A stroll through a classic car show can sure bring back memories — at least among the more mature visitors who like to reminisce.
Everybody remembers their first car and most had friends who drove them around town in a really cool set of wheels. Going back further, maybe they recall the cross-country trip they spent in the back seat of their parents’ car.
“My biggest thrill coming to these things is just to get people’s opinion of it or their memories of cars their folks had or a friend of theirs in high school had; the people that went on first dates in ‘56 Chevys,” said Richard Stanley, who along with his wife, Karyn, had several vehicles on display at Saturday’s Philomath Classic Car Show. “I don’t know, I guess it’s the old soul in me that likes to hear those stories from people about back in the day when they were a hot deal, you know?”
Talking cars with those making their way through the show is what Stanley really enjoys. Corvallis car enthusiast Lou Dupuis, for example, got caught up in an intriguing conversation with Stanley about a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette that he and his wife were displaying. Stanley even brought the car alive for him by turning the key so he could hear the engine.
In all on Saturday, this year’s car show brought in 115 entries, according to organizers. The day’s top award — the best of show — went to Joe and Sherri Davis of Albany, who brought over a blue 1937 Chevy Master Deluxe.
The car show’s judges announce a “Fab 5” and in addition to the Davis vehicle, others were a 1969 Chevy Camaro, a a 1934 Ford 5-Window Coupe, a 1967 Chevy Camaro SS and a 1956 Ford F100 (see accompanying graphic for a list of winners).
Stanley, an orthopedic surgeon who lives in Philomath, said he does go to other car shows in the region on occasion.
“This Corvette did go up to the Portland Roadster Show … but I’m not a big car show guy as far as awards,” Stanley said.
Among Stanley’s vehicles on display, their ‘Lil Red Corvette seemed to be attracting the most attention. The couple purchased the Corvette five years ago out of Wenatchee, Washington. They are only the third owners of the car, which is one of only 9,168 built that year.
The Corvette features custom additions with all-modern running gear, an engine with features such as an LS1 fuel injection system, as well as cruise control, power brakes, power steering and on and on. The exterior, however, was restored to its original appearance and not modified at all.
“My wife asked me, why a ‘58 Corvette?” Stanley recalled when they purchased it during the summer of 2014. “I think all of us had our little Matchbox cars, right, and there’s nothing more American for a kid than having a little Corvette Matchbox car.
“Two, I feel like a lot of cars have personalities and so I don’t know, I guess you could be having a bad day and you get in it and it’s a whole different thing,” he added with a smile. “For me, it’s kinda like a true feeling of being in a different rig in a different era.”
The couple also had their 1956 Ford Thunderbird, a 1956 Chevrolet 4-door with suicide doors and a 1972 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.
Stanley said they are basically the caretakers of the T-bird and the 4-door with them not restoring those two cars. They ventured into a new era with the Karmann Ghia.
“It’s quite a bit newer; I’d been stuck in the ‘50s until recently,” Stanley said. “But we bought that car so our girls could learn how to run a 4-speed to take their driver’s tests in. Being millennials, they can then know how to run a stick.”
The ‘56 Chevy was the first vehicle that the Stanleys had brought to the car show.
“We bought that probably seven years ago and started bringing it … We have made it almost every year,” Stanley said. “I think in that seven-year period, maybe I missed one year because of traveling back for farming in Nebraska so we had been out of town one of those years. But we try to hit it every year.”