7 Feathers Cruise In

There are car shows, cruise-ins, swap meets and other car events that I look forward to every year. Unfortunately, so many historical events were cancelled this year. Some organizers tried to re-schedule, revamp or otherwise change to comply with some new regulation that came down from on high. Others just couldn’t make the changes work so some favorite events just didn’t happen this year at all. It’s sad for a lot of reasons.

Some of our annual events are for charity. Some are for profit and those organizers have relied on that once a year paycheck to get them through the winter months. Still others, like participants, have waited sometime a whole year to be able to show off their latest or newest creation in pursuit of that trophy they wanted to add to their collection of trophies or maybe just get their first trophy.

Others just want to be able to get out and enjoy the summer, friends, looking at cars, swapping parts for the project that’s underway in the garage. The year of 2020 had a different idea!

A very small number of promoters and organizers were able to figure out a way to allow their annual show to continue for this year, and we’re lucky they figured it out.

One of those annual shows that I try to attend every year is the Medford Rod & Custom Show put on by Rich Wilson. It used to be held and the Jackson County Fair Grounds as did his annual fall swap meet. This year neither of them could happen. Not the car show in the spring or the swap meet in the fall.

In this year of the Chinese Virus, they weren’t going to happen as usual. Rich came up with a new plan, new venue, and by combining them together Rich and company were able to pull off a whole new event at the 7 Feathers Resort and Casino in Canyonville Oregon. There was social distancing going on, mask wearing, parts swapping, car showing and the turn out was great even though it all had to come together very quickly which limited advertising.

The swap meet was both Saturday and Sunday and the car show was Sunday only. The weather tried to be a pain on Saturday but hey, we’re Oregonians! We won’t let a little rain dampen our fun. Though it was smallish, the parts swapping was brisk and on Sunday cars to show showed up from all over.

Maybe 2021 can get back to something more normal and I know Rich is already planning… Stay tuned.

Most Awesome Mopar went to Janice Sutherlin and Larry Snow for their beautifully restored 1969 Dodge Daytona out of Red Bluff California.

Rich’s Pick went to Robin and Angie Guzman for bringing out their oh so much fun Radio Flyer wagon and their Lusse bumper car from Salem Oregon.

Cruiser Chevy went to George Edwards out of White City Oregon for his gorgeous 1955 Chevy Nomad.

The Seven Feathers Pick went to Geoy Ogh for his peachy 1940 Chevrolet coupe out of Grants Pass OR.

Kool Kustom award went to Darrel Womack out of Scio Oregon for his way cool 1960 Ford Falcon.

Trick Truck award went to Kris Nace out of Glendale Oregon for his Hemi-powered 1934 Ford Pickup.

Taking home the ‘Cause It’s Cool award was Eddie Montgomery from Roseburg Oregon with his very radical 1927 Chev roadster.

Dare to be Different award went to Curry County Cruisers member Nick Orcutt out of Brookings Oregon for his 1929 Rolls Royce.

Favorite Ford award went to Renee Woodard out of Glendale Oregon for her very nice 1931 Ford Vicki.

The I’d Drive That award went to Louise Sasser for his very rare and very nice 1932 Buick Coupe out of Myrtle Creek Oregon.

The Tuskegee Warbird

Wallace Eugene Lincoln,Sr  (Wally to his friends), was fearless.  As a young boy he discovered the thrill of how melted wax applied to the bottom of a toboggan would propel it down the snow-covered hills surrounding his home in Central City, Colorado, faster than any of the other youngsters.

As winter rolled into spring, he made a go cart and would race down the hilly streets and back roads around the old mining town always trying to go faster, he was hooked. As he grew older, he learned how to ride motorcycles, got his driver’s license when he turned 14 and when he helped an old prospector clear his property was given a 1915 Model T Runabout.  It was not running but, Wally had a curious mind and was determined to make it fast. And he did.

As he grew older, Wally was hired by a local garage and his curiosity and love of the internal combustion engine really took off.  He was a natural.  He would read and absorb everything that the owner of the garage showed him.  When Wally turned 17, he gathered up his tools and moved to Denver.

As a young man of color, he was determined to show the world he had the skills, determination and knowledge to rebuild engines and tackle most mechanical issues and was hired by Kenz and Leslie V8 Service.  Bill and Roy took to Wally and helped him polish his talents.  He had a good job and the future only looked brighter, but the universe had other plans for the young mechanic.

