud and a large mess everywhere when the work is done. With “Dustless Blasting” there is little to no clean-up and it’s environmentally friendly. With “Dustless Blasting” less heat is developed reducing the risk of warping the metal, a common problem with ordinary sand blasting. Colin tells me that he can even blast fiberglass without damage to the subsurface.
Once the blasting is done he applies a rust inhibitor to keep the bare metal from flash rusting. My experience shows me that starting with a clean surface on any car restoration is always the best idea. It saves time and therefore money, not to mention hard work sanding rust, paint or body filler off your pride and joy.

Start your next project with a clean slate. Get it blasted by Colin Crocker with Crocker Blasting Services and Dustless Blasting. 971-409-3774, colin@crockerblasting.com, www.CrockerBlasting.com. Be sure and tell him Roddin’ & Racin’ NorthWest sent you.

ALL IN

Once Gary and I had committed to it, we were all in. The West Capital Alumni Association’s All American Vintage Classic has existed for twelve years. The first one was organized by Brenda Anderson, wife of Sacramento short track legend Johnny Anderson. Bonnie Chisholm was a board member back in ’06 and took over the event reins the following year. Chisholm also heads up the vintage segment at the Louie Vermeil Classic at Calistoga each Labor Day and that is how my buddy Gary Barnes and I came to be invited.

Now Barnes and I had never driven our race cars on asphalt before…and that is where the Voytek brothers come in. They were planning to attend the Classic anyway so when they offered to crew for us and lend us their pavement expertise, it was pretty much a no brainer.

We arrived in Roseville (CA) on Thursday at dusk. Many of the participants were already there including a Super Modified that was very familiar to me. One of the last races I attended at the old San Jose Speedway was the Johnny Key Classic in 1976. And here before me, literally moments after pulling through the pit gate, appeared the winning car from that event. Thus began an awesome weekend that at times bordered on the surreal.

Friday began with a race memorabilia swap meet. The number of vendors was small but somehow everyone in my party found something they couldn’t live without.

Naturally, I wanted to race with Gary. Yes, my 1985 Sargent is technically a Super but in reality the car has more in common with his ’80 Stanton Sprint Car than the other Supers on hand. It has torsion bar suspension, no starter and I run it without a wing. The officials wouldn’t have it (a Super is a Super; a Sprint Car is a Sprint Car… I guess). Instead they tossed me in with a mixed group of varied experience. I recognized the #5 car from the pages of Vintage Oval. I even remembered the guy’s name: Dan Green. He was one of Legends of Kearny Bowl up from the Fresno area. Also in our session was the Duke McMillan built #0, recently restored by Mike Sargent and driven by Jim DaRe.

The green light blinked on and we were underway. The #5 was circulating slowly, clinging to the bottom groove. DaRe meanwhile chose the high line and really starting hauling the mail. I was somewhere in the middle. I dove in under the #5 and powered away. Within a few laps I was gaining on him again! The #0 in contrast, flashed by me for a second time! On the checkered flag lap the three of us arrived in turn four together. DaRe on the outside, I commit to the bottom, #5 in the center. The #0 easily crossed the line first; I accelerated past the #5 but got a shot in the right rear for my efforts. When I came back around on my cool off lap, #5 was parked sideways at start/finish. “Uh-oh” I thought, “I’m gonna get blamed for that.” It turned out Green no longer owned the car and the new owner of #5 was letting his wife take a test drive. (A rookie ribbon tied to the back of the cage might have been a good idea).

“You see the painted stipe around the bottom?” the head official asked me. “Yeah, I guess.” I said. “You have to stay to the right of that.” He told me I was fast but I was going to wreck somebody. “You need to move up a groove, work on being smoother, slow down to go faster, etc.” I told him I understood and promised to behave myself. In the final session I kept my nose clean. I ran by myself and worked on driving smoother.

Saturday morning we pushed all the cars over behind the grandstands. There was a hot rod show, other display vehicles and vendor booths- all of it, free to the public. Around noon the alumni association honored their new inductees and we all enjoyed a great barbequed lunch. I estimated the group under the pavilion at 350 but Chisholm revealed later that the head count was actually 380- a complete sellout. Afterward we pushed all the cars back to the pit area and track time commenced.

