The heat wasn’t on like past Langley Good Times Cruise-In events.
But early morning raindrops wasn’t enough to keep a total of 910 hot rods, classic cars and trucks, and souped-up motorcycles from filling the streets of downtown Langley on Saturday for the 2013 show and shine.
According to Cruise-In president Eric Taylor, the number of entrants and visitors were “a little lower than past years,” most likely due to the inclement weather.
It was pouring rain at around 5 a.m., when most of the Cruise-In entrants rolled into town.
But soon the rain stopped and the sun came out, bringing between 70,000 and 75,000 visitors to the charity event, according to Cruise-In treasurer Lori Watts.
Since its inception in 1997, the Langley Good Times Cruise-In has grown to become one of the largest mixed car shows in Canada and one of the top 10 on the continent.
The event is completely volunteer run, with all net proceeds going to local charities including Langley Community Support Service, the Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association, Langley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and the PuCKS Program.
Cruise-In has completed the third year of a comeback after going on hiatus in 2010.
This marked Taylor’s first year as Cruise-In president after taking the reins from Riccardo Sestito.
“Its been very exciting,” a very busy Taylor told the Langley Advance early Saturday afternoon. “Lots of fun and all sorts of good things going on.”
A new twist this year had the Seattle Cossacks Motorcycle Stunt and Drill Team perform in the Cascades Casino parking lot.
On another positive note, Sunday’s swap meet and car corral was “the biggest one yet,” Watts said.
There were plenty of Langley car owners taking part on Saturday.
One of them, John VanWerkhoven, positioned his American Graffiti-inspired bright yellow 1932 five-window Coupe and black 1955 Chevy Sedan (identical to the hot rod actor Harrison Ford drove) beside one another in at the midway part of the one-way portion of Fraser Highway.
VanWerkhoven is passionate about American Graffiti, the George Lucas-directed 1973 nostalgia film revolving around hot rods and pop culture in 1962.
In fact, he’s such a fan of the coming-of-age flick, he brought two of the film’s famous cars to life.
“It was just one of these kid dreams,” VanWerkhoven said. “I liked the yellow car, wanted to build it, and decided I would build both of them.”
VanWerkhoven acquired what he describes as a “shell” of the ’32 Coupe’s body in Alberta.
It took five years for the car to be completely rebuilt.
“I had a lot of individuals help me out on it,” VanWerkhoven said, regarding the striking car that during Cruise-In had a pair of roller skates positoned near its tires, with a DVD copy of American Graffiti inserted into one of them.
Willowbrook Collision did the body work and the paint, and other local companies including B&N Hot Rods and Pass Time Auto Hotrod Builders were key contributors to the restoration work.
And VanWerkhoven said he spent “zillions of hours on the computer at two o’clock in the morning when I couldn’t sleep, trying to figure out all the details.”
Paul Le Mat, the actor who played the role of the Coupe’s driver John Milner, signed the dash of the car which VanWerkhoven said, “made it cool.”
A look inside the exact replica of the 1955 Chevy sedan driven by Ford in the film shows the level of detail. It has a ‘JFK will win!’ rear-view mirror hanger and Ford’s cowboy hat in the back.
The yellow 1932 Ford hot rod Le Mat drove in the film has a piston gear shift top and a hand-built horn button to match the original.
Both of VanWerkhoven’s cars are making their first appearance at car shows this year, debuting at the B.C. Custom Car Show at the Abbotsford Tradex in the spring and most recently, the Langley Good Times Cruise-In.
While this is the ’32 Coupe’s and ’55 Chevy’s first showing at Cruise-In, their owner put his ’32 Pro Street on display at last year’s local show and shine.
Meanwhile at the easternmost end of the one-way Fraser Highway, passersby were seeing triple.
Langley’s Henry Peters returned with his trio of bright yellow 1970 Oldsmobile Rallye 350s parked side, by side, by side on the north side of the street.
Peters has owned his original car for 42 years.
“It was a year old when I got it,” he said. “The second one I bought… I was going to sell it, but then I spent so much time on it I got partial to it so I decided to keep it.”
A father of three, Peters made it a goal of his to have a Cutlas “for each kid.”
“I thought it would be nice for us to go to a car show together and all that,” he said. “It would be a sort of family thing, eh?”
He acquired the third of the three cars in a unique way.
“I was up at Cultus Lake driving around with my original one and this guy was following me all over the place, and finally I stopped and talked to him,” Peters said.
The person told Peters that his cousin owns a Cutlas just like his.
“I wanted to see it, but he really wanted to buy the car so he didn’t want to show it to me,” Peters related. “Because it was a four-speed, that made it a little more appealing to me. Eventually, after talking to him for about a year or two, I told him, ‘If you’re going to buy it it’s going to cost you at least 25 grand to restore it.”
Peters finally got to see the car, and ended up adding it to his collection.
These makes of cars appeal to Peters because he says, “they’re a novelty. They’re comfortable to drive. They’re fixed now. They don’t cost me a whole lot of money.”
Because they are one year production cars, the only colour they came in were silver and yellow.
“They were only made one year, and the production number on that I think was 3,547,” he said. “The two-door hard tops like these, I think there was just over 2,500 of those.”
Peters participated in the first ever Langley Good Times Cruise-In, and is a regular at the D.W. Poppy show and shine, because it takes place near his home and all three of his kids went to the school.
But he admits he isn’t necessarily a big fan of cruise-in events.
“You sit around all day,” he said. “For me, it’s more fun driving them. But the thing is, it gets pretty costly driving them, too.”
– With files from Vancouver Sun reporter Alyn Edwards
@ Copyright 2013