Feature Car of the Month

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What do you call a guy that was at the Bor-A-Car Company in Portland and worked in the boring, stroking and blue-printing engines department for about 16 years? Add on six more years at Halsey Automotive, plus five more years at Freightliner Corporation and you have a guy who has worked on just about every type of automotive engine known to man. Give this guy a name like Jake Schonneker, who makes his home in Carver, Oregon and you have just found the proud owner of R&R NW Publications Featured Care of the Month for November 2015.

This delicious 1956 Meadow Mist Green and Colonial White Ford Victoria, sports a later model 302 cubic inch engine for power, with an AOD tranny and a stock rear-end. Add on a custom rolled and pleated white leather interior by Darrell’s Upholstery and you’re on your way to a gorgeous custom ‘56 Ford.
Those torque thrust mag wheels on all four corners top this baby off and make her a real winner whereever she shows.

Jake has built and or owned and worked on 25 to 30 custom cars and trucks in his active 72 years, including a ’23 “T” Bucket to a ’54 center post coupe, to a ’41 Ford PU plus, 7 or 8 ’55 & ’56 Ford F100 Pick-ups. He’s had them all. He is still first to admit his three favorite rides of all time are the 1957 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible, (they on built 618 of them in 57), a fuel injected dream ride that had it all. #2, was a 69 Mustang Mach 1 with a 428 Cobra Jet for power and #3, is our R&R NW Feature Car of the Month for November, Jake’s ’56 Ford Victoria.

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All for the Love of Street Rods & Custom Classic Cars

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Mike and Denise Gies make their home in Damascus, Oregon about a ¼ mile from the home shop of the world class Wescott’s Auto Restyling Enterprises. Over the years Mike and the late Dee Wescott became pretty good friends. If Mike needed a part to finish one of his rebuilds and Dee didn’t have it in stock Mr. Wescott just took the time and made it for him.That’s what Mike remembers about the one and only great Dee Wescott.  Mike Gies is a fella that’s been known around the street rod and custom car community for quite a number of years here in Portland. From a 1912 Jackson Speedster of a few years back to over 100 custom cars and street rods that he and wife Denise have owned and rebuilt, refinished and redefined to perfection before turning them back out into the world of hot-rodding. We at R&R NW Publications are excited to bring you about seven of their finished rides to market.

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1932 FORD FULL FENDER ROADSTER
350 Chev for power/350 Turbo trans/9” Ford rear/creamy tan colored rolled and pleated interior/deep baby blue color with matching blue wheels/chrome beauty rings and baby moons on all four corners really sets this ride off in style. A super clean and neat ’32 roadster complete with Road-Agents Member Plaque.

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1964 CHEVY CORVETTE STINGRAY ROADSTER
Pretty much stock. Powered with a totally rebuilt 327 ci 350 hp. Stock body and interior with stock color inside and out. She sports a solid stingray hardtop hangin’ in the garage back at the Gies home along with a couple more automobile projects under construction.

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1931 FORD PICKUP                          
Pretty much stock what you see is what you get. She is sporting a delicious non-stock candy maroon paint job with shiny black fenders. Seen with Mike in center is fellow Road Agents Jim Gravitt and Jim Mannthey.

1931 FORD 5 WINDOW COUPE
With 350 Chev for power and 350 Turbo trans. 9” Ford rear-end. Dropped independent front with polished American Cragars on all four corners. Candy maroon paint w/root beer fenders make this ride come alive.

 

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1912 JACKSON SPEEDSTER
(From 1912 Indy 500) 4 CYL 60 HP, 3 SP Tranny, 26” race tires, 2 Seater/Cordovan leather covered, from the brass headlights to the leather covered tool chest on the rear. She carried 15 gal of petro. Racin-red color body/shiny black fenders w/wood step.  Placed 10th in the Indy that year.

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1929 FORD MODEL A WODDIE WAGON
A surfin’/haulin’ machine w/350 Chev for power/350 turbo tranny/8” Ford rear set on a ‘32 chassis. Dropped front end and disc brakes all the way around and she’s wearing red painted artillery spoked wheels w/Baby Moons on all four corners. A sweet little one of a kind ride.

