MATTIE'S TRANSFORMS INTO '50S DINER FOR CRUISERS CAR SHOW

April 27, 2001 11:00 pm
Spectator looks at Brookings resident Nathaniel Warner's 1924 Ford Model T made into a hot rod. ().
Spectator looks at Brookings resident Nathaniel Warner's 1924 Ford Model T made into a hot rod. ().

The Show and Shine car show sponsored by the Curry County Cruisers Saturday was a bit short on entries, but not on fun.

Owners, including a 12-year-old with a 1967 Pontiac GTO, had plenty of time to talk with those admiring their classics and hot rods.

Rock tunes from the 1950s set the mood, and Matties Pancake House in Harbor turned into a classic diner for the evening with a special hamburger menu.

Ray Cobb, president of the cruisers since October, said the club now wants to focus on community involvement.

Cruisers car shows will raise money for Curry County causes like food banks, the Oasis Shelter Home in Gold Beach, and the Brookings 50th anniversary bash, Cobb said.

Its about time we try to keep the money in town for our own community, said Cobb.

The Cruisers have been working with the 50th birthday party committee and will have four cars at a sock-hop during the event.

The club will also be in the Azalea Festival parade, said Cobb, and will sponsor a show and shine car show for the festival. He would like to get high school students and their cars involved.

Saturdays event was also a show and shine, which means there was no judging or awards, just the fun of sharing classic vehicles with other owners and enthusiasts.

Cobb brought his 1971 Chevrolet pickup. It doesnt look like anything special until he shows pictures of what it once looked like.

The truck has been converted from a half-ton to a three-quarter ton pickup, and now wears a pretty blue paint job in place of its former multi-colored primer and rust look. Best of all, the wimpy small-block V-8 has been replaced by a handsome 454.

One of the top entries was the Lil Red Devil, a 1928 Ford Sedan delivery panel van owned by Larry Nicholson of Brookings.

The all-steel hot rod won best awards in Pleasanton, Calif., last month, and won best in its year class in Las Vegas. Shows in Salem and Portland are next on Nicholsons list.

The $63,000 invested is obvious in the flawless metalwork and flame red paint. Inside, little red devils adorn the upholstery.

The van originally carried tea and pharmaceuticals. Now, thanks to a built 350 Chevy engine, it cruises down the highway real nice at 65 mph, said Nicholson.

He would prefer the Devil to be all Ford, however, and may swap the Chevy motor for one from a Mustang.

Joe Conte matched Nicholson with a 1927 Ford Model T Touring hot rod. Stuffed with a 327 Chevy V-8, it looked like a classic T-bucket rod, but with a back seat.

Conte works at Brookings-Harbor Ford, and the dealership also made its presence felt by displaying a couple of new pickups.

Quinn Troendle of Smith River was the youngest entrant, at 12, but only because his 9-year-old brother didnt display his car.

Troendles grandfather amassed quite a car collection, then split it up between family members.

His 1967 Pontiac GTO is in good, all original condition, which might make him the luckiest boy alive, except that his little brother got a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, complete with porthole top.

Jesse Schmidt has a few decades on Troendle, but only physically.

Youve gotta have a mentality for this like a teenage kid, he said of the classic car hobby.

Most teens would drool over Schmidts 1958 Corvette, which won first place last year at the Wings and Wheels show in Crescent City.

After working on the car for 24 years, however, Schmidt said it would only rate a seven-and-a-half out of a possible 10.

It is 95 percent original. Schmidt said it may be one of the only 58s out there with spears on the trunk lid.

He said most Corvettes in those days were owned by young people who stripped off such trim items to clean up the appearance.

Chevrolet slathered on the chrome do-dads and quad headlights on the 1958 Corvette, ruining the clean lines of the 1957 for some, but making it more a perfect symbol of the 1950s for others.

Schmidt said the spears and other trim unique to that year only make the 58s worth more.

His new project is a 1931 Ford roadster, which he intends to restore to stock condition.