Frank and Veronica Tobias maybe only had one child but the one they had turned into one super Dude that wears the name Tobias with style and distinction. Fast forward sixty six years and you find a guy who graduated from Clackamas High School in 1966, served honorably in the US Air Force and then joined the world of telephone communication for the next forty plus years. Along the way he owned, designed, created, traded and purchased some fantastic automobiles.
R & R NW Publications is honored to bring you six of “Mr Chevy Guy” Len Tobias’s fantastic Chevrolet creations.
1963 Chev 409 Impala SS Hardtop
2 ½ year build time
Power: 409ci Dual Quad Intake, M22 “Rockcrusher” wide ratio tranny w/ Centerforce clutch, Currie 9” Ford rear housing and axles w/Detroit Locker. Exhaust w/Flowmaster Super 40 Series mufflers. Color Azure blue and white .This is one fine and very rare 409 Chevy Impala hard top.
1967 Chev Malibu 2 Dr Hardtop L 79
2 year build time
Power: Built by EAM 383ci, 430 hp, HEI ignition, aluminum high performance dual plane stock intake SB Chev, E/W dual feed Holley 770 CFM carb., 4 speed Muncie M-21 tranny, E/W Hurst competition Plus shifter. Eaton Posi-traction rear-end/ w Richmond gears. Color: Tuxedo Black exterior, red interior. A clean and neat trophy winner.
1972 Chev Nova SS 2 DR Coupe
2 year build time
Power: 454 ci Chev, 700 R tranny w/ 4×11 gears, 9” Ford rear-end. Black leather interior, color Rally Green Metallic.
This lean and green machine has won it’s share of hardware.
1956 Chev 2 DR Post
2 year build time
Power: 350 Chev crate, tranny 4 on the floor, 355 stock rear-end, super exhaust / laker cut outs. Reversed custom chrome wheels on all four corners. Color: Matador Red w/ white ghost scallops. Interior: All white leather deep rolled and pleated. Another one off crowd pleaser and big show winner.
1937 Chev Pick-Up
Power: 355 ci. Chev, 350 TH tranny, updated Blazer rear-end. Power windows, Vintage Air, Moon Gauges, electric doors. The wheels are full polished American Torque Thrust. Clarion stereo system and gray tweed and leather interior. Color: Aqua Metallic. Seein’ is believing on this custom ride. Clean and neat w/ frenched tail and brake-lights and recessed rear license plate and a super smooth finish under the hood. A real quality build and a super crowd pleaser.
1970 Chev Chevelle LS6, 2 Dr. Hrd. Top
2 year build time
Power: Chev 454ci / 450 HP, four-on-the-floor for fun tranny, 411 Posi rear- end. Interior: black rolled and pleated, Exterior: Cranberry Red w/ black comp. stripes front and rear. White lettered rubber sets off super polished chrome on all four corners of this super ride. On and off the track she wins.
Len’s father Frank kinda got the Chevy thing going in his son as he was employed at Fanning Chevrolet in Gresham for a good many years back in the 50’s and 60’s and the seed was planted. Only GMC, Chevrolet or Cadillac’s are all you ever see around or in the Tobias garages. Unless they are welcomed visitors.
Len and Lily Tobias reside in a beautiful home overlooking the Sandy River and a super view of the mighty Mt. Hood. They have been together 32 years and combined they have four fantastic children and four super fantastic grandchildren. For as long as I can remember the two of them have played a very positive roll at the annual Sandy Fly In / Cruze-In and together they have helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for local charities in and around Sandy as well as all over Oregon. They are big supporters of Doernbecher Children’s Hospital through their involvment with Kiwanis Children’s Cancer Research Program.
In addition Len is an active member of the Route 26 Cruisers, The 3 Boys Car Club, Fri Morning Good Guys Breakfast Car Club and the NSRA. Len’s automobile creations are truly works of art and like Len, Lily is also a superb artist creating beautiful world class hand-made quilts. Many have raised thousands of dollars at the Sandy Fly In over the years as they are raffled off for charity. We at R&R NW Publications would like to thank you for all the thousands of hours you have both volunteered to those fantastic charity activities and we thank you for sharing your story and you’re automobile creative wonders with our readers. “All for the Love of Street Rods and Custom Cars.”
