Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 Great Pacific Northwest MicroCar Extravaganza, Part 1

By the time Dave and I actually got on the road for Portland it was after 9PM. We made it about 50 miles past the Oregon border before we pulled into a truckstop and got a few hours of sleep in the car.  I'd brought my computer so I managed to do a little work while we ate breakfast and Dave frantically tried to nail down a really good job offer in China that had come in just before we'd left Sacto.

Our first stop was Estacada, a tiny town in the woods outside Portland where Dave had a motorcycle buddy who'd been storing some of Dave's gear.  We checked out his piles of projects, including several late thirties Mopar coupe bodies, a pair of NOS Fiberfab sportscar bodies that had never been mounted and too many motorcycle projects to count.  Dave loaded the trunk with leather riding gear and Ducati parts and from there we drove into Portland, to pick up Dave's girlfriend, Kris.

By 6PM the three ofus were headed for Forest Grove and the Friday night meet-and-greet that opened the weekend.  When we pulled into the meet parking lot Dave and I started geeking out immediately.
There were microcars of all colors and varieties zipping around - Subaru 360s (THREE of 'em - two coupes and a van), Honda 600s, a Lloyd, a 2CV, a Fiat Topolino hotrod, a Goggomobil, a Freeway, two Berkeleys, an NSU Prinz, and even a Messerschmitt.  Paydirt!
I ran around taking pictures and chatting with people and within a few minutes Dave had cadged a ride in the Messerschmitt. On the drive up from California he'd been joking about buying one if he got that job in China - by the time he got back from the spin around the neighborhood you could see the gears turning.  Messerschmitts are expensive - $25,000 is a lotta dough for a tiny little car - but you probably can't get a wackier ride for your money.
The cars ranged from meticulous restorations to dinged-up drivers.  Every car ran and several had been driven a good distance to the meet.   Lucky for us, summer days are loooong in Portland so we had almost two hours to nerd out on the cars before it started to get dark.
When the sun dropped we headed over to the hotel for a beer with everyone.  The event is headquartered at McMenamin's Grand Lodge; McMenamin's is an amazing chain that buys iconic historic properties and meticulously restores/rehabs them into a combo hotel/restaurant/brewery.  Each one is different, taking inspiration from the building's original use... in this case a Masonic and Eastern Star home.  They are really neat, and it was a perfect spot for a gathering of weird little cars.
As I suspected, general microcar folk are kinda like Crosley folk: congenial oddballs who don't take themselves - or their cars - too seriously.  We shared a few beers with a lot of nice people, including meet organizer Mark Hatten and a great couple who had come all the way from Atlanta for the meet - and no, not in a microcar.  They are longtime friends of Mark and his wife, and own a Messerchmitt and a Rovin they bought from Bruce Weiner before he shut down his museum.
By the time we headed back to Portland, Dave and I were giddy and exhausted.... I'm sure Kris thought we were a couple of loons.  I hit the hay and set my alarm for an early wake up - I could barely wait for tomorrow to get there.

Click here for Part II...


bkrsdoz said...

Great Photos!

Schmitt For Brains said...

Nice! It was great meeting you, Dave and Kris. Had a blast. Hope to see you next year at the 10th Annual GPNWMMCS (easier than spelling it out).


Ol' Man Foster said...

Great to meet you too! More posts to come on the event - soon! And yes, definitely planning to be at next year's event!

Steve said...
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