Longtime buddies free-hand replica of Transcontinental Car Race Oldsmobiles

Scott Swanson

The idea came to Frank Jurica a couple of years ago when he saw a set of old wheels that once had been on a buggy.

At home he had a book that contained a drawing of a Curved Dash Oldsmobile Runabout, the car used in the first transcontinental race in 1905, from New York City to Portland. The pair of Runabouts, “Old Scout” and “Old Steady,” faced off in the race, which took Old Scout, the winner, 44 days and ended at the Lewis and Clark Exposition.

Jurica, a retired local trucker, decided he wanted to build a replica of Old Scout. He enlisted the help of his longtime buddy, Bob Stone, and they began work on the project last fall in Stone’s garage.

“We thought we’d make a little buggy,” Jurica said. “We talked about it. We were thinking about it.”

The entire project was based on the 2-inch-wide photo of a 1902 Olds in Jurica’s book, though they also had a photo of Old Scout that had run in a newspaper story about the race.

They started with a 250cc Yamaha engine out of a three-wheeler all-terrain vehicle.

“Basically, when we started we had four wheels and a motor,” Stone said, dryly.

A former millwright, he created a skeleton for the vehicle and the curved dash out of standard one-eighth-inch plywood, coated with fiberglass resin. The car is about the same size as the original Oldsmobiles that crossed the United States, they said.

“We figured it out ourselves,” Stone said, as the two sat on Jurica’s porch, gazing at their creation parked below under some fir trees – looking a lot like the original in old photos.

“We worked together, but Bob put in a lot of time,” Jurica added.

The two have been friends since they were boys, he said.

Stone said he has built five or six show cars, including a Model A Ford, “but nothing like this.”

“Actually, the whole thing was just a big experiment,” Jurica said, laughing loudly.

They got help with the project from Larry and Doug Walker at Moose Creek Machine and Repair.

“They did lathing for us,” Stone said. “Shafts for the axles.”

McLain Racing did work on the carburetion for them, he said.

They used regular buggy springs and created a buggy-type front end, he said. The finished car is a regal colonial red, Stone noted.

They finished the car last week.

The only genuine component of the car is the horn, which Stone picked up at a swap meet, he said.

In addition to the taillights, which look genuine but were fashioned by Stone, the car also boasts high-low beam headlights. They want to give it a limited-slip differential, so it won’t spin out on the gravel roads around Jurica’s house, but that will be a process after their first attempt created some steering problems.

Jurica said when they took it out for a road test last week at Jurica’s place on Marks Ridge, they found it had “a couple of little problems” – those steering issues, as well as some loose bearings, which were easily fixed.

He said they’ll try to get it street-legal, then “I’ll probably take a trip in it.”

“He has a cabin in Granite,” Stone said. “We’ll take it to a car show if there’s anything left of it.”

“It’s just something we wanted to build,” Jurica said.

“It should’ve taken a year and a half, but I pushed her,” said Stone.

Getting ready to show off the car, Jurica pulled out a flat period ivy-style cap and handed one to Stone.

“I found these hats right when I got the idea for the car,” he said, telling Stone, “You can keep it.”

“Finally, I get something out of this,” Stone chuckled.