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1941 FORD BUSINESS COUPE
Built in Portland in the late 60s, this is one fantastic creation of hot rodding history to the Pacific Northwest and beyond. She’s powered with a 1967 Corvette 327 ci 350 hp. V8/Muncie 4 speed trans with Hurst Shifter/Parallel Leaf ’57 Chev rear end/body chopped 4.25 Inches, nosed and decked, frenched headlights, ’59 Cad tail lights, dual “Appleton” style spotlights. Lowered over-all 8 inches with dropped axle. Custom dash with Stewart Warner gauges, A/C and heat, plus a beautiful all leather interior to match this gorgeous built automotive work of art. She sports a full set of skirts on the rear, classic wide whites and three bar Old’s fiesta full caps up front.
The Candy Apple Red paint with the very period flames truly make this a show car that will live on and on in the world of classic custom creations. She has won Best of Show and First Place trophies all over the west coast when-ever and wherever she is shown.

Mike and Denise are soon to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and enjoy seeing and spending time with their three grandchildren in the big sky country of Montana. Mike spent several years in Montana in the US Air Force back in the sixties at the base in Great Falls. He accepted the assignment to relocate back to the Portland area and worked out of the Oregon Air National Guard recruiting office back in 1992.
After 23 years in the Oregon Air National Guard and the regular Air Force, Mike retired and is enjoying his well earned retirement working on his true commission, and that is building custom cars. Denise is an educator and has worked in the Gresham-Barlow school system for over 15 years. She loves assisting Mike with their car projects. She did comment that sometimes she gets a little more attached to the cars than Mike does and she hates to see them almost finished with the repairs. As on more than one occasion the car was there when she went to school in the a.m. and gone when she returned in the p.m.,  and she didn’t even have the opportunity to say goodbye. Mike’s true thrill in life is to hang-on to these fantastic automobile creations just long enough to make them a little better than they were, and then say goodbye and let them go off to a new home and the excited new owners.

We at R&R NW Publications like your style Mike and Denise, and we would like to thank you for sharing your story with us and our thousands of readers all over the Pacific Northwest and beyond. “All for the Love of Street Rods and Custom Classic Cars.“

RIP Radkes

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I could always tell when Merlin was there. He would park his faded Astro Van directly in front of the entrance, half on the curb, half in the parking lot. I would say my hellos and get started. Merlin would totter over, grinning. He was always dressed the same, baggy shorts and a threadbare t-shirt. His glasses up on the top of his head. We talked about different products we sold, his visits to the doctor, his failing health. The last time I saw him he was lucid and in good spirits.
Pam would run me a stock order but I still took a physical inventory. That was how my predecessor did it and that was what they liked. Generally I was there for a of couple hours, every other Tuesday for the last year they were in business.

Used to be that when you wanted to hot rod your car, you paid a visit to the local speed shop. In the late seventies a national chain called Super Shops sprung from southern California. With 165 locations, they were able to buy Edelbrock by the boxcar, making it difficult for the independents to compete. Next came the mail order catalogs, another old concept but tailored specifically for the performance shopper. Soon guys were carrying their Summit, Jegs or Speedway catalogs with them, right into the speed shop! Everyone knew (about) what things should sell for and anyone could buy for less than retail. Finally, the internet drove the nails into the coffin. Now anyone with rudimentary computer skills had all the information at their fingertips. Everyone became “an expert” and the brick and mortar speed shops were doomed.

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Radkes had a humble beginning, starting out as a Gilmore gas station in 1933. Merlin’s father Julius was mechanically inclined and attended tech school to fine tune his skills. Soon a three bay garage was built in which to perform repairs and eventually a parts store was added to further facilitate the expansion. Merlin returned from the Korean War a twenty one year old high on hot rodding. He began to buy performance parts from the manufacturers in multiples, one for sale and two for stock. Initially this was kept a secret from his parents who regarded hot rodding with skepticism, fearing it was a passing fad. Merlin became entrenched in the local racing scene and advertised extensively all over the Pacific Northwest. Soon word got around that Radkes had “the goods” and customers came from as far away as Canada to buy them. The speed shop segment of the business grew to the point where they had to build a larger store right behind their existing one. By the mid-sixties, Radkes employed four men full time just to accommodate their performance customers. Another growing, family owned auto parts chain by the name of Baxter initially bought all of their performance accessories from Radkes.  An estimated 6,000 patrons attended their first parking lot sale.

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While the performance market was still ascending, Radkes opened additional stores but ultimately these satellite locations failed to get a foothold. The decision was made to pull back and refocus on the original St. John’s location and for many years, business thrived.

