Anyone who appreciates a good engine roar made a point to attend St. Albert’s Rock’n August Show and Shine, one of western Canada’s most celebrated car shows.
Despite the pouring rain during early Saturday morning, the only thing dampened was Lions Park and the south banks of the Sturgeon River, the Show and Shine’s traditional location.
Spirits were high as several thousand visitors flooded the area to view and share stories of the 350-plus vintage beauties, classic models, and cool muscle cars.
Edmonton car cruiser Dallas Van Dresan was prepped to showcase his modified 1958 two-door post Chevy Del Ray. Instead of battling the downpour, he went with the flow.
“I decided to get comfortable. I jumped in the back of my car and fell asleep,” he said pointing to the interior’s Monte Carlo soft beige leather seats. In addition to modifying the seats, he has changed the motor, transmission, and air conditioning.
“When I was 18 I had one. I’m 74. When I heard about it from one of my good friends’ uncles, I bought it.”
Lorne Soloview, proud owner of his grandfather’s 1956 Ford F100 pickup, also takes pleasure in reliving past memories.
“I learned to drive on the farm. My grandfather would say, ‘If you can start it, you can drive it.’ I was seven when I could touch the pedals, and I tried to go through as many sloughs as possible,” said Soloview.
He has made numerous modifications, including installing Cadillac seats. Perhaps the most stunning is repainting the original yellow colour to a scintillating orange, balanced with a Cadillac pro white. An airbrushed strip along the body separates the two feature colours with highlights.
While many car enthusiasts get misty-eyed recalling their youth, David Chalus lives for speed. He has driven his silver Chrysler Crossfire Roadster with a Mercedes engine up to 200 km/h.
“I bought it two years ago from a showroom in Hope, B.C. It had 12,000 miles on it. It’s an American car. It came from Seattle and can be used as a racing car,” Chalus said.
Shelby Craigen, a museum exhibit designer, has a passion for history and his 1961 Crown Imperial brims with celebrity history. According to a trail of paperwork, this luxury car with a chrome bumper, mesh grille, and fins, was once owned by J. P. Maxwell. He was the owner of Maxwell Hardware, the largest hardware store in San Francisco.
The original colour was Malibu Tan and his girlfriend, actress-singer Doris Day, hated the tint. To please Day, Maxwell repainted the car to a golden colour. The car arrived in Canada after a co-worker of Day's gave the car to his nephew and he drove it across the border.
Craigen bought the car in Red Deer and rebuilt the motor, transmission, suspension, and converted to disc brakes. But he hesitated about repainting the slightly chipped body.
“As soon as it’s retouched with paint, it loses its history. Because I worked in a museum, I appreciate history. I have this fight in my head – should I make it pretty or should I keep the history?”
Gerry Gaetz, who restores and sells 50-year-old hot wheels, is also a big fan of cars and movie history, as witnessed by his black 1932 Ford pickup, an iconic throwback to Ford’s yellow American Graffiti coupe.
“I always wanted something from this era. It’s the big era of hot rods.”
Glenn Bauer showcased a 2021 Corvette reminiscent of the Batmobile. The head-turning red and black sculpted mid-engine sports car made a powerful statement.
“All previous engines were at the front. In this car the engine is maintained behind the driver in a cockpit style with more power directed to the rear wheels,” said Bauer.
There were too many cars to visit in just a few hours on this slow-paced afternoon. One that attracted a non-stop stream of admirers was a two-passenger 1926 Model T Ford retrofitted as a hot rod. While the original Ford colour was black, this restored model was painted Tiffany Blue with shooting purple flames and a sparkling silver engine.
As a young boy walked by, he said, “Hey Dad. Isn’t this car cool?” echoing everyone’s thoughts.