For car enthusiasts, the chance to see hundreds of cars lining Oak Bay Avenue only happens once a year. This year, that day falls on Sunday, Aug. 9 when the Oak Bay Collector Car Festival takes to the streets.
The open show (meaning any make, year model of car participate) has drawn an estimated 15,000 people to the avenue every year for the last 15 years.
“I remember that first year, I was so nervous that no one would show up and we ended up having thousands of people through,” laughed Ken Agate, the show’s coordinator.
“The thing is with an open show is that draws a wider crowd,” he added, saying the focus of the show is the cars but what really makes the experience is hearing the stories shared between car enthusiasts.
“It’s the stories that really make the experience. Some restorations have amazing stories behind them and some cars are so unique,” he said. “We welcome anyone – perfect restorations, works in progress, less than perfects, we love having them all. That’s the beauty of this show.”
Apart from the cars, he continued, freshly barbecued build-your-own prime rib burgers ($6), live music (Virtual Elvis from 12 to 3 p.m.) and the local shopping are also all draws to the major event.
“The show itself is a great contribution to the community,” he said. “It benefits local business, and this year for the first time ever it will feature local art and artist demonstrations chosen by Barbara Adams, the Oak Bay Arts Laureate, as part of Arts and Culture Week in Oak Bay,” Agate noted.
Car placements start at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9 and the show opens at 8 a.m.
“The nice part about the show is that there is no pre-registration required, so it’s very casual. People can just show up on the day of and pay the entry fee of $15. This year we will have spots for about 300 cars on the Avenue,” Agate said.
For an auto aficionado like Don Hutton, the open show provides a more casual atmosphere to show his rare, mint-restored 1958 Cadillac Eldorado.
“The Oak Bay show is a great show because it attracts so many different car enthusiasts,” Hutton said.
His ’58 Eldorado, which took almost eight years to restore, recently won a handful of awards, including Best In Show (non-member) at the Annual Vintage Cadillac Car Show at Fort Rodd Hill.
Hutton’s hunt for an Eldorado to restore began many years ago, and was realized when he located one in South Carolina.
“It was difficult to find one because of their rarity,” he said, noting that there were only 815 1958 Eldorado Biarritz made.
“There’s definitely not that many of them out there now,” he said.
The restoration work, which was done from the bottom up and encompassed every part, including nuts and bolts, was done by Todd Rayner.
“I did the parts sourcing for the restoration which was challenging, but it turned out better than I could have imagined. Of course, any car enthusiast knows a project is never really done,” he laughed.
The Oak Bay Collector Car Festival on Sunday, Aug. 9 begins at 8 a.m. in Oak Bay Village and runs until 3:30 p.m. Registration and vehicle placement start at 7:30 a.m.
For more information on the show, see oakbay.ca.
Devon MacKenzie/News contributor