Keith’s Blog: An Austin-Healey 100S and a World War II PT Boat

There was something for everyone at the 18th Annual Collector Car and Classic Boat Show on August 26-27. Held in Lake Oswego, Oregon – a suburb of Portland – this show from the Oswego Heritage Council always attracts great cars and great people.

For example, an Austin-Healey 100S was on hand, amid a Bugeye Sprite, a C6 Challenge Corvette and a 1960s pickup truck.

With just 55 built at the factory for racing, the 100S is  rare and valuable car. Examples have sold for more than $1 million dollars at auction. Portland car collector — and SCMer —Robert Ames owns this wonderful machine, and I was glad he shared the car with all of us.

This is the only show in the Portland area to combine both cars and boats. It’s similar in many ways to Keels & Wheels, held in Seabrook, TX each year.

This was my first car event since returning from the Monterey Car Week marathon.

My 10-year-old son Bradley joined me for a couple of hours of kicking tires and visiting friends. I didn’t miss the Monterey crowds, although there were noticeably fewer Paganis on the field than at The Quail. As in none.

I also didn’t miss paying $500 for a ticket. Admission was free, and two hot dogs, two sodas and two bags of chips were $9. It cost me more than that just to get in line for food at some Monterey events.

The field of 200 or so cars was a potpourri of makes, models and years. There was an impressive turnout of Austin-Healeys. Bradley got a chance to compare the Bugeyes on display with his car. He decided he liked his painted wire wheels better than the spoked wheels on some Bugeyes.

However, he created a new challenge for me when he said, “Dad, I really like the Big Healeys better than my little one.”

When I asked if that meant I should sell the Bugeye to get a 3000, he replied, “Why do we have to sell one car to get another. Can’t we have both?”

He’s learning the mantra of a collector early.

A favorite was a 1969 Camaro convertible that Olivia Hagerty, daughter of insurance mogul McKeel Hagerty, had driven with a couple of girlfriends from the East Coast to Monterey — and then on to Portland. Bradley asked if we could have one of those too.

The awards ceremony started at a very civilized 1:30 p.m. Other concours could take a lesson from this. Too often, the final awards of the day are presented at 4 p.m. or later, when the seating area is mostly empty and most cars are already gone.

While Bradley and I didn’t visit the boats, the day before we had seen Motor Torpedo Boat PT 658 cruising up the Willamette River towards Lake Oswego. PT 658 is the only operational World War II PT Boat still propelled by its original three supercharged Packard V-12 gasoline engines. It makes quite a sound.

The Lake Owego show reminded me of why I like old cars in the first place. Every car has a story, and at shows you get a chance to see cars, meet owners and hear their stories. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

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