The Portland Roadster Show… and I’m a Wuss

Hard to believe that with our third kiddo just arriving (baby Caleb, our 1st boy)  I have enough material to write one of these, but (surprisingly) I think I’ve got enough to entertain you for five minutes.  Most notable was my trip to the Portland Roadster Show; I took a lot of photos and I’ll post the bulk of them at the end of the article so if you’d like to skip my goofy narrative, head to the bottom for lots of pictures.

So what have I been up to?  I’ll write more on that later.  Chronologically the first thing to tell you about was that I wrote a letter.

A letter?  You’re probably skipping to the end and the pictures.

But it was a humorous letter.  And it was car themed involving a prototype Aston Martin.  And it was so controversial that the recipient ignored me entirely rather than justifying my petulance with a response.

Enough hinting like a (deleted for political correctness).

The story begins with an internet search because I often search Craigslist’s auto ads for the term “projects”.  This is how I ended up with a Lotus Locost Seven project for $400. Anyways, a few weeks back someone had posted a prototype Series III Aston Martin for sale as a “project” for $650,000.

I don’t have any of my own photos of the car, and people with $650k cars know how to sue for copyright, so I’ll avoid posting their photos because I like my house.  But Youtube does allow me to embed videos so I’ll note that this “project” car may have looked (exactly) like the car in the following video.

After reading the Craigslist advertisement for this “project” car, I responded with this letter (man, I’m getting sick of the word “letter”) which I think speaks for itself.

My Letter to the Mark III Owner

Good Morning,

Are you in the Portland area  Why do I ask?

No, I’m not a murderer or a thief.  They probably make more money.

I write an online vintage car blog that tries to be humorous and I live nearby.  I make the first page of results if you Google “classic car blogs”.  My website is

What’s my point?  And do I have $650,000?

Well, no.  But maybe I could give you some additional exposure.  According to the (probably b.s.) reports Google gives me, roughly one hundred people access my blog a day, and more when I post a new blog. 

Reading your ad I quickly came to the conclusion that you enjoy humor.  I’d like to expand my automotive writing skills so that someday an automotive magazine would pay me for this hobby.  Long boring story short, could I interview you about the car and your experiences owning it?  I”d be looking for humorous tales, not a sappy artistic hipster story like Petrolicious (yes, I saw your video when it came out).

The interview would probably go terrible.  I haven’t interviewed before, but hey, what have you got to lose (unless you met with a Russian ambassador recently)?

The probable deal breaker, I think the write-up would be cheeseball unless you gave me a ride in the car.  I don’t need to drive it, but I’d like to smell/hear/feel why an Aston is $640,000 dollars better than my beatup old 1957 MGA.

Either way, good luck selling the car,
Isaiah Cox

Blogger and (shamefully self published) author of Classic Car Stories available on Amazon at –

He never replied.  

I’d kinda forgot it’s the owner talking about their cars in the Petrolicious videos (I’ve stopped watching them since I realized they are all the same old rich guy talking about how he loves his car, emotionally and physically, more than he loved his first wife), so I may have insulted him when I called the video a “sappy artistic hipster story”.  Oh well.

This is getting boring.  Here’s another picture of a different local Aston because 1. pictures are great and 2. this is a notable car because he’s owned it since the (60s if I remember right) and that’s original paint.

It’s this sort of quality reporting that gets me voted into the “Top 5 Classic Car Blogs”.  No, seriously.  I got an email saying that I’d made someone’s Top 5 Classic Car Blog list.  The article was released by a Chevy reproduction body panel company, and it may have been a technique to get exposure, but I bit the hook and will advertise them for free.  Here it is. My moment of fame…ish…sort of…

Top Five Classic Car Blogs list with my blog in it! –

I should be bumped immediately for Hemming’s Motor News’ blog (, in all honesty.  How those people know the pedantic things they know is utterly beyond me but it’s awesome.  If you ever wondered what the cord hanging from the inside of a gas cap attaching it to the car is called, they probably wrote a blog on the history and development of it… I’m impressed. And sometimes a little bored.

