On Father’s Day, Tor Hansen was being led around by his 7-year-old son, Ripley, as they took in the gleaming collection of more than 300 immaculately restored and cared for entries at the car show at Santa Rosa’s Juilliard Park.
Dad admitted he’s learning more about cars because of his son.
“He shouts out the makes and models as we drive down the street,” he said.
Although the “Show & Shine” car show on a sweltering day was not necessarily Hansen’s first choice for Father’s Day, he said ”being a good father, you take your son to indulge his passions.”
There was plenty of motorized eye candy for car aficionados to indulge in Sunday representing diverse eras and styles, with models elevating four-wheel transportation to near works of art.
Rows of muscle cars from Detroit’s 1960s heyday, an exquisitely exotic red 1952 Jaguar XK120 roadster and a 1921 Buick “opera” coupe — with lots of room for well-dressed passengers to enter and exit their compartment for a night on the town — were just some of the attractions among the rows of polished chrome, flashy radiator grills and refined hood ornaments.
Proceeds from the 23rd annual car show sponsored by the Northern California Engineering Contractors Association go to scholarships for young people bound for colleges and trade schools.
“This is the best car show of the year,” said Larry Fahy, 70, a retired T-shirt maker from Sebastopol and owner of two early 1960s AMC Ramblers. “It’s informal, it’s on Father’s Day and it’s free.”
Gary Luce of Santa Rosa said now that his children are grown “Dad gets to do what he wants” on Father’s Day and that meant going to a car show.
“I’m a car guy. I have a ’55 Chevy,” he said, and when it comes to the various makes on display, “I like them all.”
Each car has its own character, personality and story, and classic car collectors are more than happy to point out the features and history of their vehicles.
Retired Sonoma County deputy sheriff Ken Williamson, for example, said his pink-and-silver 1956 Chevy limousine was used to take guests from the Honolulu airport to Waimea Bay. Later it served as a sort of parked billboard near the Sonoma-Marin county line advertising “When in Novato Eat at Shipwreck Pete’s.”
By the time Williamson got it in the late 1980s it wasn’t running. But after lovingly restoring it, he now uses it to take people to high school reunions and weddings.
Tracy Booker of Clearlake Oaks had her 1951 Mercury sport sedan on display Sunday, a car she bought four months ago for $17,000 from the original San Francisco owner, who kept it in his garage.
“This is my ‘It’ car. I spotted it on eBay,” she said of the jet black sedan with 80,000 miles on it and a rebuilt flathead V-8 engine.
“It gets on the highway and its floats; it cruises,” she said, admiring the car’s sleek style.
She said it was the right vehicle to drive in the movies for stars like James Dean and Robert Mitchum.
The emblems on the car, from the hood ornament to the gas cap, evoke classic Roman mythology with the head of the fleet-footed god Mercury.