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The WPC Club, Inc.                          Mopar Logo
             Plymouth, Dodge, Fargo, DeSoto, Chrysler, Imperial, Maxwell, Chalmers,  
                                         Jeep and Eagle & related Automobiles.    
All Mopar /  All Years /  All Models         
     

                    WPC Club, Puget Sound Region,  
                   Pacific Northwest Regional Meet
              August 2-6, 2006   Poulsbo,  Washington
                              A Blast from the Past !
 
    
Photos follow the article  but you know what ?  - the aritcle is as interesting as the photos !

I think for all of us the old car hobby involves memories of one sort or another. These may be of childhood trips,
honeymoons, first dates, first drives or any other moments of time that touched our lives or left an indelible
impression.Cars played a huge roll in my childhood memories with my family taking one or two big road trips every
year with our trailer usually in tow, and numerous weekend trips to the ocean or the mountains. With two brothers
10 and 8 years older, I was exposed to more things automotive than many kids my age.

I got my first old Chrysler when I was 13, and when I was 16 I drove a 1954 Chrysler wagon to Alaska, and owned
4 other 54 New Yorkers. At the ripe old age of 20, I was ready to experience my first national W.P.C. meet in
Denver, in 1976. I had never been to a big meet before, but the memories of that meet will be with me forever.
 My best friend and I drove there in two days, over 800 miles each day in my 1954 New Yorker convert. I still
vividly remember the gorgeous Wyoming sky,  big thunder clouds and rolling high plains as we were passed by
another club member  in his 1956 Imperial Southampton, running near 100 M.P.H.! Remember it was 1976, and
many people drove like that in the  desert. The meet itself was just as memorable, with a 1932 Chrysler Imperial
Victoria salt flat hot rod, numerous woodies, trucks and even two custom built Hemi powered roadsters. In those
days letter series 300's were long distance runners,  running with multiple radar detectors, police tires and C.B.
radios. It would be rare today to see a restored Chrysler 300 driven hard across country to a National! All
too soon the tours, shows, and dinners were over, and we were on the road home.

Ever since then though, I try not to pass up a National or Regional meet. I still have the same 54 New Yorker,
and a good friend actually bought the same Imperial that passed me in Wyoming some thirty years ago! In the
ensuing years I have  been to 7 more National meets, and our region here in the Puget Sound area has traded off
putting on Regional meets with  our friends in the Portland Oregon region, and the Vancouver Island region of
British Columbia for the last 20+  years.   These regionals have left us with many great memories and friendships
that are truly cherished. Although somewhat smaller than a National, they are also just a bit more intimate and
still full of great events. 

All this historical lead in is to put some perspective on what drove our region to take on another meet this last
summer in spite of high gas prices, busy schedules and highways that seem more and more congested. As with
any meet there is the initial vision, followed by many months of meetings, planning, and organizing volunteers.
As usual, there are all the things that just seem to fall into place, followed by all the surprises and mini disasters
that have to be dealt with. One of our members had come to us about 8 years ago with an article about a replica
50's diner that was available for special events, just a  short ferry ride from Seattle, and after 8 years we
felt the time was right to incorporate it into a regional function, and we were off and running.


This years meet was August 3-6, and was based in Poulsbo, Washington, which is a semi-rural community located on
Puget Sound about 25 miles, and a half hour ferry ride from the greater Seattle. The club reserved 50 rooms at
the Poulsbo Inn, and by 10:00 A.M. Thursday, the drive began to fill with vintage Mopars. The tree shaded entry
check-in looked like an old travel log postcard, with cars from the thirties to the sixties lining up to check in.
There were old friends in familiar rides, some with new acquisitions, and new members we were just getting to know.
The fun was  just watching the highway to see what would arrive next as the afternoon wore on. Members milled
about the parking lot to greet new arrivals and kick tires. 

