Saanich Peninsula man drives scary clown car to personal redemption – Goldstream News Gazette

The mid-October sun hangs directly over the Michell Farmers Market as hundreds of people, some in costume, scavenge the pumpkin patch for the perfect Halloween gourd. But this morning, something else catches their eye: George Burnside’s 1965 Ford Fairlane 500 Sport Coupe.

Straight out of a low-budget movie that could inspire a Quentin Tarantino homage, the vehicle wears its sensibility on its skin thanks to the decorations that stand out on it. They include skulls hanging from the grill just above the front bumper, Frankenstein’s Monster and Bride of Frankenstein minifigures in wedding attire waiting for their big moment on the hood, and a little clown doll with skin pasty and flamboyant red hair that not only clings to the side mirror, but also a glimpse of the nightmarish clown costume that Burnside will wear later in the morning while posing for photos with Black Press Media and bystanders.

But the person behind the rubber mask with a mouthful of blood-soaked incisors is a soft-spoken chef with a love for Halloween, who’s used his new found passion for vintage vehicles to turn his life around.

“I bought it for a third-grade sobriety gift for myself,” he said. “It changed my life, I mean a thousand degrees, in a good way,” he later added. “I have met so many amazing new friends who have become family.”

That family, he said, helped him realize that others also struggle with addictions. “And we help each other.”

Along the way, the Torque Masters member learns car restoration with the help of a high school friend he reconnected with and bringing joy to the public by participating in public parades, which he whether it’s the Sidney Sparkles Christmas Parade or smaller morale-boosting parades. during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The calendar determines which decorations appear on his vehicle, which had just 18,000 miles on its speedometer after years of sitting in a barn when Burnside bought it.

As with every Halloween, it follows a theme. Last year, he paid homage to the Saw movie franchise. This year, it’s the evil clown motif popularized by movies like It.. Burnside estimates that around twenty pieces adorn his vehicle with countless boxes of various decorations waiting at his house.

Burnside loves Halloween because of its spookiness and decorations, but most of all for the smiles his car generates when he drives down the street. “You get thumbs up,” he said. “I make people follow me on the road, film me – it’s just the pure joy of people’s excitement.”

Burnside’s vehicle, which can be seen parked on the streets of Sidney, understandably attracts a lot of children’s attention and before COVID he took a few kids for rides.

“I was at the Sydney Christmas Parade and we’re in the Subway (queuing) with a few of us who were in the parade and there was a line of kids,” he said. -he declares. “I said, ‘Do you like the parade?’

And one of them said, ‘yes, I did.’ So what was your favorite part? “All those old cars.” And I said, ‘you mean the one behind me?’ Her face lit up. So I said, ‘Do you want to go around the block?’ Of course, I asked the father and he said “of course”.

Burnside’s vehicle underscores the deep connection between the horror film genre and motor vehicles, with vehicles often serving as visual shortcuts for characters or characters themselves like the Chevy Nova in Tarantino’s Death Proof or the Plymouth. Fury in Christine., the eponymous film of Stephen King’s novel. In fact, Burnside recently licensed a local filmmaker to use his vehicle in a role.

So, has Burnside’s vehicle also developed a personality?

“He’s known as Curious,” he said with a laugh. “Everyone always asks, ‘curious, where did you find the car, curious where did you find it, curious, how long have you had it?’

But that doesn’t mean the vehicle doesn’t have its own character.

“When I first bought it I was coming back from the Royals game and my scoreboard wouldn’t light up,” he said. “And I hit a pothole and the dashboard lit up. There was a loose wire somewhere and my dashboard has been working ever since. It was three years ago. (So) he came alive.

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