Sunday, September 19, 2010

2010 West Coast Crosley Club Meet

The 2010 West Coast Crosley Club Meet has come and gone.  The meet was last weekend (September 11-12) in Buellton, just north of Santa Barbara.  We had about a dozen cars show up this year.  That's a bit low for turnout, but the members more than made up for it with quality- the Crosleys on hand included some of the nicest cars in the country. 
Heading that list was the latest issue from club treasurer Ronnie Bauman's garage: an immaculate 1947 coupe.  Bauman has taken the Crosley resto-biz up at least a couple notches with a series of incredible builds. He always starts with solid cars (cars that most would consider 'finished'!) and then makes everything better than new.  He'll spend more on paint and body than most people would have into the entire restoration, and the engines are always fully dressed with period speed equipment.   
The end results are stunning.  He's decided that this one had to go up for sale - this is the kind of car I could see going for ridiculous $ at Barrett Jackson.
Another car that was new to the meet was Charles Latty's two-tone CC.  Latty lives in tiny Pacific Grove, California- also home to founding club member Mike Bainter.. meaning that Pacific Grove probably has more Crosleys per capita than any city in the state! 
Not new to the meet, but still a fresh sight, Fred and Robin Dunner finished a beautiful resto of the Hot Shot they picked up at last year's meet.  The car was nice, if a little tired, when they bought it- now it looks brand new.  The long straight sides on the roadsters can be very wavy... but not on this one.  They kept the clean, custom filled-seam look that the car has had for most of its life.

I contributed another rarely-seen, if not so minty, car to the gathering.  I ended up buying a 'parts' Super Sport at the Sacramento meet a few years ago when Ed Scanlan made me an offer I couldn't refuse.  I already had a '51 SS in boxes and I thought that having one to reference wouldn't be a bad idea since it'd been nearly a decade since I took the other one apart.  truth is that I haven't done anything but move this thing around since I bought it, so I knew it needed to go.  I also realized that I had spares of a lot of the parts that were missing when I bought it, so I added an engine, transmission, radiator, etc to make it an almost complete car.  Apparently I priced it just right because it sold before I even got it off the trailer!
There were plenty of other great cars- Mike and Nancy Bainter brought their 4000 original mile '51 coupe - it looks, runs and drives pretty much like new!  I remember when this car went up for sale about 6 years ago - I thought momentarily about buying it, but immediately realized that it had to go to someone with a better garage than me.  Mike keeps this baby in a fully-climate controlled environment! 
Mike and Robin Stoner brought their funkana-dominating Farm O Road, but had some low-power issues this time out.  The collected Crosley brain trust tinkered with the timing, but no immediate solution appeared.  Even engine guru Lee Osborn (in the passenger seat) was at a loss.  Maybe it was just me, but it seemed like the F-o-R smoked even more than usual, so it may be time for new motor. I asked Mike about it and he doesn't remember where he got the motor that's been in it all these years- just that he dropped it in, fired it up, and off they went!
The West Coast Club has an active racing contingent, including Osborn.  As usual, he brought his 1955 Shannon Special, the same car with which he's been eating Porsches and, lately, even a Jaguar C Type!  I've been trying to catch one of Lee's races for 5 years and I've still never seen him on the track!  I've already got my calendar checked for the Hmod reunion race on October 2, so i'll finally get to see this car in action!
Kip Fjeld and Don Baldocchi will also be running at the Hmod reunion, Kip with the Miller special pictured here, Don with the '53 Nardi he's been tearing up tracks with for a couple of decades.  Kip inherited this car from Hmod great Joe Puckett who got Kip into racing when he was still a teenager!  Kip also scored the buy of the day, picking up an NOS steel stroker crank for probably less than a standard steel crank would go for!
 I didn't get any good pics of the swap meet area- but there was more stuff for sale this year than at any meet I've been to.  You can see incoming club pres Rick Alexander picking up some Crosley magazines from retiring president David Brodsky.  David also sold off a big batch of hop up stuff including the Braje pan, cam cover and exhaust manifold you can see on the table.  Rick brought a Uhaul trailer full of stuff including an intact tin block motor assembly along with a mountain of other stuff.  I picked up an extra speedo, some magazines and a neat license place topper from a Minnesota Crosley dealership!
And beyond the actual swap meet vendors, we had several folks show up with motors! Don Rausch showed up with a truckbed full of V Drive and generator motors (pictured above with Ronnie Bauman), and a young microcar collector from LA yanked ANOTHER V Drive motor out of his trunk a few minutes later!  I'd never seen a V drive motor until Saturday and suddenly I'm looking at three of them!
Longtime club member Gary Loomer brought a matched Crofton and Cushman. he's trying to break up the set- the Datsun-powered Crofton is currently for sale.  if you think a Datsun powered Crofton is unusual, that's nothing... Gary used to have the world's only racing Skorpion!
When the time came for the Funkana, Pat Askren let me be the co pilot in his very-correct CC sedan.  We were fighting a wounded clutch but still managed to take second place!
over half the cars at the meet ran in the Funkana, and the post-competition photo underscores what a nice batch of cars were there.  
Since the meet is so close to Santa Barbara, my sister and her family drove the 45 minutes up for a visit.  I don't get to visit them all that often, so it was a real treat!  best of all was the chance to meet my new grand nephew Cash!  Here he is risking tetanus in my Super Sport.
After the meet I loaded the SS back up (the new owner wanted to pick it up from my house later) and I got a good round of heckling over my trailer.  Yes, its a tiny, rickety POS, but I still managed to haul Frank Bell's wagon all over creation on it last year, and the SS parts car was very secure this year.  Hey, what do you want from a $50 trailer?  
They're just jealous. 
It just so happens that the light is about perfect when we get together for the club Banquet.  I'm usually the last one seated because I'm out shooting pics of all the cars at 'magic hour.'  Above is the 4000 mile coupe.
This is Ardell Johnson's incredible CD wagon.  That interior is original from the factory.. he just touched up the seats with vinyl paint about 20 years ago.  We had a great conversation at dinner about legendary Crosley racer Harry Eyerly who was from Ardell's home town, Salem, Oregon.