Radkes never stopped caring about performance parts or being able to sell them at a competitive price. What changed was the way in which their customers shopped for them.

If there is a Roddin’ and Racin’ Northwest Hall of Fame, Merlin Radke certainly deserves inclusion. Vaya con dios, old friend.

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Hot August Nights 2015

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The 29th Annual Hot August Nights is in now in the history books. It’s hard to believe that it has been going on for 29 years. I didn’t make it to the first one or all of them every year but I’ve made many through the years. Things have changed in that time. This year had over 5500 registered participants.

A few years ago Barrett/Jackson came on board holding their auction at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center. I’ve made it to everyone of those. My Wife, Marsha and I love to go to this function. It’s usually quite a show. I liken it to a terrific car show even if you’re not there to buy a car.  The Auction atmosphere is always exciting and fun.

One of my favorite parts of Hot August Nights is the swap meet. I don’t have the official tally but, it seemed bigger to me this year than last year. The Car Corral inside the arena was full of cars for sale. These are runner/drivers, not parts cars and non-running projects. Those are outside and there were a lot more of those apparent in 2015 than last year. It’s cool that there are still so many “barn finds,” if you will, out there. I bought some 327 heads for my friend Jeff in Idaho to go on his numbers matching 1962 327 we’ve been scrounging for. Jerry, my cousin, bought a factory service manual for his Plymouth Barracuda that he is working on. Coincidentally, he just picked up his freshly machined, balanced and cleaned 360 that he’ll put together this weekend to put back in his car. From the sounds of it that’s going to be a pretty cool ride when it’s done.

Hot August Nights is really a totally unique event. The entire area, Reno/Sparks and even surrounding area smaller towns, get into the nearly week long celebration of old cars, hot rods, race cars, with individual car shows, cruises, displays and so on.

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In downtown Reno, Virginia Street is closed/blocked off and each day hundreds of cars were displayed in the quest for the Barrett/Jackson Cup. Barrett Jackson sponsored this show with prizes and big cash awards as well as what has become a very prestigious “CUP” that was award to the overall winner. The cars were judged by a panel of knowledgeable celebrity judges, who evaluated the many entries and paired them down to the top 25 semi-finalist. In looking at the cars this year, I don’t know if I could pick 25 not to mention just one. Some of these cars were built by the best of the best shops in America. Picking one seems like a monumental undertaking to me. Needless to say most all the cars in this competition were simply spectacular. At this writing, the “CUP” will likely  be retired since Barrett/Jackson has decided to not renew their contract for 2016.

Each day in addition to downtown Reno’s display there are shows at the Grand Sierra, the Atlantis, the Peppermill, and the Nugget in Sparks. Each night there is a “Cruise” down Virginia Street from 7-10 and one in Sparks at the same time. It’s pretty cool to set up your folding chair and just watch the parade of great cars cruise by. I grew up in the 60’s and cruising was “Thee” thing to do on Friday and Saturday night. The cruise scene depicted in the movie “American Graffiti” was true to what I remember and it’s kinda duplicated each night for that ‘Hot August’ week.

I’ve probably already told you in another previous story about the “Big Boys Toys” mini trade show that was presented by the Silver Legacy Resort and the Eldorado Hotel Casino at the Reno Events Center in Downtown Reno. This is a must see for the car nuts I know. The manufacturers send their representatives with product displays, who can answer questions and help you figure out what you might need for your car or build. Summit Racing is set up right at the show with a huge order desk and special discounts to help you buy your needs and have them shipped to your home. I bought a Flaming River tilt steering column, a Wilwood adjustable proportioning valve and a Custom AutoSound, radio and speaker system for my 55 Barn Find. Yes, I’m still working on that project and more articles are in the works, I promise.

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In addition to the many onsite shows just about all of the businesses in the area join together to sponsor tons of fun car related things to do. But wait, that’s not all!  If you have been to Reno or Tahoe or Las Vegas, you might have seen a show or two and of course there are shows at most all of the Resorts/Casinos/Hotels. There are also bands performing on outdoor stages at most of the larger daily events.

Hot August Nights is a weeklong “Cruise” down ‘Nostalgia Lane’ for any car guy, car girl, or Rock ‘n Roll lover and its good clean fun for the whole family. If you love old cars like I do, I’m sure you’ll find plenty to enjoy next summer. Put Hot August Nights on your calendar for next year. The dates for 2016 are August 2nd – 7th. The web address is www.hotaugustnights.net. Participant registration for 2016 is available online right now. Hope to see you there.


