What additional words could be used to describe a gentleman that has been featured in (last count) fourteen different custom car and street rod publications going back to 1970. That’s when he put Portland, Oregon on the map and won his first AMBR award for his delicious full fender 1923 Ford “T” Roadster Bucket. This completely street legal rod also features a set of usable running boards and a handmade hood creating a unique master piece of automobile wonder and design for “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” 1971.
The gentleman’s name is none other than Mr. Lonnie L. Gilbertson, Portland’s own Mr. Master Car Designer and Builder. Lonnie came into this World way back in 1945 about the time the second World War was winding down and that makes him a cool seventy years young this year. He attended St Peters Parochial School and then on to Benson Tech High, where he took a few Machine shop courses but didn’t sign up for auto shop classes. He was already bitten by the car bug as his father owned and operated Gilbertson Machine shop and Lonnie learned all about automobiles from his favorite teacher his Dad. Lonnie will be the first to admit his life really came alive back in 1966 when he met a young lady at Scotty’s Drive-In. Her name was Candy and she was the sweetest thing Lonnie ever met. She just happened to be an employ at Scotty’s the same time our old buddy Vern Farris (Mr. Chevy Guy) was the manager there. Now both Lonnie and Vern were both super car guys back then and not all the hot rods and Custom Cars ended up at the infamous Tick-Tock Drive–In, quite a few ended up at Scotty’s for their 15 cent french fries and 21 cent cheeseburgers. Now it took Lonnie a few years and quite a few orders of French fries but he finally convinced Candy that he already new how to build a World class award winning car and the only thing missing in his life was her. So they were married over 41 years ago and together raised a super son Brian and they are now blessed with three grandchildren and one great grandchild.
We at R&R NW Publications are honored to bring you several of Lonnie and Candy’s fantastic automobile artistic works of creative wonderment.
1923 Ford Model “T” Track Roadster running a later model Flathead for Power, Four on the floor tranny, 8” ford rear-end “Lonnie’s Speed Shop #5” Yellow in color only. This track “T” ran fast and fearless and won a lot more than she lost on the oval and sprint car tracks. This car was a special feature at the 2001 Portland Roaster Show where Lonnie and crew completely reassembled the car from ground –up at the three day show and drove it off from the show floor at the end. Lonnie was the builder and driver of this vintage ride for a good many years.
1923 Ford Model “T” Roadster Bucket featuring a 327 Chevy updated with Moon Intake Manifold and four Weber 48 IDA carbs, Gilbertson fabricated set of headers that terminate just in front of the rear wheels. Handmade rectangular tube frame with PSI dropped tube front axle on transverse leaf springs and homemade hubs and discs gripped H&H calipers. A ’66 Jaguar XK-E rear set-up. To keep those Englewood-shod custom wheels under the stock-looking fenders, they had to lengthen the stub axle5/8”. Lonnie credits his brother Gary, with putting in many, many hours on this, the 22nd car to carry the title of “The World’s Most Beautiful Roadster” in 1971.
1932 Ford “Tudor.” This award winning two-tone gray beauty with gorgeous multi-colored graphics and a super sun-roof is one cool ride. She runs a 350 for power and a 350 turbo tranny with a 9” Ford rear end. Super wire wheels with mini baby moons on all four corners. A delicious all leather rolled and pleated interior, super custom digital gauges and vintage air for total comfort. She won first place trouphy’s all over the west coast from the PRS to Boise, Seattle, Spokane, Sacramento and the LA Roadster Show. This one also got Candy and Lonnie inducted into the Portland Roadster Show Hall of Fame in 1990.
1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe 427 Chevy small block built to maximize performance and reliability, starting with the highly developed induction system fined tuned through the wizardry of the late Rick Steele. 711 HP and 607 lb-ft of torque tractable power delivery. C5 Corvette suspension requiring Gilbertson to create a special platform capable of handling the torsional loads generated. A centralized, stand-alone rear cradle or pod to support the rear suspension including anti-rollbars and a six-speed transaxle. Transverse QA1 coilover shock absorbers.
