NEAR CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – Some traveling tourists in Southern Oregon this week may feel like the clock has been turned back at least a hundred years.
Antique car owners from Oregon, California and Washington are chugging the back roads in one and two cylinder automobiles, turning heads and drawing crowds everywhere they stop. This week, a dozen or more antique auto owners are in the Rogue Valley in their one and two cylinder cars; it’s the 20th annual western tour, and it’s back in Southern Oregon.
“You see back roads that you’d never know about or go on,” said Doug Durein, a car owner from Alameda, California. “The tour is run by local people that know where to take you and it’s a great part of the hobby.”
Many are wearing period costumes, more to get in the feel of the time when roads were seldom paved and auto travel was quite an adventure. The little Brush cars are single cylinder, and probably the most unique of all.
“The front and rear axles are wood. The wheel are wood and there’s an old cliché’ or joke that it has full floating front and rear axles, ’cause they’re wood,” said Harold Musolf, Seattle “Brush” owner.
“And the one thing nice about this car is that, a woman could take it to town, could spend 30 minutes shopping and leave the engine running, because you were expected to tip a man 50 cents to crank your car, if you were a single woman driving a car,” explained San Diego “Brush” owner Brush Fintzelber.
Most were hand crank cars except for the White Steamer that is ready to go as long as it has steam up.
“I can go about 30 or 40 miles on this tank,” said John Gurnee, owner of a 1906 White Steamer. “And I can go about 90 miles on the fuel tank.”
Of all the cars on this tour, only the Buick is still produced. These are all over a hundred years old. Every one of those automobiles, all one and two cylinder models, but none of the others are still being made. The REO. The Brush. The White steamer. None of those are still being produced, but here they are, a hundred years old, still up and running.
A member of the tour group says they expect to be driving in the Gold Hill area.