Globe with the words Around the Pattern cured around the top half.

An Airplane Guy and at Auto Show


As I mentioned in the auto museum article I accompanied some friends to the Goodguys 25th West Coast Nationals Hot Rod Show while my propeller was out getting new seals installed. I enjoy looking at nicely restored or modified cars, but I’m an airplane guy at heart.  So, whenever I found something that was even remotely aviation-related I took a picture of it.

The entrance to the show first took spectators through the flea-market area. Just like AirVenture the place was filled with parts vendors and people selling restoration projects. Model aircraft for sale in the back of a partially restored truck. There was a partially restored truck at one end of a row with an enclosed flat bed that held my first aviation discovery…  These RC models were for sale. The one on the right seems a bit expensive, but I’ve never had an RC model so I really don’t know. I’ve never been able to justify spending money on a model when I have a full-size version to try and keep in the air.

Almost any flea-market operation will have at least one vendor who is selling old (or new) metal signs of one sort or another. Metal sign for sale in the flea-market. There were several from airlines now long gone and quite a few with warbirds on them. I’m always tempted to get one or more, but manage to resist the temptation (see spending money above) – I already have several on the wall around the hangar.

Concurrent with the hot rod show was a gathering of people who build or collect miniature engines – gas, electric and steam – that are true to design and fully operational. The displays occupied one of the buildings on the fairgrounds where the auto show was being held.

Operating model of a 1917 Bentley Rotary engine.

This is a working model of a 1917 Bentley Rotary engine. Unfortunately I was never around when they demonstrated it running.


Working model of a 1917 Curtiss OX-5 aircraft engine.

This is a working model of a 1917 Curtiss OX-5 aircraft engine.






Working model of a 7-cylinder radial aircraft engine.

This is a working model of a 7-cylinder radial aircraft engine. Smaller single-cylinder engines are on a small display stand to the right and a set of really small spark plugs is on a stand to the left.


Cutaway radial engine model.


This is another radial aircraft engine, this time with cutaway cylinders and case to show the inner workings. So that’s how it works!


1941 Western Flyer coach.

OK, this is stretching the aviation bit a  little –  it is a 1941 Western Flyer. I really like the ‘rudder’ off the top rear of the body.  It’s probably dangerous to drive, though. Everybody you passed would feel that strong urge to take a photo and text it or post it to Facebook while they were driving. Western Flyer from the front.

This is the view from the front. From this angle it looks like they wanted it to look like the front of a train.

It was for sale. Unfortunately the interior was pretty much bare. Guess they blew their budget restoring the outside.

Flight school hot rod truck.


Much closer to airplanes again – this hot rod truck was restored to a vehicle used by a flight school. It even has a wooden propeller on a stand in the bed.

Moal Coachbuilders


Steve Moal and his sons, Michael and David, are carrying on the work of Steve’s grandfather and father in the area of coach building. He is known to have something new and off the wall each year at the Hot Rod Show. This year it was this aluminum-body speedster.Moal coachworks, Oakland, CA


The aluminum body is hand-formed. The fenders were made in multiple pieces, welded together and then hammered and formed to the point that the seams were no longer visible. You can see a row of perfectly formed rivets around the bottom of the body. Their website is at Moal Coachbuilders.


Moal coachworks.

This is a look at the ‘cockpit.’ It looks like he bought a wrecked airplane and took all the instruments out of the panel. Off to the right you can see the altimeter. The oil pressure and temperature gauges look pure airplane as do most of the switches and other gauges.

For those of you who are car as well as airplane fanatics I’ll include photos of some cars the caught my eye. The workmanship is outstanding. I’m sure that any one of the builders/restorers could complete and award-winning aircraft.

Monster engine.


I couldn’t pass this up – like putting a Merlin into a C-172 – only fewer problems with the c.g.




Hot Rod


Beautiful paint, beautiful interior. Great body work. I can’t imagine taking this out on the road.


Bug with a mohawk.



Makes you want to have a beer – and get your hair cut…



And here is the Goodguys’ music video of the 2011 event. Next year’s West Coast Nationals at Pleasanton, CA will be August 24-26, 2012


2 responses to “An Airplane Guy and at Auto Show”

  1. Cedarglen Avatar

    Fun pix and notes, Tracy. FWIW, I enjoy those 1/4 scale engines and admire that talent of those who build them. Who wudda thunk some genius would make his own spark plugs? Thanks.

  2. Tracy Avatar

    Yeah, I was amazed at those plugs. I don’t think I could get a magnifier strong enough to be able to see to make them – even if I did have the manual dexterity.
    They were also selling little milling machines and lathes for making the small parts. Another industry I knew nothing about.