If you’ve been thinking of taking a long road trip north from Southern California, Professor Quan’s recent vacation might be just what you’re looking for – especially if you enjoy automotive museums.

In this week’s iDriveSoCal Podcast the Professor shares a complete analysis of his non-road-trip-road trip to Portland, Oregon. Take a listen – I promise it will make sense.


Recorded July 25, 2018,  in Los Angeles, CA

World of Speed Motorsports Museum

Clinton Quan: I visited the World of Speed Motorsports Museum, which is located south of Portland. It focuses on motorsports, all forms of motorsports, including NASCAR, Indy Car, Formula One. The second one was not planned. While driving around Portland, I spotted an ad for The Shape of Speed, featuring vehicles from 1930 to 1942. I would say they’re groundbreaking for their time period.

Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States, Southern California. Tom Smith here with our good buddy, the Professor, Mr. Clinton Quan. Say hello, Clinton.

CQ: Hi, Tom.

TS: Nice to have you back, man. And it’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve laid anything down here in the podcast world.

CQ: Yes, it’s great to be back.

TS: Clinton went on a vacation. Thus, the couple a week absence. Although I don’t think podcast listeners knew that he was gone for a couple of weeks because we had a few in the proverbial bank or vault that we released while you were gone. But Clinton is such an auto enthusiast that even when he and the Associate Professor, his son, went on vacation, he was hitting automotive museums. That is the Professor. Mr. Clinton Quan.

Great Road Trip – Or Flight…

And we were talking just before we started recording this podcast. I’m like, “Well, how am I going to actually tie this into Southern California automotive?” And, I guess, the reality is, folks, that it’s just the tie in is that this is what the professor did on vacation. He went to one automotive museum deliberately, and then actually hit another museum that had an automotive exhibit. So, this was a trip that wasn’t even a road trip, right? You flew there.

Clinton Quan: It was originally going to be a road trip, but we changed our plans, and we flew to Portland.

Tom Smith: Okay. So, that’s how, I think, you originally sold me on the idea that we could cover this because it would be a big long road trip. So, then, I guess, you did a little head fake there. The next thing you know he’s flying instead of driving. But, hey, we’re going to cover it anyway. So, Clinton went to Portland, Oregon. And on vacation did a bunch of … Well, why don’t you take it away?

Outside of Portland, OR

Clinton Quan: Well, I visited the World of Speed Motorsports Museum, which is located in a suburb about 17 miles south of Portland. The city is Wilsonville, Oregon. And this is a fairly new museum. It opened approximately three years ago.

Tom Smith: Wow.

Clinton Quan: And it focuses on motorsports, all forms of motorsports, including NASCAR, Indy Car, Formula One, and a lot of it has to do with racing that they’d do in Portland. There’s actually a pretty well-known racetrack in Portland, the Portland International Speedway, and they do Indy car racing there as well.

Tom Smith: Okay. So, all motorsports, but you didn’t mention motorcycles or boats.

Clinton Quan: Well, there’s actually motorcycles and boats there.

Tom Smith: Really?

Clinton Quan: There are, yeah.

Tom Smith: All right, cool.

Clinton Quan: There was actually-

Tom Smith: I thought I got you there.

Clinton Quan: … quite a collection of motorcycles. I’m trying to remember how many boats there were. Not that many, maybe one or two.

Tom Smith: Right.

Clinton Quan: But there is definitely boats.

Serious Road Trip – 2x Long Driving Days

Tom Smith: Okay. So, The World of Speed Motorsports Museum, just out of curiosity, if our listeners wanted to drive to this museum, what are we talking about? A two-day drive?

Clinton Quan: It would be about two days. I believe when I originally planned to drive out to Portland, it was going to take about 17 hours.

Tom Smith: Okay. All right. So, you split it up, eight and a half a piece.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: Personally, I was just talking with Scott Reed, actually, out of the Ontario Volkswagen about road trips, and he just finished a road trip. I think it was 15 or 17 hours. I was like, “Man, how do you?” Like the road itself, like there’s not enough caffeine on the planet to keep me awake driving. And I love to drive, but more than, I don’t know, six and a half, maybe eight hours, and I’m just kind of done because the road will put me to sleep. Like even if I’m having a ball drive in my favorite car. Are you that kind of driver, or could you actually pull that off, eight to nine hours at a stretch?

Clinton Quan: I can definitely do eight to nine hours, but I would need several breaks.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: Usually, I split that in half. I’ll have lunch halfway through the trip, and then maybe one coffee break in the morning, and one in the afternoon.

