Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Half and Half

After having such a great time at last summer's Great Pacific Northwest Microcar Show I swore that this was the year I'd make it to the OTHER western-state microcar meet, the Southwest Unique Little Car Show.  SWULCS has been running for 34 years (!) with locations rotating between Arizona, Nevada and California.  With this year's meet scheduled for Pomona - in the parking lot of the NHRA Museum no less - there was no excuse to miss it!

I started planning this trip last year when the West Coast Crosley Club decided to have more than one 'official' event per year.  At our club dinner I pitched the idea of having a Crosley Club contingent attend SWULCS, figuring that any Crosley nut would love a chance to be around cars even weirder -and smaller - than a Crosley.  Plus, I knew that several members are regulars at SWULCS, so we'd have a built-in starting crew.  San Diego member Mike Blackburn ran with the suggestion, and while I was in Europe last year he got the ball rolling, coordinating with the SWULCS officials and even figuring out where the nearest KOA was.  By the time I got back stateside we were official - all I had to do was wait for March 28 and show up!

Not long after Mike finalized the details on the meet, I found myself brokering a deal between two Crosley guys who had matching projects.  When Arizona Crosley nut John McKnight told me he'd bought a roadster chassis that had no sheet metal, I knew just the guy he needed to talk to.  About 10 years ago I'd looked at a big stash of Crosley parts that included some NOS stuff plus various bits, including a Super Sports body that had been chopped in half to facilitate a Spitfire-style tilt front - and then was never finished.  I passed on the lot, but Curt Schoellerman, a club member that lives near Sacramento, bought everything -- and has been wanting to get rid of the SS carcass(es) ever since.   John and Curt worked out a deal and both seemed pretty happy about it - and I was happy that two sad projects were going to become one much better project.

As the date for the SWULCS approached I realized that I could haul the SS body halves down to Pomona if John wanted to drive out to meet me.  That would be a shorter haul for him than coming all the way north, and it would be an excuse for him to hang out with some California Crosley nuts for a couple of days.  He liked the idea so I made arrangements to pick up the SS from Curt a few days before leaving Sacto.  I hooked up my $50 trailer and headed up to Curt's place in Auburn just after work on the Wednesday before the show.  We'd had the heaviest rains of the season that week and I could see black clouds coming over the mountains to meet me as I drove east.
Curt lives in the foothills and has a nice shop and a few acres.  The Crosley body parts plus the frame were already outside waiting to be loaded, and Curt's dad had stopped by to lend a hand.  As I surveyed the scene I realized that the body was not a Crosley that had been cut in half, but sections from two different Crosleys - making for about 1.25 Super Sports total.  That meant that the sheet metal was NOT going to line up on the frame- and therefore, wasn't going to fit on my tiny trailer. Hmm.
Just as we were figuring out our options, the rain hit.  Good, heavy, deep-south type rain... buckets of it.  California is in a terrible drought right now, so we need it... but I didn't need it right then!  The three of us got the frame and back section loaded and strapped to my trailer, and then wedged the nose-half into the tiny camper shell of my Toyota best we could while sloshing around in deep mud.  If the trailer and cargo hadn't certified my hillbilly cred, the mud caked on my Redwings and pants did the trick.   Curt also gave me a Crosley wheel that had been drilled for racing, and I headed for Sacto.  Of course the rain stopped just about the time I got home.

Friday morning I got out of town early and had an uneventful trip down 5.  My load of Crosley chunks rode fine and was so light I barely noticed the weight of the trailer and cargo.  I'd found a set of old time radio show tapes just before the trip, and listening to episodes of 'Night Beat' made the 400 mile drive go by quickly.  I hit traffic in Castaic, so I didn't pull into the meet HQ (the NHRA museum parking) lot until about 4:30 -- the neat stuff was already coming in...
to be continued.....


Anonymous said...

Many Thanks Tim for youe help on the SS body! John

Ol' Man Foster said...

No sweat- Glad to help!