Monday, May 4, 2015

2015 Orange Blossom Special - Fillmore Spring Meet

Back in the good old days (in this case the mid-eighties) shortly after the West Coast Crosley Club first got going, the powers that be decided to try having two club meets per year - the big meet in September, plus a smaller, more low key meet in the Spring.  Trouble was, there weren't that many members back then, so the Spring Meet never really caught on.  No one remembers exactly when they gave up, but sometime before 1990 we were back to one meet per year.

Twenty-five years later (more or less), we decided to try again.
Pat and Carol Askren volunteered to organize the troops and suggested their hometown of Fillmore, California ("quaint" doesn't begin to describe it) as a site.  I missed last year's debut of the revived spring get-together, but the reviews were so good I knew I couldn't miss the fun this year.

Liv and I took a couple of days off and headed south, and then over to the coast.  We stopped in Pismo Beach for the night (I highly recommend Jocko's in nearby Nipomo for steak fans) and visited the Nipomo Dunes as we continued south the next day.  Fillmore is about 25 miles inland of Ventura on Highway 126.
We couldn't miss the meet as we rolled into the center of town - Crosleys had taken over the main square, and both tourists and locals were busily ogling the multi-hued micro machinery.  A big portable BBQ pit being tended for lunch sent smoke overhead, and vintage trains crossed next to the park, blaring their horns.
There were nine Crosleys spread out on the grass.  There was only one car I didn't recognize: a creamsicle-colored '47 Roundside pickup that had "for sale" written on the windshield.  The owner told me that it runs very well.  There were no takers at the meet so he says he'll send me details for the next Tin Block Times.
Also on hand was Mike Grimes' rail dragster.  I'd been following the project through pictures and emails, but this was the first time I'd seen it in person.  It's a nice build, sturdy but light, with a Pepco supercharger perking up the engine.  Mike hasn't run it on a strip yet, but he did fire it up for us, with Mike Bainter in the pilot seat.  Beautiful craftsmanship - can't wait to see this thing do a quarter mile someday.
Bob King brought his impressive resto-kustom wagon, and a big pile of parts for sale, including a freshly rebuilt engine. Bob's carb and trans top rebuilds are things of beauty, featuring re-engineering wizardry earned through many, many years of  sportscar and motorcycle racing.  If Bob rebuilt it, it's better than new, no question about it.  I picked up a pile of vintage 1950s hose clamps, a perfect touch for my mostly-original Denver wagon.
Bob Baxter brought a really neat lamp he'd built out of a toasted tin block.  The block formed part of the lamp stand and the light sat at the top of a repurposed steering column.  I wish I'd gotten a photo of the full lamp, but the picture of the base gives you an idea of the quality. He also gave us a sneak-peak of the prize he plans to donate to the raffle at the Sept. Meet: a West Coast Crosley 30th Anniversary ice chest, done up vintage style, hand-lettered and pinstriped.  It's nice.
Lunch was amazing - Liv is the 'foodie' of the family and she gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to the BBQ tri tip and chicken, and we both went back for seconds on the chili - some of the best I've ever had.  The potato salad was no slouch, either.  Pat's pals at the firehouse manned the grill, and I told him we need to kidnap them to cater the September meet.
It was great to see old friends - and some of my favorite cars in the club.  Of course our hosts, the Askrens, were on hand with their sweet grey 1947 coupe.  Ronnie and Barb Bauman brought their show-stopping red Roundside pickup - surely one of the nicest Crosleys anywhere.  Mike Bainter brought his brother AND his extremely original '51 sedan.... one repaint (original color), but otherwise, pretty much as it left the factory.  Gary Loomer was there with his Roundside Pickup - a super clean rig that he's had for about a quarter century.  The Dunners brought their very nice red Hot Shot, which was parked next to the Cochrane's stunning resto-rod Super Sports.   Nice timing, as the Cochranes' two seater had just been posted as the featured "Crosley of the Month" at the Crosley Auto Club website the day before.
Chuck and Ronnie Latty didn't bring a Crosley, but did arrive in a very straight 1953 Ford sedan delivery that they'd recently driven home from Idaho.  With a little planning, they might have been able to fit most of a Crosley in the back.

Things wrapped up around 2:30, and we said our goodbyes and made plans to meet up again in September.  After a quick spin through the numerous antique shops ringing the town square, we headed back toward Ventura, a little sunburnt, full of BBQ and looking forward to the next meet.


bkrsdoz said...

Great post! Love the photos.
Beverly, MA

Ol' Man Foster said...

Thanks Bob- it was a fun day!