The Hess Family

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Here’s a story about a family who are really car people.

Bill Hess is a car guy, always has been and continues to be. Bill has worked many years in the parts business and his “hobby” is, wait for it, Cars. He currently works at NAPA, High Desert Automotive Supply in Bend, Oregon.

You’ve all heard the saying, “The apple doesn’t fall from the tree.” Well that’s true in the case in spades.
Bill’s Son, Brent also works at the same auto parts store and one of his hobbies is also cars. But wait, that’s not all. Remember that apple thing? Well Brent’s son, Tucker is a car guy and he works for NAPA in Bend as well. He told me that he is interested in auto mechanics.

Each of these guys, three generations worth, have a special interest car. In addition, another one of Bills sons is also a car guy. Joe owns a 1953 Chevy 210, club coupe. I once owned a ’53 150 club coupe. You don’t see many of those, and Joe lives not far from me and I’ve seen his car on the road several times. Plus, to show you how deep the 30W flows in this family, David, another of Bill’s sons, owns a 1941 Dodge ½ ton Pickup that Bill rebuilt the mid-fifties Mopar six for. David doesn’t work in the auto industry but that doesn’t mean he’s not a car guy. He works at Clark’s Lumber & True Value in Tualatin Oregon. And they have a car show there every year. You’ve probably heard about it. Unfortunately I didn’t get any advanced notice of the 2016 show in time to include it in our coming events for May.

Bill has a very original 1952 Chevy, 4dr sedan. It’s not a hot rod but it’s well preserved and with a little newer 235 engine it’s a cool old car. He tells me too that he is working a 1963 Rambler Ambassador wagon with a stock 327 and an automatic. You don’t see many of those either. I didn’t get any pictures of the Ambassador the day I visited the Hess Family Car Guys at their work but I’m sure I’ll see it at a car function in the future.
Son, Brent has a 1967 Chevy Nova 2dr Hardtop with a 350 4spd. His Daughter has a 1966 VW Bug. See I told you they had a car family.

Tucker, who is a student, has a 1991 Pontiac Firebird, with a 350-5spd, that his Dad and his Grandfather helped him put together.

It’s pretty cool that three generations of the same family work in the auto parts industry, together, and all have cars they’ve built to their liking. The Car hobby is going strong in the Hess family of Central Oregon.

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Brent-Hess

RPM Act Update

Gearheads Must Continue to Fight for Our rights

Those of you who have been reading this EPA column now know about their attempted power grab and the resulting backlash from that effort. SEMA is the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association. They fight for our rights in ways that we simply can’t. They took hold of this and led the charge. We joined in and let our Representatives know. Then State’s Attorneys General stood up one by one and refused to abide by the EPA language as written. The EPA subsequently changed the wording on one sentence. That took care of the issue at hand for the time being.

You also know that SEMA filed the RPM Act which was meant to limit the powers of the EPA. They well know that once a Government agency obtains a certain amount of power – they will never cease in their attempts to grab more. We have since had an increasing number of Representatives stand up behind the RPM act. But we are not out of the woods yet. It still has a ways to go.

Before we go any further, we would like you to consider a scenario such as this: You want to improve the performance of your tow rig for hauling your racecar cross country. You have installed CARB approved parts on your engine to accomplish this. This requires that you re-program your CPU in the rig. Next thing you know you are in a jail. Perhaps it was your second offense and the powers that be had decided to make that into some kind of a gross misdemeanor. Of course this sounds totally absurd – but there is no telling what the future may hold. The RPM Act did not cover your truck because it is not used on a racetrack.

Granted, the EPA’s efforts might be well better spent going after gross corporate polluters as opposed to a relative handful of hot rodders. But who are we to say? Of course we do have some say. In addition SEMA has asked that we share this to our social media platforms. They have made this very easy for us over at their website. If you have not done so yet, we encourage you to get on over to SEMA.org at your earliest convenience or you can get there from #GearHeadsWorld. Sign on with SEMA and they will carry the rest. We win this battle and then get ready for the next.

Mark your calendars for Friday July 8th. That is National Collector Car Day … got it? That is OUR Holiday. If you would like to know more about this you can visit the Blog over at #GearHeadsWorld. So enough said here—what say you?

~ Chuck Fasst

H.R. 4715/S. 2659, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016

The Continuing Saga of the Barn Find 55

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Just so you guys that are following this elongated story, here is a quick update.