December 7th, 1941. As America entered into the world conflict, Wally wanted nothing more than to serve his country.  Kenz and Leslie agreed and assured him that when he returned, he would have a job waiting for him.  Wally enlisted but as a Black man, found that he was shoved to the side only to be sent to Alabama to join a regiment that would become The Tuskegee Airmen.

Wally was a self-educated man.  He knew the laws of that land and as his train ride took him farther from his home in the west, the road south made it clear he was not welcomed.  But he knew, that if he lowered his head and did as asked, he may just live to tell stories to his children.

After boot camp, Wally began to show his prowess with his mechanical skills. On a whim, a pilot who trained those who showed interest took him on a flight and there was that rush he felt as a child so long ago on that cold frozen hill.  The pilot swung that Wildcat into a dive and the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engine sang her song and Wally felt the G force as the fighter plane screamed across the wild blue yonder.  The pilot brought them in and landed and as he did, he was peppered with questions from Wally.  Wally’s love of speed and adventure had finally come to fruition. He wanted to be a fighter pilot.

The Defense Department originally was skeptical about the abilities of “people of color” because they were deemed not efficient as their white counterparts.  Wally had heard whispers of this in the barracks and the attitude ramped up.  The Tuskegee Airmen would prove all of those who rallied against them wrong.  Wally served valiantly, he became a pilot for the 332d and piloted everything from the Bell P-39 Airacobra and towards the end was flying the mighty P-51 Mustang.  In July of 1945 Wally earned a Flying Cross for his efforts in the Pacific theatre piloting a bright silver with red tail Flying Tiger.

After he came home, all Wally could think about was getting back to K & L and building engines.  Maybe even a race car for himself.   His talents were not wasted; his skills learned in the hangars overseas helped Kenz and Leslie to modernize their racing garage.

In 1957 Wally made a purchase that would launch a new chapter for his quest of speed.   Fresh from Bob Jones Ford, there he ordered a stripped down 1957 Ford Custom business sedan.  The car was delivered without any amenities, no heater and hard rubber floors.  The ’57 was silver as the main color and red above the moulding and upper rear of the car including the decklid and taillight bezels. Which was similar to his P-51 he flew in the Pacific theatre.  Beneath the hood was a super charged 312 Y Block backed by a 3 speed over drive.

Wally had a few years showing the taillights to many of competitors on the strips in the Rocky Mountain area tracks.  His prowess with chassis set up and fine-tuning racing engines, even after he stepped out of the seat of his mighty ’57, helped racers in the Mile-High City. He kept on working for K&L during the weekdays and on the weekends, he was racing.  Within 6 years he had purchased a then new ’62 Galaxie 406 engine with a 4 speed, a front axle set up out of a ’48 F-1 pickup, he radiused the rear wheel wells and a local painter added on the rear quarters THE TUSKEGEE WARBIRD.  The ’57 again was a contender and Wally continued his pursuit of speed.

Then, one night as he was fine tuning a dragster at the shop at 1255 Delaware, a pre-ignition fired off and Wally lost his sight.  He felt his days were done working on hot rods, race cars, but it had only begun.  Wallace had learned a trick from an old friend that if you close your eyes and by placing a thick wooden dowel upon an engine block as it ran, one could determine which cylinder was not firing or where an engine needed more work.  Now blind, he learned to tune an engine by using his other senses, hearing, smell and touch.

His ’57 Ford was parked in his garage, covered by tarps and remained untouched. A memory to his competitors and forgotten by the driver himself.  Wally worked on and off for a few more years before hanging up his tools and quietly slipped into a bittersweet retirement.

However, Wally’s grandson had other ideas. The ’57 had sat unloved for years and ever since Wallace the 3rd laid eyes on the dust covered beauty, he was determined to bring her back. Working in secret, the old quarter mile warrior was being given a complete running gear restoration.  The body had aged very well as had the original paint and trim on the old Ford.  The 406 was rebuilt and had some updates internally to make it more competitive.

On the eve of his grandfather’s birthday, Wallace Eugene Lincoln III, turned the key and the ’57 Ford Custom fired to life. He closed his eyes and listened as the mighty FE sang her new song.  He only hoped it would sing the same song to his grandfather’s ears.