Tom Smith: I’d be pounding coffee the whole time.

Flying Lizard – It’s a Thing

Clinton Quan: But yeah, I can definitely do that. I’ve done that before. I’ve driven up to San Francisco to Sonoma, Napa, Sacramento.

Tom Smith: All right.

Clinton Quan: Yes, I’ve done that a number of times.

Tom Smith: Okay. So, World of Speed Motorsport Museum just outside of Portland, Oregon.

Clinton Quan: Yeah, south of Portland.

Tom Smith: 17 miles south of Portland in Wilsonville, not to be confused with Shelbyville from the Simpsons, right?

Clinton Quan: Yes, not to be confused.

Tom Smith: Okay. And the museum, we’re going to have some pictures of the museum on iDriveSoCal.com along with this post. And there, actually, is some pretty darn cool vehicles that you have pictured. There’s some race car. Tell me what we’re going to look at.

Clinton Quan: Well, most of the pictures I took at the museum, they’re Porsche 911s. They had a really special exhibition on the 55th anniversary of the Porsche 911.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: So, there’s a Porsche 911 R.  That’s a 2016, and that’s considered the purest of Porsche, 500 horsepower, normally aspirated engine.

Tom Smith: The purest Porsche?

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: That’s what they call it. There’s a classic Porsche 911. There’s also a Porsche Race Car sponsored by Flying Lizard.

Tom Smith: Flying Lizard?

Clinton Quan: Yeah, Flying Lizard.

Tom Smith: Okay. You want to elaborate on the Flying Lizard, just out of curiosity?

Clinton Quan: I don’t know much about it, but that’s the motorsports team.

Racecar Simulator Attraction

Tom Smith: Okay. So, the name of the motorsports team?

Clinton Quan: Yes. And-

Tom Smith: I wasn’t sure if maybe that was a caffeine drink that you’re keeping yourself up during your trip with?

Clinton Quan: No.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: There’s also a special Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: Another high-performance Porsche. And there is-

Tom Smith: So, of all the motorsports, you focused on the Porsches?

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: Well, this was the big-

Tom Smith: This is the big exhibit that was going on at that time.

Clinton Quan: That was the big exhibit, yes.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: Yeah. And they’ll run through, I believe, September.

Tom Smith: All right.

Clinton Quan: September of this year.

Tom Smith: Okay. So, if you haven’t … If you’re on your way to Portland, head 17 miles south to Wilsonville, and hit the World of Motorsports Museum down there. And we have a picture of the Associate Professor behind the wheel of an open car simulator, which is pretty good looking.

Clinton Quan: Yes. That’s one of the cool features at the museum. They have three different vehicles, a Formula One car, a NASCAR, and an Indy car. And I think it’s $10, and you get 12 minutes behind the wheel of one of those vehicles.

Great Museum for Kids & the Family

Tom Smith: You didn’t say, “Hey, we’re going to cover this for iDriveSoCal. Can I get a pass on the 10 bucks?”

Clinton Quan: Well, I didn’t do it myself. I just had my son ride in the vehicle.

Tom Smith: All right.

Clinton Quan: Yeah. So, yeah, there’s more I could do.

Tom Smith: We do usually let you speak on behalf of him. You know, we should have him on one of these days.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: We should.

Clinton Quan: That would be fun.

Tom Smith: He’s a really cute little guy.

Clinton Quan: Yeah. Everyone says that about him.

Tom Smith: Okay. So, what else about the old World of Speed Motorsports Museum up there in Portland?

Clinton Quan: Well, another thing that I really enjoyed and my son definitely enjoyed is they have a kids area as well.

Tom Smith: All right.

Clinton Quan: Yeah. So, there’s a number of automotive stuff in there as well and-

Tom Smith: Such as?

Clinton Quan: It’s a play area. They have this … It’s actually a-

Tom Smith: A little push car. You can go vroom vroom.

Clinton Quan: Well, they actually have a real Mustang.

Tom Smith: That was a complete joke, and Clinton is not even laughing at all.

Clinton Quan: They completely customized it and put a screen in there, so you can pretend, I guess, you’re driving the car.

Tom Smith: Is that a simulator of sorts too?

Clinton Quan: Not really a simulator. You just sit in there and there’s-

Tom Smith: But okay. So-

Clinton Quan: It’s for kids.

Tom Smith: It’s for kids.