Through out the afternoon WPCers walked or drove the half mile to downtown Poulsbo to walk the waterfront,
eat and shop in the many small stores and galleries. By late afternoon the parking was nearly fall and we all
gathered in the breakfast room of the Inn for our ice cream social. There were lots of toppings and decedent
treats, and many of us moved from table to table visiting and trading stories old and new. It was with great
anticipation that we all called it a night, looking forward to Friday's tours and BBQ.

Friday dawned sunny and warm, and after breakfast our group split up into two tours. One small tour checked
the local wrecking yards, seeing if there were any treasures to be had. The larger group wandered along some
lovely back roads along Puget Sound and ended up at the Under Water Naval museum near the nuclear submarine
base in Banger.  The museum lot was packed with vintage Mopars and there was an amazing variety of things
to see in the museum.   I had no idea how old torpedo technology was, or how sophisticated even civil war
weaponry could be. The machine work on the early steam powered torpedoes was a sight to behold, with
tiny bevel gears and fly weight governors, almost like watch making! Our time at the museum came to a close
and the group toured back to the hotel for lunch and a break before the afternoon garage tours.

For our garage tours the car count had to be pared down to about 25 to 30 cars for parking considerations,
and it was great to see every one work together volunteering rides, sharing cars and compressing 100 people
into 25 or so cars. The long line of chrome and color left on schedule, and traveled about 15 miles over to
Bainbridge Island and the incredible waterfront home of Glen Mounger, who is one of the principles of the
Pebble Beach concourse in California each summer.  His home is amazing with a drive that was big enough for
our big old cars and a garage to die for. The garage is loaded with  all manner of memorabilia, jukeboxes and neon.
Then we get to the cars, how about a 32 Lincoln coupe, a 32 Ford with a blown twin plug flathead, a 1932
Packard speedster, a Bentley Continental coupe, a Porsche speedster, a Pierce Arrow run-about, a Ferrari
California Spyder, a 47 Ford woodie wagon, a 56 Ford Wagon and a Gullwing Mercedes. There was 
also a "mystery" car he unveiled, but if I told you all about I would have to kill you, so it must remain
a mystery!  We all could have stayed hours longer but the bewitching hour arrived and we were off to our
next stop on the tour.

A short drive back over the bridge to the mainland found us at the wooded enclave of our dinner hosts Ed
and Tanya Johnson.  Their amazing garage sits among the tall evergreens overlooking the water, and is full
of unusual forties and fifties cars of all descriptions.  How about a 2 door Kaiser Manhattan with supercharger,
a 1955 Packard 400 with Caribbean trim and a stick shift!, a 56 Continental, a 47 and a 55 Desoto convertible,
an Edsel convert, a 1955 T-Bird, a 1957 Ford retractable and several more, each with its own wall area
complete, with literature and neon signage, simply amazing. We were even encouraged to open doors and sit
in the cars. After ogling the cars we all retired to the ample deck areas overlooking the blue waters of
Puget Sound and spent a warm, relaxing evening enjoying a catered BBQ, watching the boats and sharing
time with good friends.  After desert and some raffle prizes, we motored back to the hotel for some rest
before Saturday's show.

Show Saturdays are familiar territory to many of us, they mean getting up at the crack of dawn, cleaners and
rags in hand, only to find that the guy parked next to you has already finished his waxing and is heading off
to breakfast! Well, I actually beat a few people, but the morning was a bit busy. After a quick bite it
was off to the show field. We had probably 8 cars in our group, rolling down the rural highway in the morning 
dew, the chrome playing out its light show as we passed through the low lying early sunlight. It was mesmerizing
watching the mirror as we made our way to Port Gamble, and our show field framed by trees and the bay.
The field was scouted and cars parked quickly, and  soon the area was filling up. By the time the morning 
chill had left the air we were looking at 60 shining examples of Chrysler's history proudly displaying their
heritage. The town of Port Gamble made a perfect backdrop, mad up of homes dating back 100 years or more,
and nearly untouched by time.