Barrett-Jackson at Hot August Nights

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It’s with heavy heart that I write this article about the third and final year of the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction at HAN Reno/Sparks. This year’s list of consignments did indeed seem somewhat limited but that didn’t seem to lessen the efforts put forth by Barrett-Jackson, Velocity TV and the sponsors. They still put on a great show and sold a bunch of quality cars, with a 100% sell thru. There were some great opportunities to buy your choice of those quality cars at pretty respectable prices.

As mentioned in another HAN article this was the third and final year of Barrett-Jackson’s three year contract and they elected to not renew the contract. I don’t know if that means that the “Barrett-Jackson Cup” is also retired, but I’d guess it does. The presence and influence of this Auction company certainly brought in a lot of quality competitors to compete for the generous prizes and the prestige of winning that award.

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This year’s big Barrett-Jackson Cup winner was a fantastic 1962 Chevrolet Bel-Air 2dr Hardtop, with a GM LS9 packing 630+ HP, backed up by a T-56 Bowler 6-speed Trans. This car is owned by Randy and Lisa Wilcox from Minneapolis, MN.  In addition to the “Cup” they took home some real loot. $30,000 in cash, a brand new GM crate engine and transmission combo valued at $15,000, sponsored by GM Performance, $6,000 worth of Craftsman tools, and the list goes on. Total value for cash and prizes was more than $51,000 to the Grand Prize winner.

The car builder, Andy Leach/Cal Automotive Creations, Bennington Nebraska, won the Barrett-Jackson “Builders Award.”  The cars’ beauty was enhanced by Charlie Hutton paint and by many subtle body modifications like, tucked bumpers, a small wing added to the deck lid and fenders, machined taillights, side trim and window moldings and it all rolls via an Art Morrison Chassis on one off Billet Specialty wheels.

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The hard job of judging the competition was done by a 3 celebrity panel including, Bobby Alloway, Pete Chapouris and Bob Millard where they selected the top 25 finalist and from those entries narrowed it down to the top five. Those top five were up on the block on Saturday night after the auction and revealed to the live audience as well as the Velocity
TV audience.

Barrett-Jackson put on a terrific show in Reno/Sparks and will be missed.  By the time you read this the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Collector Car Auction will be history as well. Coming up January 23-31 in Scottsdale, AZ is your next opportunity to attend “The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction.”

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GK Machine/BI-MART Hot Rod Nationals

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Wow. No other words could adequately describe what everyone who was in attendance at the 27th Annual GK Machine/Bi-Mart Hot Rod Nationals experienced. Through Saturday’s qualifying, and for final eliminations on Sunday, nowhere else could you have experience the absolute highs and dastardly lows of what the sport of NHRA Drag Racing brings to the table.  With last minute dashes to fix cars, to fighting for every thousandth of a second as though your life depended on it, the racing was never more intense than this last weekend’s event. After all the racing had ended on Sunday, wins were claimed for Mitch Chamberlin (AA/Supercharged), Mike Padur (Top Eliminator), Michael Peck (Pro Nostalgia), Bob Rude (Nostalgia Eliminator), Gary Hogansen (Dragster/Roadster), Mike Miller (Top Gas), Steve Canton (Hot Rod I), Hollis Runge (Street Machine I), Dan Swick (Hot Rod II), Bart Sowa (Street Machine II), Mark Allan Dolan (Stick Shift), Walt Skoczylas (Inline/Flathead), and Shawn Cranford (Jr Exhibition). As is clear to see, with the number of classes and pure amount of racing that was involved, a phenomenal time was enjoyed by all. As always, event pictures are posted at this time at
www.facebook.com/woodburndragstrip
 
Diggin’ into the first class of racing, AA/Supercharged hosted a final round showdown between Mitch Chamberlin and Joel Matton. Chamberlin’s ’51 Deluxe struggled through qualifying: finishing up in the 6th qualifying spot while also collected an orange reflector block from the center of the race track.  However, come race day, the machine was set to kill, running a 6.724 and 6.688 to advance to the finals.  For Matton, the struggle was also real: after creating a massive oil down on Saturday, a qualifying slot of third was still a welcome end of the day result. Using a 7.215 first round to defeat Garry Fauble, Matton ran a 6.782 @ 193.59mph to eliminate number one qualifier Howard Anderson, who had his hands full on a loosey-goosey 7.853 pass. Unfortunately for Matton, engine troubles prevented him from attending the final round dosey doe, and Chamberlin set a final-round rocketshot with a 6.624 @ 211.96mph. With further proof going to the fact that you never know what’ll happen on race day, #6 qualifier and 2015 AA/Supercharged Champion Mitch Chamberlin claimed victory.

