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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         

 

May Ė June 2022

1956 Plymouth Fury

 

 

 

Presidentís Message May Ė June 2022

 

There are so many aspects to this passion and joy of collecting and restoring these rolling pieces of history that we find so fulfilling. Nothing stirs the soul for us nuts like driving, watching or even just sitting in and amongst our cars and parts. As I always say, there are worse afflictions. Though some may disagree. Of all the things I have written or postulated upon, the memorializing of my own father has been the most difficult.

 

A memorialÖ. First of all, I need to mention that my father was the second president of the WPC club in 1974 and was on the founding board of directors and the original chief judge when the club was formed in the California bay area in 1968. As such, I believe it is fitting to write a memorial about him in the magazine. Many of the older original members may remember him. My father, Bill Adams Sr., fled his earthly tribulations a few months ago. His mortal departure was sudden and unexpected. However, upon reflection, he seemed to have known something was coming. He made his wishes abundantly clear to his kids in the last year and spent quality time with each of us in the few months prior. There are 7 of us, so this is quite the feat. Not bad for an only child from Buffalo, NY, raised by a single mother. His mother remarried when he was 14 and he didnít get along too well with his new stepdad at the time (thankfully, that changed over time). So at 15, he had an opportunity to move to San Jose California with his Aunt and her family. He jumped at it. His mother took him from Buffalo to California on the train in 1958. What an epic journey and a wonderful time to travel across the country on a steam train. He often recalled the journey fondly. He recalled seeing the mountain ranges in the western US as the train chugged through them and being utterly amazed. He would always say that California in the late 50ís and early 60ís was THE place to be.

 

Soon he bought a 38 Chevy as his first car. He bought it from the original owner and polished it every other day. He was always fascinated by mechanical things and cars quickly became his obsession. A friend, Bob, had a 38 Dodge that had factory overdrive. His ďAHAĒ moment came when he grew tired of only being able to put along at 45 mph when his buddies were zooming along at 65 with overdrive in a similarly priced and optioned car. Within a year's time frame he had an Oldmobile, a 40 Mercury and at last a 39 DeSoto and Chrysler. He became uniquely aware that most other makes always paled in comparison to the mechanical superiority of the Chrysler products. He noticed there were lots of aftermarket accessories available for other makes and mostly Chevys and that was why more people and kids in the day seemed to like them more. He was quick to point out that Chrysler products came from the factory with the better items you had to buy from the aftermarket for the other makes. Overdrive, electric wipers, beefier internals, etc. Him, Bob and Tony Robello(also an original director with WPC) were buying up cars on the side of the roads and in wrecking yards for 5 and 10 bucks a piece. One of the other things that attracted him to Chrysler products of the 30ís and 40ís was that many parts interchanged. He knew what parts would interchange with each car. As a kid, I thought he was a celebrity. Every car show or tour we went on, he was constantly mobbed with questions of what fits with this model or what is an adequate replacement for that part. There always seemed to be a crowd of people around him asking questions and he was always happy to help. Most people he seemed to get along with, even ones who no one got along with, he always did. One of many lessons from him was his example of treating everyone fairly and honestly. As such, everyone liked him. This did backfire on him in late 1973 when he was nominated and elected WPC club president. The club experienced rapid growth in the early years and quickly became challenging to deal with all of the personalities and egos from many of the new regions. A group from southern California had come on almost immediately and now occupied a few of the board of directors seats. This group was largely led by Sherwood Kahlenberg. The founder of the club and first president was Norm Fry in Castro Valley in the founding Golden Gate region. Sherwood had a lot of ideas about where the club needed to go and for reasons not worth getting into, did not get along with Norm, and the feeling was mutual. In an effort to keep the 2 regions from splintering into another club, a compromise was reached. Instead of Norm continuing as president or Sherwood becoming the president, they would nominate a neutral person that they all liked and respected. Much to his amazement and shock, my father was nominated. He reluctantly accepted on the condition that he did not have to do it for more than a year. It was not a position he wanted. However, with the help of the editor and good friend, Doug Jones, he managed to put out a president's message each issue and gladly hung up his executive hat after a year when Sherwood was elected the third president of the club, where he presided for a few years.

 

I am very fortunate that his close friends from the early days of the club also became close friends of mine over the years. A few are still with us but many are gone. Howard DeSart was the clubs original secretary and remained active with the club into the 90ís. He passed away in January 2019. Tony Robello was a founding member and had moved to Boise, ID in the 80ís. He passed away in 2012. I was very fortunate to be able to spend some time with Norm Fry, the founder before he passed away at 96 in 2015. He began collecting Chryslerís in high school in 1935. The aforementioned Doug Jones, former editor extraordinaire, has been a family and personal friend for many years now. We usually meet up at Pebble Beach week in the Monterey area every year. Ken Wilson is one of my fathers oldest and dearest friends. Ken is also a WPC club founding member and was behind the organization of nearly everything to do with the club from inception through the late 70ís. His organizational and leadership abilities were vital to the club. Ken is also a close friend of mine and one whoís advice I regularly seek on matters of the club.

 

In future issues, Iíll continue beyond 1974 and recount some of the stories I remember from the early days of the club in the 70ís. Iíll also relay some great stories relayed to me by my father about some of the great tours and events. I am lucky to still have his 39 Chrysler Hayes coupe and 62 300 convertible. For now, I know my fatheríssoul lives on. I see and hear him everywhere, in everything I do. I am certain he is now roaming the rows of cars in his favorite wrecking yards from years ago. I will roam them as well in this world, until I see him again. Bill JrBill

 

Happy Motoring,

Bill Adams Jr, Oakdale, CA

 

And now a note from our WPC News Editor Frank Pascoe -A REMINDER NOTE TO ALL THE MEMBERS WHO GO SOUTH FOR THE WINTER:

 

Please send Terry Williams your address where you spend the winter, and tell him when you will be returning home. The Post Office is not forwarding any periodicals. The club does not use first class mail for most of the mailings. You must write Terry again when you are going back home. The club has to pay $1.80 for every magazine that comes back. Please remember to change your address just like you would for any other magazine you subscribe to.

 

 

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