The Early Bird Swap Meet held in mid-February at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup Washington is indeed one of the earliest of the year. I’ve gone in the past when it barely rained and now I can say I’ve gone when it poured. Fortunately a lot of the vendors where inside one of the many buildings. This years’ event seemed a little bigger than last year even though the weather was threatening. I know I’ve told you I like swap meets but I really like this one. There always seems to be a ton of great used parts available and at very reasonable prices too. I’ve been going to this one for many years and it never disappoints. You should put it on your list for next year.
This delicious Emerald Green 1931 Ford Model “A” owned and 80% built by Lance Marguson from Beavercreek, Oregon.
Believe it or not this gorgeous ride started out as a Model “A” Pick Up when Lance decided he might get more use out of a Roadster, so off came the P.U. Body and on came the Roadster in about fifty pieces later and over a thirty year build time. Both Lance and his wife Sandee were educators in the Oregon City school system for over thirty years and there wasn’t a lot of spare time dedicated to building Boy Toy’s. This ’31 Roadster takes on the look of a Model “B” as Lance liked the clean lines of the ’32 grill shell over the ‘31 Model “A”.
For power she sports a 350 Chev. w/Mallory Ignition, a turbo 350 tranny and a 55 Chev Rear-End narrowed. He’s running 750/15’s on the rear and 195/14’s up front with a super set of Wheels on all four corners. Fantastic leather interior stitched to perfection by Darrell’s Upholstery, with special thanks going to Don Lowe and A&M Deluxe Customs for their input on the finished look. We at R&R NW Publications are proud to select this 1931 Ford Model “A” Roadster as our Featured Car of the Month April 2015.
Ya gotta admire the guys that set the trends rather than just following along. The fearless “free thinkers”. The guys that march to a different tune. The guys that really don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. Smokey Yunick and Duff Burgess were two guys like that. Yunick you may have heard of, Burgess is my best friend Drew’s older brother. Both became legends among their peers. Oh, and both built race cars out of ’68 Camaros.
Yunick survived fifty plus raids piloting a B-17 in World War II. After coming home he set up shop in Daytona Beach Florida where a fledgling racing club called NASCAR was just getting started. His first winner was a Hudson Hornet but it didn’t take long to draw the attention of the big wigs from Chevrolet. When the small block V-8 was introduced in 1955, Yunick was in charge of research and development. His race cars were always competitive. Over the years Yunick became better known for his ingenuity (and creative interpretation of the rulebook) than winning races. Some of the stories about his escapades became part of racing folklore. The most famous of which involves a rigorous inspection wherein the officials required Yunick to remove his racecar’s fuel cell. Certain that the car was somehow carrying more than the legal amount, the tank was confiscated pending further inspection. Outraged, Yunick reportedly jumped into his racer, fired it and drove off, leaving the officials gas tank in hand. Another tale involved a 1966 Chevelle that supposedly was constructed at 7/8 scale. It turns out that Yunick had moved the body back on the chassis to improve the center of gravity and for that reason, it failed to fit NASCAR’s template.
It is known that Yunick was provided with at least three ’67-’68 Camaros from the factory to rebuild as racecars, only one of those cars exists today. That car was stripped to the bare bones and rebuilt on a rotisserie so that Yunick could get at it from any angle. The body panels were all acid dipped to reduce weight. The windshield was laid back and composed of a thinner safety glass. All bolt-on components were either shaved down or rebuilt in lighter versions. Knowing that he couldn’t get away with altering the stock engine location, Yunick instead Z-cut and lowered the chassis around the motor giving the Camaro the lowest profile possible. As sleek and slippery as the finished racer looked, it was just as aerodynamic underneath.
Yunick set off for Bonneville but when he heard that the factory Cougar team was testing at Riverside (CA), he couldn’t resist taking a detour. With slicks mounted all around and Indy car driver Lloyd Ruby at the controls, the Camaro promptly shattered the track record. Yunick loaded back up and continued on to Utah leaving the Mercury boys in an uproar.