This baby is built for speed while she sports a traditional look and providing all the latest high tech engineering performance. She’s both fast and agile on the highway or at a car show. She wears a flawless pearlized deep metallic blue paint and is modernized with a fantastic high tech interior, starting with a custom dash, Vintage Air Breezes, high-powered tunes and supreme comfort and every moment behind the Momo steering wheel is a memorable event. The sweet aroma of the all-leather two-tone blue and grey-silver upholstery makes this ride come alive on the large Billet Specialty rims on all four corners. This is one fine award winning world class custom built 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe that won her way into the Portland Roadster Show Hall of Fame for 2007.
1923 Ford Model “T” same as the 1971 Red “T” Roadster bucket covered above with brand new updated landscape mural paint job, beautiful new multi-colored leather interior and add on independent chrome suspension and Zenith wire wheels all the way around. What you get is a brand new build that once again is good enough to win the AMBR award for 1975. The new paint just shouts Oregon all the way. The “T” was so popular, winning the coveted AMBR Award twice. It now has a permanent place in the Peterson Hot Rod Museum in downtown L.A. Before heading south she won The Portland Roadster Show and was inducted into the Hall of Fame for 1999.
1932 Ford Model “B” Roadster sporting a 475 HP Chevy for power, 400 turbo tranny and an 8” Ford rear-end. Featuring a Buttercup Yellow exterior and a delicious black leather interior. She wears 850×15 on the rear and 550 x 15 up front with super red artillery wheels and baby moons on all four corners. This is Candy’s pride and joy ride and she’s a winner.
1975 VW Bug — She sports a 2332 cc mill with super heads and carbs. Producing 220 HP with a 091 6-rib bus tranny. Updated it with a new nosecone and lowered the shift shaft to make it more Bug friendly. They installed stiffer Sway-A-Way torsion bars to handle the drag race starts. A NHRA special custom rollbar was installed and the House of Kolor suggested a traditional black color with super flames on this ‘75 VW turned Volksrod. With a nickname like “The Fire Bug” the color scheme should fit perfectly. Dan Leisy was selected to handle the upholstery with one request— something in red and black leather. The painting of the Fire Bug was a group effort with Mitch Kim, Portland’s own world class pinstriper, Dick Pruitt teaming up to lay down the flame job and Duane Olofson and Rob Benko worked on the body and layed down the House of Kolor finish coats. This is one super fantastic creative work of art with the chopped cherry straight black body on this fender-less VW Bug. The chrome 18 & 20-inch Budnik wheels on all four corners really make this a one of a kind flamed out “Fire Bug” Rod come alive. She has won her share of trophies and is a real crowd pleaser wherever she goes.
Mr. Gilbertson has a work in progress that is called the “HIT and MISS” and the current plans on the books are to run this 1 ½ HP tractor engine powered pond-tune styled racing pod down at the Bonneville Salt Flats. He’s going for a special best of class time and speed record. Jamie Fox is scheduled to handle the helm of this experimental creation. Lonnie has another two or three finished and another work in progress that we are scheduling stories on for a follow up in a near future issue. We at R&R NW Publications would like to thank Lonnie and Candy for sharing their fantastic story with us and our thousands of readers. “All for the Love of Street Rods and Custom Classic Cars.”
Tri-five Chevys are a corner stone in the world of classic cars, and most enthusiasts have found themselves drooling over one at some point. Now, we could argue until we are blue in the face about which of the three has the best lines…but when it came to Shaun Schroeder’s first classic car…he knew he wanted a 55.
With a very successful year under his belt for his business “Wireless Alchemy”, Shaun set out to find the ideal shop to build his future 55. Shaun did a good amount of internet research and honed in on MetalWorks Classic Auto Restoration in Eugene, Oregon due to their impressive worked displayed on their website, and especially due to their success with Tri-five builds. Shaun contacted MetalWorks and spoke with owner Jon Manilla, and really liked what Jon had in mind for the direction of the 55’s build, so a plan was put into motion.
The first step was to actually locate a 55 Chevy, and luckily Jon knew of one that had already been acid metal dipped by MetalWorks a couple of years prior, and was available for purchase. Shaun admits he is not a huge classic car guy, but he does recognize and appreciate quality craftsmanship… so for that reason he gave Jon and the team at MetalWorks the green light to build him the best 55 possible… and the end result blew Shaun away.
