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Friendship entwined in a Yellow Silverado

In tribute to a longtime friend, Troutdale man brings restored truck to Cruise-In Aug. 3


by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - This is Larry Muck of Troutdale and the 1978 yellow Chevy Silverado Stepside he restored in tribute to his good friend, Ray DeFir.Like most vintage cars, the bright yellow pickup Larry Muck is bringing to the Troutdale Cruise-In on Aug. 3 in the city’s downtown comes with a story.

The 1978 Chevy Silverado stepside pickup belonged to Muck’s longtime friend, Ray DeFir, who bought it new and never drove it in the rain.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Larry Muck said he's primarily a Chevy man, but he also likes Fords.Muck and DeFir grew up together on the Columbia River in the 1950s and ’60s. The two “river rats” spent their days boating and waterskiing and living the life. DeFir owned a boating company in Portland: DeFir Marine, Rayson Craft Boats. When he died recently, Muck acquired his old buddy’s shop truck, and had it restored in tribute.

Muck finished the truck this year and in March showcased it at Portland’s Roaster Show.

Featuring a ’91 Chevy fuel-injected “cop motor,” fine Corinthian leather seats and a mahogany truck bed, it won Best in Class.

Muck said bugs also favor it because they think it’s a giant sunflower.

“Silverado is top of the line for Chevy trucks,” said Muck, who considers himself a Chevy guy, but has no shame in owning a few Fords.

Muck worked 50 years in the beer industry and ran his own beer-tap cleaning business before he retired in 2002. That’s when he started getting serious about cars, he said.

“Being an old bachelor, I’m trying to have a good time before I check out,” said Muck, 71, and smiling, his blue-green eyes gleaming in contrast to white side-swept hair and his white beard.

Some have kids, Muck has cars, and barns full of them.

His love for refined metal and motors started young.

“My ol’ daddy had a Harley, and when I was kid, he’d put me on the bike and let me shift it,” Muck said.

His father also owned a Flying A service station in North Portland off Interstate Avenue.

“I ended up pumping gas, and watching all the cars come in,” Muck said. “I was right there during the heyday of hot rods and Chevrolets — it was all fun.”

He now owns a slick 2014 Harley Davidson Superglide.

Muck first began by restoring two 1966 El Caminos. Since then, his collection has multiplied to more than a dozen cars and trucks. by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Muck's barn is filled with vintage classics, neon beer signs and other collectibles.

A portion of Muck’s impeccable collection, which he keeps in a large barn on his 5-acre Troutdale property, includes two 1932 High Boy roadsters (in yellow and red), two big-window 1956 Ford F-100s (in candy burgundy and gray), an award-winning yellow 1972 Chevy Blazer, a 1971 red Corvette Stingray, and the list goes on.

Muck said he usually ends up with two of each because he’ll buy one and then afterward will find a better version of the first and can’t resist.

Most of his cars have custom pin-striping jobs done by his friend, Don Fite, known as Spiderman. Muck said he leaves most of the body work “to the guys who know what they’re doing.” He just keeps them dusted off.

Muck’s barn is the ultimate man cave. Stocked to the T with tools and auto supplies, it has a built-in bar, offering Hamm’s on tap and countertops filled with auto magazines and car calendars. He also collects neon beer logo signs, Harley sportster gas tanks, custom car hoods and old bicycles, including a souped up version of the same Schwinn Black Phantom he rode as a kid.

Muck said he likes to go to the local car shows and “see what’s new and exciting.” He rotates many of his cars, so as not to bring “the same ol’ rig.”

He said his reason for restoring old cars is to keep them from going to the junkyard.

“I enjoy them and like to keep them on the road,” he said.

Muck was 16 when he bought his first car, a 1951 Chevy Deluxe hardtop, which then cost $150.

While the art of fixing up old cars may be fading for millennials, Muck remains hopeful. If kids can lift their faces from Facebook and Twitter for a moment, they might actually like going to an old car show and being schooled in the way of maintaining vehicles, he said.

Muck is looking forward to the Troutdale Cruise-In.

“We have fun, my girlfriend will come down and we’ll make a day of it.”

After that, he plans to “get goin’ on a little Corvette soon.”by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Under the hood of the yellow Silverado pick-up is a 91' Chevy fuel-injected cop motor engine.



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