On October 7th, Wally Sr.’s home was alive with activity.  He sat in his rocker and heard the sounds of family arriving, laughter, conversations, and love in nearly all of the rooms in his old home.  From the kitchen Wally Jr. was busy prepping a turkey, and all of the fixin’s as requested by his Dad.  Outside, Wally the 3rd carefully rolled the ’57 off of the trailer and rolled it into the garage where it had sat untouched for so many years. It was almost time.

Wally Sr. reveled in the gifts, good food and what a great time that his family provided to celebrate his birthday and it was right as the evening was winding down that his grandson spoke up.

“Say pops, I have one more surprise for you.”  Wallace Sr turned his head and reached out his hand to his grandson, “Well, let’s have a look,.or a feel in my case!”  He laughed and the family joined in.  Senior had accepted his blindness years ago and by making light of his situation, he always put those around him at ease.  Wally got up and with the help of his grandson, followed by the rest of the family; they made their way out to the garage.

The garage door was already open and as he entered, Wally Sr smiled.  The memories always came to him as he smelled the interior of his garage.  He was led to the 57 and as he was expecting to lay his hands on a covered up fender, realized the car was uncovered, even felt freshly polished.

“Son, what have you been up to?” Wally Sr asked.  Wally the 3rd walked around the front of the Tuskegee Warbird, climbed in and hit the key.

RR-RRRR-VAHROOM!  – the 406 caught and fired.  The garage was filled with a deafening mechanical choir as 8 cylinders did their dance and made music of a different kind.  Those around Wally Sr. covered their ears but all he did was smile and nod his head.  His grandson turned the old race car off and walked to his grandfather’s side. “You did good my boy, you did really good.  Play that again for these old ears.”   Wally the 3rd did, and his grandfather rested his hands on the fender and felt as the engine performed as it should.

Senior would live for a few more years and got to feel the Tuskegee Warbird take him down the quarter mile and again satisfy his quest for speed.  Wally the 3rd still races the car to this day and has the urn with his grandfather’s ashes in the trunk, you know, cause it is a fitting place for an old racer to travel fast at times, even after his death.

Indy’s “Scientifically Streamlined” Catfish

Considered ugly by some, the Sparks/Weirick “Catfish” was claimed to be America’s first racecar designed using wind tunnel testing. Stanford University aeronautics professor Elliott Grey Reid (assisted by Ulysses Arnold Patchett) drew up the plans for the groundbreaking vehicle and former Harry Miller metalworker Clyde Adams executed the construction. Beneath the bulbous bodywork which featured a large dorsal fin on the tail tank, was a state-of-the-art 220 c.i. Miller racing engine, wire wheels and a chassis built of recycled Miller, Ford and Chrysler parts. Los Angeles based Gilmore Gasoline agreed to sponsor the racer.
Owners Art Sparks and Paul Weirick hired California hot-shoe Stubby Stubblefield to pilot the car and promptly headed to Muroc Dry Lake(beds). Equipped with Moon disk wheel covers, Stubblefield set new records at four different kilometer and mile distances. When they arrived in Indianapolis for the 1932 Sweepstakes, their reputation preceded them. The Catfish was indeed quick on the straightaways and had a faster average going during qualifying than the pole winning car until the fourth lap. (A rear tire began to separate so Stubby backed off.) They easily made the show but would start twenty fifth in the thirty three car field. On the third lap of the 500, Stubby was sideswiped by his teammate Al Gordon and the collision ruptured his fuel tank. He nursed the Catfish back to pits where his crew spent over an hour making repairs. Stubby returned to the race and was flagged in the fourteenth position; a full hour behind the winner.

At the following race in Milwaukie the Catfish qualified second and finished fourth. Two weeks later at Roby Speedway (near Chicago) the Gilmore team totally redeemed themselves with Stubblefield first and Gordon second. In his last ride for Sparks/Weirick (July 2nd) Stubblefield placed second at Syracuse (NY). Indy winner Fred Frame was impressed enough with the car to purchase it from the Gilmore team and made it part of his two car effort. He barnstormed around the country with the futuristic looking Catfish which always drew a crowd. In October Frame set up a three heat match race in Abilene (TX) in which he put George Souders in the car and drove his own Miller powered Duesenberg. The promotion was a huge success as Frame won all three heats over the favored Catfish.

In March of 1933, Frame and Indy entrant Harry Hartz hauled the car back to Muroc intent on beating all of Stubblefield’s Class C world speed records. The Catfish now bore sponsorship from Union 76; the #15 was removed and under the hood snarled a 255 Miller marine engine. With relative ease Hartz broke the records for one kilometer, one mile and ten miles. He then proceeded to shatter the five kilometer record by twelve and one half miles per hour. Not to be outdone, Frame then jumped in the car and smashed the five mile mark by fourteen mph!

