West Coast Report — Eighth Edition: By John Gilbert

Nothing can stop the Duke of Earl. Why are donut boxes pink? Hang on friends, its early, early morning and I’ve been drinking coffee that’s blacker than the tires on my black Harley-Davidson. Blacker than the cat that keeps trying to cross my path. This coffee is so black I could use it to guide coat a fender on Satan’s Buick and not even find the dents — whatever that means. No sense wasting a good coffee buzz, I’m going to use it to create. The first thing that comes to mind is I’m going do this week’s West Coast Report a little different and see how you all respond. I do welcome comments even if its just to ask if all the people in California are as weird as I am. That said, of course I’m going to invoke the Starbucks defense. I mean did any of you ever notice there wasn’t any such thing as road rage until Starbucks started popping up everywhere? Will coffee be banned like Twinkies were? — Quick, email California, US Senator Barbara Boxer, and express how much you like the underwear she invented, and to please keep coffee beans legal. For medicinal use only of course.

And now a serious note from our friends at SEMA SAN. Okay, I’m not going to copy and paste what was sent, but I will give a quick overview and include a hyperlink. You guys might remember that no sooner than I had started my campaign to help bring a little awareness to the SEMA SAN model for a Pro-Hobbyist Inoperative Bill here in the West Coast Report, a war with the city I live in broke out in my own front yard. Notice of Violation followed by Second Notice of Violation followed by Notice of Invoice. Bloodsucking … uh, sorry it’s a subject rawer than my dog’s butt during flea season. Check it out, Washington state almost got a reasonable law enacted, and then it went south. Of course that expression isn’t a good one because the lucky folks in Kentucky already have a Pro-Hobbyist Inoperative Vehicle law on the books.

Things were headed north in Nevada (that means bad) when working with Nevada lawmakers SEMA SAN amended legislation (A.B. 363) and that’s good. Please follow this link for more information www.SEMASAN.org  A longtime friend of mine is the Commander of DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Chapter 23 here in Orange County, and has a great working relationship with Senator Lou Correa regarding veteran’s rights. In the near future I’d like to meet with Senator Correa, and find out what the possibility is of him introducing a Pro-Hobbyist Inoperative Bill for California might be. Updates to follow. After all who wants to come home to a country that hates collectible automobiles. Have you ever seen a politician in a parade riding in anything other than a classic car? … Oh yeah, maybe on top of a pooping horse.

One of the nicest guys in the automobile industry is Chip Foose. Here’s some shots of the Eastwood gang visiting Chip’s shop in Huntington Beach while they were out here last month. It didn’t take any kind of big time connection to meet up with Chip. All anyone has to do is drop by Chip’s shop during lunchtime, and if he’s in town you’ll get to meet him. No matter what there’s always an open house at lunchtime, so if you’re in the neighborhood drop by. There’s a little sandwich shop next door, that’s a good place to eat. We wandered into the sandwich shop after everyone got to meet Chip.

I met Chip Foose in the early 90’s through my friend Jonny Anderson. Jonny along with another friend Simo Simensen worked with Chip at Hot Rods by Boyd in Stanton, California. Way back then and to this very day I have to say Chip is one of the most talented, and nicest guys in the automobile industry. He won’t bite your face off like…

A good example was the time “Boss” Bob took a couple of teenaged neighbor kids to a car show, and they got a chance to meet and talk with Chip. The conversation soon moved to Chip asking the two young fellers what kind of cars they liked best. After one kid said a specific year of Ford Mustang, Chip sketched a quick concept illustration of the kid’s dream car on the back of a flyer, autographed it, and then gave it to him. The other kid’s dream car was a ’57 Chevy, and Chip did the same thing for him. Notice there was no mention of money changing hands, that’s because there wasn’t. Chip drew those concept drawings for those two kids just because he’s a great guy, and it was something those kids will never forget. Maybe they’ll even build those dream cars one day.


“Boss” Bob’s M-code ’62 Ford Galaxie 500

“There’s nobody meaner than the little old lady from Pasadena, she’s the terror of Colorado Boulevard.” In case anyone ever wondered the inspiration for Jan and Dean’s lyrics were inspired by the favorite lie Southern California used car salesmen always liked to tell prospective buyers. “It was owned by a little old lady from Pasadena that only drove it to Church on Sunday.” There were some low-mileage cars to be found in So Cal back in those days. They only got driven a quarter-mile at a time. Here’s a good example, a friend of mine, “Boss” Bob owns this M-code ’62 Ford Galaxie. I shot and wrote a tech story about installing a Gearvendors Overdrive into the ’62 for Muscle Car Review. You can Google “Hot Rod Gearvendors John Gilbert” and the story will come up archived on Hot Rod magazine’s web.

