It’s apparent that nothing can dampen the spirits of Pacific Northwest rodders, and the 61st edition of the Portland Roadster Show, presented by the Multnomah Hot Rod Council, gave credence to the assertion. Heralding the start of the show season, all the new builds indicate that this area is a hotbed, constantly growing along with the economy. Despite the threat of rain, all indications point to a bright hot rod season in the Northwest.
A trait shared by enthusiasts in this part of the country is their devotion to hot rodding. It’s not uncommon for a participant’s competition to be the same person that built his engine, painted his car, or wired it. The reality is not for lack of shops, it’s a bond that extends beyond winning awards. Cooperation, not competition, has made the number of entries rise along with car quality.
Surprising to some observers was the selection of Lonnie Thompson of Portland’s Carolina Kustoms as Builder of the Year. While Thompson has created numerous hot rods and musclecars, he’s known primarily for building trucks, and it was his ’68 Chevrolet C10 – called ‘Battleship’ for it’s grey-blue PPG hue – that earned him this year’s top honors.
While closed cars are more common, there are still a good number of convertibles, as you’ll see. Rain or not, they all shine!
THE STARS OF THE SHOW
Herb Sutton’s custom 1936 Ford three-window coupe.
Herb Sutton’s all-steel, radical ’36 Ford three-window coupe, ‘So Lo’, was built by Carrs Rods & Customs, resplendent in its House Of Kolor‘s Candy Lime and White Pearl livery.
Butch and Cathy Steele's 1934 DeSoto Airflow.
Built and owned by Butch and Cathy Steele, ‘Flo Blown’, a ’34 DeSoto Airflow, has a 331ci Hemi with 6-71 blower, hand-made chassis, and a molded but not chopped metal body, with paint by Tommy Carr.
Barry Bloomberg’s ’41 Willys.
Barry Bloomberg’s ’41 Willys is powered by a 598ci Dart engin with 8-71 blower, with a Dennis Taylor massaged body and chassis, 9-inch Detroit Locker rearend, paint by Richardson’s Customs with flame layout and striping by Mitch Kim, and MTX subwoofers and amps belching out some muscial wattage.
Industrial Finishes' 1932 three-window coupe.
The ’32 three-window coupe from Industrial Finishes was actually a ‘virtual car’ that only existed as a Photoshop image in their ads. That is, until company founder Stuart Barr asked, ‘What if someone wants to see the car?’. Only then was it finally brought to life. The Lime Green matches their current corporate colors.
John Rydzewski's Ford ’55 F-100
John Rydzewski built an all Ford ’55 F-100 with a 351ci W engine, C-6 tranny, 9-inch rearend with Detroit Locker, Accuair suspension, Mickey Thompson tires, and Schott wheels.
Zack Brombacher’s ’37 Ford Cabriolet (left) and Al and Carolyn Johnson's '37 (right).
Zack Brombacher’s ’37 Ford Cabriolet features a 350ci engine with a Turbo 350 transmission, a modified ’37 Ford frame with air bagged TCI front and Jaguar XKE rear suspension, a top chop of 2-3/4 inches, and Candy Brandywine paint. Al and Carolyn Johnson also own a ’37 Ford, but theirs is a rare Lincoln Zephyr V-12, one of only 35 remaining. It was painted by Jason Chism and upholstered by Jeff Martin.
James Gallien's 1928 Ford Business Coupe.
Owned for 55 years by James Gallien, this ’28 Ford Business Coupe has a 327ci Corvette engine, 700R4 automatic transmission, 9-inch rear, four-wheel disc brakes, vintage American wheels, and an aluminum roof.
Vince Unrein’s Boydster.
Vince Unrein of Vinny’s Designs took a Hot Rods By Boyd Boydster 1 body and chassis, added HRBB’s Twisted Columbus 17 X 7 fronts and 20 X 8.5 rears, before Arturo Munoz painted it Boyd red, and the Recovery Room stitched the interior. Titled the ‘Spirit Of Boyd’, it’s a fitting tribute to the late hot-rodding icon.
Nick Waligura's 1934 Chevy three window Standard.
It’s not very often that you see a steel ’34 Chevy three-window Standard. Nick Waligura’s has a 350/350 powertrain, and was fabbed, painted, and upholstered by Kennewick, Washington’s Snake River Street Rods.
Tom & Marsha Zink’s 1941 Ford Victoria.
Tom and Marsha Zink’s ’41 Ford Victoria was created from a Chris Ito design, using a Jim Myers Racing frame, upon which everything was then assembled, painted, and trimmed by Marsh Burns.
Ron Beard’s 1948 Chevy 3100 pickup.
Ron Beard’s ’48 Chevy 3100 pickup has a 3-1/2-inch chop, a hood sectioned 2 inches, front fenders that were rolled and then raised 3 inches, ’56 Chevy head lights, four-bar grille, had the bed shortened, and a rolled rear pan added. A ’66 327ci Chevy with 700R tranny, 9-inch Ford rearend, and Accuair suspension were fitted to the S-10 frame. Painted semi-flat steel blue, it looks like it belongs in Rod Authority.
Kevin and Marlene Miller's 1934 Ford three-window coupe.
