Oak Bay Auto Festival Sparks Decades of Automotive Trivia

The Oak Bay Collector Car Festival kicks off July 24 after a two-year COVID-19 hiatus, returning with a myriad of colorful stories tied to the mileage of each vintage vehicle.

For $20, all collector car owners and enthusiasts can bring their vehicles to Oak Bay Avenue and Foul Bay Road beginning at 7 a.m. to be lined up for display between Mitchell Street and Monterey Road until 3 p.m.

Longtime festival organizer Ken Agate is already anticipating a rush for the event, but appreciates the community for supporting the love and work for these vehicles.

The number of cars for the event “tends to be in the range of 275-300”, and as far as crowds go, he has yet to find a good way to count the “frightening” number of attendees . “The good thing is that the weather seems stable for a while.”

One thing Agate loves about the festival is how it welcomes owners of vehicles that aren’t in the elite price range or undergoing expensive restorations.

“I don’t want it to be intimidating,” he said, noting that overpriced cars can scare some people off. That said, exotic models from manufacturers like Aston Martin, McLaren and Lamborghini will still make an appearance.

In 1975, Agate bought her very own 1938 Dodge Brother in her New Zealand home before deciding to part with it by leaving for Canada. But the porter he met suggested otherwise, he said.

“The young man said, ‘Oh, take that Dodge with you! “”

Ian Smale of the Walter P. Chrysler Club, a Victorian who will be attending the festival, told his story of acquiring a light blue 1960 Chrysler Saratoga in 2008. After parting with the 1962 Chrysler 300 he had owned since 26-year-old Smale began looking for a replacement Forward Look-era car with fins and air conditioning to accommodate summer road trips to WPC Club meetings in the Pacific Northwest.

“My wife and I were both tired of traveling at high speed on the freeways to meetings while having the windows rolled down to let the air circulate, and it was not fun to listen to the traffic and the wind noise, especially semi-trailers!” he explained in an email.

Smale immediately fell in love with the Saratoga after finding the rust-free classic car at an eBay auction. It had been repainted, replated, polished, reupholstered and fitted with air conditioning, electric windows and swivel seats. Manufactured at the former Chrysler factory in Los Angeles, California in October 1959 and roaming the streets of Los Angeles for five decades, the car has clocked up exactly 100,000 miles and received little mechanical work in its lifetime. life.

Smale picked up the car in Blaine, Washington and drove it back to Victoria with no problem. While having it inspected and certified, he failed on a few minor issues and had to rework his air conditioning system.

Six weeks later, he set off for his first Chrysler meet in McMinnville, Oregon, where temperatures reached over 100 F and reliable air conditioning ensured a bearable trip. Since then improvements have been made to the engine, transmission, front and rear springs and Smale has done a lot of detailing and completely restored the engine and boot compartments.

He put an extra 42,000 miles on the car, which he says runs as well now as when it rolled out of the Los Angeles factory more than 60 years earlier.

Several years after Smale bought his Saratoga, he gave Chris Gannon a lead on a red 1961 Chrysler for sale on the Continent by the owner’s grandson. It included power windows, swivel seats, a power antenna, and a clear-rim steering wheel.

Within a week, the car was on a trailer to drive home to Gannon. He sent photos of the Chrysler to Smale, who realized it belonged to a former member of the New Westminster WPC club, who entered it at a winter photo meet in 1980.

The car had been in storage and was in “remarkable condition”, having driven 58,000 miles and “been rocked since new”. Gannon managed to revive the car in his workshop and said the 383 engine and mechanicals such as the carburetor, master cylinder, water pump, hoses, distributor and brakes work perfectly.

Having driven 5,000 trouble-free miles with the Chrysler, he is happy to be the current owner and confident that he will be able to enjoy this classic vehicle for many years to come.

The Oak Bay Classic Car Festival will include a prime rib barbecue on the Municipal Hall lawn and hand out colorful rosette ribbons for automotive awards in more than a dozen categories.

For more event information, visit oakbay.ca and find Collector Car Festival under Explore Oak Bay and annual events.

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