In the final farewell tour event for Top Eliminator, dynamically close racing was expected, and received, as Mike Padur and Dennis Gorans faced off in the finals.  Padur was the number one qualifier here and showed why in the finals, launching off the starting line timers with a .059 to a .092 reaction time advantage and never looking back, running his FED to a 7.577 ET on a 201.25mph shot.  Gorans was right on his tail though, blistering to a 7.639 @ 196.29mph hit. Mike Floyd, who was the “odd man out,” could have been serious competition for either driver, running a 186.83mph 7.679 as the third slotted car. A great group of people all around and the true derivative of nostalgia, the Top Eliminator put on a fantastic show throughout the weekend.

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It’s always exciting when top qualifiers battle off in the final round of racing.  In the case of Pro Nostalgia, it was number one and three qualifiers as Michael Peck and DeWayne Sanders lined up for battle. For Peck to reach the finals, he had to defeat Nick Pruett and Spud Miller, while Sanders downed Ralph Fox and Paul New. With all of the glory on the line, both drivers left with good reactions, before Sanders encountered problems and slowed, sending Peck flying down the all-concrete quarter mile and to the victory. Peck’s 6.593 at 206.84mph earned him the number one qualifier award, which earned him a bonus award from Mike Boertje Jr Trucking. Other bonuses went to Bob Rude, who had the best reaction time in eliminations with a .011, received from Fuel Injection Enterprises (FIE), and Peck also earned a bonus from Brad Russell Trucking, by being the closest to his dial in (6.609 on his 6.59 dial).

Nostalgia Eliminator, which is an extension class of Pro Nostalgia, showcased Bob Rude and Steve Cluck into the last round of racing action. Leaving with a pair of green light starts, both drivers cruised down the racetrack and dueling 160+mph passes, with the win light coming on for Rude, running a 7.913 at 169mph on his 7.85 dial. Cluck ran a great 8.088 on his 7.99 as well, an excellent performance for his first competition race. Pat Curtis and Mike O’Conner were the semi-finalist.
Dragster/Roadster competed in their second-to-last points event on the season, and with the battle as close as this year it’s still almost anyone’s race to win! Gary Hogansen and Mike Ekerson joined each other in the final round of eliminations to see who would be the winner of the illustrious Woodburn Wally. Hogansen battled through a competition single, Doug Gray, and three-time track champion Ron Austin to reach the finals. In the finals, Hogansen left with a stellar reaction time advantage and ran a 10.071 on his 10.05 dial to earn the win. After the event, Hogansen was quoted as saying that he had the “time of his life,” and wanted to thank “everybody out there who gave him a wave, a thumbs-up, or a smile” as each one made his day all the more special. Steve Marcus was the number one qualifier with a perfect .000 reaction time, earning him a perfect light t-shirt and two decals, courtesy of Northwest Wholesale/Hilton Racing, the suppliers of Goodyear/Hoosier/Mickey Thompson race tires.

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Top Gas finals showcased Mike Miller and Ron Pappel, and an exciting one it was! Miller, fighting hard to repeat his track championship from 2014, eliminated Ronald Weise, Jim McDermott, Warren Regnier, Brent McKinney, and Richard Dietrich to reach the finals.  With the Pinto set to kill, one more round wasn’t too much more to ask for, right? As the tree came down, both drivers left with green light starts (.026 for Miller, .017 for Pappel), and the race resulted in a double-breakout, favoring Miller by a slim .011. Jerry Carter, from Pendleton OR., was the number one qualifier with a .001.

