The year is 1974 and I had recently decided to change directions in the employment payroll line and move across the state to another employment window of opportunity. From retail store manager, too advertising account marketing manager. From employment with auto and expenses included, to your now covering your own expenses to get across town. My little Chevy Wagon was pretty much dedicated to family use back then so all I had for getting around town was the Tall “T” Coupe. Not a lot of extra space for hauling more than one other person on board but I would make it work for now.
This new employment opportunity was just that, a new start up, get off the ground company with not a lot of extra bucks for fancy autos and expenses. One of my areas to cover as account marketing manager’s responsibility was to help local social and community outreach groups do a little fund raising for local charities. As it turned out my first assignment was to cover the Portland Rose Festival and a host of activity’s including a local parade of custom cars and street rods. My activity’s included the judging of parade floats and special entries. I had my son enter my daily driver and drive it in the parade as a fund raising donation participant. He had the “T” all shined up and looking good as he always gave 150% to everything he got involved in back then. Now I was placed at the beginning of the Parade conducting on air interviews for KVDO TV-3 with the people on the floats and in the beautiful street rods and custom cars. They were from local schools and churches and several street rod clubs were on hand. When my son approached I gave him a quick high-five but didn’t bother with an interview. I want you all to know right up front here I had nothing to do with the judging of the cars in the parade. I did participate in the judging of the Community Floats and there were several winners. As the day progressed and the parade wound down to the end, the awards were finally handed out at a small ceremony over in the Fred Meyer parking lot. Just about every community group received recognition and a nice big trophy. Next was the cars, trucks and motorcycle participants. There were several classes with the winners selected from the stock class or customs and street rods. They had a parade of the vehicles drive by and the judges awarded the trophies to the participants as they past. Well, I guess that must have been where the mix up happened as my son in the shiny blue tall “T” coupe approached, one judge said ‘’here’s the best of show car that blue Ford Coupe”, as he pointed to it on the clip board. Well I almost fell off the stage as I think that is my daily driver the old ‘26 “T” coupe their pointing at and believe me it’s not the best of parade show car.?!?! My son pulled over to the reviewing stand as they waved him up to receive his nice big trophy. WOW! Best of Parade Street Rod Show Car! He was so proud, you see that was the first time he had driven the model “T” all by himself as he wasn’t quite sixteen yet, but he was almost six feet tall and he looked at least seventeen. He was a careful driver and he followed in his POP’s footsteps, never had a moving violation ticket in that model “T” in over fifty years. WOW he won best street rod show car at the parade in 1974.
PS: Why do all super Trophy winning events in life half to have a PS:
Well as the story progressed into the next day I received a phone call from the Parade Director and he proceeded to inform me that an error had been made on the part of one of the judges and the real winner of the 1974 Best of Parade Show Car was a blue Ford coupe but it wasn’t a Model “T” it was a 1930 Model “A” Metallic Shiny Blue Ford Coupe that had taken a first place trophy out at the Forest Grove World Class Concourse Show the year before and he actually won this year’s “Best of Parade Show Car Award.”
I contacted the owner of the Model “A” and had made plans with him to get the big Best of Parade Trophy delivered to the appropriate winner with my congratulations. Then another phone call came in and the people in charge of the event had decided to have two best of parade show car awards that year and my son was to keep his. To this day I never told my son Mike he hadn’t won that big trophy back when he was a mere fifteen years old. Those fantastic years when your kids were growing up back in the seventy’s they were some of the best ever.
The desire for many people to own a classic car is derived from memories of their youth. Often this memory is a high school car, a first car, or a special connection to a vehicle owned by a family member. The owner of this gorgeous 1952 panel truck is Dale, and he has many wonderful memories of riding in his father’s 1952 GMC pickup truck with a factory canvas canopy. In addition to the memories of his father’s 52 Dale recalls his fondest memory of a wild ride in his cousins father’s 1950 Chevy pickup down a rough & muddy road as he and his cousin tried to hang on without seat belts!!
Over the years Dale has dreamed of owning a classic because of their unique design compared to the styling of trucks today. As fate would have it Dale located his future pride and joy in Grants Pass, Oregon…though the panel was a former long term resident of sunny Arizona. Once the panel was located Dale set out to find a restoration shop to entrust his dream car to, and settled on MetalWorks Classics out of Eugene, Oregon. The goal was to keep the panel stock appearing, but make it as effortless to drive as a modern vehicle…and equally as reliable. It was decided the panel would receive an LS conversion, something MetalWorks is very versed in. The panel’s LS driveline came in the form a 2000 Camaro LS1 engine and 4L60E transmission combo which the team at MetalWorks nestled into the original frame rails. Other drivability upgrades for the panel included a Heidts front suspension, and a Ford 9” rear end tied to a 4 link out back. The end result is a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing as the overall stock appearing 52 will set you back hard in the factory seats when Dale mashes the throttle!!
