Before we get into some interesting tid bits about steam cars, or my latest adventure in the Jay Leno saga lets start with the item of most interest to fans of Route 66 and iconic artist Bob Waldmire. The Waldmire families generosity in providing material for the memorial exhibit is nothing short of extraordinary. Here is a link to the official Bob Waldmire website and store. This will serve as an introduction, or refresher course, into Bob’s mastery with pen and ink. I have long admired Bob’s intricate artisty and as a result was quite humbled by a request from the exhibition organizer, Chris Durkin, for select pieces of our Route 66 photography to be used as backdrops for the Waldmire displays. An updated press release will be forthcoming but here is the initial one that provides detail on location and times.
Bob Waldmire exhibit
The Kingman Route 66 Association is pleased to announce the Waldmire family has graciously contributed a stunning collection of work by iconic artist Bob Waldmire for a month long memorial exhibit at Beale Street Gallery of Fine Arts. In addition to the richly detailed Route 66 post cards and maps that transformed an itinerant artist into an internationally recognized icon, and that played a key role in the resurgent interest in Route 66, the exhibit will also feature lesser known material such as drawings of vintage aircraft, as well as never before displayed original sketches on topics as diverse as coffee roasters and political satire. The exhibit opens at the gallery, inside Beale Street Brews Coffee House, located at 418 E. Beale St. in the heart of the Kingman historic district one block north of Route 66, in conjunction with the annual Route 66 Fun Run on April 30th. The exhibition will run through May 25th with a special First Friday Reception on the evening of May 7th. The hours for viewing are Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM and on Sundays from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. During the First Friday Reception the gallery will remain open until 100:00 PM. For more information about the artistry of Bob Waldmire the official website address is http://www.bobwaldmire.com/.For more information about tourism in Kingman, upcoming events in Kingman or the Kingman Route 66 Association – Destination Kingman on Facebook or http://www.route66infocenter.com/
Now lets talk steam cars. In particular lets talk about missing links in the history of steam cars.In the process of obtaining material for use as illustrations in The Big Book of Car Culture I purchased some interesting press photos and early photographs converted to slides at some point in the 1950s.
Among the later were a number of photographs of early steam powered race cars. One of the more famous was this White built vehicle promoted as Whistlin’ Billy.Amongst the former was a set of professional photos of a 1940 Packard converted to steam propulsion.http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760319650&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr Needless to say, this really piqued my curisoity.I have long had a fascination with steam powered anything but this car was a mystery. Fast forward a few years. A friend in Wisconsin sent me a used book, Floyd Clymer’s Steam Car Scrapbook. There, on page 193, were photos of the same car including the identical photo of the interior that I used in my book!As it turns out the car was converted by a Mr. Marshall utilizing a 4 x 5 Stanley engine mounted to the Packard rear axle. The small article continues with much detail about the car. This led to the next question. Does the car still exist? As it turns out the answer is yes.After discussing the car on the AACA forum I received an email purporting to know the whereabouts of the vehicle. As it turns out Mr. Marshall’s son still owns the vehicle but he is not interested in selling it or having it photographed. Well, I am patient. The car has survived more than a half century as a steamer. When updates become available, I will post them.Okay, another surprise, for me as well as the publisher. It would seem that Ghost Towns of the Southwest http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760332215&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrhas sold out the first printing in less than eight weeks!I am not sure how this will play out as far as money in my pocket but the accomplishment alone leaves me stunned. I knew ghost towns were a popular subject and I knew that the publisher did an excellent job in regards to format, size, editorial, and layout but very few books sell more than 500 copies per year. Backroads of Arizonahttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760326894&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr proved to be rather popular and still sells well. Still, it took 18 months for it to sell well enough to warrant a second printing. I have been assured that a second printing of Ghost Towns of the Southwest will be available soon. So, don’t be afraid to place an order (signed copies are available through the Kingman Route 66 Association) with Amazon.com or your local book store. I will update you on this as soon as more information is available. For the final item of the day I thought you might find some amusement in the latest chapter of my adventure with Jay Leno. For those unfamiliar with the story this adventure began in the fall of 2009 and a book signing at Auto Books – Aero Books in Burbank, California. Well, on May 1,next weekend I have another book signing at the same store and thought I should let Mr. Leno know as we have talked about steam powered vehicles on several occasions and have discussed the possibility of me examining his very rare Doble, but we have never met in person. I should note that initially the book signing was scheduled for the 24th of this month but conflicted schedules resulted in it being moved to the first of May. So, yesterday I spoke with Jay and yes he would like to meet, and yes he would be available to come by the store – on the 24th. On the first of May he will be out of town.The adventure continues.