Here's longtime club member Gary Cochrane's sweet convert.  That custom wood job has been on the car since at least 1956!Just as I was finishing up my shots I noticed other people taking pictures too... and then I realized that one of them had hopped into David Brosky's 'vert to pose for her boyfriend!  This really underscores how differently people perceive Crosleys... can you imagine a stranger hopping into any other restored vintage car and not thinking they were going to get a punch in the snoot?!
The banquet was fun as always, even though we ended on a bit of melancholy note... David Brodsky founded the West Coast club over 25 years ago, and has been elected and reelected President ever since.  He announced that he wanted to step down a couple of years ago and he made it official on Saturday.  He and his wife Aileen have done an amazing job of keeping the club going - and fun - for more than a quarter of a century.  I'm sure Rick Alexander and Ronnie Bauman will do a great job, but it will be strange to think of David not being at the head of the table.  The Crosley Club is one of the only organizations I've ever belonged to, and is by far the one I'm most attached to. Much of that is thanks to David and Aileen, and I can't thank them enough for everything.

At dinner Shirley Bell reminded me that she had brought some of her late husband Frank's Crosley t shirts for me- we're about the same size and she thought I might like them.  That was really sweet, and I'm honored to fly the flag - I honestly can't remember seeing Frank wearing a t shirt that didn't have a Crosley logo on it!  After the dinner I had a beer with Rick Alexander and former TBT designer Mike Blackburn who offered me the spare bed in his hotel room.  I had spent Friday night cuddling with the Crosley motor in the back of the pickup, so a bed and a shower sounded pretty darn good.  And the next day he absolutely refused to let me chip in for the room.

As always: Crosley people; they're the best.


Nancy & Michael said...

A good friend forwarded your blog to me--great job on covering our annual fall meet, very nice photos and interesting commentary on the cars. I agree--the West Coast region has some very nice Crosleys, so even if the numbers were down (I counted 14 Crosleys), the quality was very high overall. The swap meet was above average; sales were spotty, though. The new leadership is a talented pair of guys who can be counted on to measure up to the standard set by David and Aileen Brodsky. Buellton, 2001--be there!
Mike B. Sr.

Ol' Man Foster said...

Thanks Mike- I look forward to reading your coverage in the TBT!

Anonymous said...

Tim- you are a great room mate. (We watched a black and white B horror movie and yapped about cars till midnite.)
Thanks for mentioning me, I'm honored!
Also, thanks again to out going Prez Brodsky for letting me drive his ride in the Fun Funkana and to Laura, the wife of incoming prez for being my trusty co driver!
Till next year
Mike B Jr.

Anonymous said...

Great meet, great photos and commentary Tim!! Loved being in the funkana, and Mike you were an awesome pilot... AS first lady, do I get to wear a tiara next year??