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Flatheads Liven Up Palo Alto Concours d’Elegance

by Dave on October 4, 2016

Old hot rods, especially if they have any notoriety, are the trendy new marque on the lawns of concours d’elegance events. We know they’re bitchen, but does recognition from the blue-blazer crowd add to anything to their cool factor? It really doesn’t matter. In the end, we’re all just car guys and an event like Palo Alto provides us an opportunity to ogle machinery we don’t often get to see. (We were also treated to a free lunch and beer).

While many concours cars travel in trailers, our crew opted to meet at oh-dawn-thirty and drive to the show. That’s Gary’s roadster, Jesse Nichol’s Clay Slaughter-built pick-up, and Dave Wilkerson’s ’39 woodie.

It’s funny how you can go to a show, walk past a couple of hundred cars, and only a handful will knock your socks off. This BMW did it for me.

What is it about the late 30’s era cars? Ford or foreign, they all seemed to be experimenting with streamline design – a few, like this ’39 BMW, with delightful results.

More of a boulevardier than a racer, this Speedster featured wide whites and bigger, comfier coupe-style seats. Chick magnet? Do the whitewalls work?

We’ll give you a pass on those cute little Italian driving shoes – maybe — if you’re climbing out from behind the wheel of a business man’s express like this one.

Off in a corner, near the porta-potties, was our neighborhood:
I poached this photo from Todd Olson, HEMI32 over on the HAMB. His pics of the event are extensive, you can see ‘em all here.

Jim Palmer was our host and the organizer of the flathead cars for the event. His Pacific Gunsight Special is a historic dry lakes car and winner of a number of coveted hot rod and preservation awards.

This ’29 roadster was being shown by the builder’s son. It had a lot of custom work done, including the Chrysler grille and the unfortunately bobbed fenders. The cowl and windshield work were outstanding. Check the dual wipers (and ignore the late model steering wheel).

The ’37-ish Special below was built by the 91 year old gentleman in the tan hat behind the car. Started in the 1940’s, it runs a wild V860 with an electronic fuel injection system of his own design. Check the ’40 trans (on its side), the quickie, and the home-built IRS. Steve Moal recently completed the bodywork.
Walt Nakamura’s flathead Cadillac-powered Meteor Special belonged to his dad. It was stashed away for safe keeping by friends when his family was hauled off to an Internment Camp during World War II.

John Mumford brought out both his ’36 roadster and a ’32 three window. Amazing the advancement in design and styling in four short years.

This guy had an old Ford panel truck full of vintage heads and manifolds. This Schultz Triplet intake caught our eye, check out where it was built.

Richard Munz was out from Wisconsin for the June events, he brought a couple of race cars including the famous Platypus.

Doug King’s T roadster was originally built by Frank Schonig for the lakes. It featured Ardun heads and lots of engineering innovations, including a unique independent quick-change rear end.

The Woodies on the Wharf event was the day before Palo Alto, and I have a lot of photos from the day. I’ll get them up online for you guys this week.


  1. STEVE permalink


  2. Warren permalink

    Flathead V8 designed without the use of a computer.
    Nice to see Doug King at the event.

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