Mark Morton

MORT'S SHORTS

Mark Morton
MORT'S SHORTS
Mort's Shorts (868x868) (2).jpg

 

                                                                  NOVEMBER '17

RIP JC

RIP BB

RIP RJ

 

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” T. E Lawrence

*

October is the end of summer, at least here. The last lap of year for the Staff Car was in October and a bit late in the season to be where we were:  kinda on the cold side.

Started off in Bozeman to pick the the car up. She lit kinda right up, then warmed up and seemed ready. Got checked in to the hotel and Brandon Mead and family took me to dinner (thank you). I had them all to myself, which I value highly. I thrive on the friendship,  on their family and thirdly…he’s a freaking hot rod fanatic. He oughta be, grew up among ‘em, but shit. Now this time we talked more about other stuff too.  Brianne and Tucker took a long walk (I think because she thought the guys might want to talk). We did talk, a lot of Buddy stuff and threw in some hot rod chat too. Great evening, and it was mid- week, they have jobs,  I was tired from flyin’ around and stuff,  so we blew. They took me back to the joint and I faded.  Anyway, really dig me some Meads. Cool  way to start the trip.

  GOT THERE IN NUTHIN' FLAT

GOT THERE IN NUTHIN' FLAT

 

Got a nice late start the next day and headed south toward Idaho, aiming to find myself close to The Hot Rod Works in a couple days. The coupe wasn’t  havin’  it…..haha! That bitch rared up and checked off mile-markers, landmarks, Idaho this and Idaho that…got nearly to Nampa, holed up for the night, got to Caldwell before noon on the second day.

Somewhere along that stretch I lost track of fuel stops and realized I may be low....hadn't seen a mile marker in a bit, knew i only had a couple of gallons left, so I tucked in behind a box big rig and drafted him at 50 MPH for about 40 minutes. It was enough. I pulled in the gas stop and got this:

  HOW MANY GALLONS DO A '36 HOLD? FOURTEEN, I THOUGHT............

HOW MANY GALLONS DO A '36 HOLD? FOURTEEN, I THOUGHT............

  FINELY MACHINED PARTS FOR WAR BIRDS IS A NICHE NICK AND KEN DEVELOPED

FINELY MACHINED PARTS FOR WAR BIRDS IS A NICHE NICK AND KEN DEVELOPED

Now, y'all know the Hot Rod Works is, in fact, the go-to place for Q.C. rear ends and always will be but holy moly, they are doing some specialized high tech war-bird parts in fairly mass lots (they are the go-to guys for that stuff, too)…and still have time to drag race, think about their “retired” Bonnevile car, and street iron, too. And again, as I said                                                                                      above, family. Must be something in the                                                                                             pure water……..

 

I didn’t want to swing NW and NE on Interstates  to get to Spokane, so Ken  gave me the dope on the due North ride to Couer D’Alene from where we were. “95”, says he. “Two lane?” says me?

“Yep”.

“Can I run 65 on it?”

“Oh, yeah. It’ll be about 7 hours to CDA, you could stop in Grangeville or Lewiston”.

  95 HAS MULTIPLE VISTAS, FLORA, FAUNA, TURNS, CURVES...OH, MY GOODNESS!

95 HAS MULTIPLE VISTAS, FLORA, FAUNA, TURNS, CURVES...OH, MY GOODNESS!

Lewiston seemed a long way out, it already bein’ after lunch and all. But I topped ‘er off and hit it. The first spell or so I followed fast moving trucks and enjoyed  beautiful vistas…not worried about them in front of me……then I  gassed up in Riggins, not knowing if fuel was available in the last hun. Pulled back out on the highway and..no truck. No motorhomes.  No passenger cars. Me, the coupe and one of the sweetest, quickest  113 mile rides I ever had. Damn. I hadn’t earned anything that good,  so there must be some hell to pay.

Next day there it was. The penaltly. The price. Payback.