The Chevy’s paint work is a gorgeous combo of laser straight orange and white, colors that Shaun said helped win his wife over on the build as they are both huge Giants fans. Underneath the 55’s amazing exterior is a precisely chosen platform of components that create a driving experience that keeps Shaun grinning and filled with excitement every time he gets behind the wheel. One of the 55’s key components is the Art Morrison chassis… and a special one at that as the 55 sits on the 1000th Art Morrison Tri-five chassis built. Nestled into the Chevy’s frame rails is a GM Performance supercharged LS9 engine connected to a TREMEC 6 speed transmission.
The guys at MetalWorks are extremely knowledgeable in LS platforms, and the Chevy’s LS9 delivers a performance that is smooth as silk…well, silky smooth that is until Shaun decides to drop the hammer, then all hell breaks loose. When things do get out of hand Wilwood brakes help stop the double nickel on a dime, and luxury amenities like leather interior, 8” touch screen navigation, and electronic dual climate control keep Shaun and his wife extremely comfortable while cruising any distance.
In the end Shaun wanted the best, and MetalWorks delivered on that goal. Shaun is not a car show type of guy, but he loves putting miles on the 55, so watch for this wicked 55 on the streets of Winters, CA… Shaun will be the guy with the smile on his face.
I dreamed of owning the Genie, to be specific. No, I’m not talking about Barbara Eden. I’m talking about a small block powered sports racer, built in 1964 by San Franciscan Joe Huffaker.
There was a time in my life (the late 70’s) when I loved sporty cars so much, I’d drive to Sears Point just to watch club racing. It was during those outings that I became enamored with the nimble little racecar, then owned by a gutsy, talented driver named Terry Herman. Only a handful of unlimited, Can Am-style cars would typically show up for these meets so Herman would have to start scratch in a mixed field of big bore Corvettes, Camaros, Mustangs and such. It was always entertaining watching him slice and dice his way to the front. And when someone did turn up with a swoopy, late model McLaren or Lola, Herman could usually whup on them too. He had that circuit dialed and rode that Genie like a spirited thoroughbred. What a cool little racecar.
I didn’t know it at the time but it turned out that I’d seen the Genie race before. When I attended my first race at Laguna Seca in 1966, the car was there. My program lists Huffaker as the entrant and the driver as “Unannounced.” I don’t remember it but I’ve seen a photo from that weekend showing Bob Bondurant at the wheel. This was kind of a big deal as Bondurant was racing Formula One at the time. Unfortunately, they are listed as a nonstarter that weekend so evidently there were issues of some kind or another. Bondurant went on to found one of the first competition driving schools two years later and for that, he is probably best known.
The Genie was then sold to accomplished privateer Merle Brennan of Reno who raced it in the Can Am series exclusively at Laguna through 1970. In gawd awful heat he finished 9th in ’67 (a full twelve laps behind the leader) and was paid $1,100 for the day’s work. In 1968’s driving rain he paddled to 11th, he stayed home in ’69 but returned in ’70 to place 13th earning $900. These may not sound like great numbers but you have to consider the competition. Brennan was competing against the best drivers in the world. Factory teams, corporate sponsors, guys with the best of everything. By 1970 he was driving one of the few small blocks on the grid.
Brennan sold the Genie to Herman when he procured a wrecked formula car he planned to rebuild as a sports racer. For some reason unknown, Herman painted the car pea green and went racing. I described his exploits earlier… finally he repainted the car red for what was likely his last ride. Tossing it around with typical abandon, he lost the right rear wheel. Fortunately damage was minimal but that was the last time I saw the car…
Fast forward about fifteen years. The Can Am thirty year reunion is coming up and I’ve got all my old photos out. Wouldn’t it be cool to dig up that old Genie and take it to the reunion? I’d be willing to sell my elderly sprint car and all my roundy-round stuff to raise the money. How much could they want for the old carcass? I’m thinking six grand, maybe? Possibly ten? I had no idea. Boy, was I in for a surprise.
Turns out Herman sold the car to a guy named Tom Hanes who continued to race the Genie into the 1980’s. Hanes was injured in the car while driving it on the street. Complications stemming from those injuries ultimately killed him and his widow sold the Genie to Mike Brown in 1985.
