Illinois is the “Land of Lincoln”. New Mexico; the “Land of Enchantment”. And Colorado is “Colorful”. But Idaho is one of the few states that herald a type of produce on their license plates which proudly read, “Famous Potatoes”!
Last weekend the state was also the setting for the Northwest Motorfest; Idaho’s largest car show. It’s held on the grounds of the Idaho Expo in Boise, and you don’t have to be there long before you learn that it’s pronounced, Boic-e, not Boyz-e; thank you very much!
In addition to the typical car show stuff, this event also had numerous side attractions; things like holeshot and burnout contests.
I’m not sure, but I think the meteorological term for the cloud that is rising from behind this Chev is cumulorubberus.
It also had things more specific to the Northwest, like V8 chainsaw demonstrations. Now, that’s just crazy!
Throw in the Wall of Death and rock crawling demos, and this was a veritable three-ring circus.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Idaho since I lived at the other end of the state up in Moscow for nearly 5 years and went to grad school at the University of Idaho. Go Vandals! And I’m always looking for an excuse to get back out there.
Southern Idaho is more arid than the northern part of the state and when you look at the smoothly rolling hills that make up much of the terrain around Boise, you can tell that it was once the floor of a massive lake 15,000 or so years ago.
And did I mention it was hot? We shot the show on Saturday, and it was 98 degrees with a bright blue sky. Yeah, I know it’s a “dry heat”, but that’s still really hot! Fortunately there were more than enough cool cars around to keep the whole thing manageable.
This was the 8th year for the Northwest Motorfest, and it’s a really great event. As I mentioned, there’s a lot going on over the course of the weekend, but at the core of it all is a car show that drew nearly 900 cars.
There was everything at this show from the most refined, like this ’54 Buick Skylark, to the most extreme, like this blown ’29 Nash rat rod.
Honestly, I had always felt the ’54 Skylark was a bit clunkier looking than the ’53 Skylark. They had added stuff in ’54 that “heavied” the car up, and it never worked for me. But then I ran across this killer ’54 convertible in Lido green with the white inner fender wells that just blew me away. This rare stock color combo softened everything and really worked on this car.
The rat rod looked like something out of an Ed Roth nightmare; and I’ll bet Ed’s “normal” dreams were already pretty weird. It started out as a ’29 Nash (I think?). There was some pretty interesting frame and drivetrain engineering, and the absurdly-blown big block Ford truck engine was a nice touch. I think it was the “Super Single” rear tires that got me tho. I had never heard of these, but they are apparently the equivalent of semi truck duals in a single tire; and that’s big.
There was a great ’61 Plymouth Fury mild custom that the owner had found stuffed away in a garage two doors down from his house and bought for a couple grand. All it needed was some minor body work and a repaint. He went with a lime green metal flake with a silver large metal flake top. This really set off the wild lines on this car. Still sporting the original interior and 318 engine, this baby is driven everywhere.
A car that I hadn’t seen for a long time was this ’66 Merc Monterey. I had forgotten how long and straight these cars were. This thing is the size of a Suburban. Really cool integration of the taillights and signal lights in the styling, and a stately yet aggressive stance. Ah, Merc; I miss you already! Altho it had been de-badged, the door handles shaved, and a functional Boss 429 hood scoop added, I would say this car was more “personalized” than “customized”. It still had a lot of its already-cool-from-the-factory original design DNA. I really liked this car.
It was hard to miss this ‘37 street-legal drag Topolino. Think about it tho; none of those words seem like they should go together. The Fiat Topolino is a tiny little car, and its name means “little mouse” in Italian, but this baby was more like Mighty Mouse. A custom frame and a crate 350 with zoomie exhaust made it look like it would be a blast to drive. But you better like your passenger, because you are going to be really close to them!
It takes every minute we have at a show to get enough footage to make an episode, but we still have to eat. I usually live on beef jerky during a shoot because it’s quick, packed with protein, and can withstand the elements. Ben, the producer/shooter, on the other hand needs real food to survive. Wuss. Something about lugging around a 20 pound camera all day in near 100 degree heat. Yada yada.
One of the challenges on the road in general, and particularly at a car show, tho is finding something at least marginally healthy to eat. And as we strolled Food Row in the early afternoon in search of sustenance, it wasn’t looking nutritionally pretty, but then suddenly, right at the intersection of Corndog and Funnel Cake, there he was; Chris “Saladman” Olson.
Saladman has been a fixture at events in the area for ten years, and he whipped us up a couple huge crab Louis’ that were to die for. Trust me, the beef jerky will keep till the next shoot; in fact, probably till the next season.
The day was capped off with the Capitol City Cruise. The city had dedicated several blocks of downtown Boise to cruisers only, and several hundred cars took the opportunity to roll past the state capitol building for a couple hours in the early evening under beautiful skies. Life is good.
The show went on again Sunday, but Ben & I blew out of town at 6:30 in the morning bound for E’ville. This week we’ve been in the office finishing the remaining new episodes for the 2010 season and also working on a new project. Next week I’m off to Pasadena for my final SEMA Board of Directors meeting. I’m finally terming out after 7 years on the SEMA Board. I’ll also be attending the SEMA Cares car show while I’m out there on Saturday, July 25. This is a fundraiser for SEMA’s two charities; Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang.
The following weekend tho I’ll be back in the production saddle when we shoot the Z-Car Convention at the Nissan Headquarters in Franklin, TN. I’ve been brushing up on handy Japanese phrases and believe it or not, “dou itashimashite” (which is pronounced an awful lot like “Don’t touch the mustache”) means, “You’re welcome”. I think that phrase is going to come in handy for me in both Japanese and English.