I feel like I continued to get smoother, driving deeper into the turns and braking less, rolling on the throttle earlier. My lap times were likely coming down but my engine temp was starting to climb. I eventually dropped some fluid on the track and found myself back under scrutiny. For my final session we switched out the radiator cap and closed off the overflow making a contained system. I vowed to pull off if the temp got higher than 240.

I was laying down my best laps of the weekend when rivulets of water began streaming down the face of the dash. Then: “Ka-booof!” The lower radiator hose blew and I became a passenger on my own personal carnival ride. Luckily I stopped without hitting anything, faced up the banking between turns three and four. I checked for oncoming traffic just in time to see #5 (of all possible cars) hit my water, do a quick 360 and kiss the retaining wall! My Vintage Classic ended there.

I was glad to hear that damage to the #5 was minimal. Calling it a “racing deal” is cop out so if I spoiled his and his wife’s weekend, I take responsibility and apologize. Gary meanwhile did awesome. He led the Sprint Car finale for eight laps before finishing second.

Throughout the weekend there was serious buzz about this being the last Vintage Classic to be held at All American Speedway in Roseville. I certainly hope that that is not the case. Thanks again to Bonnie Chisholm and all the people that help make this event one of the greatest vintage racing events I have ever attended.

Red Racer

This is a story of a toy. Not just any toy, mind you but a Cox Thimbledrome named Sebastian. Sebastian was made the day after Thanksgiving, 1946.

Now days every toy is manufactured the same way, it seems. A design is agreed upon, it is then passed on to a committee, it is voted on, the designated a name. The is appointed to a group. The group’s design is then voted upon and then the board of director’s votes and either approves the idea, decides to study the idea further, pass it on to another group or kill the idea all together. If approved the idea is passed onto the manufacturing process where the computer program is set forth. The assembled by someone pushing buttons.

Back in 1946, toys were assembled mostly by hand by workers hoping to pass a good product into the hands of another person. Sebastian rolled off the assembly line surrounded by others who had just been built. Mostly, a real engine powered the other toys. Real racers, headed for the hands of older kids and young adults who would race the cars at parks or other such venues. Sebastian was a “push car.” He had no engine but, looked the part. Bright Red paint, a cast side pipe and hand brake were attached to his flanks. Up front, a cast aluminum grille and on his blazing red paint job, a gold #2. He rolled on aluminum wheels with real rubber ribbed front tires and knobby style dirt track rear tires. Sebastian was assembled to look like a real Kurtis Kraft Midget racer.

The toys were all very excited. It was the season they had been told that soon they would be in the hands of real humans who would play with them and love them. The toys were gathered up and packed up into boxes and shipped from Santa Ana, California to the far corners of America. Sebastian ended up in a place called Denver, Colorado. His shipping box was jostled about and then suddenly filled with light as the shipping box was broken open.

He and four other racers were pulled out of the boxes quickly polished and set out in the store’s front window. Sebastian was beside the other Thimbledromes which all had motors. They were on a shelf that over looked an American Flyer train set that would chug its way through a tunnel and then come out of a far wall as a whistle sounded. There were other things which surrounded him that he did not have a clue what they were. Outside the big area in front of him he could see things happening that he had no idea what they were. The outside which had a steady flow of things going back and forth slowed down and finally stopped as it became dark and something was falling from the sky.

A big voice was heard behind him. “Hello new toys and welcome. I am Grandfather Time and you are in the front window of Daniels and Fishers Department Store. The other things around you are other toys. The fellow below us is “Hermy.” He is an American Flyer train, the best on the market! With that the train blew two short blasts from his whistle. “We have Shirley Temple dolls and Charlie McCarthy dolls here as well,” said the old clock. “Above us are a pair of airplane toys and a spaceship toy.”
The grand old clock paused, all the toys were hanging on his every word. “You are to go and be adopted by a child, a human. This is a toys purpose, to make those who own you, happy. The things you see walking past the front window, that is the big ‘thing’ separating us from the world outside, are humans. You will never fully live until you find a home.” Sebastian let the words of the old clock sink in and let it imprint itself on his memory. A Home, he thought. This is what I want to find. He watched outside the window and waited for the darkness to subside and the light to return.