In the end Dale has a great looking and performing truck that his family can enjoy for many years to come. Dale is also pleased that he can pass along the fond memories of his youth onto his children and grandchildren when he takes them for a cruise in his dream car…but this time with seat belts!!
• Open to cars, trucks & motorcycles
• Park on the grass
• Dash plaques for the first 200 entries
• Trophies & special awards
• Club participation cash award
• Raffle prizes
• Burgers available by the Lions Club
• Music by the KISN Good Guys
For more information:
Karen: (503) 657-5942
cell: (503) 803-2022
Right out of the Northwest Farmers Fruit Orchards. That’s right, this new exciting, clean-burning, high octane ethanol is a by-product from food processing waste that is fermented then distilled to create sustainable ethanol.
Summit Foods and Summit Natural Energy Advanced Bio Fuel produce Pure Power Thunderbolt Racing Fuel. *High Octane *High Purity *Clean Burning *Lower Emissions *Lower Cost *Increase Horsepower *Increase Performance *Made in the Pacific Northwest.
Thunderbolt Race Fuel is the right choice for today’s high compression race engines. The Pure Power alcohol based fuel formula delivers consistent performance at a much lower cost than petroleum products. The process of distillation from waste products delivers alcohol fuel that is very pure and is a fresh product made in the Northwest. (not old or dated) Thunderbolt purity increases horsepower, runs smoother and delivers results. Product available in as small as 5 gallon easy pour cans.
For further details on this exciting product contact on web: DaveM @thunderbolt–racing .com or stop by the Summit Natural Energy Plant at 535 North 4th Ave. Cornelius, Oregon. Phone 503-992-1557 Look for complete line of Summit Food and Sisters Fruit company items at most natural food retailers.
The World of Speed Museum opened April 24th with a ribbon cutting ceremony assisted by “Nanook” a blown “Altered” that raced all over in years gone by. Yep the museum is open to the public and it’s pretty cool.
The displays and cars are diversified with regard to the racing categories. There’s land speed cars, drag race cars, circle track cars all the way from what the hobbyist would race to NASCAR. And there is motorcycle racing history from days of old and a track whose name I remember from my youth, ‘Sidewinders.’ That track was over in Clackamas Oregon. I remember one time some friends and I were out riding and we stopped at the track. It was “closed,” but we got in anyway. We didn’t ride around the track at all but we did walk the track. I have to tell you that the racers that did ride there were extremely brave. This track was on the side of a hill and from the gate to the first turn it funneled down into too small an area for more than a few bikes to get through. I can’t even imagine screaming down that hill with 30 other bikes and riders at speed and trying to get slowed enough to make that first turn and yet still stay ahead of the guys behind, assuming there were guys behind me. In fact, I know I would be last, probably back at the gate shaking in terror, making the excuse that the bike died and wouldn’t restart. LOL.
David and Sally Bany are responsible for the creation of The World of Speed Museum right here in Wilsonville Oregon. The museum has interactive displays, historical artifacts, many restored cars and the deal is they all must run. Some are owned by the Banys, some by the museum and others are owned and on loan by collectors.
The museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day except Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you’re a car buff and even if you’re not, take a few hours to tour the place and learn a lot about the motorsports history of the Northwest and beyond. It’s exciting and informative.
Well the 59th is now in the history books, but it was a great show. Isn’t it amazing that this show is one of the longest continuously running shows around? And in little ole Portland Oregon. When I worked in the corporate world I heard people say that Portland was kind of “like a suburb” of Seattle. Well I guess you could make a comparison like that but I disagree for the most part.
Portland established it’s Hot Rod identity more than 60 years ago with many famous cars being built there and then shown in the Portland Roadster Show starting in 1956 and continuing until today. As I create this paper every month, for almost 2 years now, I learn more and more about the hot rod/race car roots that are well rooted and have grown and flourished in Portland all these years.
I don’t want to take anything away from Seattle though and that’s partly my point. While both cities are here in the northwest, they each certainly have their own identity and uniqueness and after all, they are 160 miles apart. The distance between only accounts for a small amount of their differences but different from each other, they are.
The Portland Roadster Show has been a must see show for me for all the years I’ve lived in the Northwest. Next year will be the 60th Annual Portland Roadster Show, and I, for one, am really looking forward to it. Because it will be a milestone year I’m certain the promoters will do everything in their power to make that show really something to remember. What great fun for participants and spectators alike to be a part of it. As a participant, just imagine entering your pride and joy and taking home a coveted award from a show with such history. It makes me want to build a car to enter it myself. All you car guys and gals out there, start now and prepare for next March and the 60th Portland Roadster Show.