By 1995 vintage road racing is in full bloom. I contacted the Historic Can Am Association and inquired about the car. As luck would have it, not only were they familiar with it, but it was for sale! I called Mike Brown and confirmed that it is the Genie of my dreams. He of course, knows the car’s full history and by now has completely restored it to its original glory. This is bad news to me because I was hoping for a basket case- Maybe I could afford a basket case. The price has now gone up considerably. Nonetheless, I ask him to send me a package…
The photos of the car are stunning. By all indications, it is a first class restoration. Asking price? $70,000.
When I saw the price I literally laughed out loud and not because it was funny. I think it was more like shock. I mean, it’s a cool little racecar but… that’s about it. It has a modest racing history. People have heard of Bondurant perhaps but Brennan? Herman? It’s a rare Genie after all, not a rare Ferrari.
So that was that until about a month ago. Fast forward another twenty years. I open a copy of my new vintage racing magazine and there’s a classified ad for the Genie. It looks exactly as it did in 1966 and again in 1996. It couldn’t be in any better condition… New asking price? $175,000. This time I’m not laughing.
Mike Bade came into this world in the little town of Milton-Freewater, Oregon back 1954. He stuck around Oregon until he was in the fifth grade when the family decided to pack-up and relocate to a small town just North of Spokane, Washington. Fast forward a few years and you find Mike in High-School in the little town of Ford, Washington, where his father is the Postmaster and the family runs a little neighborhood grocery store. Mike is bitten by the car bug in high school as his auto shop teacher, who was a classic car enthusiast, was building a 32 Ford 5 window coupe and Mike was impressed. He got so excited at eighteen years of age he went out and found himself a classic little hot rod coupe to build for himself. For a cool $100 Mike found this fantastic 1930 Plymouth Coupe from a little old couple in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Now keep in mind, for that kinda-money, the car needed a little work. OK, it needed a lot of work as it was delivered to Mike in several boxes including the chassis, the running gear, the body etc. ect. ect.!
Now it took him a couple of years but by the time Mike entered his junior year in college at Eastern Washington University he had that Mo-par all back together and he was ridden in style. As you can see on the first build of this Plymouth Coupe he choose a two-tone grey and black paint job and a set of fancy tires and wheels, from dads Cadillac, sporting baby white walls. Plus it appears Mike found himself a pretty little college co-ed by the name of Donna to share his all home built delicious 1930 hot rod Plymouth coupe with. Well as the story goes forward, We at R&R NW Publications are excited to bring you Mike and Donna Bade and the story of their “Fantastic All Mo-Par Rides.”
1930 Plymouth Coupe Model 30U owned car 43 years and in that time two major body off builds and the latest in 2005 with a total upgraded chassis. For power a 2003 Dodge Dakota fuel injected V-6, Auto-Trans, Mustang II front suspension, rack & pinion steering, boxed frame, disk brakes front and rear, all new electronic gauges, Vintage Air and American Racing –polished chrome wheels on all four corners make this Yellow beauty come alive. Topped off with a grey leather interior and Portland’s own world class award winning pin-stripper Mitch Kim laid down some artistic stripping on this ’30 that really makes it one of a kind. She’s a winner where ever she goes. Sold new for $575 FOB Plant.
1933 Plymouth Model Bess Coupe, pretty much stock, what you see is what you got in ’33. For power a 6cyl / 70hp / 60 to 80 mph. three on the floor Tranni with Desoto OD/ chrome horns upfront / amber fog lights / heater / wipers and a nice fabric interior. Wide whites and baby moons all the way around really set this super ride off with its Dark Colored Body and Black Fenders. In 1933 this was Corporate Americas Traveling Businessman’s Fancy yet affordable Car. She sold new for $475 to $550 FOB Plant. This car came from the private collection of Bill Call’s automobiles in Clackamas, Oregon.
1935 Plymouth Convertible /w Rumble Seat again pretty much stock. For power a 6cyl / 70hp / Three on the floor Tranni / Hydraulic Brakes/ Fog Lights /Chrome horns/ Heater/ Wipers / Turn signals and Etched glass side wind windows. Beautiful wide whites with painted artillery spoke wheels and baby name moons on all four corners. This was a show car with its rich dark chocolate brown body and black fenders. In 1935 this was a limited edition quality convertible and sold new for approx. $575 FOB Plant.
