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Car show lets you see – and drive – EVs and Model Ts

Cruise the old and new on Saturday

Ever want to blaze down Campbell Road in a Tesla? How about in a Model T?

Car aficionados will get to see and drive these and many other unusual cars next Saturday at the Century Casino as part of a free and unique ride-and-drive event for electric and antique car owners.

Event co-organizer and St. Albert car collector Art Rutledge said he and a few of his friends got the idea for this event (now in its third year) after seeing too many car shows where you could look at, but not touch, the cars on display.

“The cars sit there but people don’t even get to sit in them,” he said.

“Cars are meant to drive.”

He and Edmonton car fan Chris Bamford decided to organize this informal gathering amongst members of the Edmonton Antique Car Club, Edmonton Classic Sport Car Club, Weird Little Car Club, and Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta, in St. Albert to give people a chance to ride in and drive these cars. (They originally hoped to do an electric/classic car rally, but that never got off the start line.)

It’s sort of a cross-cultural event to get the electric and classic car fans to try each other’s rides, Bamford said.

“There’s a tremendous number of flavours to the automobile hobby,” he said, and electric and classic cars are almost on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of design and environmental impact.

Bamford said this was the only car show he knew of in the Edmonton region that let guests ride in and drive this mix of vehicles.

“I likely am never going to own a Tesla, but thanks to this event I’ve driven three or four of them,” he said, and gained great appreciation for the engineering behind them.

Bamford said this as-of-yet-unnamed event typically draws about 25 vehicles, including Model Ts, Rolls Royces, electric bicycles, and a Tesla Model X. Guests can ask owners about their automobiles and, if the owner agrees, go for a ride or drive around town in them.

Bamford said he planned to bring his restored 1926 Model T Ford to the event. Anyone who hops behind its wheel will soon notice that it has three pedals, none of which are the accelerator.

“The acceleration control is on the steering column,” he explained, and you use a lever and two of the pedals to shift gears – one’s low gear and one’s reverse. The last pedal is for the brakes, which are much less effective than those used today.

Rutledge said he planned to bring a BMW i3 plug-in hybrid and a few other classic and electric cars to the event. He described the i3 as a “very geeky car” that has an all-carbon-fibre body and seats made from recycled pop bottles.

“It has what a friend of mine called Marmite styling,” he said, in that, much like the sandwich spread Marmite, you either love it or you hate it.

Rutledge encouraged anyone with an interest in cars to come out to the event.

“It’s the only chance you’re going to get this year in Edmonton to ride in one of these.”

The event runs from 9 a.m. to noon May 18 in the casino’s parking lot.


Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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