If you’ve been to one of the local bullrings in the last twenty years, you’ve probably seen Freya Smith. She’s no shrinking violet and openly admits to committing every summer since 1995 to either River City (St. Helens) or Sunset (Banks) Speedway.
It was none other than Gary (Meep! Meep!) Meyers that indoctrinated her: “I started out crewing for Gary,” she explains “and knew right away that I wasn’t going to be content on the sidelines. I’m not one to sit and muss with my hair!” She wanted to know how everything worked and Meyers was willing to teach her. “I remember him explaining “stagger” to me, rolling around a Solo cup!” Because of her hands on approach to the sport, it wasn’t long before she was being offered rides in the woman’s division. Freya believes she won her first race in ’96 driving somebody’s jalopy or low budget street stock. Clearly, it was no milestone in her book.
When Mike McCann took over Sunset Speedway, she left St. Helens and went to work for him. Freya occupied various posts at the clay oval but is probably best remembered for her work as Pit Steward. Ushering racers on and off the track in the heat of battle isn’t for the faint of heart. Freya was always easy to spot with her headset slammed down over her curly blonde locks, strutting about in Day-Glo pink sweat pants! She was content at this level of involvement for several years, but the desire to drive never left her.
Then when the right car at the right price became available, Freya couldn’t resist. It was a 1978 Camaro built for up and comer Colin Winebarger. In reality, the street stock had seen very little action as young Winebarger leap-frogged directly up to late models. Little needed to be done to prepare the Camaro for Freya other than relocating the seat. Green had become her trademark color and so her father Mike Batalgia blended something special and sponsor Mike Sweere gave it a good slathering. When Freya hit the track on opening day she had a racer that reflected her extroverted personality. It was neon lime with plum crazy purple scallops on the nose! On the flanks was #37- a tip of the hat to her mentor Meyers who runs #36 to this day.
The competition didn’t know what hit them. Between Freya’s experience and the fact that the Camaro was already sorted, no one could run with her. She won all but one event, effortlessly claiming the 2013 woman’s title. In retrospect, Freya downplays her accomplishment. “It was all in preparation to run with the (men) street stock class in 2014,” she says.
The following season started off well enough but an experience on Fan Appreciation Night changed everything. Freya invited a young terminally ill girl to sit in her car for a photograph. The next weekend prior to the races, the girl’s family came down to thank Freya again and inform her that the girl had passed away. They gave Freya the gift of a “Love Rock” which the emotional driver promptly tucked into the seat of her Camaro. That night she drove with new inspiration, starting in the back and charging forward. She won her first street stock feature and dedicated the win to her young fan. It was a special Fourth of July race weekend with another feature planned for the following night. For that event, Freya started on the pole and simply checked out. “I kept watching for the nose of another car,” she exclaimed afterward, “and I never saw one.” According to her crew, no one was even close. Freya finished out the season third in overall points.
Towards the end of last year Freya hauled her car to Willamette Speedway (Lebanon) and Grays Harbor (Elma, WA) to experience racing on a faster venue. At Elma she was looking at a top five finish until throwing a belt. Still she came away encouraged and wants to travel more.
Soon she and fiancé Mike Sweere will lay schedules from Banks, Willamette and Cottage Grove side by side and plot out their own schedule for 2015. Sweere runs an IMCA-type modified so they will go to tracks that feature street stocks and modifieds on the same card. Spending the summer at one racetrack or another…That’s what Freya has done for twenty years…Why would you change now?
The Showplex at the Washington State Fair Event Center in Puyallup was home to an amazing display of hot rods, cool rides, tricked out imports and more on March 28th & 29th at the Northwest Rodarama.
Much to the delight of the spectators, there’s something for everyone at Northwest Rodarama! It’s great to see a family come through the show where not only a grandson, father and grandfather find vehicles of interest to them, but mom and grandma too! During my 4 hour trip down memory lane, I took note of the many pictures being taken in front of the vintage motorized bicycle display, which was one of my favorites at the show.
A couple local celebrities, Lance Lambert of The Vintage Vehicle Show and David Dickinson, Editor of The Old Car Nut Book Series, were on hand throughout the weekend to sign autographs and books. There never seems to be a loss for words when guys get together to talk about old cars. Both bring a personal touch to the show and their presence was enjoyed by many.
If you’re building or restoring your own custom hot rod, there’s endless ideas that’s bound to get your creative juices going, with the vehicles on display, the automotive vendors, and the pin striping bash. If you weren’t able to attend this year’s show, be sure to check it out next year!