Lastly, the Portland Roadster show.  Here’s where I can post photos because I know it’s what you like, because I like them.  Also, photos (should be) the strong point of blogs.  I can post tons of photos, unlike magazines, because I have no per page printing cost.

I’ll keep my thoughts on the Roadster show short partly because I couldn’t think.  The entire time I was trying to wrangle my one and three year old through the cars and crowds. 

I didn’t realize taking a double stroller to the roadster show was such a strange thing for a man, but I got a number of comments at the show about the stroller which surprised me since I’m lacking breasts… I mean, I’m lacking a reason to talk to me… I mean.. oh screw it… I was surprised dudes wanted to talk about my stroller is exactly what I mean because I didn’t want to talk about it.  “Uh.. yeah.. uh it’s made by Bob (not joking)… it has shocks… uh… pulls a little to the left”.

My youngest had fun, my three year old seems to be entering her teenage years early because she didn’t want to take pics, or be happy, and kept asking to go home.

The show was impressive.  I’d like to say that it was inspiring but it wasn’t.  The context is gone because the cars are inside (necessary, because it is March in Portland) and the tone really changes without the sound and smell of cars coming and going (heightened more by shows at Portland International Raceway where there are often races going on on the track). 

Also, the cars are so good it’s like going to the art museum when you’re taking community college art classes, I just couldn’t see me doing that level of work, ever.  And most of the owners at the Roadster Show didn’t do that level of restoration work either, many shops were accredited with the work, or the car was owned by a shop used as an example of the work they can do.

There was a club of Mad Max style cars that I dug.  I found some inspiration there.  Some of the stuff they drove down the road made me think that the “hold my beer” style of building my Locost Seven will work out in some degree.

I’ll post a bunch more photos at the end but that’s about all my deep thoughts on the Roadster Show.

What about my project?  

I’m stuck.  Not because I can’t do something, or I can’t afford it, but because I’m scared.  I’m being a wuss.  I’ve reached a junction that I don’t want to screw up and I’m sort of paralyzed.  My next step is mounting the rear axle and suddenly realized that there are so many things to consider.  Here’s a list of what is jogging through my brain:

  • Mounting the axle in line with the front wheels
  • Positioning the trailing arms so they don’t rub
  • Mounting the axle centered
  • Coilover mount locations
  • Which coilover and how long
  • How to mount the roll bar above the coilovers
  • Where to weld in a few more supports so I can add triangulation to the roll bar
  • Gas tank, and outlet, position
  • Pinion gear angle
  • Mounting the panhard rod
Ugh.  I need to stop being a wuss and just do something because doing nothing is how cars end up on Craigslist as “project”.

And I know I’m a wuss because I stopped and talked to my neighbor with the Subaru Brat the other day.  He was adjusting the carbs because he said it started running odd after he jumped it earlier that day, to wake up the passenger he was going out shooting with. Someone gave him the Brat and it probably has 40 hp (guessing by the leaky exhaust sound).  But he uses it hard and has more fun than I do with my expensive projects.

I have a 330 hp BMW M3 I haven’t driven in months because it’s making a few little sounds I don’t like (valve adjustment, center driveline bearing, and more needed). I could fix the BMW if I put in two long days but I’ve never done the work that needs to be done and I’m a little hesitant to touch the German princess. Wuss.

Also, my neighbor told me his wife doesn’t want him riding dirt bikes again after she saw him attack a tree on one in a rather impressive wreck.  I ride dirt bikes (rarely, but I do have one) and I sure as hell don’t ride hard enough to be described as “attacking a tree”.  I am a wuss.  And that is why I have two cars sitting in the garage not being used or worked on.  I need to man up and get in the garage and get them going.  Garage queens are lame, especially broken ones.

Well, on that depressing note here’s the pictures of the roadster show.

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