A couple months ago I gave you a little update where I had taken the body off the frame and did the test fit on the new frame.  I’m glad to report my scientific wild guess on engine placement worked out great.  With the body set where it would be bolted down the firewall cleared the back corners of the heads by at least a half inch.  Lucky guess I know.
The next phase was to dismantle it in prep for dipping and stripping.  We found some rust that wasn’t apparent until we got it blown apart, (darn) but we half expected that.  It’s going to require a little more work to replace the rusted panels but surprisingly this old car is very solid.  Gary the metal man at Metal Works in Eugene looked at it and said he thinks the wrinkled quarter panel can be “pulled” rather that replaced.  He likes the old metal just like I do.
It’s out of the dipping process this week.  I hope to include a couple pics of what it looks like in bare metal, hopefully not Swiss cheese.  Did I tell you about how much damage rodents can do in your headliner?  Those rotten little ?!*#+@?*& so and so’s.  Oops, sorry for the colorful language, but I’m betting you understand.
I’ve been working very hard on both the paper and my projects.  I’ll try to do a more complete up-date maybe next month.

Feature Car of the Month

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A Ford in a Ford makes for a sweetheart of a 1926 Tall “T” Street Rod, a winner in every corner. 

There’s not one inch on this delicious Cherry Red “T” Coupe that hasn’t been refined to perfection.  From the hand formed custom grill shell, to the smooth as silk rear quarter panel, rear deck-lid and below including the rear tail-lights and turn signals placed just above the dual tail pipes.  She’s powered with a gorgeous Ford Flathead tweaked with just the right look and sporting everything in her to make it sound and perform like a million dollar ride.  Including a hand built chassis, and that 8 gallon fuel cell, and the special squared off designed head-lights up-front.  She’s a standalone beauty.  Add on the one of a kind custom designed combination hood and air-breather, feeding the right mixture of Oxygen to that Carville fuel injector system and you have one lean and mean “T” Street Rod Coupe.

She’s finished off with a host of leather covering a bench seat and leather wrapped tilt-steering wheel.  Add custom electro gauges on a one off hand formed interior dash, plus the soft gray leather is also accented in the rear-trunk area complete with 15 gallon main fuel supply.  She’s fitted with custom polished alloy wheels on all four corners and Wilwood Disc brakes up front.  Add on a super sounding AM/FM/CD and you have just built Brandon Hillyer’s (in todays $$ an $80 to $90 thousand dollar build) award winning 1926 Super Modified Tall “T” Coupe.  She has won her share of Trophies including best of class at the Portland Roadster Show, and a host of other awards all over the West Coast.  We at R&R NW are proud to select Brandon’s tall “T” as our featured car of the month for June 2016.  If you would like additional information on this ride call Brandon at 503-981-4747 ext. 1410.

All for the Love of Classic Custom Chevrolet Corvettes

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The question to this “All for the Love Story” is what do you call a guy with five delicious Chevy Custom Corvettes in his garage at home?

Now, let the record show that this same creative artistic car enthusiast has had twenty five plus Corvette creations registered in his name over the years. The following five featured here are the Crème-De-La-Crème from his fantastic collection. A modified ‘56 coupe, two custom creations, built from ground up, a ’57 and a ‘60 award winning Roadster’s, both artistic works of art. One showy flamed out ‘71 Stingray and a 2000 coupe, his daily driver. The people in his Springfield Oregon neighborhood call him Mr. Dennis Huntley. “One cool car lovin’ kinda guy.”

1956 Red & White Corvette Convertible has for power, a 383 ci Stroker/425 HP/ Dual 4 Barrels, 350 Auto Tranny, Modified Stock-Rear, Wilwood Disc-Brakes on all four corners. 17” Super chromed out wheels make for a smooth ride on this cherry ’56.

1971 Black w/Purple Flames Stingray, also for power, a 383 Stroker/535 HP w/nitro 600 plus HP. Custom Black on Black Interior, Flames and Exterior finish by D.H.

1957 Candy–Lime Green Corvette Roadster w/572 ci for power w/871 Blower, Fuel Injection producing 1000 HP, w/custom 400 stick on the floor tranny w/9” Ford rear with Detroit Locker. This complete rolling chassis as shown was all built by Jimmy Meyers Street Rods. In addition she features Frenched Head-Lights and for a clean and neat look, they relocated the Parking-Lights down under. She sports Billet Chrome Wheels on all four corners with 18” up front and 20” out back for a sweet stance. The delicious white on white all leather interior was stitched by Jon Lynn from Eugene. The custom Gauges are accented with the candy green theme to the interior. This is an award winning creation where-ever she shows from Hot August Nights and all over the West Coast.