Clinton Quan: Yeah, it’s a kids’ play area.

Many Automotive Enthusiasts Start Young

Tom Smith: So, with that in mind, your son gets exposed, the Associate Professor gets exposed to like really, really cool automotive things totally adult style.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: And case in point, this very same museum, he’s there. And how old is he?

Clinton Quan: He’s seven years old.

Tom Smith: Okay. He’s seven years old, and he’s seen and done some really cool stuff with regard to automotive and automotive enthusiasts.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: And at this particular museum, we have a picture of him at the simulator that I think any adult in their right mind would kind of get giddy to plop down in and give a try too.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: And here, your young son who’s not even going to be driving for another almost 10 years is experiencing that. My question is, when he sees the kiddie stuff, does he kind of like roll his eyes like, “Geez, this is for the kids”?

Clinton Quan: No, no. He still loves it.

Tom Smith: He still loves it.

Clinton Quan: Yeah, he definitely loves it.

Tom Smith: All right.

Clinton Quan: Yeah. He wasn’t even supposed to go in that because he’s not really tall enough, but the guy-

Tom Smith: The simulator, the adult simulator that he went?

Clinton Quan: Yeah, the guy, and he was really nice. He is like, “You know what, bring him back. When everyone else leaves, I’ll put him in there.” So, definitely got to do that, and he was so excited.

It Might be a 3-day Drive for Me

Tom Smith: All right. Very nice. Anything else before we wrap this one up? Because, again, this is a little bit of a stretch, everybody. Sorry, it’s not a museum in Southern California, but it is a cool museum, and it’s something the Professor did,

Clinton Quan: You could do a road trip from Southern California.

Tom Smith: Yeah.

Clinton Quan: A two-day road trip.

Tom Smith: Yeah. Yeah, a serious road trip. So, eight hours, where would that put you? If you drove for eight hours, that would put you what? In?

Clinton Quan: Sacramento.

Tom Smith: Really?

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: It takes that long to get to Sacramento?

Clinton Quan: Well, it takes that long if you take Highway 101.

Tom Smith: All right.

Clinton Quan: And that’s what I would have done.

Tom Smith: So, the really scenic route.

Clinton Quan: Yeah, I would have done Highway 101.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: At least through to San Jose.

Tom Smith: All right. Well, okay.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: So, there’s there’s the iDriveSoCal tie-

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Hit the Sacramento Auto Museum En Route

Tom Smith: …that if you were going to drive it, it could be a very beautiful scenic drive. Head up to Sacramento. All right, podcast listeners, I’m sure this one’s really got you on the edge of your seat.

Clinton Quan: And if you stopped by Sacramento, there’s a car museum in Sacramento as well.

Tom Smith: Professor, there you go. There you go.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: All right. So, on your way to the World of Speed Motorsports Museum, just 17 miles south of Portland, Oregon in Wilsonville from Southern California, shoot up to Sacramento, hit the auto museum in Sacramento. Shoot another eight hours up to Wilsonville.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: The second one was not planned, right.

Clinton Quan: The second one was not planned. While driving around Portland, I saw-

Tom Smith: You just spotted it?

Clinton Quan: Well, I spotted an ad for The Shape of Speed.

Tom Smith: Okay. There you go. So, we’re going to talk about The Shape of Speed, which is an exhibit that sounds really cool at the Portland Art Museum.

If you make any way up to Portland or if this exhibit comes down around these parts, we’ll let you know for sure. And this one sounds really neat. The time period is really neat.

And it’s not that the museum itself is actually at the Portland Art Museum. So, the whole kind of theme or the whole perspective of this particular Shape of Speed exhibit is a little bit different. So, Professor, tell us all about it.

The Shape of Speed Exhibit

Clinton Quan: Yeah. This this is a new exhibit featured at the Portland Art Museum. It’s called The Shape of Speed featuring vehicles from 1930 to 1942. There are 17 vehicles on display and two motorcycles. And these are cars that are very aerodynamic for that time period from 1930 to 1942, as I mentioned. So, these are cars that are very unique in terms of design.

Tom Smith: And their-

Clinton Quan: I would say they’re groundbreaking for their time period.

Tom Smith: They’re goofy looking, some of them.

Clinton Quan: Some of them are.

Tom Smith: But there is an Alpha Romeo that is gorgeous.

Clinton Quan: There was an Alpha Romeo, yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that one before.

