By Owen Sexton /[email protected]
Hundreds of classic and custom cars filled the grounds and fields surrounding the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis on Sunday morning for the Rust or Shine car show.
Most of the classics were visible, but some unique cars stood out among the rest.
Here are a few that caught The Chronicle’s attention:
All the classic muscle cars were represented, but there was one that was rarer than the others. That car was Eric Meyn’s olive drab 1972 Dodge Demon. Production of the Demon began in 1971 and was based on the Dart design. It only lasted these two years on the market.
Meyn, a Rochester resident, said bad sales didn’t end the Dodge Demon’s short life.
“In 1972 the Catholic Church petitioned Chrysler and told them to change the name because they didn’t like it, because of the symbolism, and (Chrysler) did. It’s the only car to be debadged and reverted to a Dart,” Meyn said.
He laughed that 50 years later there are Hellcats, Demons, and cars with other demonic names that are commonplace. Meyn bought the car eight years ago and together with his family spent six years restoring it.
There were also plenty of classic trucks, and one of the most unique was Rick Baumgarten’s 1949 Chevrolet Loadmaster Truck of White Salmon with Cab Over Engine (COE).
Baumgarten worked with his son for about two years to restore the truck. COEs were sold commercially and used primarily as work trucks in the 1950s, making them hard to find today. Getting one of the trucks fulfilled one of his childhood dreams.
“I’ve always wanted one. I had a regular pickup as a kid but always wanted one. When my son got back into the cars, we started buying all the (COEs) we could find,” Baumgarten said.
While Baumgarten’s COE was built with original components, mostly sourced from other COEs that it bought with the intention of cannibalizing for parts, Jim Peterson’s 1956 Ford F-100 Frankentruck, resident of Rochester, had many parts that were far from original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.
“I’ve owned this truck since 1982, and it had pretty much all the original parts back then. I’ve always been a Chevrolet freak, so I ended up putting a Chevrolet engine under the hood,” Peterson said.
It didn’t stop with the engine, however. He gave Frankentruck a host of upgrades, including four-wheel drive and replaced the stock two-speed automatic transmission with a four-speed manual. Even the hood hinges were no longer from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), as Peterson got them from an old Jeep.
“It was a lot of fun working on it,” Peterson said.
‘Farm Boy’ Model A
The Frankentruck also had a cousin at the show, as Mossyrock resident Gary Mathews’ truck was listed as a 1932 Ford “Farm Boy” Model A, but also contained many far from OEM parts.
“The body is from a four-door Ford car, all cut short, and the doors I tried to make them think they were 32s, but they ended up being a 26, and I, last night at midnight I put a Ford Ranger back there and Ford F-150 disc brakes on it and the virgin race was today and it did it here,” Mathews said.
He’s owned the truck for about two years now and is still swapping parts.
“There’s now also a Chevy T5 transmission,” added Mathews.
1951 Austin of England Devon A40
Not all cars at the show were all about speed and power. Mark and Jane Jarvis’ 1951 Austin of England Devon A40 had a stuffed giant sloth in the sunroof to illustrate this.
“Sloth indicates the speed of this car. Sloths may not be native to England, but that’s about how fast we go. We call it the lazy car. It hits highs of 50 (mph),” said Mark Jarvis.
He added that the car’s engine only produced 40 horsepower and was originally designed for the narrow streets of London.
“We love it. It’s low and slow. Back roads all the way, no freeways,” added Jane Jarvis.
1931 Pierce-Arrow Model 43 Roadster
Sometimes slower cars are built this way to be more luxurious, as was the case with John Deshaye’s 1931 Olympia Pierce-Arrow Model 43 Roadster. With whitewall tires and varnished wooden rims accentuating the candy red paint job, the Model 43 is a fine piece of engineering and one that Deshaye had the pleasure of driving before he even owned it.
“I have known this car all my life, although a classic car club and a very close friend ended up with it. In fact, I would drive this car over 40 years ago when I was in high school because he was a close friend and he trusted me. I grew up around this car,” Deshaye said.
When his friend died a decade ago, Deshaye said he was lucky his friend’s son sold him the car. He also added that he felt lucky to be the car caretaker now.
“(The restoration) was done in the 60s. It was just sort of serviced, but I had to do a ton of mechanical work to get it working again. But since then it’s just been a lot of polishing,” Deshaye said.