At Bonneville the car broke several FIA records but Yunick refused to dumb it down enough to pass road race tech. The Camaro was sold to fellow racer Don Yenko who made the required changes and won races in the car including the Daytona GT race in 1969. The car remained a competitive SCCA club racer (still in Yenko’s stable) for another ten years until it was literally falling apart. A decade after that, historian David Tom found the Camaro and restored it to its former glory. Today the Edelbrock family owns and races the car in vintage events throughout the country.
Looking back, Duff Burgess wondered if he’d had A.D.D. as a kid (“hyperactivity” they called it in my day). I’d known him as long as I’d known Drew and we’d struck up a friendship in kindergarten. I don’t remember anything unusual about Duff’s behavior. In fact in my opinion, Duff was cool. He was upbeat and funny. He was always goin’ but it wasn’t “willy-nilly”, Duff always had a plan. If we were drawing, he might sit down and draw with us. Or he might plop down in front of the upright piano and hammer out a little boogie woogie. Usually though, he was building something. I was a night owl but there were nights when I could hear Duff in the next room toiling away into the wee hours.
Drew and I were H.O. slot car nuts and one morning Duff emerged from his bedroom, his latest creation cupped in his hand. It was a Camaro stripped of all chrome and windows and painted a deep metallic purple. The most impressive feature was its rake- nose to the ground, tail way up. On the rear were mounted the largest sponge slicks I’d ever seen…Ever. Like, wrong scale to be honest but when you’re twelve years old, you don’t argue. Duff casually planted the well lubricated machine on the track and grabbed a pistol gripped controller. What Drew and I witnessed next was unprecedented. Whereas our best racers skittered around the track, chattering like little locomotives, Duff’s Camaro flat git! Effortlessly, almost silently, it glided. It was easily the fastest slot car we’d ever seen. Duff laid down a couple quick ones then put down the controller.
Drew and I were just coming to grips with the reality that we were never going to win a race again…when fate intervened. As he plucked the oily Camaro from the track, it slipped from his fingertips and did a full gainer into a poorly placed bowl of decal water.
Turns out, Drew and I had nothing to worry about because the Camaro never ran again. In all likelihood it was taken back to the bedroom and disassembled and Duff moved on to something else. Why wouldn’t he? He had nothing more to prove. Like Yunick at Riverside, he’d shown us who was fastest without even racing us. That’s how legends roll…
Remember the story we did on the big block Rolls, build-in-progress some time back? Well, it’s down on all fours now, it runs, goes, steers and stops. But there is no place to sit, unless you count the up-turned 5 gal bucket and the floor. Now it is going to Ross’s Upholstery, 514 S. McLoughlin Blvd., Oregon City, awaiting it’s new interior install. Look for another feature on this one later.
I’d been telling people I’d never been to the Salem Roadster Show. Then my wife overheard me and reminded me that we had. “Remember when we got to meet Paul Le Mat from American Graffiti?” she asked. “They had a replica of his yellow hot rod and the black Chevy that Harrison Ford drove.” She was right again, of course. Wives are great for remembering stuff like that. Man, how many years ago was that? Did Le Mat actually work more than one show?
Well, this year the cars were the stars but the venue was unchanged. What used to be called the Jackman Long building is now the Americraft Center. Like before it was jam packed with an eclectic mix of vehicles. Old and new (thanks to sponsors Weston Kia and Withnell Dodge), from trailer queens to race cars. At one end of the spectrum had to be Don and Teresa Lulay’s Vanderbeck built ’41 Willy’s- truly a show stopper. At the other end, track fresh racers. A NAPA Late Model rental car provided by the GASS series, a mind blowing, front engined Corvair gasser and a ’28 Ford track roadster…cool stuff.
Around the perimeter of the building were a couple dozen vendors representing everything from a local bank to a transmission shop. So if you had a question, there was likely someone on hand who could answer it.
Admission prices were reasonable for the quality of show presented (It is an invitational by the way) and it was refreshing not to be charged for parking! And how about this to get the younger enthusiasts to come out? FREE ADMISSION up to age 17! Good thinking.
Okay, it had been a while since I’d been to Salem. I can tell you it won’t be long before I return.