Can you say ‘hammered’? With a 5-1/2-inch top chop, this ‘glass bodied ’34 Ford three-window coupe, employs a 454ci BBC and Turbo 400 in a Pete & Jake’s chassis, a steel hood, black leather interior, and a whole lot of louvers — just the way Kevin and Marlene Miller like it.
Tom Hyde’s 1932 Ford five-window coupe.
Pure nostalgia is how we would describe Tom Hyde’s ’32 five-window coupe. With a ’48 Ford Flathead, ’39 Ford tranny with Lincoln gears, Lincoln brakes, Winters QC rear, Auburn dash, and bomber seats, this is as traditional as they come.
Shawn Wilson’s 1932 roadster.
West Richland, Washington’s Shawn Wilson’s ’32 roadster – the M&P Special – was designed by the owner and built by Bruce Hines, using a one-off RodLink chassis, Prestige Motorsports-built 347ci engine making 500 horsepower, Todd Kramer-stitched interior, and Jason Mortensen paint.
Keith and Sharon Crain’s 1937 Chevy coupe.
The Classy Chassis painted ’37 Chevy coupe of Keith and Sharon Crain has an LT1 engine with a 4L60E transmission, Heidts front suspension and rear suspension from a 300ZX, Cadillac tilt/telescoping steering column, and Specialty Power Windows. But it’s the ’39 Chevy four-door sedan’s roof that is chopped 2 inches and converted to hardtop status that gets the looks.
Craig Johnson’s No. 26 1930s Miller-Ford racer.
Stanwood, Washington’s Craig Johnson’s No. 26 ‘30s Miller-Ford racer sits on a ’28 Chevy frame with a 284ci flathead, three-speed tranny, and a Winters quick change rearend. Having competed in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S., it currently runs with the Golden Wheels Fraternity.
Larry and Kim Lemmons' 1948 Ford woodie wagon.
Larry and Kim Lemmons own this ’48 Ford woodie, which was sold new in Tacoma. It still wears the original paint, and has under 60,000 miles on it.
Tom and Linda Nored’s 1954 Mercury.
Another Woodie, with Eastern Hardrock Birdseye Maple and African Tiger Stripe Mahogany by Wood-N-Carr, is a ’54 Mercury belonging to Tom and Linda Nored. It is powered by a 302ci V-8, with an 8-icnh Ford rearend, and Artic White paint.
Kim and Cedric Meeks’ 1931 Ford roadster.
Check out the Miller Schofield OHV conversion on the Model-B Ford flathead in Kim and Cedric Meeks’ traditional ’31 Ford roadster. This car is also a Billet Proof NW Best of Show winner. Guy Recordon did the interior, with pinstriping by Mitch Kim.
Dave Schroeder’s 1932 Ford custom.
This sedan was Barris Kustom’s modified in 1958, with a 5-inch chop, ’56 Olds Rocket 88 engine with a Hydramatic, it also lost its fenders at that time. Dave Schroeder’s ’32 changed hands several times during the next 50 years, before another Olds engine and Hydramatic tranny were found and used in the restoration. The car was officially shown for the first time at this event.
Stacy Matsuda’s 1961 C1 Corvette.
This concours quality, numbers matching 283ci-powered ’61 Corvette with dual four-barrels and a four-speed, was built by Schroeder’s Speed + Custom, and painted by Kyle Grace for Stacy Matsuda, who calls it her Cream Puff.
Bud Wolfe’s 1934 Ford five-window coupe.
Bud Wolfe’s ’34 five-window coupe, was bought from Harold LeMay’s Lucky Towing in 1962, for the $130 storage fee owed against it. It was originally built for drag racing, but was stolen at one time, and stripped of its Hemi and Cad/LaSalle transmission, as well as the Pontiac 4.11-geared rearend. It is now 302ci-powered with a C-4 transmission, a Dutchman Quick Change rearend, and ’59 T-Bird seats.
Dan Weaver’s 1933 Willys.
‘Past Gas’, is Dan Weaver’s street and NHRA-legal ’33 Willys Model 77. It delivers 590 horsepower via a Bill Mitchell-built 427ci aluminum stroker engine. behind that is a JW Transmissions Powerglide with a Gear Vendors overdrive, and House of Kolors Shimrin II paint.
Larry and Marilyn Fuller’s 1936 Ford five-window coupe.
Larry and Marilyn Fuller’s ’36 Ford five-window coupe with a ZZ430 crate engine, Tremec TKO 500 transmission, and Strange rearend with 3.55 gears features an Outlaw Performance chassis. By the way, the color is PPG Midnight Rage not black.
A Lonnie Thompson-built 1968 C10 pickup.
Battleship is what Carolina Kustoms’ Lonnie Thompson calls his ’68 C10 pickup. Lonnie took home the Builder of the Year award. The C10 features paint by PPG, and parts from Ridetech, AVS, Accuair, Wegner Automotive, ididit, and Slam Specialties.
Chris Church's 1952 Ford F-1.
Chris Church’s ’52 Ford F-1 uses a SBC, Detroit Steel wheels, Lokar shifter, quick release steering wheel, Dickies workwear fabric-covered seat covers and trim panels, and recoated aircraft seat belt latches. However, Church didn’t say whether he plans to paint it or not.
Each year the Portland Roadster Show continues to bring out the best and most original builds in the region. We can hardly wait to see what next year’s show brings.