Thousands attend chamber's Custom Car Show
The event drew more than 1,000 people who gazed at 144 cars and pickup trucks on display inside two buildings and outside at the entrance to the fairgrounds.
The vehicles came from as far away as Vallejo, Modesto, Redding and Medford, Ore. Even a car appraiser from Ashland, Ore., set up a vendor's booth.
"It turned out absolutely fabulous," said Candice Anderson, Chamber secretary and event organizer. "Some people came back on Sunday and paid the entrance fee, again."
Several cars were added to Sunday's show, she said.
Anderson and her husband, Bruce, put the show together with the help of Chamber members and nonmembers.
"Bruce and I have done car shows for years," Anderson said. "You won't find a nicer group of people."
Chamber board member Kevin Schindler was happy with the turnout, and impressed with the show pieces.
"There are some neat vehicles here. It brings back some wonderful memories," he said. "Absolutely," the Chamber will do it again. They plan to make it an annual event.
The oldest car in the show was a 1911 Ford. Several others came from the 1920s and '30s, and many were from the 1940s, '50s, '60s and '70s — with a few newer models as well.
Scott Conklin of Vallejo brought his 1937 Cabriolet convertible. He said he saw the show advertised in a driving magazine and thought it would be fun.
Besides, a friend, who built the car for Conklin, lives in Orland, so it was a chance to catch up.
Steve McClung traveled from Redding in his 1971 red Chevrolet Malibu SS because friends told him about the Chamber's show and "it sounded like fun on a nice autumn day."
The Baby Boomer said he bought the car last year, because "I wanted a muscle car."
Among the 700 or so spectators on Saturday, Joel Beltran was especially excited about a 1954 Chevrolet Bel-Air.
"I have the same car in restoration," he said. "I rescued it from a hot-rodder."
Schindler said the Chamber chose the November date for the show, because "it is the last show of the year in Northern California that we know of."
The group thought it would be a nice way to round the year and raise some money for Chamber projects, he said.
Fifteen students in Orland High School's Auto Club helped at the swap meet and parked cars for visitors. Plus, they took the opportunity to raise some money with a 50/50 draw.
Automotive instructor Travis Moore said the money will go toward Auto Club projects and field trips such as going to a go-cart event in Sacramento. The goal, however, is to restore cars. Unfortunately, the club does not have enough money to pursue that right now.
One car stood out as more than a show piece. Max Loffgren's 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air is a rolling memorial to people missing in action and prisoners of war during the Vietnam era.
The names of 3,578 men and women are painted in silver on the black car that he still races when he gets a chance. It has an 1,100 horse power engine, he boasted.
On a back spoiler, signatures of former POWs add to the historic significance of the vehicle. They are collected as Loffgren goes to car shows and military events. In February, the car will make a tour starting in Miami.
Loffgren, a Vietnam veteran and Willows resident, shows the car all over the country to raise awareness for the National Alliance of Families, which supports veterans' causes.
He plans to donate the vehicle to the Smithsonian Institute in a couple of years, he said.
Contact Lydia Harris at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.