Classic Car Caravan stops off in Lillooet

DENNIS STRANACK

Lillooet got an unexpected kickoff to what was already slated to be a dream weekend for automobile aficionados last Thursday, when approximately 50 classic cars and their drivers – all members of the Classic Car Club of America–rolled into town for lunch on the REC Centre lawn before carrying on with their 11-day circle tour through B.C. and Alberta.

The caravan–specifically the … - was from south of the border, having converged on Seattle from New Jersey, Minnesota, Texas, Alabama and elsewhere across the U.S. Some drove their beloved classic cars all those extra miles, others trailered them to the starting point, but everybody was driving after Seattle and had already seen a lot of country by the time they paused in Lillooet for lunch.

“We drove ours, it was about 2,200 miles from Minneapolis, we drove it up through Banff and up through Jasper and back down to where we started in Seattle, said Winston Peterson, who stopped in at the BRLN off just in case nobody had noticed that right outside the window, Main Street appeared to have suddenly travelled at least 50 years back in time.

 “We have members from New Jersey, Texas, Minnesota, Oregon, California, Washington – the local club around Washington put the on the event.”

The trip started crossing into Canada caravan had already made its way through Princeton and on to Kamloops for the night before arriving here just before noon. Three day’s in Whistler lay ahead after they got back on Highway 99 before they proceeding to Horseshoe Bay and rolling onto a ferry for the Sunshine Coast. They planned to ferry it again from the end of the road in Egmont to Powell River, where another boat would land them on the Island for the last leg of the trip down to Victoria and then a ferry back to where they started.

The caravan was comprised of a laundry list of some of the most iconic automobiles ever to roll off an assembly line – and all of them restored to look very close to what they would have on that long-ago day.

“There’s a ’41 Cadillac, 38 Packard, ’31 Studebakers, 40 Packards, there’s a few Rolls Royce on the tour, a few Bentley, ’48 Jaguar, ’35 Chrysler, a ’38 Alpha Romeo, ‘30 Buick Sports Roadster...”

And on, and on, including Barrie and Karen Hutchison’s 1937 Cord, which they drove up from their home 0n Whitby Island, in Washington.

“That’s the year the company failed,” Barrie said proudly.

“They were built in ’36 and ’37. There were fewer than 3,000 made.”

Three of those 3,000 were parked at the REC Centre last week.

“One tenth of one per cent of the entire production,” Barrie said, lovingly showing off some of the features that make the car unique, including front-wheel drive that allows for a low ride, flat floor and no running boards, as the transmission is in the front; hand-crank disappearing headlights, and–because the failing company was trying to save money–identical front and (suicide) back doors that are simply hung from opposite directions.

“We have driven this car about 65,000 miles,” Karen chimed in, adding that has included a trip to Alaska and another to Auburn, Indiana, where the cars were built for two short years by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Company.

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