Many of the woman folk disappeared at lunch and had a women's High-Tea at a quaint little tea house in
town. They sampled riches beyond imagination, well, that is if your imagination runs to chocolate! The rest
of us had lunch in town and took in the cars as the day ran its course. The cool breeze off the water was
welcome, and many tourists stopped off to check out the show field. As the afternoon came to an end,
we all packed up and made our way back to the hotel to change and get ready for the banquet.

Those of us putting on the event drove out to "My Girl" early to set up and prepare for the clubs arrival.
The drive out is about 15 miles on quiet rural roads, through rolling hills and tall trees, the  kind of road
that makes an old Hemi sound just right. Then, over a rise there is a small hand written sign that says My Girl,
placed at the end of a non-descript gravel road. As you make your way down this drive a touch of doubt
creeps in, is this the wrong road?, did we miss the real turn?, but just then the drive turns and through a
small gate rises a vision of times gone by, much like an improbable oasis in the desert!

What greets guests is a classic American drive-in, nestled in the trees but complete with a car hop awning,
neon and a full road house diner inside. To the left and behind the main building is a miniature drag strip
complete with timing lights, tower and bleachers for the "burn-out" area. On the right side of the restaurant
building is a full size replica of a Union 76 gas station, complete with pumps and service bays full of vintage
cars. As our evening began to come together the parking lot slowly filled with life and color as the cars began
rolling in. It could have been any one of thousands of small towns in the fifties or sixties, with kids and their
hot cars arriving to be seen and be seen. The only difference was that these "kids" looked somewhat more
mature, and their cars were nicer than those ghosts from the past!

Our group visited for the first hour, and toured the facility with all of its history and memorabilia, which
included a chain saw collection, numerous classic cars, antique tools, Elvis Presley's Airstream trailer, and
an amazing collection of vintage magazines and books. We then sat down to a delicious catered dinner, and
enjoyed the trophy presentations, along with a rousing rendition of our Northwest signature song,
"Hemis and Fins", sung to the tune of Ghost Riders in the Sky, by four brave volunteers. ( Jon Carson, 
Ian Smale, Ron Wenzel and Gene Kahn ) During the meal we were serenaded by  a great local singer
doing classic songs from the forties and fifties as well.

After dinner the soft summer twilight began to alter the whole look of this special moment in time, the neon
began to take over as the light softened and the chrome and paint really put on a show. Many of us just walked
around outside taking in the  magic, listening to the sounds of vintage songs from the jukebox, and talking to
old friends. As the stars became more distinct, the neon glowed ever brighter, and the whole scene looked
even more like an oasis in the night. The music wafted out into the trees, and bits of conversations could
be heard, punctuated by laughter here and there. As the evening wore on, the cars would start and file out
one by one through the gate. Several of us stood near the gate to say our good byes and watch the show. The
 sounds of mellow sixes, throbbing big blocks and oh so smooth Hemi's played their own music as our guests
 left. Each car strutted its stuff for the crowd, the Desoto's with their stacked lamps glowing, the soft glow
of Thirties cars lamps, the yacht-like shine of the Town and  Countries wood and chrome. The night was warm
and windows were down, we were able to talk and shake hands as each car passed, savoring each moment with
old and d ear friends. I think all of us knew the night was a special one. As the crowd thinned we found a group
inside watching old Elvis movies on the mini- theater screen, couples holding hands, heads together, watching
clips they hadn't seen in years, and just enjoying the moment.

All too soon we were done cleaning up and it was time to head back to the hotel, my two kids drove us back,
my daughter and I in our '54 New Yorker convert and my wife and son in the '61 Newport wagon, the sky
was full of stars, the air warm and the country roads were quiet as our two time machines helped etch the
evening in our memories. We will be ready for the next regional in a heart beat, and thanks so much to every
one who came and made this one so special!

Jon Carson
WPC President of the Puget Sound Region


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