In the Hot Rod I category, it was “The Wildcard” Steve Canton facing up alongside the hottest racer of the weekend Ron Parks, who was in final round number two of the weekend.  Canton, earlier defeating big names like Dan Goates, Richard Beyea, Rick Sales Sr, and Kacee Pitts earned a single in the semi-final round. Important to note is that aside from the single in the semi’s, Canton’s last four reaction times varied by only .008, showcasing to all that a racer who is dialed in with his race car is nothing to mess with.  In the final round, Canton left with the reaction time advantage and claimed victory, running a 10.029 on his 10.02 dial in for a .051 overall package in the finals. Like Dragster/Roadster Event Champ Gary Hogansen, Canton threw a shout out to the great spectators we had throughout the weekend, saying that he appreciated every cheer from the great fans. Ron Wirostek was the number one qualifier with a
.004 reaction time.

For the Street Machine I category’s eliminations, Hollis Runge and Gary Wood took a pair of dueling Novas into the last round of competition. Runge and his ’74 Chevy eliminated Roger McWilliams, Dean Tabert, Barry Sheasgreen, a single, and Jim Goodman to reach the finals. With the final round drivers dialed in at a 10.04 and 10.15 respectively, this match had everything necessary to be a great finals—but unfortunately it was over before it even began when Wood tripped on the red light bulb by -.008 thousandths! Runge rocketed down to a 10.056 on his 10.04, and earned the victory. Runge was quick to thank his wife and his ‘extended family’ of everyone who comes to the races at the dragstrip. Duke Olmsted was the number one qualifier with a .004 reaction time.

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Dan Swick and Garry Heinrich were the last two racers standing in the Hot Rod II category, with an exciting final round sure to follow! Swick roughed his ’64 Rambler past Gary Oster, Rose Ann Hamness, A-1 Muffler’s Lee Ennis, and Mark Tabert to reach the finals. Against Heinrich, both drivers left with green light starts before the win light flipped on for Swick due to a breakout finish of -.017 on Heinrich’s behalf. As quoted from Travis Hilton “when I was moving the winners’ trophies into the tower, (Dan) Swick said ‘I gotta get me one of those!’ Looks like he was able to accomplish that very thing.” Heinrich was the number one qualifier with a .004 reaction time.

Street Machine II showed off Bart Sowa and Jolene Woodward in one of the more exciting finals rounds of the day! Sowa took his ’72 Chevy pickup past Margie Stringham, Duane Turner, and number one qualifier Tony Bombara to reach the final round. In the finals, both drivers left with nearly identical reaction time starts (.029 to a .027) and both ran close to their numbers! Woodward completed her run with a 12.397 on the 12.34 dial, while Sowa ran a 13.936 on the 13.89. Doing the quick math, Sowa emerged victorious by just .009 in the finals! Bombara was the number one qualifier with a .036.
The Inline/Flathead category featured five dynamic rounds of racing, with the culmination of which resulting in a battle between Walt Skoczylas and Lou Madsen. Skoczylas, racing out of Aloha OR, defeated Fred Hultin, Ron Price, and Dave Fountain to earn the single in the semi-finals. In the finals, Skoczylas left with the .03 reaction time advantage and earned the win with a 11.891 on his 11.81 dial. Michael Bjerklund was the number one qualifier with a .010 reaction time.
Stick Shift is an exciting class that localizes all manual shifting racers into one class. With a battle between the number one and number two qualifier, the racing was sure to be as tight as ever. Mark Allan Dolan, the number two qualifier, defeated Zac Summers, Dick Arnold, and Pat Aultom to reach the finals, while Poppino eliminated Paul Carbaugh and Jim Wise to earn the semi-final round single. In the finals, the race was over before it even began when Poppino left with a red light start by .011. After the race was over, Dolan came to the tower to collect his winnings and reminded us once again the joys of racing, and the friendships he has developed from it. Poppino’s .006 reaction time earned the number one qualifier award.

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MetalWorks Built 1966 Pro-Touring Nova

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E-bay has become a powerful tool for both buying and selling classics cars over the years. The vast majority of transactions done via on-line sales are successful for both parties involved, but I’m sure we have all heard of a horror story or two. Such is the case with the gorgeous Chevy II you see gracing these pages.

To coin the saying of “a picture is worth a thousand words” I feel we can alter that popular statement to “a photo can hide a thousand flaws” when it comes to online car purchasing. This Nova looked gorgeous online, and sold for some pretty good coin. When the Nova arrived at its new home, it even looked pretty good in person, but when the crew at MetalWorks began working out a few flaws for the new owner… the rabbit hole only got deeper and deeper. We won’t dwell on what all was found wrong, but focus instead on what MetalWorks did right on this now amazing Chevy II.

