Friday, July 8, 2011

AUTOS: Portland hosts Allure of Automobiles exhibition this summer

Porsche’s Mighty Panzerwagon - the 917K Salzburg chassis by Automotive Sculptor J. Paul Nesse...
As previously mentioned in Portland Historics Celebrates 35th Anniversary this weekend; (See story posted below...) thus, if you’re in Portland, looking for something Automotive related to do inside, perhaps to escape the heat? Then by all means go to the Portland Art Museo and check these ‘Beaut’s out!

As its funny how you’ve gotta sometimes read about a truly spectacular event occurring in your own backyard via a different states Newspaper – Yeah, they do still exist George... Although I share your pain ‘bout the “Thin-uh-Seeian,” as it sounds like this Nashville “Fish-wrap” is headed to join the Newspaper Boneyard where my very own Seattle Post Intelligencer has been Mothballed for two-plus years now. As Gasp! Imagine the city of Seattle only having one daily news rag to rely upon, but I digress... 

And thus I was blown away to discover in my very favourite section of the New York Times; Uh Gee Wally, really? Sunday’s Automobiles section – Who’d uh Thunk-it; Hya! Cymbol crash please...

Thus without further fanfare, the event in question is the Allure of the Automobile – now playing at Portland’s Art Museum – as I’m happy to report that one quarter of the exhibit comes from my very own backyard, a.k.a. the Pacific Northwest – specifically Washington state!

Portland Art Museum: The Allure of The Automobile

1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B touring berlinetta
Owners: John & Mary Shirley; Bellevue, WA.
I first discovered the name John Shirley at none less then the Pebble Beach Concours de Elegance way back in 1994 – my Debutant outing to the Monterey Historics weekend.

Having spotted Messer Shirley’s name as entrant on a pair of absolutely stunning Ferrari’s, albeit I don’t recollect what they were; only that back then it listed Medina, Washington as locale – which is an extremely affluent tiny postage stamp city on our Eastside, where some dudes named Bill Gates and Paul Allen once resided...

And it’s funny to think that I saw this exact car being driven into and out-of Sand Point, Wash’s Concours Italiano five years ago at a very small car show gathering. As its engine sounds were absolutely fantastic and rightly so – it took Best of Show Honours that fall day...

1931 Duesenberg SJ Derham convertible sedan
Owners: Tom & Susan Armstrong; Issaquah, WA.
I’ve had the privilege of meandering thru the Armstrong’s racing shop in Downtown Issaquah a zillion years ago – in a different lifetime... When I was then a member of WASAAC, (Washington Shelby American Automobiles Club) a tiny ‘locoe club of Shelby enthusiasts & proud owners – which started me on the path towards writing, having scribbled my eclectic motorsports thoughts for the monthly Saac Time Newsletter for a mere six years...

And it was an excellent day’s club outing, as both Tom and Susan were avid Vintage Racers at the time, as Tom routinely competed in a wide variety of vehicles. A pristine Ford GT40, a menacing Lola CanAm car and one of the five ONLY ever produced Corvette Grand Sports! Whilst Susan ran a very pretty Corvette, a ’63 split window coupe I believe.

Yet what many probably aren’t aware of, Tom was an original founder and co-owner of PacWest Racing, which was originally a venture of a quartet of people, with Seattle’s very own Dominic Dobson doing the Booby ruble ‘N ‘TAG Driver/Owner thingy nearly two decades ago.

Yet once again, it took an east coast article to enlighten Mwah towards another fantastic vehicle in the Armstrong’s collection...

1930 Bentley Speed Six Gurney Nutting coupe
Owners: Bruce & Jolene McCaw; Bellevue, WA
I’ve read on le Internetz – that this AIN’T the car used in the great Blue Train race held back in the early 1930’s and apparently is a common misnomer – which many are willing to overlook?

Bruce McCaw should be a somewhat known name, having founded PacWest Racing, before becoming its major domo before ultimately shuttering its doors and selling the team’s assets to some chaps named Craig Pollock and Kevin ”SmileyFace”Kalkhoven, who formed PK Racing, which today is KV Racing Technology.

And the very last time I spoke of “Master Bruce” (McCaw) was to a very famous (High-end) Bronze Automobile Sculptor in Minnesota named J. Paul Nesse – whose studio I had the privilege of visiting some five-odd years ago... As Mr. Nesse who’s done commissions for Mr. McCaw - was supposedly going to attempt gaining me passage into Master Bruce’s ‘Uber exotic Automobile collection – which sadly never panned out.

McCaw who took up the vintage racing ‘Bug, usually shows up at our local racetrack Pacific Raceways in Kent, WA with an overly impressive and high-end armada of racecars – having once showed up with Phil Hill’s Carrera PanAmerica winning Ferrari! (For example...)

1948 Tucker Model 48 Torpedo
Owners: LeMay Family Collection/Harold LeMay Museum; Tacoma, WA.
YIKES! Can it already be four years ago that I went to my first Harold LeMay museo outing?

Harold LeMay museum visit

As Y’all may know – it was none other then Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen who alerted Mwah to the fact that some guy named LoneStar JR, nee Johnny Rutherford had joined the Museums Board of Directors – to which I tried coaxing him into providing a little more insight upon during a live in-person visit to Donald Kay’s ‘lil Autosport Radio Show back in 2010, with NO avail. As LoneStar seemed caught off guard by the questione  Oh Whale!

And ironically, whilst just visiting thee great Aunty Harriet in Tacoma, it was pointed out to me that across the bay, as in Commencement Bay adjoining the TacomaDome – a structure could be seen rising into the atmosphere. Hmm? That must be the long anticipated Harold LeMay museo finally taking shape. As I’d read some where’s that ground had been broken in 2010 and that a smaller first portion of the museo would be constructed – with hopes of further expansion whenever more funding could be acquired.

Ironically, while ‘Goggling Dominic Dobson’s name in reference to his past association with PacWest Racing, I ran across that always prevalent WICKEDpedia – which noted that Dominic is now the Chief Development Officer (CDO) of said LeMay museo, which I’m looking very forward to attending whenever it opens to the public... 

For a complete listing of the 16 truly iconic Automobiles on display in Portland thru September 11th see:

16 Automobiles Worth a Spot in a Museum

And for an interesting read ‘bout how one goes about shoehorning such legendary & priceless Automotive finery into a museum, check out:

Squeezing 4-Wheeled Masterpieces Into the Museum