The Catfish was absent at Indianapolis that year but returned in 1934 as part of a three car team with Johnny Seymour up. Frame wrecked his car in practice, Rex Mays qualified the Duesenberg twenty third and Seymour just squeaked into show in the final spot. In the Memorial Day Classic the Catfish (now numbered #33) lost the rear end on the twenty second lap.

Meanwhile a closed cockpit Mercedes driven by Italian Rudolf Caracciola (and supported by the Nazi party) had eclipsed all of the Catfish’s land speed records. The car returned to California and became a popular entry on the dirt track circuit. Stubblefield even returned to share in the driving. Eventually Frame sold the car to a Charles Worley.

In 1936 the Catfish reappeared at Indy as “Abel’s Auto Ford Special”. The power plant was a Model B Ford (shown as a Cragar); numbered #52 with Frank McGurk listed as the driver. McGurk out qualified his predecessors and started the race from the twenty second spot but snapped the crankshaft at quarter distance and was scored twenty sixth.

Before the ’37 Classic Worley sold the car to driver Frank Brisko who procured sponsorship from Elgin Piston Pins and renumbered the Catfish #21. The Ford Model B was replaced by a six cylinder boasting 271 c.i. but rookie Duke Nalon couldn’t get her up to speed. Nalon was replaced by veteran Dave Evans who wasn’t able to complete his qualifying run and for the first time, the Catfish failed to make the show. (Interestingly, Wilber Shaw won the race that year in a car sponsored by Gilmore Gasoline and clearly inspired by the Catfish’s aerodynamic styling).

Brisko installed conventional coachwork on the car for 1938 and entered it as a second with Emil Andres driving. The Catfish (with six seasons under its belt) set its fastest qualifying time which by now was only good enough for twenty eighth on the grid. On the forty fifth circuit, a wire wheel collapsed and Andres crashed out. When interviewed at a later date Andres didn’t hide his disdain for the Catfish. He called it “a monstrosity” and accused it of nearly killing him. He then went on to say that the car was totaled at another venue and subsequently scrapped.

When I met Speedway historian Donald Davidson I asked him about the Catfish specifically. He confirmed that the car no longer exists.

Things I Miss: Events Canceled Due To The Corona Crap

If you are a car guy or girl, you probably feel the same way I do-lost! Missing car shows, cruise-ins, and races. This is not about what you see on TV. You can watch races on TV and that is just about the only thing that is getting me through this pandemic crap.

I am talking about going out and entering your hot rod, muscle car or classic in a real live car show or cruise-in. You know, a chance to show off your pride and joy. When I would go to shows I had a chance to talk to people and show what I have done to my car and how we built it. You could go with friends and show your cars together. You can’t with the pandemic crap. You would sit around under the pop-up shade tent and shoot the bull, then walk around the show to see if there is anything new or maybe someone has done something new to their ride. Not with this pandemic crap. I know that there have been cancellations of cruises and shows, but, there have been shows that have been put on with a drive- through theme. You can, at least, see the cars this way.

Locally, the biggest race, the Portland Grand Prix Indy car race was scheduled for September 11-13. They canceled it back in July. I hope the race comes back in 2021 if this plague is over with by then. I was really looking forward to seeing that race.

Some of the local dirt tracks are racing, but with no spectators. You can buy a pit pass and walk through the pits and watch the races from the pit stands. You can at least get your racing fix that way, through the pandemic crap.

In case you have not noticed in the story is I really do not like this pandemic crap. Now, don’t get me wrong, I obey the new rules and I wear a mask faithfully. I appropriately do the social distancing- 6 feet apart. I know it’s a really serious disease and not a hoax and it could be fatal to me if I were to get it. BUT- I don’t have to like this pandemic crap.

One last thing that I really miss is the swap meets that I would go to and participate in. I love walking through swap meets and seeing what people have for sale- cars, car parts, posters, books, clothing. Like I have said before if you are looking for something you could probably find it at a swap meet, whether you are a buyer or seller. You have time to chat, see friends, make a new friend and, again, shoot the bull. Pandemic crap! I guess I am just a car guy and a people person. I like talking to people especially about cars and racing, not pandemic crap! So, let’s get together, mask up, wash your hands (especially after working on your car!), and keep 6 feet apart so we can beat this pandemic crap and get back to the stuff we love!

