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July 28, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, July 28, 2010 18 .oadsters, speedsters and horseless carriages converge in Plumas Maybe it's just antique car buffs who know the differences between 1913 and 1915 Model Ts, like the wood or metal firewalls, square or round side lamps, flat or round fenders and gas or electric magneto headlights. In the 1915 Model T he restored as a senior project in high school, Matt Ryan with his wife, Jessi- ca, lead the annual Ryan Ramble, a road trip with Horseless Carriage Club of America members and friends from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California. This year, they enjoyed lunch in Genesee after adventures along the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway and around the edges of Indian Valley. Photos by Alicia Knadler Ken Tucker and his son, Nathan, look over an Excalibur, which is the first of the retro-contemporary classics built starting with a heavy Studebaker frame in the 1960s and based on a 1928 Mercedes-Benz. The original prototype (not shown) was called a Mercebaker and made its debut in 1963 at a New York car show, Alicia Knadler indian Valley Editor aknadler@plumasnews.com It's a summertime explo- sion of wheels in Plumas County communities, and not just bicycle wheels. Antique and classic car aficionados gather for shows and tours throughout the county, including two recent events: the Ryan Ramble and the Hot Rod and Custom Car Gathering in Greenville. Matt Ryan, president of the Northern California Regional Group of the Horseless Carriage Club of America, set the itinerary for the ramble, a road trip featuring stops along the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, as well as an attentin'getting drive by the Solar Cook-Off on the way to a catered luncheon at the Genesee Store. Club members and friends with antique cars hailed from all over the west, including from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California. The most numerous of the horseless carriages were the 1913 and 1915 Model Ts, along with various makes of speedsters, and the rarest were two 1915 Hudsons, Ryan said. Car owners were hap- py to show Off their cars and provide history and mechanical lessons to those interested enough to stop by for a closer look. The Model T Fords were parked in a line, which made it easier for a novice to tell The Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company of Buffalo, N.Y., intro- duced the first molded bodies 0eft), such as where the fender extrudes to wrap around the headlight. Of all the antique cars on the ramble, this car of presidents, royal families and famous entertainers is considered to be the most extravagant. Because cops weren't too happy with a blue brake light on the rare 1915 Hudson (right), Bob Hopkins of Orangevale went out and bought a special stop light to install above it. Before they were moved to share space with other dashboard instruments, devices to measure heat in radiators (top right) were part of the hood ornamentation, like on this 1926 Cadillac. the years apart. Although similar from a distance, the 1913 models featured wooden firewalls, square side lamps, flat fenders and gas headlights, while the later model had a metal firewall, round side lamps, rounded fenders and electric magneto headlamps. In 1915, one could purchase four Model Ts for the price of one Hudson said proud owner Bob Hopkins of Orangevale. He knows of only four others in existence, besides his. Opening the hood, Hopkins explains the primers, which look like highly polished little brass cups in the block , -next to the spark-plugs. "Those are for cold-wQather starting," he explained. "If that doesn't work, you can put some coals from the fire under the engine or pour some boil- ing-hot water over the block -- or just go get the horse." He restored the Hudson himself, except for the upholstery, and almost every part of it is original, except for the tractor plugs, the back half of the water pump and some after-market lights he added to please highway patrol officers. The original brake lights " are blue, with the letters SLO in them. On his car are several items that were optional accessories of the day, in-cluding rear view mirrors, a $3 clock in the dash, among other things. Two spare tires and a jack were standard equipment, though. The oldest car on the ramble was a 1910 REO tour- ing car driven by Medford, Ore., resident Dick Croly, with his wife, Margaret, riding shotgun. "It means Runs on Empty Only," Croly said with a laugh at the three-letter logo of the motorcar company started in 1904, by Ransom E. Olds. Archie Wright of Sacramento parks his 1913 Model T along- side a group that includes some 1915 models. He is happy to share his knowledge about the differences and his enjoyment of driving such an old car around the back roads of Plumas and Lassen counties. The most extravagant car on the ramble was not the. luxurious looking 1926 Cadil- lac or the 1932 Plymouth; it was the Pierce Arrow, a car for presidents, royal families and famous entertainers during the Roaring '20s. The manufacturers of the Pierce Arrow w~ere the first to begin molding the body, such as where the fenders are molded up and around to encompass the headlights. The speedsters were a motley group of Ford Model Ts, Model As and even a couple Chevys, all from the mid-1920s. Some had frames of one make and engines from an- other -- early hybrids if one were to ponder blending of different families of the auto- mobile into one new species. Several who brought their speedster hot rods along on the ramble were from the Bellview and Mt. Vernon areas of Washington, some from Oregon and at least one from Valley Springs. All told, there were 31 cars that left for the two-day run over Lassen Peak to Genesee, and most of them made it after a logistics snafu. When they arrived at a remote gas stop, the station was closed already. "So we shared our gas and most of us made it to the next stop," Ryari said with a wince. He's the one who organizes the logistics and lunches of the ramble, including mak- were added to the bounty of ing arrangements for a prizes they offer to partici- trouble truck in case of pants. breakdowns, which is not out Upcoming events car buffs of the norm for these 100- might like attend are the year-old vehicles. Sierra Cascade Street Rodders Other antique, classic and Mountain Madness Car Show rare cars were in Greenville Saturday, Aug. 21, during the next weekend, during an Railroad Days in Portola and annual hot-rod and customthe annual Streetrod Extrava- car gathering during Goldganza and Motorcycle Exhibi. Digger Days. tion Friday, Sept. 10, 5 - 8 John and p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 11, Jessica from 7 a.m., at Chester Park. Activities for Saturday in- clude a poker run around Lake Almanor and a poker walk through the town of Chester. For more information about these upcoming events, call the Chester-Lake Almanor Cham- ber of Commerce at 2,58-2426, or the street rod Mountain Madness organizer Curt McBride at 545-0716. For information about the Horseless Carriage Club of America, call 9060255, or for regional Model A Club infor- How purple can it get? mation call Lynn or Bonnie Oroville resident Phil Johnson White at 993-4458. was a huge hit at the Tay- Information about other Iorsville Fourth of July parade, county events as well as the Gold Digger Days parade suggested tour itineraries and at the Hot Rod and Cus- may be found via the Plumas tom Car gathering in July. County Visitors Bureau with a call to 283-6345, (800) 326-2247 or online at plumas- Papenhausen of Mohawk county.org. Trading Company started the For information about: the annual motor vehicle show in annual show during Gold 2000, and last year trophies Digger Days, call 264-7312. The oldest and the rarest of horseless carriages arriving in Genesee Saturday, July 10, are a 1910 REO touring car, brought by Dick and Margaret Croly of Medford, Ore., and behind them is a 1915 Hudson, one of only five in existence, brought by Bob Hopkins Jr. of Orangevale (not shown).