Sun shines on Portland season opener – no, really!

Oregon show features a remarkable range of cars



 The Portland Transmission Warehouse Spring Classic is where all the old-timer car collectors gather to see who’s made it through the winter. It’s the first Oregon collector car show of the year, and has taken place for 30 years. The free event attracted 28 cars in 1983; this year more than 500 registered for their ballcaps and dash plaques, while many more cruised through, or stopped for free soda and hotdogs.

For once, May 12, the Saturday before Mother’s Day, dawned bright and clear. It even warmed up as the day progressed. More than 500 cars filled the 21 blocks around Portland Transmission’s address at 10th and Hawthorne, and the mix encompassed every kind of collector car, including many ’40s, ’50s and ’60s originals. These are still driven daily in this “Havana of the Pacific,” where the roads aren’t salted and the weather tops 90 degrees or drops below freezing about 10 days a year.

Curbside, you could find old dragsters, low-riders and radical customs, track racers, sports cars and military vehicles. If anybody wants to fight WWII again, Portland, Ore., is ready. The range of cars is remarkable and many rarely venture into modern traffic, so this is a rare chance to photograph them. Cars begin to gather about 6 a.m. and disperse by lunchtime, after the awards.

Check out this range of photographs and see what you recognize. Photographer George Olson and I were there about an hour apart and very few cars are duplicated, giving an idea of how many “cycle through.”

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