Tom Smith: I hadn’t, for sure.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: Of course, go to iDriveSoCal.com. Check out this post, this podcast post. We’re going to have these images that we’re talking about as always if you’re not already looking at these images while listening to this podcast. But the alpha is gorgeous. The other one that had a similar look to it, was that a Bugatti?

Clinton Quan: Yeah. It’s a Bugatti type 57 1935. It’s called the Aerolithe.

Tom Smith: Okay. And then, the other thing, it’s not a Tata. That’s the Indian, but from India, a company that’s producing cars now.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: But what was the name of it? Do you recall?

Clinton Quan: Tatra, I believe.

Tom Smith: Tatra.

Clinton Quan: Yes, I’ve never heard of that.

Some Cars We’ve Hardly Seen in the US

Tom Smith: It looked like it had a Volkswagen front almost-

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: …with very sleek sides and like a Jetsons back. I mean, it-

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: …had like a weird fin down the middle. Anyway-

Clinton Quan: The back is definitely very, very unique on that vehicle.

Tom Smith: These pics are worth checking out. Now, the interesting thing, to me, right off the top my head, about these vehicles, particularly in a time period from ’30, 1930 to 1942, is this is post World War I.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: And then, basically, you’re riding right up to World War II. So, obviously, World War II was a significant event in the world, and a lot of production ceased because so many or most every automotive manufacturer switched to some kind of arms manufacturing during World War II.

Did they touch on anything in that regard how it tied into the end of kind of … Because, then, when World War II ended, the designs and everything was different. So, did they touch on the aspect of the world war at all in the exhibit or?

Curated by Ken Gross – Former Director of the Petersen Auto Museum

Clinton Quan: Not from what I could recall.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: No.

Tom Smith: Stimulating. So then, why don’t you give me the thread that the museum wove this exhibit through?

Clinton Quan: Well, this exhibit was curated by Ken Gross, former director of the world-famous Petersen Automotive Museum.

Tom Smith: Right here in-

Clinton Quan: Southern California.

Tom Smith: Yes, here in Los Angeles, which ties into iDriveSoCal. So, there’s another tie. All right.

Clinton Quan: Yes, there’s another tie.

Tom Smith: We’re stretching for ties.

Clinton Quan: Yeah. And this is really the centerpiece exhibit for the Portland Art Museum. And I think they did a fantastic job exhibiting the cars.

They have it in a wide open space, but then they also have some cars in a private room. And the cars are all…

The way it’s laid out, you can really enjoy and appreciate the cars, and take some really, really good photos. And they have vehicles from a wide variety of manufacturers. So, it’s not just focused on a particular manufacturer, including Talbot-Logo, Alpha Romeo.

Tom Smith: Are they all Europeans?

Clinton Quan: Bugatti, Mercedes Benz. No, they’re not. That’s a good question. There was also a Chrysler. And I believe there was a Cord as well. So, from a number of different countries.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: Not just Europe, not just European countries.

Tom Smith: Okay. All right. So, no tie to World War I or II whatsoever.

Clinton Quan: Well, there could have been.

Tom Smith: There could have been. You just-

Clinton Quan: I didn’t have much time since that was also the final day right before going to the airport.

Tom Smith: All right.

Drive North from SoCal to Sacramento then Portland – 2x Great Auto Museums!

Clinton Quan: So, we went through the exhibit pretty quickly.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: Well, some beautiful cars, for sure.

Clinton Quan: Yes, and definitely worth visiting if you’re in Portland.

Tom Smith: If you’re in Portland.

Clinton Quan: I highly recommend it, yes.

Tom Smith: And if-

Clinton Quan: I think one or two of the vehicles was actually on loan from the Mullin Automotive Museum.

Tom Smith: Oh okay, right up there in Oxnard.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: Another podcast that we covered just recently.

Clinton Quan: My favorite car museum in SoCal.

Tom Smith: Your favorite in SoCal.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: That’s right. You mentioned during that podcast that it’s not, you know, a… You think it’s your favorite, but you haven’t been to every museum in the world.

Clinton Quan: Just every car museum.

Tom Smith: You can’t say your all-time favorite as to favorite of all favorites.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: It could be. It could be.

Clinton Quan: Could be, right.

Tom Smith: We’re all on the edge of our seats waiting to find out. All right. Anything else at all?

Clinton Quan: That’s pretty much it.

Tom Smith: Awesome. All right. Professor, thank you very much as always. Always a pleasure to have you on the show. For IDriveSoCal, I’m Tom Smith. Thank you for listening.