Mike and Donna were both educators and both taught here in Oregon for over thirty years. They are into their thirty-sixth year of marriage and raised two fantastic boys Scott and Corey into manhood. Both Donna and Mike are active in the local CPPC of which Mike accomplished a two year run as club president in 2011. They recently completed their 14th year in the Cascade Pacific Plymouth Club of Clackamas, Oregon. Another point of interest is if you like the beautiful pictures that are showing off Mike and Donna’s cars here on these pages you might like to give Mike Bade a call as he taught photography and graphics in school for over thirty years and he specializes in classic car photography. His handle is “BADE CAR ARTISTRY” phone 503-206-4652.
We at R&R NW Publication would like to thank Mike and Donna for sharing their fantastic “Mo-Par Artistic Automobile Wonders” with us and our thousands of readers in the Pacific Northwest “All for the Love of Street Rods and Custom Classic Cars.”
This delicious 1933 Ford Model 40 Tudor Sedan is just about as perfect an example of what a World Class True Street Rod is all about. Featuring a real “Henry Ford” All Steel Body and Fenders, an all Ford Powered 351 Winsor Summit Ford Racing Package backed up with a Summit Street Fighter C-4 Auto-Tran with shifter and topped off with a 9” Ford rear-end. The proud owners of this Fabulous Ford are Larry and Brian Weber a father and son team that never let a speck of dust or a blade of grass stay on their immaculate little Ford very long. In addition to the all Ford sparkle above she sports a 4” TCI dropped front-end, power front Disc brakes, Vintage Air and a quality Ultra-Leather Silver White custom interior that is to die for. The exterior color is also all Ford from a 2007 Ford GT40 “Tungsten Grey Metallic” finished off with the special touches from Mitch Kim’s Pin Stripping Creative Artistry. This gorgeous Rod is wearing 15” Chromed polished Billet Wheels on the Front with Knock offs and 17” on the rear creating just the right stance on this World Class Beauty. The Weber Brian is one of those Adobe Data Center Managers and the Weber Larry is a member of the Teaching Team at George Fox University in the College of Education. The last I heard Larry still makes his home in Damascus, Oregon while Brian lives in Bethany, Oregon.
We at R&R NW Publication are proud and honored to make the Weber Boys 1933 Ford World Class Street Rod our Featured Car of the Month for July 2015.
The Pharaohs Street Rodders Endless Summer Cruise-In’s for 2015 are filling up Main Street in Downtown Gresham at Billy Bob’s Hot Rod Café. This Veterans charity event is scheduled every Wednesday from 4:00 to 7:30 PM (weather permitting) June thru September. Everyone’s invited to come and enjoy showing off your special automobiles from Classic Stockers to Vintage Customs, Hot-Rods, Pick-Ups and even Little Tikes Pedal cars.
This is Pharaohs Street Rodders fifth anniversary for this fun event with 100% of the funds raised dedicated to the Missing in America Project and the Lines for Life as well as other local youth programs. The Pharaohs also have a history of helping children in need in the Portland area and you will find a special booth at the Cruise-In dedicated to the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Cancer Research in the form of a gorgeous 2015 Mustang Raffle Car. The Pharaohs take pride in awarding hundreds of trophy’s yearly to people that love and take care of their cars, both show cars and classic daily drivers alike. All while raising tens of thousands of dollars for charity. Come out and enjoy the hospitality and a free burger with your vehicle registration on Wednesday’s at Billy-Bob’s Hot Rod Café on Main Street in beautiful historic downtown Gresham, Oregon USA.
Last month we had a beautiful green ’52 Chevrolet Panel on the cover and we also had a new subscriber, George Leago of Olympia Washington, whose first issue was that June issue with a picture of that Panel. Well, it just so happened that George also owns one of those panels and he mailed in a picture of his beautiful Red Chevrolet Panel saying how please he was with the paper and the article and that he wanted to share this picture of his panel with Dale, the owner of the green one.
