On Labor Day weekend, I attended the Hawkesbury (Ontario) Car Club show which is in its 19th year. Thanks to the tail end of Harvey, the rain drenched the proceedings. That being said, it was nothing like the good folks elsewhere in the United States experienced.
The last car show I attended was also soaked. So, I’m batting a thousand weather wise. But no matter, one hundred or so brave owners still showed their metal, as it were, and participated. Last year, the weather was nice and they had around 500 cars registered for the event.
You meet the most interesting people at car shows. I met a gentleman who broke his neck not long ago and became a quadriplegic. Fortunately, his paralysis only lasted a few months. He regained enough mobility in his body and can now walk again. Who says there are no miracles? He brought his 1967 Mercury Cougar with the sequential turn signal lights. I told him he should have won a trophy. He replied that what he enjoys most about car shows is connecting with enthusiasts, such as myself, and didn’t care about winning trophies. He struck me as a very humble man.
All Lit Up
1967 is the year Mercury gave birth to the Cougar. I owned a 1994 Cougar XR7 and it had 168,000 miles on the odometer when I sold it to purchase my 1997 Lincoln (shameless plug). I loved that Cougar and everything worked, including the air conditioning. Before the Cougar, I owned a 1989 Thunderbird LS, which I traded in for the XR7. Interestingly enough, the sequential lights first appeared on the Thunderbird in 1965. But for some reason the sequential lights became a big hit with the Cougar, not the T-Bird.
Goes to show that manufacturers can never tell what will please the public. Because it is now so expensive to build cars, perhaps that’s why they don’t take so many chances anymore, and all models in similar categories all look the same. In 1969, Chrysler installed sequential signal lights on their Imperials. Now you can see sequential signal lights on new Mustangs. They are just downright cool.
Vans, Trophies & Broncos
Then, there was a guy who showed up with a Chevy van. Everybody likes a van. Kids love vans for reasons other than the adults, if you know what I mean. He confided that he took five weeks off and spent the summer attending car events. He won a bunch of trophies, including one at this show. I also met an elderly gentleman who drives a 1934 Mercedes-Benz 500K replica, which you can buy from a California company. It will set you back $80,000. You can get an used one in good condition for about $50,000. A real one would cost millions. His car looked stunning and he won a trophy, not surprisingly.
Another gentleman brought his 1964 Oldsmobile 98, which he has owned for the last 50 years. Then, there was a Ford Bronco owner. I know a guy who rebuilds Broncos. He removes the stock engine and replaces it with a 4.6L 32 valve motor like the one I have in my Mark VIII. Crazy! But in a good way.
Grand Theft Auto
I also had a long conversation with the owner of a Porsche 968. He believes at some point during its existence, the car had been stolen. He found out from his mechanic that the white paint was correct, but according to the serial number, the interior should be gray. It’s black. Not only that, some of the interior cabin is made up of 944 parts. He paid for the car fair and square and surmised the original owner must have been compensated by the insurance company. Somehow, the car found its way back into “legal” circulation and he purchased it.
A few days before the event, he was at the Porsche dealer for an oil change and while he was waiting, had a chance to sit in a 911 GT3 on display in the showroom. He was bowled over. I jokingly thought that most folks would have to rob a few banks to be able to afford a car like that.
Reminiscing & Recognition
I finally met the owner of a 1958 Chevrolet 210. My maternal grandfather had one of those and as a young child, I went with him to the B/A Gas station for a fill up. The attendant wore a uniform. Besides filling the gas tank, he checked the oil and cleaned the windshield. British American gasoline with its green and red round sign was bought out by Supertest and its bright orange leaf logo. BP Oil eventually purchased Supertest. All those old gas stations disappeared long ago.
Since a picture is also worth a thousand words, I will share the gallery below. I would be remiss if I didn’t express my gratitude to Carl Anthony, Managing Editor here at Automoblog. He is the one setting up the Memory Lane series, and does fantastic work. And a great big thank you to clubs, such as the Hawkesbury Car Club. Clubs like this around the world are responsible in large part, due to their members, for keeping the interest in old (and new) cars alive.
Enjoy the photos!
Michael Bellamy is the author of our Memory Lane series, a collection of work that examines the unique relationships we have with automobiles. Bellamy has held a number of interesting jobs over the years, including a helicopter pilot and chauffeur to high-ranking politicians. He enjoys driving his 1997 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC and 2003 Dodge Dakota.