1960 Tangerine Dream Machine Corvette Roadster w/383ci Stroker for power, w/671 Blower producing 650 HP. M22 4/speed tranny and modified rear w/456 gears. Jimmy Meyers Street Rods created the front suspension on this fantastic ride. Again Jon Lynn produced the gorgeous Italian Leather interior including tricking out the trunk. Boyd Coddington special one off wheels were selected for this creation, with 17” up front and 18” on the rear for a perfect look. You can see and hear this creative work of automobile wonder coming as a gift to one’s eyes with the Orange Tangerine sporting those champagne swish graphics making this 1960 Corvette Roadster come alive. Again this super custom has won trophies all over the West Coast.

2000 Torch Red Corvette Coupe. She sports a LT1 for power w/six speed tranny. This daily driver features a delicious black interior and is pretty much a stock ride, for Mr. Huntley to get around the valley in. Dennis is an active member, in good standing, with the Cascade Corvette Club for the past ten years.

We at R&R NW Publication would like to thank Dennis for sharing his beautiful creative works of automobile wonder with our thousands of readers all over the Pacific Northwest and beyond. “All for the love of Custom Classic Chevrolet Corvettes“ for June 2016.

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60th Annual Portland Roadster Show – The Tradition Continued!

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All for the Love of Classic Cars, Street Rods, Bikes and Trucks.The 2016 PRS was the Biggest and Best Ever! The Cars were truly the Stars of this fantastic show.

The 60th Portland Roadster Show is now in the history books and for the record it should go down as one of the biggest and best ever custom, hot-rod, classic car, bike and truck shows of all time. Not only in the Rose City of Portland, but one of the most memorable car shows in the whole nation. From the opening gate on Friday, March 18th the Expo Center rocked with a record number of car and truck enthusiasts going thru the turn stiles. Plus, there was a record number of vendors and supporters helping make this show a great financial success. Our Portland Roadster Show had 129 classes in cars, trucks and bikes, the most of any ISCA show nationwide. The show also gave out more cash prize winning dollars than any other show in the country. Cash awards included, the Grand Sweepstakes Rose Cup Award, $10,000, the World Cup of Hot Rodding, $5,000, the King of Customs, $3000, and the Bill Peterson award of $500 all totaling $18,500. Additionally, Best of Class, Second Place and Third Place trophies in those 129 classes were awarded.

The PRS was honored with the presence of world class car building celebrities, Dave Kindig, John D’Agostino, Gene Winfield and Chip Foose, who were on hand signing autographs and meeting and greeting the thousands in attendance. Another point of interest; Portland’s own Johnny Limbo & the Lugnuts performed a full, on stage show, Saturday evening and helped raise thousands of dollars in gifts for the Angel’s on Wheels Toy Drive for Randall Children’s Hospital. In addition there were a record number of 501c3 for charity fund raising activities at this year’s show, including the KDCCP brand new 2016 Mustang raffle car was on display and raised thousands of dollars for the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Cancer research program up at OHSU. The Veterans were well represented with the MIAP booth and the Pharaohs Street Rodder’s Lines for Life Veterans Programs as well as the Veterans, Help a Wounded Warrior was also raising funds with a special custom car giveaway. Plus the Kyron Horman Foundation and the Angels on Wheels Toy Drive were also present.

The Multnomah Hot Rod Council/Portland Roadster Shows Wagons for Kids helps the Children’s Cancer Association. The PRS gave away a record number of wagons at the show this year. The new wagons were mostly donated from the 19 car clubs that make up the MHRC. In addition, the Pedal Car Auction raised a record number of dollars for the participating 20 highs school and local community college automotive programs. The MHRC/PRS High School Challenge was well represented again this year with 23 High School and Skill Centers from the Portland and Vancouver area participating. They all did a great job and all are to be congratulated of their winning efforts. A special thank you goes out to Napa Sunset Auto Parts for their generous gifts.