The night gave way to day and the people began to stroll past the window. Some were in a jury and the smaller ones would stop and fog the glass staring and pointing at the different toys. Each had a wish and would focus on the toy that caught their fancy. And, it all began to happen as the clock said it would. The toys were picked up by humans and others were placed in their spots in the front window. Sebastian did his best to earn the respect of the little humans hoping to get a home. He made sure he was in the best light, (only when he could, after hours when no one was around) to show off his bright red paint. But still he sat as his siblings were purchased, leaving him alone. The pace of the humans out front grew to a maddening pace and then it slowed. There was a sound in the air the day no humans came to the store. Great bells were sounding outside and a distant sound of singing.
The Grandfather Clock told him that maybe it was not his season, maybe next year. Sebastian did not understand and still tried to look his best for the humans that may happen to walk by. Then it happened. He was picked up and he was grateful. Could a home be in his future? Was this the day to revel in? But it was just a store employee moving him from the front window to make room for a winter apparel display. Sebastian was placed in a box with decorations and moved to the back of the department store and put in storage. It must have been the wrong box for the darkness, for the little red racer seemed to last a long time. What had actually happened was the box that Sebastian had been put in had been inadvertently placed on a cart for store records and that box had been rolled into ‘long term’ storage.

Daniels and Fisher merged with the May Company and the big building in which Sebastian had first discovered the outside world was closed and set for demolition. Workers were assigned to go through the store and salvage any merchandise that could in return, turn a profit. Some remaining toys were donated to a local hospital. A last-minute opening of an old box revealed Sebastian. He looked like new and the worker who found him smiled. His first thought was to pack the racer into his back pack and take the old relic home, but he decided to send it off to the hospital. The was put into a box and was jostled about while he rolled across town to Mercy Hospital. This was to be his new home.

The box was opened, Sebastian was placed on and rolled across the floor. What a feeling! He felt like screaming with joy as his wheels created a unique shirring noise on the hard, waxed linoleum floor. Sebastian felt the still air turn to wind as his speed picked up. Then as quickly as it had been there it was gone. He wanted to feel that again! Free and Fast he felt! But the worker picked him up and placed him into a box in which other toys had been placed.

Sebastian waited and then saw the blazing light pierce the darkness as the lid of the box was opened. He was lifted out and placed on the floor. The hand gripping him felt different than that of an adult. It was smaller and seemed filled with care. A child held the racer up and made some inaudible noises-bbbbbbbbbbbb-and raced him across the floor. Again, that feeling of bliss. Sebastian felt like this was his home now. He was going to be loved and things would be good from now on.

Many different children played with him. He lost his side pipe with an incident involving a chair leg, but no matter. He loved his new life. His paint was chipped in places and he thought nothing of it. One day a new boy arrived. He could barely make the noises the other kids made, but really attached himself to the toy car. In fact, this child was able to take the car to his room when it was deemed rest time for the boy. One day, a larger pair of humans came to visit the boy. Sebastian heard the larger say to the little boy. “Son, what do you have there?’ “Wow.” Sebastian was lifted out of the child’s hands and the adult looked at the little red racer carefully. “Now that is a really neat toy! Man, I have not seen one of these since I was a kid!” The adult smiled as he held the racer and then returned it to his son’s hands.

Sebastian felt special. Was this what it felt like to be loved? The boy was gentle with the racer and seldom let it fly across the room. He and his Dan would play with Sebastian rolling him back and forth, always careful not to bounce him off the furniture. Then, as things seemed normal, the boy went away. He was better, and it was his time to go home. He cried for the red racer. “I want to take it home!” He cried, but the boy’s Mother gently explained how other kids needed special toys to play with. That the little racer was a great toy and would be best left here in the hospital where other kids could enjoy it. The little boy subdued his crying, but claimed he would never forget the red racer! Never!

Sebastian remained in the hospital playroom, again experiencing the hands of new kids and adults alike. He would love it when a new kid would pick him up and cart him off to their room. A temporary home away from the other toys. As time slipped by the other toys came and went more frequently. Most were more pliable than he. “Plastic” is what one toy Mustang claimed he was made of. Sebastian wondered where the other toys like him were. It had been a long time since he had seen another racer like himself. Were they happy in their homes, he wondered one day as a concerned mother lifted Sebastian and took him to a nurse. “Excuse me, just how is it that this dangerous toy is amongst our poor sick children?” The nurse gave the concerned mother a blank look. “Let me explain, this toy is made of metal!” Another blank stare, “Our children could be hurt on this toy!’ “Does the term LAWSUIT mean anything to you?” This, the nurse understood and took the racer from the concerned mother. That night a couple of workers rounded up any toys that could be ‘dangerous’ and placed them in a box.

