Monroe museum is home to Northwest hot rods, racecars

MONROE — If you’re headed out to the Evergreen State Fair through Monday to take in the grandstand speedway events, consider a side trip to the Jim and Betty Green Hot Rod Gallery and Museum in Monroe.

Located on the other side of U.S. 2, a short distance from the fair, the museum is adjacent to Jim Green’s Performance Center repair and parts shop on 147th Street.

Fans of racing in Snohomish County, especially from the 1960s and ’70s, are sure to enjoy the Greens’ collection of memorabilia.

Jim Green started racing on the streets of Bremerton when he was 18. He first made a name for himself in the early 1960s in the Northwest organized racing with his B-Boys dragster.

Greeb said his passion for racing meant that his son, Jamie, and daughter, Laurie, grew up at the drag races.

His wife, Betty Green, kept meticulous scrapbooks of Jim’s racing career, which continued through the late 1970s. Those books, some with 50-year-old newspaper clippings of races in Arlington and Monroe, are among the hundreds of valuable treasures at the museum, along with old license plates, highway signs and motors.

Green, 75, ran his Performance Center on 212th Street SW and Highway 99 in Lynnwood for more than 40 years and moved it to Monroe about three years ago. While he is trying to be retired, Green still spends most of his days working at his shop.

The museum opened in 2012 and last year the Greens began renting it out for weddings and other gatherings.

Many vehicles are displayed in the gallery, along with a replica of a 1950s-era diner and Shell gas station.

“My first job was in a Shell station,” Green said. “It’s my favorite part of the museum.”

The B-Boys dragster is there, along with other racing cars and old vehicles. The star of the display is the shiny red Phunny Phaeton, a one-of-a-kind ‘34 Ford street rod that Green designed and built in the early 1980s. The car has a hydraulic-tilt body, which lifts up the front end. The hot rod has won many prizes in the car show circuit and is still a draw at car events.

The Greens raced their Jiminy Cricket Special during the 1960s and, with Ray Hadford driving, won the National Hot Rod Association World Championship in the competition eliminator category in 1968.

In the 1970s the Green team entered the Green Elephant AA Funny Car in races across the country and in Canada. The Green Elephant won the 1973 National Hot Rod Association Funny Car World Championship with Frank Hall driving.

“It was one of the most popular funny cars of those years,” Green said. “We were in the funny car top 10 throughout the 1970s.”

During the 1980s and ’90s, truck- and tractor-pulling took the lead in the Greens’ lives.

“We pulled on the Can-Am Pullers circuit and from Edmonton to San Francisco,” Green said. The three-motor tractor Shotgun also is displayed in the gallery.

The Greens returned to drag racing for a while after 2000 when Jim and his friend Jim Crooke restored the 1967 Assassin top fuel dragster, which also has a place in the gallery.

“We still go to the race reunions each year at the Arlington Airport and we like to keep in touch with and do business with former and current racers from across the country,” Green said.

One of those is Jerry Cook, of West Seattle, who doesn’t mind making trips to Monroe for parts and repairs.

“The museum is definitely worth the stop,” Cook said.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @galefiege.

Start your engines

The Jim and Betty Green Hot Rod Gallery and Museum is located at 17520 147th St. SE in Monroe. Open most days. Admission by donation. Call 425-224-5009 or go to www.hotrod-gallery.com for more information and to schedule parties or meetings in the classic automotive gallery. People who book an event there get a free, private tour of the museum.

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