Tuesday, October 14, 2014



Latchkey Kid. Troubled Youth. Bad News. Whatever. I was 12 in this 1968 school photo. Shirt collars were required on photo day. If that weren't awkward enough, my hair went wonky. Something had to give. So began my life of crime. (Photo property of Gosson Bros. Racing Library)

Last week's Motormouth Ray feature on infamous drag racer, mobster and Volkswagen thief Broadway Freddy DeName triggered some long repressed memories. After some soul searching, I've decided to share some of my ugly truth here, in the name of full exposure. Due to job security concerns, the rest of my story must wait until after my retirement from the publishing industry (or my death - whichever comes first).

It was my 14th birthday. October 10th, 1970. I had two cars clogging my mom's driveway - a '52 Mercury 2-door hardtop and a '54 Ford 2-door sedan - neither of which ran. Imagine the angst. I made do with passenger/mechanic duty in my friend's cars. I'd already been couch surfing among this (older) crowd for a couple of years, and was concerned about wearing out my welcome. On this night, my pal Bret (also carless) and I were miffed at missing out on a big party, across town. We medicated our painful condition with some beers we'd hustled, and dozed off around midnight. A rowdy racket at the window awoke us around 3:00 AM. It was our buds Dave and Billy, all grins and holding full six packs up to the glass. Good morning! They asked if we still wanted to hit the party, adding they'd found an unlocked Volkswagen Beetle in a driveway, with keys in the ignition. Billy had a fleet of tricked out VWs and Corvairs at home, but this was just too irresistible. Bret and I instantly picked up on the adrenaline buzz and were hopelessly drawn in.

The four of us crammed into the Bug, smoothly idling at curbside. Beers were opened, cigarettes lit, and away we putted. We took turns behind the wheel, testing the limits of our temporary taxi. It was an older model (I don't recall if it was an oval window), but was obviously somebody's baby, in excellent condition. I was last to take a turn, and as we did the Chinese Fire Drill routine, we unanimously agreed to head toward the crosstown party and try our luck with any females still standing.

I aimed the Bug toward town and we descended the steep stretch of East Main Street known as Nob Hill. By 4th gear, we had achieved a terminal velocity of 45 MPH. We were coming up hot on a stoplight, when my comedic genius hit on the concept of a blunt beer-spilling stop, performed via a quick downshift to first gear and simultaneous prodigious use of the emergency brake. I got more laughs than I'd bargained for, when the engine and transaxle blew to smithereens and we slid through the intersection on a sheet of hot oil. Not a drop of beer was spilled.

We coasted into the empty parking lot of a shopping center, sky high on hilarity. Just as we creaked and clunked to a stop, all hell broke loose. Half a dozen cop cars descended on us at speed from as many directions, with spotlights glaring. Squinting through the lights, we saw cops approaching on foot with weapons drawn. We meekly obeyed their demands to exit the car and stand in front of it with our hands up. We stood in silence for a long minute, then a lone cop walked up to us. He introduced himself as Jackson County Sheriff DeArmand Leigh, as his Deputies cuffed us. Then he came unhinged. The Sheriff launched into an epic rage, dramatically revealing that our joyride of choice belonged to his wife, which deemed our crime a personal attack on his family. One by one, he repeatedly struck our ankles with his baton to ensure he held our attention during the rambling diatribe. As the unlicensed driver of the stolen vehicle, I had earned a free ride to jail, while Dave, Billy and Bret sheepishly waved goodbye as best they could while wearing handcuffs. Happy Birthday to me.

Being a juvenile, I was released later that morning. Dave, Billy, Bret and I celebrated with pronounced limps and counted our blessings. We knew we had gotten off easy, and were very grateful. Beating handcuffed adolescents with a club is probably a rarity today, but so is setting them free, hours after committing Grand Larceny. Those were different times. Two weeks later, William Sterling became the first non-Caucasian in history to be nominated for a seat in the Oregon State Legislature. The African-American Sterling lost the race to white-on-white Donald Stathos, but the message was delivered. Change was slowly coming to our remote corner of America. Alas, my criminal career continued unabated for several more years, before I finally accrued enough awareness to consider a change of lifestyle.

I publicly apologize here to Sheriff and Mrs. Leigh for my selfish display of arrogant punkness that disrupted their lives in such an invasive and expensive fashion. My efforts to locate you and attempt proper amends have proven fruitless, but perhaps you or one of your connections will come across this post (stranger things have happened). If so, please contact me at your earliest convenience. I need to make this right.



When last we heard from Northwest gearbanger and book author Jim Lindsay, the rain had chased him from Bonneville's salt flats and into an Oregon dyno room, where he discovered horses hiding in his blown flathead engine! If that weren't bizarre enough, we recently received this photograph of Lindsay from an anonymous source.

