The WPC Club,
Plymouth, Dodge, Fargo, DeSoto, Chrysler, Imperial,
Jeep and Eagle & related
Automobiles. All Mopar / All Years / All
National Meet, Tacoma Washington – over 200 photos
Tacoma National Meet 2017 - The Experience.
are always fun, tiring and full of surprises.
Tacoma in 2017 was just that.
In 2016, we were in coastal Maine, and Tacoma is a
full continent away, yet four WPC families were at both meets just about
eleven months about, that is real dedication to
Tacoma also marked our return to Washington state
for the first time since 1991 when the meet was in Bothell out on the north
end of Seattle.
The weather was perfect,
the smoke that had been in ihe air the previous week (from forest fires in
British Columbia) cleared leaving us with beautiful views of Puget Sound on
one side and the cascade Range on the other side. By Tuesday night we had a
wide variety of Mopars around the hotel and filling up the parking garage.
Wednesday, we left the hotel under
a beautiful blue sky for the approximately 60 mile drive to Mt. Rainier. This
is were we had our really big surprise, the route to the mountain had to be
changed at the last minute because the bridge we had planned to use was
removed for reconstruction, there was much construction in the vicinity of
the hotel, but our hosts managed to minimize the affects on the members, so
it was hardly noticeable. We left as a group, got spread out in the traffic
and regrouped at Elbe, about halfway to the mountain. Elbe is the site of
steam train excursions. After a rest break and coffee stop the Mopars
headed off to the Paradise Visitor's Center at Mt. Rainier. Mt. Rainier is
part of the National Parks system and very busy during the summer months.
The drive in the park was spectacular and proves no problem for the mopars
on the tour including a 1948 Chrysler Town and Country and a 1954 Chrysler
New Yorker Deluxe convertible, which belonged to our host Jon Carson. I had
the good fortune to ride with Jon in this car on two tours, it is truly an
amazing car that has been in Jon's Family since the early 1960's and is
mostly original. It runs like a champ and took the steep mountain grades in
stride. The trip afforded me the opportunity to get to know Jon better and
talk with our Norwegian member Harald Stensli and his brother Brad. It was
a most pleasant day. It was also a day for new friends, like the very
colorful flag lady for the road construction project in the park who was
much fun to talk to.
After several hours admiring the old Mopars on Mt.
Rainier we headed back to Tacoma and the hotel. After a brief rest we
headed out to a barbecue dinner at Griots Garage. Griots
is known for their automotive cleaning products sold to the
hobbyist. They have a magnificent facility only blocks from our hotel,
including a showroom of more model specialty cars and a 1950's diner. The
food was good and the conversation was even better. The exhibit of Mopars
in the parking lot made for a grand showing and some great sounds as they
departed for the return to the hotel.
After a long day everyone was ready to head to bed
to rest up for the second day of fun.
Thursday was a bit overcast and
we did have a bit of rain on our way to the LeMay Family Car Collection. We
did see a number of interesting old cars in peoples
yards along the way. For those of you who have never been to the LeMay
Family Collection, the main portion is housed in an old Catholic Boys School, using the athletic facilities for much of
the collection, the gym including the bleachers, the pool, the locker room
and any other nook and cranny they could stick a car, a truck or motorcycle
in. They have also build a very large building
with racks to put cars on. The facility showcases 650 vehicles. It is
simply overwhelming. We also had the opportunity to tour the LeMay Family
compound where the family has another 300 cars for display. This is not
usually open to the public, but we were given the opportunity to tour it as
well. It is only a short distance from the main part of the collection, so
we boarded a London Double Decker bus for the short trip over. It was
interesting to hear the reaction of our members to riding the bus. The
homes out buildings are chock full of very interesting collection besides
the many cars, old signs, nearly 2,000 dolls and so many other types of
collectibles, one could spend all day there, but our tour guides kept us
moving. This collection is still growing with more than 3,500 vehicles
stored all over the Tacoma area just waiting to be shown.
This day we
walked so much, I walked the souls right off my shoes, nearly tripping over
the one when the toe portion rolled back. Thanks to Bill Adams, I got a new
pair of shoes for the rest of the week. The number of cars we sew was mind
boggling. You will not see a boarder collection of makes and eras,
including trucks and motorcycles anywhere.
Friday, it was off on one of
two tours by motor coach, to either the Museu m of flight at Boeing Field
in Seattle which features items and planes covering the more than 100 years
of aviation history, or Seattle Center which was the site of the 1962
World's Fair, instantly recognizable by the Space Needle with its revolving
observation area on top. The group also toured the Chihuly Glass Museum and
other nearby sites.
Many of the women instead opted to go for High Tea
at Freighthouse Square. I am told this event was most enjoyable.
Saturday was an absolutely
perfect for the car show at America's Car Museum just across the street
from our hotel. We headed over early to get photos of the participating
cars and gets the cars lined up on the 13 classes and added a few late minutes registrations that morning. The cars were
fabulous and the setting was very nice. Many of the members toured the
museum courtesy of our Puget Sound Region who bought the tickets.
After all the judging was done on the field the
vote tabulators went to work and calculated all the winners. And we were
ready for the awards. The banquet included a live band and original songs
written by members of our Puget Sounds and
Vancouver Island Regions, though not performed by them this year. It was an
enjoyable end to the official festivities.
I will let the photos speak for themselves, the winners are
pictured here with all the meet entrants. One award the Dr. David George
Briant Award goes to an individual and not a car, this year we had three
recipients for this award, Jon and Patty Carson and Tyson Nevel each get an
additional one year membership in the WPC Club.
Putting on a National Meet is no small endeavor as
any host region can attest, it is hours of work in advance, hours of work
the week of the meet and by the end of the week you just hope everybody
leaves soon. Usually within a few days you decide that wasn't so bad and
even start thinking about hosting another one of those events, though maybe
not right away.
Many host go to our host,
the Puget Sound Region led by Jon and Patty Carson and all the many members
who pitched in to help. Also thanks go to National Board members Pat
Opipari, Barbara Weiser and Bill Adams for their help taking the
photographs used in this issue. And we must also thank the many WPC Club
members and friends who came from around the world to make this meet so
special. I also must give a personal thank you to Larry Zappone who took me
to Seattle to catch a train back home and also provided me with my first
ride in a 1956 DeSoto Indy Pace Car, it was a thrilling experience.
Now thoughts turn to the next National Meet that
will be held in Chattanooga, Tennessee in September 2018. It looks like it
should be a fun time for all, book your rooms early
and we’ll see you there.