Here’s an excerpt from the Muscle Car Review story I wrote. For Bob Wells of Laguna Beach, California, and his mint ’62 Ford M-code Galaxie optioned with 4.56:1 gears the challenge was on to seek out a means to bring down the RPM for street use without destroying the car’s legendary dragstrip acceleration. For those unfamiliar, an M-coded VIN means the car is one of just a few early ’62 Galaxies built by the Ford factory especially for drag racing. Bob’s car in particular was race prepped by the late Les Ritchey, and competed from ‘62 until 1964. Bob holds a special affection for this car since it was Les Ritchey who was his first boss. In addition to preserving instantaneous acceleration Bob’s concern was to keep the M-code’s original personality. The answer wasn’t to slap in a late model 5-speed, because the gear-spacing is incorrect, plus attempting to shift one fast feels like trying to churn broken glass into butter. The name of Les’s shop was Performance Associates.


Donut Derelicts, Caffeine Cannibals and Everyone is Welcome!

Men, boys, and maniacs. Ain’t it funny how the best examples of bad journalism can be found in stories written about the Donut Derelicts? For an event that saw its earliest attendees composed of an inordinately high ratio of automotive journalists the Huntington Beach event’s history sure is clouded in a bunch of unsolved mysteries. The reason is “the donut shop” as authentic veteran Derelicts refer to it was off limits for any of us magazine types to publicize and screw-up. We didn’t want hordes of moronic idiots, and squirrels showing up and ruining it. The best photographers in the business showed up without cameras, and the most gifted writers remained silent. That all changed when one day the square press showed up and interviewed some guy wearing a buffalo hat coming out of Ace Hardware, and asked him how the Donut Derelicts got started. Needless to say the buffalo hat didn’t have a clue about anything much less how he was going to unplug his sink. The newspaper article hit, and the parking lot was covered with a Heinz 57 mix of automotive history. That was in 1984, or maybe it was ’82. No, it could have been 1985. There’s folks that claim they started showing up at the donut shop in hot rods much earlier than that, but of course they don’t have the photo documentation to prove it. Here’s what I do know.  A high school buddy named Rick Finn invited me to show up in my ’60 Rambler American 2-door wagon, to checkout a few of his friends cars, and the artwork he’d created. Now deceased, Rick Finn was the voice of the Donut Derelicts, and did a great job explaining the donut shop scene on a segment that aired on the Travel Channel.


The 1st  Coupe de Ville

The year 1921 was the first year for a Cadillac coupe, so I guess one could say this was the very first Cadillac Coupe de Ville. This car was offered by Chris Unger he’s one of the donut shop’s faithful, and really has a reputation as being the King of Barn Finds in the So Cal area. I checked out past auction results, and it looks like it wouldn’t be too hard to find a pretty cherry 1921 Cadillac for under 20-grand. This one had a stock ’21 Cadillac V8 engine under its hood, and checkout the Cadillac crest on its hubcaps.


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7 thoughts on West Coast Report — Eighth Edition: By John Gilbert

  • I thought you were going to post the pictures of the dodge from rcc this week? When will those be up?

  • You thought right. The flicks of the Dodge will up in the next edition… That’s on this coming Sunday.


    John G.

  • I enjoyed this month’s edition. The 64 Galaxie article reminded me of my own 64. Great car. Drove it to San Francisco from the San Gabriel Valley once in 4 and a half hours. Still got 19 miles to the gallon that trip. Gave it to my sister for Christmas, she never got her driver’s license. It sat in the parking lot of her apartment for years until the local miscreants broke out all the windows. Lots of happy memories though, it was my second car after my 51 Stude.

  • Alright cool thanks, have you gotten everything all put in line on the dodge, like wheels, grill, windows haha?

  • Hey Conner,

    Number 9 should have been up 5/5/13 but not so as of 5//7/13 that’ll teach me to state an exact date. Anyways the Dodge is on number 9 and it’ll be up some day.

    No, I haven’t rounded up the missing parts yet, or picked up the wheels. I do have the Toyo tires ready and waiting.

    Oh, and a grill is what you Bar-B-Q with and a grille is what goes on the front of the Dodge.

  • Well when you get a chance, If you could post it ASAP It would be much appreciated, I’m applying for jobs and would love to show them the article as well as maye print it out to start a portfolio. By the way I know it’s spelt “grille” I’m on an iPhone and it autoncorrected me haha

  • Connor,

    I can’t tell you why the 9th edition of WCE hasn’t been posted. It’s usually every Sunday, go figure.

    Anyways, I guess in the meantime you can print out the original stories I published in Custom Classic Trucks. RCC Dodge.

    Gotta watch that auto-correct those computers will rob your brain!

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