Our source tailed Lindsay to a backstreet Los Angeles recording studio, where he taped a voicing of the Preface to his period hot rod novel, The Little Bastards. Jeem, you got some 'splainin' to do... "It was surreal. That microphone was used by Bob Dylan in the Sixties. They asked me to try my voice, so I leaned in and whispered, 'Do you love me now?', and the sound came roaring out the other end, like I was screaming at the top of my lungs with a full orchestra backing me! It was effortless. So I read the Preface, which I'd been practicing. I thought it was perfect, but they wanted something more 'normal, like Jim Lindsay would say it'. So it'll go down in history with lots of 'ahs' and 'ums' and so forth..." Mind you, Lindsay was just a typical greasy hot rodder, before unleashing his best seller on an instantly adoring public, early this year. Since then, major behavioral changes (such as clandestine junkets to Los Angeles) have been cause for alarm to fans of the formerly humble farm boy from Shedd, Oregon. (Photo by Mr. X)


Longtime Jim Lindsay contemporary Marty Strode continues to scratch items from the To Do list on his Portland, Oregon area shop wall, since waving goodbye to Lindsay's T salt roadster.

Strode's Ford cabover project has been getting some overdue love. "I installed air bags while it was up on stands." 

The BBF/C-6 combo recently received an assist in the form of a Gear Vendors gear splitter.

Marty will control the road bruiser drivetrain from this luxurious command center, featuring Kennedy-era A/C. Of the truck, Strode proclaims,"It should be handy for hauling around cars and swap meet junk." 

Marty again: "The side tool compartments (note cutouts) are out getting powder coated, along with the engine cover sheetmetal." Talk about going in style...

Strode credits Lenny Pike with inspiration for this project: "My all-time COE hero. He's the reason I'm building a '53 cabover." Lenny lives!

Strode Bros battle royale! Tom's Shetland at right, and Marty's Stallion on the left. Marty asked that we note his size advantage over the minuscule Shetland. Duly noted, Marty.

Marty began hammering out a fuel tank last week. This should be capable of servicing the bigblock Stallion's voracious appetite for liquid hay.

But wait - there's more! Coming soon from Uncle Marty's Fun House... (Photos courtesy of Marty Strode)


Spotted at the Sunday morning Stray Cats CC gathering on the way to Dr. Lockjaw's Custom Metal shop to work on the SGE Model A project. Doc had just rebuilt the Joe Hunt magneto in his Deuce and was out for a test drive. 

Sunday morning regular Alan Stewart drove his '40 pickup...

...no small feat, considering a grinding disc had just blown up in his face. He got stitched up and toughed it out. The show must go on.

If you noticed Alan's hood was up in the previous photo, here's the answer to your question. 

Since the camera was now out of the bag... This trucklet was presented as an REO, but looks like a '28 - '31 Chevy with a different top and radiator shell treatment, to me. Maybe somewhere in between?

A-bone coupes? What color do you want? They had 'em all in stock.

There was plenty more to see, but we had serious work to do. We hightailed it out to Tetanus Acres, where Doc reported excellent results from his mag re-do, but he thinks retarding timing a few degrees probably made the most difference.

Twenty-five miles later, and almost there. I was so stoked to spend the day thrashing, I almost pee'd myself. I know, I should've done that before hitting the road. Hey, I was itchin' to wrench!

Within an hour, we had produced another mount for our '40 Chevy truck lever action shocks. Exhausted, we called it a day. Next week: We clean the Dykem off of the bracket! Watch for a full feature.

PS: To refresh your memory (from last week), here's one of our '40 Chevy truck shocks, fresh from Doc's barn. We decided to swap the front arms side-to-side to accommodate a brilliant mounting strategy we dreamed up. I removed the reservoir cover for a peek into the shock's inner workings and was greeted by the most godawful stench imaginable from 74 year old grease (and whatever else farmers lubed their trucks with), now fermented to Satan's own sludge. Gut wrenching. And still active in my skin, 24 hours after repeated steam cleaning of my extremities.

After a thorough cleaning with Gosson Bros. Racing Secret Sauce (ancient family recipe), here's what I found inside. Not much. Looks like fresh seals and a light cylinder honing will fix us up. Except for the one front shock that refused to give up it's piston. Will try unsticking it with compressed air. (Note to self: Put Alan Stewart's surgeon on speed dial first).

The bumpy rural roads of my future will make the lever actuate the 'rocker arm' that hammers the piston down into the corroded cylinder. So simple, even I can understand it. I think. (Scotty shots)



How do we consistently present fresh squirrel content, week in and week out? The photos and corresponding info are mostly freelance submissions from crazed fans and other whack jobs with nothing better to do. But the good stuff is provided by our pal Dennis (not his real name), shown above. As you can see, Dennis is a member of National Geographic's crack "Nut Squad", an elite rogue offshoot of NG's army of starving photographers. Sadly, Dennis recently fell from an oak tree in Ohio, "While focusing a bit too intently on a rare flying Douglas", and broke his shutter finger in the process of botching the landing. And that's why we don't have a real squirrel this week. Thanks for nothing, Dennis!

You'd better sit down. This is the new XP-1400 (or something like that) from Cobalt (or something like that). Why you care: The lower left drawer contains a refrigerator. A refrigerator! Our days are numbered. Estimated squirrel storage in remaining drawers: 73 squirrels. Not bad! But you could toss the fridge and gain another 20 spots, at least.


Although no longer attending classes, I still dropped by the schoolhouse occasionally to see my pals (borrow tools). That must be how I came to be photographed there in 1974 at age 16. I have no memory of this. Trivia: My brother Rocky hung the "Y" on my name. It finally stuck when I was in my 30's and doors opened, thanks to the friendlier new moniker. Thanks Rocky! Fascinating stuff, eh? (Photo property of Gosson Bros. Racing Library)


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