OLDTIMERS NORTHWEST, a History

 

Back in 1968 when street rods were a new name for hot rods, when the rod run schedule had 7 events for all of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia and we still used carbon paper a group of about ten guys in Tacoma decided that they wanted to form a car club.

 

Bob Jasper and Darrell Watkins along with some other fellow rodders sat down and put together the original OLDTIMERS. They set up a set of rules and limited the number of members to 18, put forth some basic ideas on how to have fun and away they went. The basic idea has never changed even though some of the members and their waist and hair lines have.

 

The first rod run was to Point Defiance park and depending on whose memory you rely on it was from 10 to 30 cars, low key and lots of fun. The OLDTIMERS went big time the next year moving the run to the now infamous Rodeway Inn along I-5 and capped off the weekend with a group breakfast on Sunday morning. Trying to be leaders in the sport the club followed what was becoming a national trend and moved the rod run to a camp out style event at Snoqualmie Falls along the river and for 1976 produced its first ever event t-shirt in Jerry Scotts garage using a hair dryer to speed up the process, now those same shirts don’t fit and can’t find a hair dryer in the place. The club did move the run up to Lake Crescent for the 1977 “Log Cabin” run.

 

Old time drag races were gaining in popularity so the event moved to Bremerton Raceway for a couple of years and the ever popular burnout contest was initiated (where was Bill Clifford then).

 

The charm of the Olympic Peninsula drew the event back to the Port Townsend - Port Angeles area and the run event has stayed up there since, with the driving activity on Saturday covering everything from a run up to lunch at Hurricane Ridge to a peaceful snack on the shores of the Straits of Quan de Fuca. You even had the chance to park on the pier downtown in P.A., and to shop the antique stores of Pt. Townsend. Can you remember how long the drive to Pt. Angeles is when the Hood Canal bridge is not there ? (even after that long drive you are greeted by the always joyful “official registrar” John Landry).

 

“Funny Money” became an Oldtimers trade mark  with the first ever “Million Dollar” rod run in 1978, the tradition continues on with the “money “used for the auction on Sunday morning.

 

The club has done more than just the rod runs, they put on an indoor car show at the Kitsap County fairgrounds for 13 years, the early ones in the old leaky fair buildings gave birth to the title as the “worlds only outdoor car show indoors” (especially when it rained).

 

Oldtimers was the host club for the first 24 of the Goodguy events at Puyallup and worked very hard at making sure everyone enjoyed themselves there. They also did the model car building contest, and the valve cover races at Puyallup for several years and they have allowed LeRoy Silva to cruise around unsupervised for the rodders special treat.

Since the early 70’s when we had the all car clubs meeting in the fall the Oldtimers has produced the northwest’s rod run schedule (often duplicated, incorrectly, often copied and sold and often asked for), the first schedules were carbon copies to the six or seven clubs in the area (B.C., Wa. and Ore ) to today’s schedule with 400 events and a distribution of over 18,000 copies. Be sure your club is on our mailing list for free copies by sending an update to Oldtimers Northwest 10,000 Central Valley Rd. NE Bremerton, Wa. 98311.

 

In addition Oldtimers is like a lot of other clubs around in doing the little things for the community from needy baskets and help during the holidays, to providing cars for special activities in the area to providing grab bars for needy seniors.