Photos by Cora Veltman
This show is billed as the “First car show of the Year” and it has happened the first weekend in January for a while now, at the fairgrounds in Albany. It’s a one day show and it draws a lot of really neat cars from around the area. This year’s show was dedicated to Mike Vogler, the founder of the car club, The American Street Masters and lifetime car guy. He passed away in November 2014. Mark your calendar to plan to attend next years’ Winter Rod and Speed Show.
I finally got the model “T” running pretty good, at least you didn’t have to push it to get it started now. A flywheel with some teeth in it helped a lot and a rebuilt starter didn’t hurt either. Thanks to Mr. Schmedding at the gas station for all his help on the “T” plus he gave me a part time job pumping gas. Wow! Pumping gas back in 1959 was like being a “Rebel with a Cause” . . . ’cause those super hot days and nights in the Spokane Valley were about the time those male designers of female fashions introduced the infamous mini skirts and mini shorts.
I’m telling you up front there was not a car that left our gas station that didn’t get the oil checked, the radiator checked, even the water in the battery was topped off under that hood. Plus all windows were washed at least once inside and out for all female customers. Oh baby the view from that windshield area in those days was almost too much for any red-blooded American boy to handle. But getting back to the vanishing Model “T” update, in those days it was not uncommon to be working two or even three part time jobs. So on the nights I wasn’t pumping gas and falling in love, I was parking cars at the country club out at old Liberty Lake and my third job was helping out at Mom’s CV Diner.
On this given night I was parking cars and as the midnight hour approached my old buddy Donn M. who also worked part time at the country club, suggested we should take a little break from all this work and stop and have an A&W root beer at the new stand on Sprague Avenue as it was somewhat on our way home. Now Mr. M drove the sweetest little 1930 Chrysler Coupe with a smooth running 4 cyl. for power with three on the floor, that to my surprise got up and turned some numbers. So you guessed it the bet was on.
The loser buys the A & W root beer…
I’m not sure just how fast that stock MoPar and that not so stock Model “T” were moving in a MPH gauge but the competition was getting a little heated. At first I thought my little Flathead V-8 was kinda playing with that straight 4 banger but as things progressed that little MoPar was holding its own and maybe Mr. M was kinda playin’ with us. We had reached Sprague Avenue in Greenacres and we were still bumper to bumper with only about two miles to go to the A&W root beer stand, but for all intensive purposes nobody would be buying root beer on this night as we just flew by a Spokane County Sheriff’s vehicle. We both saw him and were sure he saw us as he turned the red lights on and was in the process of turning around when Donn yelled at me to head to the Albertson’s parking lot and pick him up.
Now Donn turned his lights off and was driving pretty much by feel, and it looked like he might have done this before so I followed his lead and went dark also, getting as close as I could to that old Chrysler. He pulled in and parked just like he owned the place and jumped out of his ride and into mine and we headed right back the same direction with the lights on this time, and it came to pass that driving a 33 year old car might come in handy on this given night as we were just about three blocks from old Mackeys Used Cars and Auto Repair shop. Now using the description used cars might have been abusing the english language a bit as one would have thought to imply used cars, that at least one of them on the lot would have to actually start, but not once in all the years I tried to buy a car in there, not once did they ever actually run.
He had cars and trucks that were from twenty five to forty years old and priced accordingly. $25 to $500 each, you pick it and then they fix it. Just about this time that same Spokane County Sheriff’s car goes by heading towards Albertsons. Well he spotted me about the time I spotted him, but before he could get those red lights on and turned around I was at Mackeys’ and boy the old Model “T” fit right in amongst those oldies. I, of course turned off the lights and headed around back where he had twenty or thirty old beater cars and trucks of all makes. It looked like these may have been the parts cars for all those repairs needed to be done on the cars in the front row.
Well I pulled right back there between a couple of trucks and an old John Deere tractor and ran right over those two to three foot long weeds that were growing up and it appeared the old Model “T” Ford had been there forever. Donn and I crouched way down in those Model ”T” seats and didn’t move a muscle. Now that excellent Spokane County Sheriff Deputy should have gotten a medal for endurance as he sat out there in his patrol car spotlighting every car on that lot as I’m sure he knew we were in there he just couldn’t find us. He gave us the better part of an hour and then drove off. We left the car there and headed on foot to the A&W for one of the best Root-Beer Floats of all time. It was the summer of 1959 and we truly made the ‘26 Ford Model “T” Coupe Vanish amongst some of the best of them for a little while in the Cops mind anyway. Oh Ya! As I recall we went Dutch on the Root-Beer Floats that Night.
