On a day of rain, clouds, and finally, sunshine, the 30th annual Oregon Mountain Cruise hot rod, antique, and classic car show lit up Joseph’s Main Street with a display of more than 200 vehicles, all polished to perfection. They came from as far away as Tucson, Arizona, and as close as Black Marble Lane. But their owners, and the visitors who swarmed Main Street on Saturday, June 8th, all had one thing in common: a fascination with gasoline engines and the vehicles they power.
The oldest cars in the show included Ralph Swineheart’s lovingly restored Model Ts. They were parked next to Lew and Carol Baynes immaculate 1936 Packard 1404 coupe convertible, just up the road from Joe Stangel’s meticulously restored 1933 Chrysler cabrolet. Both the Packard and Chrysler restoration included many parts that were specially fabricated and machined in Stangel’s shop in Enterprise. A number of hotrods were conversions of older cars, including Jim Percy’s gleaming, candy-apple red 1934 Ford Tudor sedan, Harrison Bowlds metallic teal-blue 1938 Chevy 2-door sedan, and Tammy Cook’s bright red 1926 Ford 2 door sedan.
Hot rods and super fast cars included a 1972 Chevy Nova ‘rod customized by Dominic Nation, of Middleton, Idaho. Its dual-carbed 383 Stroker Chevy engine provided 518 horsepower to the wheels, delivering 530 ft-lb of torque. “She can do a quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds,” Nation said. “Speed at the end of the quarter in 122 mph. She gets around 7 miles per gallon of premium.”
Most intriguing vehicle, or perhaps most tongue-in-cheek entries included Gene Taylor’s “RatRod” – a hybrid of a Chevrolet pickup frame, 1947 Ford cab, and Cadillac engine. The pickup box on the back of this mutt-of-a-vehicle was emblazoned with “Asotin Café: Burgers, fries and shakes.” It also bore a phone number that seemed abbreviated: CH3-6211. “That was part of the original sign on the original Asotin Café,” Taylor said. “I grew up there, and my grandparents and then my parents ran the place. It closed a long time ago. My mom’s 93 now and my dad’s 95. Probably not going to re-open.”
The vehicle that provided the most fun was the “Flintstones” car, built on the frame of a1972 Harley Davidson golf cart. “We put it together mostly so that kids would have something to do that was fun,” said builder Jim Washam, of Lewiston, Idaho. “Kids come to these shows with their family and they are told they can’t touch anything, sit in anything, or really, do anything. So we built his so they could sit in it, turn the wheel, and even blow the horn.” Which they did. A lot.
Toe-tapping live music by the Senders, a band centered in Moscow, Idaho, kept the mood as light as the afternoon sun and the brightly colored cars, all of which were works of automotive art. One man who was admiring a gleaming engine noted, “When all the cars are electric, car shows aren’t going to be this much fun anymore.”