Thanks George, we’re pleased to put your picture in this brand new column called “Bits and Pieces.” We plan to include little tidbits that come our way from wherever each month. It might include pictures of readers rides or “?” So if you have something interesting, a picture of your car, a friends’ car, a funny photo from back when you had hair or whatever, that you’d like to share, please send it to us. We can’t guarantee it will make it into any particular issue or any issue at all, and we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to send it back to you, but if we have the space, we’ll do our best to share your material with all of our readers. This could be fun but, keep it clean, after all, this is a family paper. Thanks, Ed.
This came to us as a “What’s It” last month but we really already know what it is. Here is Chuck Cook’s description: It’s a “slightly modified” 1963 Sunbeam Rapier, 2 dr. Hardtop. Little known kin to the Alpine and Tiger.
A rapier was 16th 17th and 18th Century edgeless sword made for thrusting.
The car was rescued from the juniper woods near LaPine, Oregon by my teenage son, who preceded to develop the skills and exercise the ambition necessary to create the machine you see before you, using home built and hand-me-down parts over a 5 year time span.
It is licensed and driven on the streets a lot. It’s powered by a Ford 429/C-6 saved from a 69 Mercury Grand Marquis that was heading to a nearby metal recycling crusher. Chuck Cook, Proud Dad.
For two years in a row now we have sponsored the live showing of the Indianapolis 500, on the big screen at the Joy Theater on Pacific Ave. in Tigard. Way back before LIVE sports casting of just about any car race, big races use to be shown at large venues using closed circuit TV broadcasts. Unless you could go to the race at Indy you didn’t get to see it as it happened. Showing the race on the big screen was your way to “almost” be there.
Some of the local car guys and gals and racing enthusiasts thought it would be fun to duplicate, sorta, that closed circuit broadcast. The owners of the Joy Theater jumped on board at the urging of Steve Veltman and his daughter Cora who worked there part time during the summer and graciously said, “sure let’s do it.” They opened their theater on that Sunday in May just for us. You can go watch the race broadcast on the big screen for FREE. Sure you can watch it home too but it’s somehow more exciting and fun on that big screen with a room full of other race fans. And the refreshment stand is open for you to buy those much needed goodies. Hopefully, we can do it again next year. Please come be a part of this free, fun 4 hour function next May.
This year Cora was actually at the race track covering the event, taking pictures and getting info to write an article for publication in another, race oriented publication. I try to take pictures in the theater of the race, off the screen and surprisingly some come out pretty good but this year Cora very kindly gave me some of her pictures from the race and they are presented here. Enjoy!
Oh, the winner of the race? Juan Pablo Montoya. He returned to Indy car racing from several mediocre to poor years in NASCAR. All racing at the top levels is tough to say the least. Though perhaps not the most popular win of the 500, he clearly had the equipment, the talent and the courage to put his car in Winners Circle at the end.
For about 35 years now the NW Racing Group has held a Reunion and Picnic during the good weather months, recently at Blue Lake Park. Commonly and fondly referred to as “The Old Timers Picnic.” It’s planned for August 2, 2015 this summer and you’re invited to: Bring your Race Car, Custom Car or Project. It’s open to all racing enthusiasts. Their flier says; bring your scrapbooks, photo albums or collectables to share. See The George Veenstra Photo collection, seven 4X8 displays of Vintage Photos. View the Racing Groups 21 Photo albums covering All Forms of Oval Racing. Meet and talk to former drivers, owners and mechanics. It’s a trip down memory lane for some and an education for others.
Here are some pictures from last years’ picnic. Enjoy. Ed.
Here is another entry for the “What’s It” category. Steve Veltman, who contributes great stories every month took a couple pictures of an unusual car on a used car lot in Reno, Nevada. Now these were taken some time in the latter part of the previous century, hence his buddy, Tom Roper’s, haircut and clothing style, so it may be quite difficult to identify this particular creation. The lot was closed that day, so no one to ask, ‘what is that thing’ and of course no name plate was visible. Maybe one of you recognize it, built it, own it now and can tell us what it is and what it’s made of. Email us @ email@example.com or send us a note to Roddin’ & Racin’ NorthWest, 17273 S. Steiner Rd. Beavercreek, OR. 97004.