  THIS IS AFTER THE DRIVING SNOW STOPPED. I STOPPED TWICE TO FIX STUFF.    (NO, NOT MY SHORTS....)

THIS IS AFTER THE DRIVING SNOW STOPPED. I STOPPED TWICE TO FIX STUFF.

(NO, NOT MY SHORTS....)

Layover in Lewiston was typical: check in, lay out for a while with telephone  for message catch up and like that, shower and walk to the only joint within walking distance (I was tired of the car and knew I’d have a shot anyway,  so walked), which was Ernies Steakhouse. Sat at the bar, had a couple, and ordered chicken fried steak. Walked back (long uphill grind I’d giggled about on the way down but – as Rusty says, ”No hill for a climber”) and settled in. The next bit  would take me through Moscow (Peter was in the Middle East, so couldn’t see him) but the penalty for the previous glorious day was the snow storm, real, heavy, blowing  ‘twohandsonthe wheel’  snow . Picture was taken after it quit snowing and after I’d stopped to adjust the wiper once and then again to wipe the snow and ice off the right side. All business, Boys. The others out there didn’t realize we had one 6” wiper, no defrost and modest visibility; thought they could run over a hot rod. Turns out they could!  Aw, fuck those bitches! OK, Fate, we’re even. Carry on.

 

Anywho, then to  CDA . (Rusty had recommended Hudsons Hamburgers there  so I obliged, and was thankful for the lead) . It’s a short spurt to Spokane and John had directed me to housing, car storage, etc . on the East side, Spokane Valley. That all worked out just fine; it was close to his place so the hosting he and Molly suffered  was at least close to home for them. That was Friday night John and I went to Chris’ place (good stuff, cars –like Model 40 roadster you know, F-somethin' pickups here and there, the coolest ’52 (?) convert with tail gently, subtly, tastefully lowered, lots of dedicated parts and lots of soul).  Logan met us and the four of us ended up at dinner. Regretably that was the last I saw of Logan or Chris so didn’t get much chance to catch up with him.

I asked to see John's stuff and he accommodated, dazzled me. The current preoccupation  is the '33 Roadster shown below, a great body, recently acquired from a family member. Among all the perfect, accurate, correct parts going in it is a N.O.S. Ardun head setup that has been Johns for many years. Let's watch this one come together, eh?

  I'M WRINGIN' MY HANDS, HERE, BOYS.....

I'M WRINGIN' MY HANDS, HERE, BOYS.....

  FEATURE PIC THIS MONTH IS ONE WALL OF  JOHN'S SHOP. LOVELY.

FEATURE PIC THIS MONTH IS ONE WALL OF  JOHN'S SHOP. LOVELY.

 

Lay day Saturday, washed car, made storage deal, went to John’s friends great book store,  found some treasure, did some other maintenance shopping and read. Come evening,  J &M took me to Tim’s to see the ’34 chassis he was working on for Nate (book store owner), then a great dinner (thank you),  mellow day  for sure.  Sunday, though, after a nice breakfast,  I got the real tour: John took me to see Josh, whose newly acquired 3 window body was the talk of all the guys, and parts and parts and more parts and I got closer to his A roadster and his hot rod ’40 pickup (sans hood – that I love).

  COULDA GOT A BETTER SHOT BUT THE TRUCK IS CLASSIC '40: HOOD MISSING, WORTHY ENGINE, PARTS IN THE BACK

COULDA GOT A BETTER SHOT BUT THE TRUCK IS CLASSIC '40: HOOD MISSING, WORTHY ENGINE, PARTS IN THE BACK

  BODY IS EXCELLENT; THE HOLE IS REPUTED TO HAVE BEEN THE CLUTCH COMING APART AT THE DRAGS; IT'LL BE FIXED BUT STILL "THERE"!

BODY IS EXCELLENT; THE HOLE IS REPUTED TO HAVE BEEN THE CLUTCH COMING APART AT THE DRAGS; IT'LL BE FIXED BUT STILL "THERE"!

