Sunday, June 9, 2013

Excellent Classic and Custom Car Show in Oregon - Cruisin' Sherwood

There's a car culture in the Pacific NW that's pretty exceptional.  Maybe it's the rainy winters that allow people to hole up and prep their cars all winter, but when summer rolls around some beautiful classics and customs hit the street.  The Sherwood Cruisin' is hosted in the small suburban Portland town of Sherwood, Oregon and packs the town from one end to the other. It's not Monterey's car week, but it's free entrance for spectators a short distance from Portland brings out the crowds, and vendors. The town business' doors are open; expectantly hoping and I'm sure it doesn't disappoint (antique shops, museums, restaurants and coffee shops mainly).

I'm going to break a 10th grade rule of writing, and author this from the "I" perspective just to give you a flavor of what my experience was, in case you're thinking of attending in future years.

First, let's talk about culture.  The weather's started to turn summer-like (most the time) by June up here in the NW and there's a large rumbling of cars shaking off their garage dust and returning to the highways and raceways.  My friends that autocross or race on the track have already had a couple of turns at the wheel. Our semi-famous Beaches Cruise In at Portland International Raceway also started the first Wednesday in June.  The Cascade Car Clubs Friday Night Rally is on their fourth rally by June.

My project 1957 MGA is just coming together this year (registration last month - www.budgetmga.blogspot.com) and the night before I'd just competed in my first Friday night rally and had an absolutely great time.

The morning of Sherwood, our group of car enthusiasts that serve Jesus (Gearheadz Portland) got together for coffee and breakfast to, as the Hawaiians put it, "talk story"and discuss how we can help people this summer using the automotive skills and passions the Lord has graced us with (or possibly cursed if you ask our wives).  I left that meeting charged from being around some great guys with great plans.

I picked up my wife Kellie on the way to Sherwood.  About a half mile to mile out from town the spectator cars started to line the streets.  After parking the VW, I was glad I hadn't brought the MGA because we would have been quite a ways out of town and I still don't consider the MGA the most secure vehicle to lock up, even though it's the coupe. I'm pretty sure if you gave me a screwdriver and about 5 seconds I could be in the locked MGA.

On top of that, the parking lots were filled with other classics that people had drove to the show but like me, for some reason had decided that either they didn't want to pay the $25 car entrance fee or time didn't allow them to enter the show.  I saw 50's corvette's, hot rod Chevelles, various MOPAR badges and more gracing the parking lots outside of town.

On a whim I started calling friends to see if anyone else would be willing to come out.  A surprising number of people responded and said they'd meet us there and ironically, at the same time I received an invite from one of my good buddies.  We all decided to meet up at the nice coffee shop in town set up in an antique Craftsman home.


The coffee shop was a great place to wait for friends.  Sitting on the grounds of the coffee shop was an old oval window Bug (cool, but unfortunately just a year or two after they got rid of the flip-up side indicators).  The cars were lined up in front but you could still find a chair.  I talked quite a bit with a guy whose Camaro was sitting in front of us and learned a lot about the car (a custom 67).

After our friends joined us, we took a walk around the town.
Interesting Rear End

The Cruisin' Sherwood is a great showing of cars.  I appreciate that it doesn't pander to one crowd.  I saw rust bucket cars from the 20's but I also saw supercar modern Mercedes.  I appreciated that the show was more about what's interesting, rather than what's expensive, or perfect.

I like that the alternator is covered for rain the but the intakes aren't

One particularly interesting truck was made out of a RV.  He'd destroyed the body and put the running gear back together like a hot rod.  He mounted a vintage Mack grille on it, and some old rusty Montana farm trucks cab and had himself quite the unique little car.


I saw an Austin Healey painted the exact colors I want to paint my car, with the exact Rudge wheels I want to put on my car.  It confirmed what Kellie and I both thought; it'll be a great looking car when it's finished.  My wife decided this one was her favorite out of all the cars.  She has champagne taste on a beer budget I always say.


There weren't just American muscle cars either.  I passed a Fiat bus, beautiful 30's Packard convertible, military convoy trucks, rat rods, and one off customs.



I even ran into some friends from other car events.  In my last blog at VintageandClassicCar.Blogspot.com I mentioned that a gentleman and his son were showing a Bentley at cars and coffee but told me they also had a DB3 Aston Martin.  Well I ran into them with the Aston.  I had a good chat with the father.  He's got an interesting dilemma on his hands. In the 40 plus years he's owned the Aston he's polished it too much and he's starting to wear through the paint.  His paint guys told him to dust it only and not to apply anything to it moving forward.  I could tell this wasn't what he wanted to hear and he wasn't quite sure that just dusting it would achieve his goals of keeping paint on it.


In addition, there was a pretty good showing from the local vendors.  I had no idea that the shop that is locally called SoCal Speed Shop is truly licensed by both SoCal and Moon Speed Shop to sell their stuff!  After we buy this house, if I ever have money in my pocket again, I might have to stop by and pick up some fun stuff.  For now, a Moon ball will have to do.  Kellie and I (well, I hope Kellie too) have a fondness for Moon because on a visit to L.A. we stopped by one of their cruise ins and saw some wildly cool creations.

This last one was at Moon

The guys that do the vinyl wraps (basically a sticker instead of painting) were demonstrating their process by covering an 80s Ferrari in flat black.

Wrapped Camaro

I wandered up to a VW van that had been converted to a trailer.  Pretty cool stuff but the price tag's a little steep for my budget ($20k).
http://dub-box-usa.com/gallery

On the other side of the tracks there was a burnout competition.  Looks like a lot of people were really into it, but for some reason it just didn't catch my attention. I'm just not that into seeing people smoke dollars off their tires.  I compare it to hunting elephants for ivory; yes, hunting is useful and I'm all for people having game meat but shooting an elephant so you can pull off some decorations isn't something I can get behind.  Much the same way having a motor with some massive horsepower is awesome, but smoking your $500 dollar tires while chalked in one place doesn't seem productive.

Eventually we tired of wandering and sat down in one of the nice forested parks to hang out and catch up with our friends.

When we all parted ways I made another pass through the last couple of streets I hadn't seen.



We noticed several of the antique shops and pioneer museums were open so we made our way through them.  Standing on the top floor of the rickety wooden 1860 pioneer house with 20 other people scared me slightly as I could imagine at any second we would all be heading quickly for the 1st floor but luckily it held us.

In that same area I noticed they'd set up some fair type games for kids; probably a nice stop for those bringing kids along.

We ended up leaving about 3 and I was sorry it was over.  It'd been a really nice day and I felt really relaxed by the end of it.  If you get the chance, make sure you check out the future Cruisein' Sherwoods.  They're well worth the small effort to get to Sherwood.

As I was driving home, I was contemplating what made events like this so fun for people.  I think some would argue it's the evil materialism, but I think in most cases I would disagree.  Yes, sometimes people are just flaunting that they have money, but in the vast majority of the cases, I see people trying to show their God given talents.  I see the creativity and skill that our creator gave coming through in these cars.  The convenient thing about cars is you can take them somewhere to show what you've been up to.  If houses were mobile, or gardens, I think you'd see the same sort of thing. Don't get me wrong, I don't think you can hole yourself in your garage and work on your car and say you're serving God; it's very clear God wants us pursuing justice and caring for those others don't care for.  I am saying though, that in some ways I think building and customizing cars is simply a showcase of the work God did in us, giving us a creative mind and skilled hands.