Christopher Yarrow reflects on his fully restored Packard

Oak Bay annual car show shines light on Yarrow family history

'Cars are the stars' of the Oak Bay Collector Car Festival

When Christopher Yarrow heads to a car show, he doesn’t pull out a chair and doggedly guard his classic vehicles.

“I don’t ever stay by my car, I don’t worry about it,” he says, spritzing and scrubbing the whitewall of his 1930 Packard parked on Transit Road.

Yarrow doesn’t hover around during shows, and will put a keen kid in the back seat for a photo – despite the rarity of the four-door convertible.

The car’s history is as beautiful as the vehicle, and most of it, in Oak Bay.

 

Yarrow’s grandfather, Norman Alfred Yarrow of Oak Bay, bought the Packard brand new in 1930.

Yarrow never met his grandfather. Norman Yarrow died in London in 1955, years before the younger Yarrow was born – on the front seat of his grandmother Hope Yarrow’s 1957 Lincoln. He was fascinated with the photographs of the Packard that was used largely as a family summer car and carried King George VI and Queen Elizabeth during the first royal visit to Victoria in 1939 (though the family didn’t own it at that time). At 14 he began the true search.

Norman traded the original Packard for a smaller one in 1937 and Yarrow traced it through to enthusiast Art Fulakwa who bought it in 1956. Yarrow connected with Fulakwa and would visit him and the car regularly at his home in Port Coquitlam and then on South Pender Island. In 1985 Yarrow brought his grandfather’s Packard back into the family, storing it at his grandmother’s Uplands home.

“I was 14 and it took me 14 years to get it back,” Yarrow said with a chuckle.

It wasn’t until 2010, when Yarrow moved back to Victoria from northern Canada, that the Packard was restored. Now looking much like it did when his grandfather first drove it home to Oak Bay, on Aug. 10, it will take pride of place in the car’s own hometown show.

“It’s one of the more friendly events. It’s family oriented,” Yarrow says of the annual Oak Bay Collector Car Festival. “It’s the best car show around. You get a different kind of person there. People who are really interested in all makes and models. That’s fun for the hobbyist.”

Along with the 1930 Packard and a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, he plans to bring a 1956 Austin Healy that’s not yet restored, something that’s welcome at this particular show.

“It’s an open show, meaning anything can come … some of them don’t even (run), they come trailered,” said organizer Ken Agate. “There are 25 shows a month in the summer on the Island. This one is a favourite because the cars are the stars. The variety of vehicles is outstanding. Every year there are cars we’ve never seen before and they come from not too far away. It shows the hobby is alive and well.”

The Avenue will be closed from Monterey Avenue to Mitchell Street and filled with an expected 300 collectible cars for the annual event where an estimated 15,000 people filter through over the day

“We cultivate it to feel like days gone past,” Agate said, adding policemen and firefighters walk the crowds along with the Victoria AM crew in their old-timey wear. “And people come out dressed for it.”

Those same policemen and firefighters select their own “choice” awards for the ribbons doled out at 3 p.m. by Virtual Elvis, who appears onstage sporadically throughout the day.

“That way (the awards) can’t be fiddled. An obscure car can win and go home with a big ribbon … There’s no feel like that,” Agate says.

As always, there will be a strong showing of English cars as well as colourful hot rods and vintage cars from all eras. The majority of the cars come from local enthusiasts but some come from up island, mainland BC and the United States.

Pre-registration is not required and everyone’s welcome for the $15 fee.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Langford man battling cancer honored with hot rod, motorcycle procession

Friends and family support Patrick O’Hara on his 73rd birthday

‘Seven baths in two days’: Homeless adjusting to life in hotels

Victoria passes motion to allow camping 24-7 in parks until June 25

Langford Fire calm mother and daughter after being trapped in elevator

Three-year-old girl given stuffed animal to calm nerves

Capital Regional District prepares to reopen regional campgrounds

Camping will look different at Island View, Sooke Potholes, Jordan River sites

Langford businesses can expand onto sidewalks, public spaces

Council passes new bylaw supporting business expansion

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read