Wooden Cars, A V8 Volvo, War Machines & More
What The…

Every automotive event is always hiding something unexpected. Usually, I enjoy a laugh to myself when I come across one of these out-of-the box builds, but at Portland Transmission Warehouse’s Spring Classic there were far too many for me to not grab a few photos.

I’d like to think that I’ve seen my fair share of over-the-top and wild builds over the years, but I don’t think I’ve seen so many in one place at one time, each with such a high level of execution. It’s one thing to do something weird, but another altogether when you really dedicate yourself to it.

After all, if you’re gonna do it, you might as well do it right…


The wooden roadster dubbed Spud, which was complete with period-correct goggles and a four-cylinder Model A power-plant, was one of the first of many unexpected cars I came across.

A completely different take on applying the natural material to the exterior of an old Ford, the body lines have been subtly reworked to accommodate the woodwork, which is even applied to the supercharger and flathead engine.


Home-brewed land-speed cars, an early ’50s Ford pickup on air, or the wildest take on a Studebaker I’ve ever seen – the no-holds-barred way in which each of these cars were modified is what made them stand out to me. Certain builds were definitely more expected than others, but each one was unique in its own right.


The Portland Transmission show is certainly dedicated to American cars, but this doesn’t mean that it’s exclusive by any means. This Volvo with an American heart is the perfect example of a car which might not immediately seem to fit in here, yet stopped more people in their tracks than just about anything else at the show.

As with the picture-perfect, candy-clad muscle cars surrounding it, the level of execution was about as good as it gets.


I will say there wasn’t much in the way of Japanese cars, which was to be expected, but I did spot this first-gen Honda Accord rolling through for a look at what showed up.


Dwarfing the little Honda were a number of vastly oversized Mercedes-Benz trucks and other monstrous vehicles which seem to be really, really popular up here in the Pacific Northwest.

It probably has something to do with the vast landscape which consists largely of accessible trails and endless forest, as well as the fact that getting a plate on these cars is a much more simple affair than in California.

And of course, if you aren’t working five or so gear shifters, are you really even driving a Unimog?

Historics, But Different

Another group I noticed that had a strong showing at the Spring Classic were retired military vehicles that have been plated for street use.


For example, this utterly massive M561 6×6 Gama Goat straight from 1973.


The devil is in the details, and a truck like this is full of them. While completely restored to what seems to be era-correct specification, you can’t help but wonder what bits of history this M561 saw. Strangely, this 7,300lb hauler was actually amphibious, using its wheels for propulsion in the water.


From a genuine dog tag machine to an armed M1083 cargo truck even more massive than the Gama Goat to a literal boat on wheels — which is actually a restored ’44 GMC 6×6 DUKW — Portland Transmission Warehouse brought out the best and most diverse set of vehicles that I’ve ever seen assemble for a street meet.


Making my way back to our car to head home I couldn’t help but notice a clean Honda S2000 out for a Saturday morning cruise, parked just across from the closed-off streets in Southeast Portland.

A bit of perspective, helping to remind me that there are countless ways that a car can be special.

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto



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Michael Rinaldi

That brick deserves it own feature!


Already in touch with him ;)


Is that six-wheel truck a Unimog? I like the Star Wars graphics!


Nah, it is actually Volvo
Volvo c304 laplander


Jay is right, that' s a Pinzgauer, the C303/304/306 look different and are on portal axles


Thanks guys, big ground clearance vehicles are not my strongest side :)

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Nope. That's a Pinzgauer High-Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle. I've seen them a couple of time before. Pretty cool stuff.


Everytime I see a Unimog I want one, I have no practical use for one, or any other excuse. They are just so cool, old ones or new ones.


Dude, same. I don't even have a place to park one, but it just seems like I need one...


This is an all-time stupid question but uh...does the wooden Flathead...run?


Yeah, just think of it as wood-plated... sort of.


I could imagine a Flathead with wooden head plates running, at least for a while, but that makes significantly more sense.


A second here for a feature on the Volvo.


DUKW with 5 out of 6 wheel drive seems odd? Don't worry about it I'm not busting balls just pointing out the deliberate mistake. Great feature especially when it covers "unusual" vehicles. Keep up the good work


Haha, someone's got to do it. Thanks!


That green unimog is gangster lol.
The military vehicles in general are really interesting. The amphibious one caught my attention.
Then again so did the accord lol.


also, is that a typewriter I see? please elaborate


From the text right below it: "...a genuine dog tag machine..." ;)