Classics by the Beach: Stumbling Upon a Cruise (Spontaneously)

Long Beach WA 1964

The second week of September, it was time for me and my significant other to depart on a week-long vacation. We took our two dogs Gabi and Rufus with us and headed out of central Washington for the Oregon Cascades. As a displaced coasty, I was longing for the forested high country.

Most of the week was spent hiking and camping, with a quick stop in Portland for a concert. A week in the mountains left us in desire for the beach, so the morning after the concert we headed west and a just a little north to one of our favorite places for cars and sand: Long Beach, WA. (seen in 1964, above).

It may seem funny, but we had no idea that the annual Rod Run to the End of the World was taking place. It is our custom to not really plan this annual road trip to any extent; most of the time, we don’t read the news, don’t watch TV, don’t do anything except get in the car and drive. So, it was a special treat to accidentally get stuck in the middle of a weekend long classic car cruise, even if it wasn’t quite as good as time travel back to 1964. 

This event is put on every year by the Beach Barons, and it has grown substantially over the years. It is truly a sight to behold. We spent about two thirds of  the time driving on the beach, where only a few souls dared to take their classics out for a drive in the salty mist. But, every time we came up to the higher ground and into town, old classics could be found on every street, scattered in alleyways and mixed in with more contemporary vehicles. It was a great way to wrap up a vacation, to say the least! Here are some pictures:


Upon first entering town, we came across this 1956 Ford Panel Truck. As you can see, it was for sale. The midnight blue paint was very striking. . .


And then, there was this. A 1974 Plymouth Fury Gran coupe. What a rare sight, indeed! It could be coincidence, but I am fairly certain that I spotted this car on Craigslist last month, which made seeing it in the flesh, on a whim, all the more exciting. I have to wonder if this is its proud new owner, or if the seller decided to just keep the car.


I had been chasing this Ranchero down the whole weekend; first, we passed it going too fast to snap a picture; then, on a second try it was after dark and the lighting was poor. . . finally, on the way out of town on Sunday, I caught it parked along the highway at a convenience store in all of its woodgrain and mustard yellow glory. I think this is a 1970 model. This era Ranchero had some very nice curves. It hadn’t gotten too broughamy looking yet, as it would be in a few years. Don’t know what was under the hood, but a 390 would sure be fine. . . I want it :-p


This Ford Econoline almost escaped the camera; from the license plate it looks as though it traveled to the event from California. This would be the perfect rig to go camping with along the coast highway.



Some classy flames on a powder blue Ford canvas. . .  very nice, indeed.


We camped at a local campground in Ocean Park and this ’53 Chevy was on display right in front of the caretaker’s trailer.


Another shot of this nice Bel Air. . .


Here I pause. Prewar cars are not my specialty – looks like maybe a mid 30’s say, ’36 Ford, with a mildly customized grill. But the lines are not quite right for that to be correct. Who can identify this?


Here was a great looking ’47-’50 Chevy COE (no vent windows on this one). Extensively customized,I hope the front end has air suspension so as not so bottom out.


After so much cruising, the dogs needed a good run on the beach. Here is the puppy, Rufus, enjoying his first time at the ocean.


This is me with my Buick Estate Wagon out on Long Beach. Technically, this was taken last summer, but it fit in with the car show theme, so . . . here it is anyway :-p


By Sunday afternoon, it was time to make the long, five to six hour drive back home. Luckily, it was not the end of car show sightings, however. In appropriate fashion, this Mopar stayed swiftly ahead of us, holding tight to the windy roads as they wandered away from the Pacific.


Then, finally came a passing lane. We punched it and came up alongside. It’s a 1964 Plymouth Fury! Wonder if it has the Max Wedge 413 under that hood? Sure sounded like it. . .


Later we stopped for lunch at the 101 Public House in South Bend. The freshly harvested Oysters here make some of the best Oyster burgers one can find. We got one more snap shot of the business end of the Fury as it cruised through town. . .

 Filled with Oyster burgers and lattes, and with Long Beach now 40 or so miles behind, I began panning the surrounding landscape for anything interesting. It didn’t take long to find this special treat, a 1962 Pontiac Ambulance by Superior Coachworks. As you can see, it was for sale! No, no no. . . no room for this back at home. Forget it and move on. . .


All good things must come to an end, and our road trip was no exception. The last find of note was this house, somewhere out in the boonies. It was guarded by dogs and the owner did not seem too happy about me slowing down the car to get this shot. Alas, this was the closest picture I was able to take. It was an interesting collection of vehicles: a 1967-68 Ford Country Sedan, a 1980 Lincoln Continental Town Coupe, and a ’74-’77 Corvette. Whatever the case, they must be pretty nondiscriminatory with brand loyalty.


At the end of the day, this is the result of a long day at the beach, riding for hours on end in the car, and smelling new places. Exhausting work for canines!

Next time, I’ll post a COAL about a dilapidated Dodge station wagon. Until then, happy motoring : )