T 'n' A
The Outriders is hands-down the larger of the two. So - guess which one we went to? Yup. The Throttlers Picnic is likely to have all the bangers and bob-tail T's that are willing to go out on a beautiful Sunday morning. But that doesn't mean that there are very many of them....no, the Forever 4 guys who come out in a small fleet (about 24 cylinders between them) made the most remarkable statement, and the right-on Chisler/Shifter contingent was present, probably digging the vibrations here over the more populated other choice. Can we come up with a correct, journalistic, respectful phrase to describe these cats? T n' H? Stray Cats? Maybe naming the clubs is descriptive enough. But that may leave some Lone Wolfs out. Any suggestions?
We got so wound up in conversations and car-gawking that we forgot to get the camera out (really - Jimmy Olson, Cub Reporter, forgets again) so there is no photo essay here; but you can probably envision the calibre and style of the players, and the tone. It's pretty cool but maybe a little off from years past. There were plenty of cars and people in attendance, but it seemed that the fleet of old timers was modest; maybe they know that lots of Voyeurs would be there. Paretta describes a curve of decreasing quality as the population and widespreadness of an event increases. Thus, you should have smaller events - of your own - with hand-picked invitees and no spectators. But we can't help ourselves, in that we are as responsible as anybody for increasing the population of close kept secret events when we sneak in just to absorb some of the reality of the way it was.
We were in a car that is a copy of one that was built in the late 20's. Two people there had cars like it (one was the copy subject), both were interested in the copy, critiqued it (ouch), but approved. They are older gents who are pleased that the newly-gray bunch finds them to be the experts, and that that era has style and performance tricks that enchant us. They are Hop Up Guys who don't care if we think they are; the hot T's are just what they do. Part of them. Part of their lives. The overwhelming correspondence they have with the cars is solo, in the garage at home, joined at times by old Pals who have been through it all with them. They aren't interested in impressing people they don't know, or who don't get it. If you are sincere in the sanctity of the pursuit, that sincerity will radiate, and they will include you. A highly-placed intro doesn't hurt, either.
So the Throttlers Picnic happened and they went home. We went home. Inspired. I wish I'd remembered to take some pictures. Don't you?
It's a good thing this crap doesn't cost you anything.
It didn't hurt that it was in October, a month earlier thus, a month warmer than usual. We had stuff to do closer to home on Saturday and Sunday, so weren't going to go, until we talked to pal Steve Hendrickson from Minneapolis, who was bringing his newly restored Mazmanian Corvette for debut........we made a quick turn-around to pat this guy on the back for a stellar restoration job and - of course - because it necessitated a roadster ride.
(Did he tell you he forgot his camera on this one, too? Ed..)
Someone had called and said, "Ya goin' to Bakersfield?" "Yup." "Friday?" "Yup." "Well, ya wanna meet on the grapevine like we usually do?" "Yup." We did. By coincidence there were four black roadsters hooked up at the appointed meeting place (one is a cool dark blue, so we reasoned it was faded black) - no one was late - everyone had agreed to get there gassed-up - we lied, had a cool one, whizzed, lit 'em, and launched.
Lookin' good. Bitchin day, typical traffic for the 'vine. It feels like you're goin' somewhere, man. I don't know how you could stop only another 70 miles away. You should just be able to go on - forever. It is so perfect.
Short but sweet.
When the people you run with are experienced in The Run, it makes for a pleasurable cruise. First of all, there's a reasonable expectation of driving skill, experience, etc., and then there's the cool. Yeah. The cool. Ya gotta be cool. How could you not be cool? You're in a bunch (the right sized bunch, too) of cars, they are hot rods, and they are cool. 'Doesn't matter if anyone sees you; that ain't it. You are cool because you are cool.
You're running just a little faster than the rest of the traffic. It's not just a snail trail, because you are moving gently around, changing lanes here and there, admiring your buddies' car, moving a little faster now, a little slower then, taking in all the different views of the other cars, and it becomes kind of a high-speed ballet; not choreographed, but ever-changing. Then you glaze out and concentrate on the drone of the engine that you know a little about, wondering why it serves you so long and dependably, you think "It would sound better if it was runnin' about 100 RPM faster." Your toe barely moves, but the pitch of the engine is discernibly higher. To you. Look over the hood. God. The view coming down the 'vine, over that little pinched front-end, where you can get your first glimpse of the Central Valley ................ we have it too good. Will I be able to "turnaround" tomorrow morning?
What's that distraction to my left? Oh. It's some full-fendered, faded-black deuce roadster passing me. The cat has a smirk on his face. This is a moment - one of thousands of them - that we do it for. No words need to be exchanged. We'll watch the back of the deuce for a while..........What's that on the right? The guy in the '32 highboy is saying something..........."I need gas." We'd gone 30 miles .
Next time maybe I'll just sneak off on my own..........
Limited space causes us to only include 3 shots of the cars there, but we can probably squeeze some in , in later months.
The Vicky has a Bay Area background and there is some mention of the one-owner piece being re-engined in the late 40's for $95. Those were factory-authorized engines and the rebuilder would supply proper documentation for your re-registering the car with new engine numbers. Rebuilt flathead blocks will have clear numbers stamped on the top of the deck, where they could be read with little effort. As an aside to all this, it was Ford's "gift" to Louie Meyer and Lew Welch that they were the authorized contractor to do the engines. (Meyer was a 3 time Indy winner, and Welch was the industrialist from Novi, Michigan, who had been involved in the '35 Ford-Indy effort and later with Bud Winfield, Leo Goosen, Jean Marcenac, et.al. in the Novi V-8 Indy motors.
That was a tangent, wasn't it? Christ.
So it is that we do our part to protect the environment. Especially sensitive, the eco-systems found in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Foothills are to be cherished and not befouled with carelessness and cavalier attitudes toward local codes and ordinances designed to guarantee this wonderfulness to those that follow.
We at Hop Up are calling on our brethren to watch for (and smell for) a scoundrel in the Sierra Nevada who the authorities are calling "The Driveway Body Butcher". This scurrilous ne'r-do-well has been likened to the Moonshiners of yesterday, scoffing at laws, codes and ordinances, doing body and paint work outdoors, in a driveway, flaunting all that is sacred to the EPA , flying in the face of All Gore (I know), all for a little glory, trying to impress chicks in a backward little town with a friend's newly-primered, stick-shift car. How singularly selfish. How naive of him to think that all the locals won't already know it is not his car, because he's a slush-box kinda guy. Let's do our part in bringing this person to justice. Turn him in. E pluribus unum.