Hot Wheels

Here's Where to Find Portland's Underground Custom Car Scene

Every Sunday, the city's motorheads gather on SE Second Avenue for an event called the Red Door Meet.

By Mike Allen June 19, 2018 Published in the July 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Michael Novak

Devin Hosking stands near the corner of SE Second and Belmont, arms folded across his chest, intently watching the cars roll by: jacked-up Ford pickups on immense chrome rims, tuned-up luxury sedans lowered to the ground, the occasional restored muscle car. A Jerr-Dan tow truck pulls up, like the proverbial wolf in the flock. 

“That’s our friend,” says Hosking, a cofounder of this weekly gathering, dubbed the Red Door Meet. “He helps with crowd control.”

For some, whatever rolls off the automotive factory line just isn’t good enough—too high, too low, too plain, too tame. They pore over technical manuals and spec sheets, swap advice in online forums and garages, and, in Portland, show off their custom DIY improvements every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. in the Central Eastside Industrial Area.

Nearly six years ago, a tiny group of tuners and gearheads convened near the red garage doors of Rose City Self Storage. The gathering grew into today’s Red Door Meet, a cavalcade of custom motors along SE Second Avenue, in summer stretching from Hawthorne to Stark. Despite the potentially rambunctious crowd, rules are enforced by a crew of moderators, and the police cruising the perimeter. And if they look too cool, that’s a misapprehension—nearly everyone is friendly and sharing.

Says Hosking: “You could and should be able to walk up to anybody here and ask questions.”

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