 

Then Lenny,  Model A’s, woody specialist, Conv Sedan; Expatriot from  Orange County, property, garage, work spaces, ephemera. The best. And to top it off, Len is a monster of talented, cool, friendly vibes

  LENNY'S YARD ART IS ACTUALLY A PROJECT-IN-WAITING, WILL BE COVERED UP BEFORE THE WEATHER COMES. IT'LL HAPPEN .

LENNY'S YARD ART IS ACTUALLY A PROJECT-IN-WAITING, WILL BE COVERED UP BEFORE THE WEATHER COMES. IT'LL HAPPEN.

  IS JOHN "BLUE DOG" HERE?

IS JOHN "BLUE DOG" HERE?

  WOODIE ROADSTER PICK UP WILL SLAY 'EM

WOODIE ROADSTER PICK UP WILL SLAY 'EM

Next we were off to see Cory, whose shop is "whelming", a feast for the eyes, including lots of memorabilia that traces his journey through this car world of ours, tools and equipment from the upper strata of craftsmen; softspoken, pensive, thinkin’ exactly what we’re thinkin’…I’m thinkin’.

Next and last  we arrived to  see Dan, not far at all from where the coupe is stored, who had just been on an all-morning ride around the valley in a Cessna 195 Radial-engined airplane. Pretty craft.  Great set up Dan’s got, fellers:, nice spread and wide selection of cars, automobilia, room to move.

John and I grabbed an early dinner, he dropped me off and that was it until he graciously picked me up for a morning ride to the airport.

Spokane been berry good to me. These guys are the core believers in the area….there certainly are others but I think these are the learned, sage, clever types that are always “in charge” as a friend of mine likes to say. They live equidistant from one another in almost a spoked wheel around Spokane,  On Watch you might say, protecting their domain of tin and other important minerals from the Unwashed or Mischievous.

We’ll go back in April and plan is to head toward where Fireball Paul is and then to Portland Swap Meet. Some day that car will be home again, maybe retire, put out to ‘stud’!! Ornot.

*

Bayou Roundup had soo many cool cars, I mean all of them, that it looked like it took place in Scandanavia where no turds are allowed. Somebody tell me there were some turds hidden outside, really. No? Then it’s really that good. Cool.

*

SOMEBODY OTHER THAN ME? UH HUH.

  D&D DID A CENTRAL COASTER

D&D DID A CENTRAL COASTER

  GABE STOPPED TO SEE IN-PROGRESS ROADSTER

GABE STOPPED TO SEE IN-PROGRESS ROADSTER

*

Hey, that Concourse they conned me in to was cool, but we had to move the car in and leave right away to go look at a (neat) collection belonging to of a couple we know, have lunch, then go back in time for the ‘Hangar Party” after the Concourse. I think the only people that looked at our ‘patinaed’ Stutz Spyder was us…which goes to show you what the fuckers at a concourse know!  I get it, I do, and I knew it going in;  just tryin’ to be a good citizen and get another free bottle of Meguiars glass cleaner. How many of those you got?

  BLACK IS STEALTHY FOR A STUTZ

BLACK IS STEALTHY FOR A STUTZ

  THE BIG EIGHT FELT GOOD AMONG THE HOITY TOITY

THE BIG EIGHT FELT GOOD AMONG THE HOITY TOITY

  A FRIEND'S W..O. 4 1/2

A FRIEND'S W..O. 4 1/2

  HANGAR PARTIES AFTER CAN SOMETIMES GO LATE...WE DIDN'T, TRAILERING AND ALL.

HANGAR PARTIES AFTER CAN SOMETIMES GO LATE...WE DIDN'T, TRAILERING AND ALL.

 

GARDENING 101

The Homeowners Assoc was talking up ways to get the neighborhood more ‘social’ so they surveyed asking what they thought they should do to be friendly. Turns out that, maybe with a prod from the only other hot rod owner on the street, several  of them said ‘See Morton car collection’.

