Saturday, April 16, 2011

Driving a White at the Bakersfield Swap Meet

by Willy Vinton

This annual swap meet in Bakersfield, CA, opened last Friday morning at 6 am. Not many were out that early, but it soon got real busy. I spoke with Bruce Remmer about attendance, and he said vendor numbers were up from the past and he thought visitors were level or up a little. Some of the smaller vendors said they didn't know if they would return next year because of high fuel prices. Too bad, as this is a very friendly event and you meet some great people here.

At right are a couple of the ladies from Restoration Supply Company all decked out in period attire. They really looked good, and when Jay Leno came by they got their picture taken with him. That put a spark in their eye, and made their day for sure. I did remind Jay that we look forward to him visiting our museum sometime.

I had a chance to visit with a lot of people from all over the country and made a lot of new acquaintances, including Walker Woolever. Walker is one of the few people we've found in North America who also owns a Henderson automobile. We had a good visit. Several folks said that they were coming up to Fairbanks this summer, and we look forward to seeing them at the museum.

But THIS was the high light of the trip for me...
It's a very nice, mostly original 20 hp White steam car. A big thanks to Rob Williams for hooking me up with Ryan Thurber, the car's owner. Ryan and his son Christian were very generous with their time and spent a good amount of it with me, even taking me out on the road for a rousing ride. After that he let me drive it around some and I learned a lot about  driving White steamers in a short time. I am not quite ready to fire ours up up yet, but if I can convince Ryan to come to Fairbanks to help get our White steamer tuned up to run as well as his, we will have a very sweet running car.  What a treat! Thanks Ryan.

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