Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On the Road: Pacific Northwest Concours d'Elegance

 by Willy Vinton      
© Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

My wife Wilma and I traveled to Washington state recently to help prepare the museum's 1917 Owen Magnetic for the Pacific Northwest Concours at the LeMay - America's Car Museum. When we arrived at Murray Motor Car in Monroe on Friday, September 5, it was obvious there was still some work to be done. A few parts had to be installed and fitted, and we needed to find minor items including leather lace for the hood, some O-rings, and leather straps. With a wave of the Murray crew's magic wand, it all came together, and then we moved on to polishing.

Next we bolted on the running boards and hood. After some minor touch up, I was able to take the car for a test drive, with Paul Murray along just in case we had mechanical problems. The car ran great and ran cool with no major issues. By 10 pm Saturday night we finally had the car loaded and secured for the ride to Tacoma.

On Sunday morning we had to get to the show field before 8 am, as the event opened to the public at 9. There were about 160 cars on the field, and 11 in our class.

I have to say that once again the show staff helping our class was great to work with, and very helpful with any needs that arose. The Owen Magnetic attracted a lot on onlookers and questions about how the car operated. Not surprisingly, we heard a lot of "Did they really have hybrids back then?"

It's always thrilling when you learn your car has won an award. To show off the Owen Magnetic's unique transmission, I drove it down to the awards holding area on gas, then finished the drive to the winner's circle on electricity. I think the folks finally understood then that the car really could run on electricity alone.

Here we are receiving the First in Class award for the Pre-1920 Brass/Antiques Class. Many thanks to the organizers who put on this great event, to the LeMay - America's Car Museum for hosting the concours, and to U.S. Bank for sponsoring it. We are also grateful to everyone who came to see the cars. The event's proceeds will support the Hagerty Education Program at the LeMay.

We are also deeply indebted to Al and Paul Murray for their outstanding skill and effort restoring the Owen to concours quality. This win speaks highly of their abilities, and we are fortunate to have them work on our cars. They are presently working on our Kelsey, so stay tuned for updates on that.

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