This was kind of a weird meet. We'd planned on going to Morro Bay this year to keep the norcal/socal (well, central cal) balance, but after months of research we couldn't find an appropriate site in that area. So, club Prez Rick Alexander asked me if the same Sutter Creek site as last year was available - it was, so back we went. That's OK, it's a great site for the meet - I just don't want people to burn out on it.
Part III of weirdness was that this was the first meet in a long time that I didn't bring a Crosley. I've been buried in work and house projects (regular readers may have noticed that my blog posts have all but stopped lately) and I just couldn't get any of the cars unearthed from storage in time for the meet. It was ridiculous that the show was 50 miles from my house, yet I couldn't get a car there, but the truth is that I was scrambling just to get ME there on time!
very original F-O-R he'd bought off Ebay a few months back - an amazing time capsule with a dump bed. My friend Nick Shelley brought the custom Farm-O-Road that had been in his family since the sixties - he'd floored me last year when he casually mentioned that his Uncle had a Crosley in the barn! Of course Mike and Robin Stoner brought their beautiful F-O-R, always a contender for Best Crosley at the show. They bring it in the back of a huge truck and it's hair-raising watching Mike back it down the spindly little ramps.
Marty Stein's Siata was loaded up in the trailer in Jackson, but he wasn't comfortable bringing out an open car in the rain; and, there was a mystery station wagon on a trailer - a project car - that never left the hotel parking lot. We never did figure out who owned it. If it hadn't been for bad fuel pumps and rain we'd have had a killer turnout!
It was nice to chat with several new members, including two who had inherited Crosleys their parents had bought new or near-new! I'd spoken with both of them on the phone before but it was nice to put faces to the names. Paula Whitney's dad had bought his Crosley new, drove it for about five years and then did what he did with all of his cars eventually: parked it in his garage when he got a new car. There it sat for over 50 years, until she moved it to her own garage; she and her husband have never restored a car, but they hope to get it running again soon. Mark Beauchamp's story is more bittersweet: his mom's Crosley was parked in the barn when she died in 1962, when he was just nine years old. Amazingly, he still has the car - and a color photo of it, showing it nearly new - although 50 years in a barn has been hard on his Crosley. He was incredibly enthusiastic and is already working on the restoration - he is gung ho to be driving it at the next meet. Both couples were very sweet and it was really nice to meet them in person.
races one at Bonneville and has a side business building or rebuilding anything Crosley. He's hardcore.
As we chatted, he mentioned a concern: had I noticed how old the average Crosley Club member was?
I couldn't help it, I laughed. The truth is that West Coast Crosley Club membership has gotten quite a bit younger since I joined in 1997. When I joined, almost every member of the club remembered Crosleys being brand new - most of them had owned Crosleys back in the forties or fifties. One member, Bob Heinze, had actually been a Crosley dealer! In '97 I was probably one of only a few members who had been born after Crosley halted production; now, many, if not most, of our club members are younger than their Crosleys.
Frank Bell, Nick Brajevich, Gordon Becher, Bob Carson, Dez Telmont, Dick and Ed Scanlan, and a lot more.... all gone.
Talking to Dale it suddenly struck me that the paradigm had shifted. When I first got into Crosleys, most of the people I knew that were into them had owned one back when Crosleys were new, or nearly new. Now, many club members got into them because their parents had owned a Crosley.
Sad, strange, but.. normal. Things change, and the world spins, and we all have to make room for the next generations - that's the nature of existence and that's the way it always will be. But still weird.