Then you start to look around the garage and see the things that have been how they are so long they’ve become ‘wallpaper’ and you realize you gotta clean it, throw it away or hide it before they get here. It’s about once a year that this happens and I don’t hate, it, really.

I got some help putting up a new restored (old) neon sign that’s been done and sitting on the floor for  4 months. I washed sills and dusted picture frames, mopped and rinsed and degreased, had 6 cars washed and tidied up the rest myself, wiped the structure of the lifts and looked at the collage of old hotrod parts on one wall and realized it looks tacky, cluttered. Too late now, so I removed a few, hid them in the back of my station wagon and put the a drape  over them.

Made me look at the cars, too,  and..even tho’ there’s no favorite, there’s of course the most recent one to get there and it gets the most attention, I don’t use them all the typical way. I belong to the Packard Club and I really got no use for them (members)..at least the ones close to home. There’s a region of them not far away that are nice folks, but I digress. I belong to the 356 Club and even though I’d like them to see my car, I got a dose of assholism from them recently so I’ll use it in smaller clusters like the 8 or 9 of us that’ll do a three-dayer this month. Now, about them seeing mine?  F’getaboutit. It’s  done anyway. When it’s at the kinda famous excentric  place I take it for service, there’s always somebody taking a picture of it, I guess, so they can copy something (a hot rodder) has done to one.

I’ll go to hot rod things (if small) and post-war sports car deals (if they’re small) and Nickel Era car deals  (any size because they’re all car people who are in it for life and for visceral pleasure.) I think I trust custom car things that are larger, though. Something about the real character of the players. I tend to like them, their car-ethic.  Some cheesey taste but, hey. Kinda like the Nickel Era guys and Gals inchracter. And boy, are some characters!!! (Good, that is).

So each discipline of car worship has it’s own “Fraudrodders” ...and Truehearts, too, ya know?.

La Gila runs. No jive, Mang, runs. Had to call on Willie Martian, but he came thru and solved some mysteries. Thanks, Guys. It can motate around the yard go in and out of all gears, stops, seems to stay cool; just needs the first round of sorting, e.g. make a shorter tie rod (after making a longer one. Yeah, I know) , hood/cowl lace, zerks and lube, final chassis fastener recheck, get steering arms tweaked, and like that-there. Very satisfying to do that driving under its’ own power thing after all these years and months and days and hours. She seems to get good reviews when people see her/356 is getting an alignment for an upcoming 356A group tour (‘group’ me is 6-8 cars) to the Central Coast/W.O. is getting an experimental  Morty-designed diaper to address the effect of no rear main seal (they say  that’s how they came)/Air 911 is in to heal a 45 year old oil line that gave up/Fendered ’32 needs to be ready for a cruise coming up about the time you read this, doesn’t need much ; so,  pics next month.

*

“California Democrats want to outlaw gas powereed vehicles by 2040” . Really. That 22 years will go pretty fast, Kids.

 How old will you be? Will you be ready? Whats your stuff going to be worth on the way down?

There’s an outside chance I’ll have passed the last mile marker by then so you’ll  be on your own. But I guaranfuckintee you it doesn’t have to be over by then. A  slower fade toward  the inevitable would be fine while all the other exaggerated, over-zealous treatments are being done to save the earth.

I’d put the energy (gas motivated) in to cleaning and recycling the miles-square bundles of detritis out in the ocean. That’s more of a littering/recycling issue than burning fossil fuel, of course,  but I think it’s more permanently damaging. The environment is an agitator washing maching that kicks ass on its’ problems.. doing this would  buy time for science to come up with an acceptable combustible.  But, Hey: some day they’ll be customizing Teslas because they’re so nostalgic. They will. The bastards are good looking, too.

 

Sooooo: GRAB A GEAR....WHILE YA STILL CAN.....................................