Let’s start this little story by offering you the same deal that I was offered back in 1963.
Now this deal woulda, in hindsight, made me a lot of extra bucks. If only I coulda taken that big chance and had faith in the individuals that offered me something for almost nothing. I shoulda jumped at the chance, but; I was reminded by more than one individual, that more times than not, you end up getting nothing in return for the same amount of almost nothing invested.
As I stated above the year was about 1963 and I had just returned to Spokane, Washington from some time in the US Coast Guard. I retrieved my ’26 Ford Model “T” Coupe from storage. She looked pretty good. I had the rusted out rear trunk lid and lower panel replaced by a fellow with the name Mr. Tiny Larson. I’m not sure why they called him “Tiny” as he probably hit the scales at over 400 pounds, but he did a great job on the repair work and touch up paint. All she needed now was to be cleaned up and a little detail work, the battery charged, and some fresh petrol in the gas tank.
I started a new job at Fiber-Form Boat manufacturing and they put me in the model making department. These were all-fiberglass boats that looked pretty sporty and came in several models and sizes. The guy in charge was a fella by the name of Bill Bongers and we had some things in common—he loved custom cars and street rods with the same flair as I, with one exception, and that was that he could afford them.
He had a world class 1955 Chevy Convertible that Sam and George Barris down in Southern California did a custom trick on. She sported Packard tail lights in the extended rear fenders, custom grille, frenched head lights, and a sporty California Kit spare tire out back. She was painted a powder blue color and carried the name of “my blue heaven.” She was picked by Bill Peterson, the owner of Hot-Rod Magazine, as one of his top 100 custom cars of all time.
Did I mention that Mr. Bongers also had a 1932 Ford Victoria? Another world class tricked out street rod painted the same powder blue. At car shows he displayed them side by side. They won trophies in custom car shows all over the west coast wherever they appeared.
Well, this story gets some added attention as Bill Bongers mentioned to the Barris brothers that he had an employee that was driving a cherry little all-steel ’26 Tall “T” Coupe. They in turn just happen to know a guy in the Portland area that was making fiberglass replacement parts for Ford model “T”s, “A”s and “B”s and they knew he was looking for a ’26 or ’27 “T” to make plugs for producing fiberglass fenders and other body parts. Could they give him my name and number?
The Fiberglass parts guy from Portland was none other than Mr. Dee Westcott. As it turned out Mr. Dee Westcott made a trip to eastern Washington in the fall of “63 and visited Fiber-Form Boat factory and sure enough Mr. Bongers turns Dee on to my “T” Coupe. I think Mr. Wescott liked the look of my “T” and had probably already envisioned in his mind, pulling my car apart to start making front and rear, right and left fiberglass fenders as fast as they could get a plug mold made off from my “T”s cherry all steel fenders. Next would be the hood and the rear deck lids as they too were pretty cherry and probably in demand in the parts department down there in the Portland area.
Mr. Wescott, as I remember, treated me with a lot of respect and was a quality understanding guy. At that time in my life the Model “T” was my only means of transportation and was truly my bread and butter existence ride to work every day. Letting it go off to Oregon for Mr. Wescott to take her all apart and make mold plugs from her parts just wasn’t something that I could realistically think of doing. The idea of getting a fresh new paint job on her was an inviting offer but it just wasn’t the right time in my life to let the “T” go to Oregon on the back of a semi flatbed truck not knowing if I would ever see her again and if I did, would she be in 50 pieces and undriveable. Woulda, Coulda Shoulda, but didn’t!
In hindsight after getting to know the Wescott family and the roll that the Wescott fiberglass car parts has played in the history of the street rod community I would give Dee Wescott not only my Model”T,” but I would give my right arm just to have an opportunity to let him know how much we all loved him and everything he stood for. From his strong ethical business history to his charitable giving to the local community, the involvement with the local fire department, the Damascus city government and to his love and contribution to the forming of the Multnomah Hot Rod Council and the Portland Roadster Show. Dee is also the gentleman businessman that made the down payment on an old used airstrip down in Woodburn, Oregon that became the Woodburn Dragstrip. This helped get our young people from racing on the local highways around Portland, which in turn, saved lives and a lot of broken dreams.
Dee will always be one of those shining lights that only come along a few times in a person’s life. We thank the whole Wescott Family for sharing your wonderful Dee with all of us that had the honor of knowing him in his precious life. His memory truly lives on every time you see or hear that another Wescott creative work of automobile artistic wonder has won another trophy in the world of Custom Classic Cars and Street Rods. This is my Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda picture of events, in the life of my 90 year old Model”T” that actually happened back in the month of September in 1963. From Colliedog BC.