P S: The year is now 2015 and the old 1926 Ford Model “T” Coupe just had another Birthday recently and is not looking too bad for a cool 89 years old. We have created quite a friendship these past 58 years and as you can see she wears a Fresh Moderately New Candy Midnight Blue Paint Job with some High Dollar Class. The question is why didn’t you hold on to that first car you bought way back then??? I guess it must have vanished with all the rest of those neat boy toys you use to have. Woulda! Coulda! Shoulda!
Do you remember the two “what’s its”? Well just a little update. We don’t have anything new to report on the little gray car. We did get a ton of info from all over on this car though. I was trying to find out more about the claim that it was built kind of like a “shop truck” by the employees at Freightliner in Portland but as of yet, nothing new. I also was hoping to be able to report that I had received a response form the Crosley club, but not so far. I’m still working on it.
The red and white “Custom,” seems to have hit a dead end completely, not one response to it as of this writing. I was hoping someone would see it and know all about it and would share that info but, nothing.
Based on the almost over whelming response (thank you) to the little gray car I had hoped that I’d get additional pics and info from all of you on interesting cars you had seen. Even if you know what it is and it’s unusual and you would like to share your knowledge and pictures for publication, send them in for consideration. Any submissions can be mailed to:
Roddin’ & Racin’ NorthWest
17273 S. Steiner Rd.
Beavercreek, OR. 97004
If you send in pictures that you want back please send in a self-addressed STAMPED envelope, so your pictures can be returned. Thank You. Ed.
If you have ever “lost” something you’ll know what I’m talking about. I parked my pickup in the driveway one night and didn’t go out again until the morning. As I walked out to where I thought I had parked my truck I became confused, it wasn’t where I thought I left it. I turned and looked around at other places I sometimes left it but no, it wasn’t parked elsewhere either. I stopped and thought for a few seconds. . . what had I done, did I drive something else and forget?
One day I came home from somewhere and as I was parking my car I noticed the front door of my house was ajar. It wasn’t closed. I hadn’t been gone a long time, had I forgotten to close it completely? In both of these incidences, as reality started to set in, I began to be overcome with a sinking feeling, a very scary vulnerable feeling. I was at first confused, then in denial, then angry, then afraid, “What if the burglar is still here?” “What if I never get my truck back?” I didn’t like what was going on nor did I like being victimized.
In March 1970 Rick White went to Westway Chrysler-Plymouth Inc. in Beaverton, Oregon to order his new car. He didn’t pick one off the lot he wanted it equipped the way ‘he’ wanted it, he wanted it to be special. What he ordered was a 1970 Plymouth, Barracuda or ‘Cuda. This car was to have a 440 cubic inch engine with three 2 barrel carburetors, a “Super track Pak package, a 4 speed transmission with a Hurst shifter, a console, a Dana 60 posi-traction rear end. Spoked road wheels, a Shaker hood package, a full lighting group etc. It was just the way Rick wanted it. The car arrived at the dealership in April 1970 and Rick picked it up.
Over the years he met and married Jackie, started a family, worked in the construction business and as a family and with a partner they drove and raced the ‘Cuda at PIR and Woodburn Drag Strips. When the expense of racing got too much for him the car was stored many years until it was retro-fitted back to its stock configuration so it could be driven on the street. Rick registered the ‘Cuda in his and his sons name because he never intended to sell it, it was always going to remain in the family.
On April 18th 2001 Rick experienced that sinking feeling I described above when he discovered the garage door where the car was stored had been extensively damage and the ‘Cuda was GONE! Unfortunately Rick did not have the car insured for theft because it was safely tucked away out of sight in a garage. They reported it stolen, ran ads offering rewards, passed out flyers, literally went looking for the car but it had completely vanished. His beloved Factory Ordered, one owner Muscle car was apparently gone forever. Years passed with nothing surfacing on the ‘Cuda.
