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In One Ear: Dislocated delivery

Clown car comes home
By Elleda Wilson

The Daily Astorian

Published on August 10, 2018 12:01AM

Just for fun, a rerun from August 2103: The Astoria Clown Car was stuck in the desert out in Shaniko for decades, and Jeff Daly was on a mission to bring it home.

Jeff’s sister, Molly, was sent to live at the Fairview Hospital and Training Center when she was not quite 3 years old ( “One of the reasons the Astoria Clowns were formed,” Jeff said, “(was) so my dad could go to the Salem institution to visit her in clown disguise, since he was forbidden to see his daughter as a father … This car took them on that trip in 1957.”

The 1948 Chrysler was originally a mortuary limo. “The clowns bought it for $250 (in 1955) and painted it orange, top to bottom,” Jeff explained. “They traveled thousands of miles throughout the Northwest and Canada promoting the building of the bridge to nowhere, the Megler.”

The car wound up in Shaniko when town developer Ed Martin bought it for $700. For four years, no one responded to Jeff’s calls about the vehicle. Finally, he reached Martin’s widow, Joan, who was willing to sell it for $500.

Wolfie (aka Greg Smith, pictured inset), owner of the Dancing Wolf Ranch in Wamic, offered to deliver the car to Astoria. All he wanted in return was a shot at some clam digging. But first, he had to cut his hay. Then there weren’t any clam tides.

Then the hay was still wet. Then Wolfie fell off his tractor and dislocated his shoulder. Then Wolfie’s ranch caught fire, and two helicopters and 14 fighting units were trying to put it out.

The next projected delivery date was on a Sunday. This time Wolfie had been startled by two rattlesnakes while loading the car on the trailer, and he slipped and fell and dislocated his shoulder. Again.

But … he banged his shoulder into a nearby barn wall to fix it, and delivered the car as promised. You can see it jauntily tooling around Astoria, home again at last.


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