A warm hello to fellow woodie-folks!
As many of you know, your NWC board and officers have just returned from the NWC annual board meeting and the 3rd annual National Woodie Meet in Wells/Ogunquit, Maine. Although there will be a full report in an upcoming Woodie Times issue, suffice it to say that it was AWESOME. The weather, the venue, the people, the woodies . . . all came together to make a fantastic event. Although you will see/hear it elsewhere, a super shout-out needs to go to Sonny Perkins for putting this all together, along with his fellow Eastern Chapter Directors Bill Quick and Bob Stevens.
While the show, cruises, and food (including lobster) were fabulous, we WERE there to conduct some business as well. As a result, your board and officers did put about six hours into Sunday's board meeting. I must have dozed off or something . . . because the next thing I know President Bill Sampson handed me the gavel and said something like, "Congratulations, you're a mother - and here's your baby!" So just like that I became your new president! All kidding aside, this transition was determined three years ago when I was elected Vice President. Bill has served faithfully and well for many years - capped off by his last three years as president. And the bottom line was that he did a great job and will be a tough act to follow.
Since I vacated the Vice Presidency to become President, the Board needed to elect a new VP. I am excited to announce that Jack Boyle, current Central Region Director, was unanimously elected to that office – and will now have both director and VP responsibilities – at least for now. Jack will do I great job!
All I can say is that I will give the President’s job my best shot. There is much to do - not the least of which will be helping the club find its next Woodie Times editor. As mentioned in the magazine and elsewhere, John Lee has announced his retirement - tentatively set for 2020 – presumably in the Fall. More on that to come as we get down the road a bit.
I know that we all buy the woodies that we have because of our personal preferences. Some opt to keep their cars original, while others prefer them restored, and others want them modified (from not-even-obvious to radical). Some of us "baby" our cars and rarely let them out of their garages, while others drive them. And there is no wrong option.
When I bought my first woodie (a '50 Ford) I wanted to have it totally stock and so I restored it as much as possible. After accomplishing that, I found out that those old clutches can really be a pain for an old guy to keep pushing - particularly in stop-and-go traffic and 90-100 degree Central Valley and SoCal weather. And I had forgotten about something called "vapor lock." Likewise whose wife wants to ride in that? So what did I do? I bought a trailer of course! Now we could go to shows all over, driving an air-conditioned pickup truck and making sure the woodie would get to the show without any nicks, scratches, pits, or mechanical problems.
And then it started to hit me. This is NOT why I bought this car. I wanted to DRIVE it. I started realizing why others (whom I had previously silently condemned) were modifying their cars to have modern drive trains, auto trans, A/C, PB, PS, etc. While not being able to bring myself to cut up my existing pristine classic, I opted to sell it and bought my current car with the intention of keeping it looking stock – but modifying it as needed to have those features described above. And that's what I did. And no, I have no regrets.
So for 10 years now, I have driven this car . . . EVERYWHERE. It will run at 70 mph (and more) all day without issue. I'm sure slower drivers wonder how this 70-year-old station wagon could possibly be passing them! I drive it to virtually all of the California woodie shows, other local non-woodie shows, plus I've driven it across country multiple times - most recently to attend the National Woodie Meet in Maine this past August. The above photo was taken at the mostly-deserted Ford Iron Mountain (Michigan) woodie plant on the way home from Maine.
Hence, my message to all woodie owners is - "Do what you enjoy with your cars." I know that's what I do . . . and love it.
All the best,