The box was closed. Sebastian’s world was in darkness again. The darkness was long lasting this time. Sebastian did not know if he were still together or maybe disposed of. What if this was the end? He had heard about ‘The End’ one night while in the department store window. The Grandfather Clock had been answering questions from the toys when a Raggedy Ann Doll asked, “Grandfather, is there and end?” A strange quiet fell around the room. The wind howled outside, and a swirling of snow flashed by the window. Grandfather sighed. This question he had answered to many times and each time it was never easier. He spoke.
“Yes, yes there is. Some toys will be loved so much they have but no chance of survival. Be it a doll losing her stuffing or a train’s motor failing to pull a load, the End for toys is sometimes inevitable. Many here will meet an end. Cast off to the side and forgotten. This is not the time for you to know of The End. Revel in life and enjoy what is ahead of you.”

Sebastian had taken these words to heart and feared The End. He wished for so much more, but began to think about his existence. The department store window, the smiles of children looking at him through the glass. The hospital years and especially the little boy who wanted to take him home. Home, a word that was larger than life itself. Sebastian wished for a Home. That was what he had always wanted. So, he rested in the dark. Him and a collection of other toys deemed dangerous for sick or recovering children in a hospital play room. And as before, the box was jostled one day and was suddenly being transferred across town, a Tonka Dune Buggy next to him screamed in the dark, “It’s the End. I know it.”

Sebastian was startled to hear this. The other toys remained silent. Each awaiting their own fate quietly, remembering happy days outside of the lonely box. Then as before, the box opened. Sebastian was removed from the box and tough it was an adult who carried him, he was handled with the greatest of care. The adult paused at the big workbench and proceeded to clean the old racer. He used a tooth brush and wax to bring the shine back to the red paint. Carefully he polished the aluminum parts and used some cleaner on the red racer’s tires. The adult gave Sebastian a final polish and gently set him on a very old wooden floor and gave the racer a push. Sebastian’s old wheels carried him a short distance and he stopped. Frowning, the adult lifted the racer and sprayed something on the axles.

Again, he set the racer down and gave a push. Sebastian felt the still air turn to wind as he sailed across the floor. The adult gave a great whoop and chased after the little red racer. Sebastian felt like he may have a second chance. A chance to find a home after all.

The adult picked up the racer and placed Sebastian in a small wooden case. He was next to an old baseball card, Joe DiMaggio, 1953, a set of Aviator glasses with the case and a Buddy L Corvair Pick-up truck. Across from him on the other side of the room was a big old grandfather clock. Sebastian wondered if it was the same one from the department store, but knew better because this one was still and the pendulum was not swinging.

After dark, conversations were exchanged, and everyone spoke of their value and where they were from. Sebastian only knew the plat where he was made, the department store and the hospital. The term “value” meant nothing to him. A doll stood up and exclaimed how she was a first edition Barbie and had all her accessories. She told the room she was very valuable and that she was most likely to sell for a huge amount. A stuffed bear told the room he was a very rare ‘Beanie’ and that being handed out at the All Stars Game made him worth thousands.

The whole night went like this. Sebastian finally asked if anyone was just interested in find a home. The room erupted with laughter. The red racer thought about this ‘til dawn. He did not want to know his “value.” Just to find a home.

The next day. The store opened with a flurry of business. There was a flood of the people coming in and out. The faces were of older people and a few children wafted in and out. But none stopped to stare longingly at the toys. A woman stopped in front of the racers display case and soon was holding Sebastian. She carried him to the front of the store and Sebastian sighed as was put into a box again. Be he had his hopes this time. The woman had spoken excitedly about how her husband played with a car like this as a child and had been searching for one since. Maybe, thought Sebastian, just maybe he would find a home this year.

He sat in the darkness and waited. And waited. Until that fateful day when he was passed around and placed next to some other boxes. He hoped he would be opened and not set to the side this like the other times in his past. His box was opened and the eyes looking at him were much older, but familiar. The face was the same, save for the years that had ticked by. The man smiled the same smile as the boy who had played with him so many years earlier. It was Christmas 1996. 50 years of waiting, finally, Sebastian, the Red Racer had found a home.