The Nova proudly runs a brand new GM Performance 525 hp LS3 engine with FAST fuel injection after its original engine was found to be bad. Tied to the LS is a TREMEC 5 speed manual transmission that is mated to a Ford 9” rear end with a Detroit Truetrac posi. Handling duties are carried out by the install of HEIDTs front and rear suspensions. Wilwood brakes keep things safe in the stopping department, and look sweet tucked inside the Billet Specialties wheels. Tons of other goodies are hidden behind the fresh coats of mile deep blue paint, and the full custom leather interior… but it’s hard not to mention features such as air ride by Ridetech & Accuair, Dakota Digital gauges and electronic climate control, and a Pioneer touch screen with 1100 watts of stereo, and even a back up camera.

In the end the Nova became everything, and much more than what it appeared to be on the E-bay auction. Chevy IIs are extremely popular and very stylish cars… and this example ranks with the elite that I have ever encountered. The crew at MetalWorks through their extensive building knowledge and flow of components that work properly together built a car that performs every bit as well as it looks… and it looks incredible!

Mecum Seattle 2015

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Back on June 5th & 6th, Mecum Auctions held their Northwest auction at Century Link Field Event Center in Seattle. Wow! It was very exciting and fun to be there and see all the action in person. With more than 600 cars and “Automobilia,” up for sale over two days, there was likely something for most car enthusiasts.

The top 10 included cars like a; 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger RT/SE, 4 speed that sold for $185,000. A 1999 Lamborghini Diablo Roadster sold at $170,000. A 1968 Ford Shelby GT-500KR Fastback, with 12,160 miles and a 2002 BMW Z-8 Convertible sold for $165,000 each. A 1969 Chevrolet COPO Camaro 427/425HP, 4 speed, sold for $155,000, while another 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger RT without the SE brought $150,000. The 7th thru 10th top sellers in order were a; 1967 Shelby GT 500 Fastback, $142,500. A 1956 Mercedes 190SL Roadster, $140,000. A 1992 Porsche 964 Turbo S2 for $130,000 and a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop with a 572 went for $120,000. They had about a 46% sell through for the entire 2 day event so a lot of great cars went to new homes over this weekend.

It’s really cool that Mecum came to the Northwest to hold one of their televised auctions. It gives those of us that live here a great opportunity to go to a nationally known auction and experience it in person. The place was packed I might add and again, wow, there were some amazingly beautiful cars. Obviously, high end collector cars as well as less expensive cars that I might be able to afford. With more than 600 lots consigned it was a respectable showing in my opinion.

There were cars in most price ranges such as a 1985 Buick Regal that sold for only $1,250, as well has a number of classics that sold for under $10,000. A 1953 Packard Cavalier 4dr. sedan that was by my estimation, a great looking driver sold for $5,500. If you wanted to get into the hobby that might have been a great place to start. Or a one family owned 1966 Chrysler 300 2dr. Hardtop that went for $3500. Seemed like a bargain to me.

Even if you aren’t in the market for a car, collector or otherwise the Mecum Auction in Seattle was a terrific car show. Many of these cars you might never see on the street or at car shows.  Put it on your list for next year and who knows you might find that perfect deal you just can’t pass up. www.mecum.com

Spanaway Speedway Reunion

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Former Stock Car racer Don Hall hosted this event in 2014 and outdid himself this year. It is a day set aside to remember the now defunct ¼ mile paved oval, once located near Tacoma, WA. Built by the Boness family in 1956, the facility was in continuous operation for almost fifty years. 1990 Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope and Tom Sneva (an Indy winner in ‘83) had both been regular competitors there. In fact, NASCAR and USAC (now IndyCar) had sanctioned races at the venue for decades. Today a housing development is built on the former site and all that remains of the speedway are memories. Hall helps facilitate those memories with his impressive collection of memorabilia. There are also dozens of photos albums laid out and accessible to all. And then there’s the racers themselves who are always happy to share a story or two. Even Dick Boness, the man that built the facility and was there to the bitter end, attends this annual celebration.

A bonus to this scribe was the appearance of a surprisingly large turnout of midgets– vintage and contemporary. Lastly, Dave Craver and Darrel Hedman unveiled their new Jerry Day built retro-roadster. This Ranger aircraft engined monster is without question one coolest vehicles I have ever had the pleasure to inspect.


It was a great day with lunch and dessert provided pot-luck style. All indications are that Hall will host again next summer so make plans now to attend.

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