Wednesday, September 23, 2009

High Desert Swap Meet Redmond Oregon part 3

Living in the United States between world wars and having a fascination with two and four wheel transportation: Now there's a First Wish that would be followed by a request for the genie to put away the magic bottle! One of the darling little ideas to reach fruition in the mid-teens was the Auto Red Bug. It went through some parent company changes, and existed in two distinct models: One, an electric motor harnessed to wet-cell batteries in the metal box behind, and the other, a small one-lung internal combustion plant that traveled sidesaddle with the wheel it drove--which dangled off the back like a crazy-wheel trailer of the fifties!

When, that lovely September Saturday morning in 2009, I saw this work of art in the images above, I knew what the creator had copied. It was not for sale--the vendor had just bought it himself. While it appears the dimensions are true to the original, the workmanship was clearly an exquisite one-off effort by someone who knew her or his way around a machine shop.

The power plant idea was kin to the fifth wheel noted above, but seemed more like the result of an AHA! moment when the anonymous creator spotted a Honda Trail 90.
That tall stud on the back? It just fits into a HT90 after you remove the front fork and wheel. The controls link up seamlessly, and you're on the road in your snappy little cyclecar, living the good life promised by the end of the War to end all Wars and freed from the waning days of the Edwardian era.

Knickers and Argyles. Gibson Girls. It all seems like simpler times.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

High Desert Swap Meet Redmond Oregon part 2

Non automotive: Plenty to see and experience. Under the heading "implied speed" consider the pedal car and the locomotive, right hand end of the table of toys.

What is it? I can't remember, but the seller had a copy of the patent there. It looks roughly like a juicer, but somewhat more industrial than we're accustomed to.

Jogger moms wouldn't do well with the perambulator. But it worked for us!

And finally, the Zenith media center. And that's the correct color--nearly as yellow as a caution light, but clearly still wood veneer. It was in such good condition that, once plugged in, it would probably get all those old radio shows like One Man's Family, The Green Hornet, Lum and Abner and Mary Backstage, Noble Wife.

Monday, September 14, 2009

High Desert Swap Meet Redmond Oregon part 1

Here's the official subtitle of this annual event in Redmond: Antiques to old car parts, collectible toys to new toys. A car show of classic cars and even some cars for sale.

That's pretty good, actually, but it doesn't come close to covering it all. It's a big deal and a lot of people do a lot of work to make it happen. And when that first Saturday after Labor Day rolls around, I'm ready. Equipment: Shoes that will tolerate dewy grass for the first two hours, head covering, water, snack, backpack, and GO! Gates open at 7! Costs you nothing to get in, and you're in for, if you cover all the ground, and linger over this or that, 6 hours of joyful sampling of stuff for sale, friends to reconnect with, and stories to overhear.

When you hear these, stop and listen:

"My dad had one of's the car I learned to drive..."

"I'm looking for a right front fender for a 37 Packard sedan..."

"Will that fit on a 55 Chevy?"

"What the heck is that?"

Fish stories, hard sell, dickering in the friendliest context imaginable, people puzzling over some strange object (usually not car related) that "I got at an estate sale," all here under the bluest skies and punctuated by squeaky wheels on rusty old Radio Flyer wagons that are being pulled out to the parking lot to be loaded up so the buyer can come back for more stuff.

There will be several posts here about this year's sale. For the first time I took my camera. Later you'll see the split-personality object I bought which is now in the living room, as well as an inscrutable piece of hardware, with moving parts. I'll post some images of some of the cars that were on display--not for sale--and sample the non-automotive stuff.

All that, and I never made it over to the antiques section. We'll cover that next year. Can't wait until Labor Day comes and goes.

Oh, that little Rambler convertible for sale in the picture? Someone shoehorned a serious V-8 under the hood of that little julep. It's the quintessential Saturday Drags, Sunday Drive set of wheels. Surprise!