We at Roddin’ & Racin’ NorthWest would like to thank all of the members of the MHRC for your dedicated individual volunteer efforts and the outstanding job you each performed representing you own car clubs and the MHRC at the 60th Portland Roadster Show. The hundreds of thousand/million plus dollars this show brought to the Portland Vancouver area is unmeasurable in immediate numbers, but the amount of good will and your friendly participation with the visitors at this show will be remembered for a long time. The Cities of Portland and Vancouver thanks each and every one of you for a job well done. We would also like to recognize and give a KP thumbs up to two special individuals, PRS Co-Chairs, Duane Caseday and David Jothen for their fantastic leadership efforts in putting the finishing touches on this world class 60th PRS. Also, a salute to all of the MHRC board of directors for a job well done.

Regular Joe

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Jerry Grant was just a “Regular Joe” in many respects.

He had always been a burly man and he felt a little self-conscious about that. Worse was the premature baldness! What’s up with that? He spent his whole life wearing bad hairpieces. In the pits, he’d roll up his balaclava and wear it like a beanie to conceal his dome. But behind the wheel of a race car, Grant was nothing but self-assured. It was confidence that stemmed from years of experience.
Born in Seattle, he started racing as a teen. When he grew bored with drag racing he began entering his hot rod Fords in local road races. Though his cars weren’t particularly well suited for that, he showed enough talent to attract the attention of a car owner named Dick Hahn. Hahn purchased a 3-litre Ferrari for Grant to pilot in 1960, this proved to be a marriage made in heaven. Over the next few seasons the duo won thirty eight races including the 1961 and ’62 Rose Cups. Though Hahn eventually upgraded to a newer model, rear engined sports racers with American power became the preferred weapon so Grant naturally gravitated toward those. With sponsorship from Ole Bardahl, Grant was able to field a competitive car. Typically he would qualify well, run up front but fail to finish.

Encouraged by his peers, Grant ventured to Indianapolis for the first time in 1964. He climbed into the Watson roadster of Fred Gerhardt but failed to make the show. Another non-qualifier that year was rookie Pedro Rodriguez who had crashed Kjell H. Qvale’s third entry. These were Joe Huffaker built, Lotus inspired cars with Offenhauser engines that proved very competitive for years to come. For 1965, Grant brought his Bardahl sponsorship to this entry and easily made the program, qualifying right smack dab in the middle of the thirty three car field. Sadly on Memorial Day, Grant completed only thirty laps before his engine soured.

Somewhere in this time frame, it may have been at Indy or at a west coast sports car meet, Grant struck up a friendship with Dan Gurney. Gurney recognized Grant’s ability and did much to bolster the big guy’s career. At the ’66 500, Gurney was introducing his Champ Car version of the successful “Eagle” Gran Prix car. A quartet of the Ford powered racers was entered and Grant was assigned one of them. Bringing along Bardahl as well as Pacesetter Homes for sponsors, Grant easily put his Eagle in the show with tenth best qualifying time. 1966 was the year of the eleven car debacle at the drop of the green flag but only Gurney’s Eagle was eliminated. Joe Leonard, Grant and Lloyd Ruby soldiered on and were awarded ninth, tenth and eleventh respectively.

!966 was also the inaugural year of the storied Can-Am series. Grant’s Lola T70 was state of the art and without a doubt, one of the sharpest looking cars in the paddock… but not particularly fast. When the season ended in November, Grant had two sevenths to his credit. His association with Gurney afforded Grant the opportunity to race sports cars all over the country and in Europe. Eventually he moved to southern California to be closer to Gurney’s Costa Mesa headquarters.

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Gurney’s focus remained on building cars for Indianapolis and in 1967, no less than seven Eagles made the program. New Zealander Denny Hulme fared best, bringing Smokey Yunick’s entry home in the fourth spot. Grant fell out after 162 laps with engine trouble. Then in 1968, Gurney accomplished his goal with Bobby Unser winning the 500 in an Eagle. Gurney himself finished second and Hulme again was fourth in a team car. It was a great day for Gurney’s Eagles but not so much for Grant. He had qualified his privately entered Bardahl Special mid-pack but fell out with only fifty laps completed.

Grant’s reputation for being fast but hard on equipment likely prevented him from procuring a first class ride for Indy in 1969. “Grant, you’re gonna have to learn how to finish (races),” Roger Penske advised. Grant had known Penske since the early days and he took those words to heart. Rolla Vollstedt gave him a shot in his back up car but for first time since his rookie debut, Grant failed to make the show.
Determined to turn things around, Grant entered his own Offy powered Eagle in 1970 and slipped into the lineup in the 29th slot. On race day he drove conservatively, pacing himself and when the checkered flag fell, he was scored sixth. Sadly, no one seemed to notice and Grant again found himself chasing a competitive ride for 1971. He turned his own car over to Sam Posey to try but failed to get the Norris Industries #92 up to speed.