Fast forward to June 14, 2014 they receive a letter from a lien company saying a local towing/storage company was going to hold lien auction for one Plymouth ‘Cuda for accumulated storage fees amounting to four thousand plus dollars. Rick and Jackie received the lien auction notice because the registration was apparently still in the glove box where Rick had put it years before and it had his name and address on it. This was their missing/stolen 1970 Plymouth ‘ Cuda. Missing for more than 13 years. Very odd. Where had it been for all those years?
Rick contacted the lien company who told Rick the name of the local towing company that had the car. Rick call the towing company and was told yes the car was there, yes it was in pretty fair shape and together with towing company representative confirmed the license number and descriptive information via the phone. Rick informed the towing company that it was his car, and that it was stolen, and that he, Rick had the title and file full of proof it was his car. Rick told them not to do anything with the car that he was going to contact the police and send them there to see about the car. Rick called the police and an officer responded to his house to verify the paperwork and proof of ownership of the car. Rick showed them the title, original order forms, keys etc. The officer called the towing company only hours after Rick had talked to them and was informed that the storage fees had been paid and the towing company had delivered the car to the man that had paid the fees. The officer got the contact info for that person and called him saying he was coming to see the car and was he going to cooperate. The policeman was told ‘Yes’ the man who had the car now, would cooperate.
From this point onward the story takes many turns. KATU Channel 2’s Kerry Tomlinson picked up the story and did several prime time news reports on what had transpired. If you go to their web site you can learn more. (Visit www.katu.com/news/problemsolvers/ and search White’s Cuda Story for more info.) Lars Larson from KXL Radio, here in Portland picked up the story, talked to the man who had the car on his live radio program, asking qu-estions like “Where and when did you get the car?” “Did you get the title?” “The car was reported stolen, twice.” “Shouldn’t you give him his car back?”
The police said the statute of limitations had expired on the original stolen car report so Rick filed a new stolen car report hoping the police would be able to impound the car. As time always does, it marched on and the car didn’t get it impounded until July and when they went to pick it up it was completely dismantled. Many of the parts were “missing,” They got some of the parts back over time but it took quite a bit of time. Some parts are specific to this model as originally built and many of those parts remain missing. Because they are specific they are rare, hard to find and very expensive.
Rick finally got the car and parts back from the sheriff’s impound on November 14, 2014, 13 years, 210 days after it first vanished. Because the story had received wide spread coverage, a number of people locally and worldwide had gotten involved sending money, volunteering to help with the reassembly of the ‘Cuda. Mopar/restoration experts stepped up to help the Whites, who are now retired and simply can’t afford the cost of repair and reassembly of the car.
Dave Lentz spear headed the rebuild which began on November 15th when he picked it up on his old “Rat Roddish” tow truck. Rod Hardison and Dave co-directed the rebuild with the help of Chris Border and Dan Wendland making up the mechanical crew. Other Technical assistance was provided by Steve Canton, Randy Emery-Bad Boy Toys, (@13635 SE Division, Portland, OR. 503-477-4347) Ralph Albrich, and Sean Machado. Parts and services were donated by:
Get Bent Mandrel Bending, 10315 SE Highway 212, Clackamas, OR. 503-607-0443
Finishline Coatings, 2889 SE Silversprings Rd. Portland, OR. 503-659-4278
Totally Auto-Shaker paint
Advanced Letterpress-Bill Washburn
Craig & Brenda Satalick
Other Donations; George Denson, Dyre Vaa, David Annin, Vitamins N Things, Bob Land, Christopher Okeefe, Steve Canton, Robert Rice, Tom Nolen, John Lindback, Timothy Hatley-Smith, Scott Luinshi, Kenneth Mutschink, Angela & Ken Jones, Charlie Keel, Michael, Foster, Michael Brinkman, Kirsten Miller, Dave Pilcher, Mike Spooner, Mike Boyce, Mike Foster, Bill Brown, Gary Wade, Jeff Currie, Reed Herring, Stan Ochs, Rian Hamby, Dan Osborne and Bruce Gibson.
These kind and generous folks rebuilt/reassembled the White’s ‘Cuda and it runs, drives, and sits at home in their garage because of their generosity. The White Family thanks all of those involved for their time, work and aid in the ‘Cuda Project.