Paul Bragg was at the Country Car Show April 26 at the Otter Co-op when he found a flyer left on the seat of his 1954 New Yorker Town and Country station wagon for the D.W. Poppy Secondary Car Show on May 3.
It was his first time for both events and the day before Poppyâ€™s 28th annual show, he decided to drive from his Vancouver home to Langley, getting up at 6 a.m. May 3.
â€œI was lucky to make it,â€ he said.
His car overheated while waiting in line.
But he made it to a grassy spot on the field and as the awards were announced, his maroony brown station wagon was named overall winner.
He was stunned when his number was announced.
â€œThereâ€™s so many beautiful cars here,â€ he commented. â€œMaybe itâ€™s just a nostaligic pick.â€
The big station wagon, with its rich brown interior, chrome accents and special brown paint job exterior is evocative of the post-war prosperous era of the 1950s.
This is the first car heâ€™s restored.
â€œI made it out of two cars,â€ he explained.
Itâ€™s been a five year process, finding the vehicles (one from California, the other from Colorado), the parts, hand cutting the upholstery for the interior so it was the same as the original then deciding to go with the interior from an earlier model, and â€œa year or two on e-Bay for parts,â€ he said.
Just after he thought he finished the Cordovan brown metallic, as the paint option was called at the time, the motor seized.
Bragg said anyone who refurbishes cars has to be a bit nuts, spending all that time and money into bringing back to life something that will never recoup the value of whatâ€™s gone into it.
â€œIt costs way more than theyâ€™re worth, and everything that can go wrong will go wrong,â€ he chuckled.
He said the one salvation about being a car buff (he has eight vehicles in total) is the camerderie among enthusiasts.
â€œThe rest of the guys are always ready to help you,â€ Bragg said.
Far from babying the station wagon, he drives it and enjoys the array of reactions from the public.
Some young people give the thumbs up, others donâ€™t realize itâ€™s older than most of their grandparents.
â€œOlder people who remember the cars are often gob-smacked,â€ he added.
Sun and mild temperatures meant Bragg was one of more than 750 vehicles signed up for the show. Numbers jump wildly.
â€œItâ€™s very weather dependent,â€ explained Marlene Yakabuski, who chairs the organizing committee.
Last yearâ€™s rain resulted in 60 registrations. The year before brought out 700 vehicles.
Another factor in the success this year may be the addition of an advance registration system. People who signed up in advance got a reduced fee and didnâ€™t have to wait in the registration line.
Yakabuski said the show will use that system again. And the organizers will be trying to get a count on the public attendance to track numbers.
The show was supposed to open at 8 a.m. but there were already long lines so they opened up early.
While the organizers are still doing the tally, early indications are for an outstanding result.
â€œWeâ€™re hoping that it brought in over $20,000 for the school,â€ she said.
The annual show becomes a school-wide event. The Dry Grad students help at the gate and the basketball team does the concession, which earns them funds. The show proceeds go towards the school trades programs.