Cutsforth’s Cruise

One of those one day cruise-ins that I try to attend annually is the Cutsforth Cruise-in the park, in Canby Oregon. The park is right in the middle of town, it’s small and people park along both sides of the streets surrounding the park and adjacent blocks. It’s usually held in August so the weather cooperates most years, it’s relaxed and picturesque.

A very small number of promoters and organizers were able to figure out a way to allow their annual show to continue for this year, and we’re lucky they figured it out.

This year of the Chinese Virus, it wasn’t going to happen as usual. They came up with a new plan, new venue, still in Canby, but they moved it to the county fairgrounds and changed it to a “drive thru” show. It worked out pretty well too. I’m not sure how many cars showed up but there were quite a few and from the smiles and friendly conversations I saw and heard it was a success.

Some of our annual events are for charity. Some are for profit and those organizers have relied on that once a year paycheck to get them through the winter months. Still others, like participants, have waited sometime a whole year to be able to show off their latest or newest creation in pursuit of that trophy they wanted to add to their collection of trophies or maybe just get their first trophy.

Others just want to be able to get out and enjoy the summer, friends, looking at cars, swapping parts for the project that’s underway in the garage. The year of 2020 had a different idea!

Hopefully in the coming months we’ll be able to resume planning for 2021 events. At present though the Virus has been winning. I’m hoping that by early spring we might have a vaccine and we can get back to normal. I for one am tired of this lock-down stuff and i’m crossing my fingers that 2021 will be different and some where close to normal.
Photos by Dave Jothen

Hot Rodders Keep on Keepin’ On

As we attempt to navigate our way through  2020 it has been a tough time for all. It has certainly hit the Motorsports industry hard and continues to do so. As we have previously mentioned even the SEMA show canceled. In lieu of that they have developed the SEMA 360 which will be an entire virtual show. I dunno, there is nothing like the SEMA show up close and personal.

In the midst of a pandemic most of the larger Motorsport shows have been shut down – but not all. I mean let’s face it, unlike other major sports, Motorsports has always been about participation. When it comes to hot rodding, that is especially so. Hot rodding has always been about high spirited American Patriots getting together and sharing their motoring experiences and innovations. And then, well there might be some competition.

This writer took a peek at what the Good Guys were up to. He didn’t have to look far to see their latest innovation. I must say that when I look at what these guys do it kind of reminds me of the reason behind why Congress set aside that special holiday for all of us. It comes around on the second Friday of July every year. National Collector Car Appreciation Day. Hopefully most of you know this.

Congress recognizes all of us who have kept the spirit of the automobile alive throughout the past century. It was those of us who brought the fun of the automobile into the world. And we certainly deserve recognition for that.

And this writer will say that the Good Guys have been good at that sort of thing for quite a few years. They bring the fun and good times into the American automobile. Once upon a time, this writer was running the Women of Motorsports modeling team. And he has never forgotten how the Meadors family welcomed us with open arms. Because it was not always that way for us.

So, this brings me to the good old American Drive-In Cruise that they recently did. Judging from all the pics that were available on their site, It looks like a lot of hot rodders had a rocking good time. Evidently, they set the limit at 400 cars. Imagine a drive-in movie theater filled up with 400 hot rods. Nothing like putting on an event that is Covid correct and socially distanced … and Bitchin’.

In other news, it has been a different kind of year for NHRA. It seems that they are suing Coca-Cola over their Mellow Yellow series. It seems that Coke pulled out on them mid-series. Remaining October races are unsure.

Then we have NASCAR changing up their schedule for next season. They are going to run their Indy race along with the Indy Cars on the same weekend. Then they have scheduled the Bristol race to be run on dirt!

Special Vehicle Engineering has introduced their 2021 Yenko/SC Stage II Camaro. Only 50 copies will be available of this 1050 HP beast. And it looks like Ford is making available 2021 Mustang Bodies in White that include NHRA legal cages.

Now let’s wrap this up with news from the electrical vehicle world. We can’t forget them, cuz they won’t let us. It looks like the Lucid EV has recently run a 9.24 ET. Yup, that’s way fast for a factory production street car. Also, lately the Lucid and the Tesla “Plaid” have been in hot competition at the Laguna Seca Raceway. When last checked, Tesla was in the lead on that one. And that’s that.
’nuff said,Chuck Fasst  #GearHeadsWorld