Here in Portland, car season kicks off with a pair of huge swap meets in early April. About a month later, on the Saturday before Mothers’ Day, the city’s car people wake up all their classics and head out for the inner east side of town, where all gather for the annual Portland Transmission show.

This is a free event that tends to sprawl out from its epicenter at the Portland Transmission Warehouse, taking over blocks and blocks of street parking in all directions. I like to go to see what Portland’s car community has been up to over the winter months — this is where new projects pop up for a first-time show, which runs only in the morning. Everyone has packed up and gone home by 11 am.

This year’s events had everything from patina-wrapped Tri-fives through LS-converted Volvo 240s. Here are some of my favorites from this year’s show.

This ’56 looked like a worn original, but it’s been vinyl wrapped. That patina was sourced from a Volkswagen, photographed, photoshopped, and then printed on vinyl for application on the car. Fooled me.


It doesn’t get much lower than rocker panels sitting on the ground. This truck looked all original, other than the heavily modified suspension and later model 20-inch steelies.



GM’s ’67-’72 pickups continue to be hot, and this ’72 was done up to a very high level. It’s a big-block truck, too.


Portland Trans showed off a new GT right in front.


Classic racers tend to gather right across the street from the main parking lot.


LS swaps have become more or less standard equipment in a lot of modern customs. This ’68 had LS power under the hood, as well as a relatively rare set of buddy bucket seats inside.


Later trucks, such as this ’73 GMC, are starting to become more popular in the market, and builders have taken notice. Why not build one with a custom utility box out back?


A Model T putts up Volkswagen row.


A clean Challenger R/T looks great on Cragars — especially with day 2-style painted rear drums and a set of slapper bars.


Why? Because no Blazer ever came with T-tops.


Volvo 240s have a huge following in this town — but I’ve never been a fan. At least not until I saw this car, powered by a supercharged Chevrolet LS V8 and a stick. It’s like a beige ZR1 Corvette with a back seat!


Speaking of beige Corvettes, this ’64 looked like a time-warp.


With all the talk lately of Tri-Five Chevrolets cooling in the market, I was surprised to see a number of earlier Chevrolets, mostly being built — or at least driven — by younger car people. This one was extremely clean.


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