Then in 1972 Grant’s old buddy Dan Gurney introduced a new generation of Eagles to the Brickyard. Bobby Unser was assigned the primary car but there was a beautiful blue violet (yet unsponsored) sister car for Grant to try on. This Eagle proved to be one of Gurney’s finest efforts, an absolute rocket ship right out of the box. Unser broke the track record putting his car on the pole; Grant played it more conservative qualifying 15th. On race day Unser was off like a shot, leading the first thirty laps before he succumbed to ignition problems. Popular second generation driver Gary Bettenhausen looked poised to win his first 500 for Penske until he too was sidelined with eighteen laps to go.” So who’s leading this thing?!” people wondered.

Grant (fully aware that he’s got his best chance ever) couldn’t resist reverting back to his old hard charging ways. He’s leading the race but he’s used up his tires and most of his fuel. By now everyone is talking about “The Mystery Eagle”, the car that remained unsponsored that no one gave a serious shot at winning. He has to pit with a dozen laps remaining and the lead is handed to Mark Donohue in another Penske car. Grant returns to the race but not enough laps remain to catch the leader; they’ll have to settle for second. Later it is discovered that Grant was refueled from Unser’s tank (illegal) and they are disqualified. They are awarded 12th place, the last lap scored, the last lap completed before the pit stop. The difference in prize money is about $72,000!

Grant drove for Gurney again the following year and for others through 1976. He finished in the top ten in 1974 but never again came close to winning. In the end, what Grant was proudest of was being the first man to drive an Indy car in excess of 200 mph on a closed course. He accomplished this at the now defunct Ontario Speedway.

On his first timed lap with unlimited turbo boost, breaking the tires loose in every gear.  Just a Regular Joe… an overweight, bald guy who loved to stand on the gas.

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52nd Annual Portland Swap Meet

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Elsewhere in this publication I mention having an affinity for old rusty car parts.

Odd I know but true. Well April turns out to be a great month for some poor slob like me to get my rusty parts fix on. For the 52th year, that’s a long time isn’t it? The Portland Swap Meet has been taking place out at the EXPO Center.

The venue used to be called the Pacific International Livestock Exposition. I remember going to a rodeo there back in the early 60’s. The oldest building on Marine Drive has been there since about 1925. I recall a lot of the old buildings being wood beamed construction with dirt floors and livestock pens also made of wood. They were used for all kinds of livestock as the stock yards were next door and the Multnomah County Fair used to be held there.

The earliest year I remember going to the swap meet was in about ’76 or ’77 I think. I remember it to be immense back then and spread out all over the grounds, filling all the old buildings, parking lots, side of the streets, it was crazy.  I’m not quite sure about this but I think back then it HAD to grow and the over flow went down the street to Portland International Raceway. Now of course and for some time, PIR has put on a “rival” swap meet at PIR starting one day sooner and ending one day sooner than the original Portland Swap Meet. I also recall some contentiousness between the two meets but that thankfully has dissipated and we get to enjoy two giant swap meets during the same week in April.

The weather was flawless this year, not the usual, and in fact not that often is it so nice. I find it amazing that cars and parts keep coming out of the woodwork so to speak year after year. PIR has evolved into kind of a family fun weekend for many who bring their campers, families and friends in addition to their cars, parts and other collectibles for sale or trade.

The PIR swap meet has grown steadily every year and it now covers the entire track, both sides all the way around as well as the pits/paddock area. Just think. That’s nearly two miles times 2, (both sides of the track) plus the paddock area of old car treasures. Business was brisk the days I was there too, with cars and parts changing hands from morning to night.

I’ve jokingly said that if you can’t find what you are looking for at these two swap meets then you don’t really need it. I’ve also heard said that the combined size of these meets make them the biggest swap meet in the west. They really are huge.

I heard languages being spoken that definitely weren’t from around here. Auzzies, Brits, Cannucks, Germans, French, and some others I couldn’t identify. Still, all friends of the old car hobby who obviously traveled from far away just for our little swap meets. I find it interesting how far reaching the old car hobby has grown. It shows me there are car nuts like us everywhere… WOW.

Of course it’s not hard to remember these continuing events but put them on your calendar for next year early anyway. And if you have ‘stuff’ that needs a new home, reserve your spot early to ensure that you get a spot. PIR was “Sold Out” this year!