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On the ground at the 2019 Portland Roadster Show

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1960 Imperial Crown convertible, one of 618 built and roughly 31 remaining. It earned a Grand National Senior Champion from the AACA in 2014. Photography by author.

Go to pretty much any open car show anywhere and you’ll see a lot of Fords and Chevys in various forms on the show grounds. Not surprisingly — there are a lot of them out there.

But what about all those “other” cars? There are usually somewhat fewer Mopars, fewer still of the other GM and Ford marques, and the sampling of foreign and homebuilt cars gets really small.

So for this report, let’s just presume the Fords and Chevys are well represented. Those wanting to see what was there can go to for more.

Here’s a sampling of those “other” cars that were at the show this year. Some were so radically customized they were nearly beyond recognition. Some were not yet finished — works in progress at varying stages.

It’s more like one of those “What do you see here?” reports than a full write-up.

This “belly tank” streamliner in John Deere colors with a tractor engine is actually a speed machine. The owner/builder hopes to get to 50 mph when it runs. Maybe it will.


BMW Isetta 300

BMW Isetta 600

BMW 700

The two Isettas — a 300 and a “limousine” 600 — along with the BMW 700 are rarely seen at any show. To see them all on one display is downright unusual.


This custom El Camino/Ranchero-style Rambler pickup was parked over near the rat rods.


Lincoln Zephyr

1940 Lincoln Zephyr

Here’s something you don’t see everyday — a pair of customized Lincoln Zephyrs, including a ’39 (top) and ’40.


1951 Mercury

Is that the Hirohata Merc? No, it’s a tastefully done tribute, built from a ’51 Mercury.


Fiberfab Azteca

When’s the last time you saw a Fiberfab Azteca?


If a WWII light tank can be cute and compact, this 1942 M3A1 Stuart was.


1946 Norton A10M

The Norton A10M that won the 1946 Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man. The actual bike — not a copy.


Of special mention is the PRS’ emphasis on the cars of young people, many teenagers bringing vehicles they are working on in school or with their families. An entire section of the floor was set aside for those, and there were a lot of young people wandering through looking at the work done by other young people.

They weren’t all just foreign “tuner” cars either. There were some of those, but a nice selection of domestic vehicles — cars and pickups — that befit the first tries of a young person. In most cases, the kids were nearby the cars and were more than willing to discuss them with spectators.

This is one of the premier car shows in the Pacific Northwest, sponsored by the Multnomah Hot Rod Council — a group of car clubs that cooperates annually in presenting it to the public. The PRS this year ran three days and saw something like 5,000 or so spectators come through the doors. There were very close to 400 vehicles displayed.

1956 Mercury