The world’s largest gathering of 1932 Fords — called Deuces — is in Greater Victoria for four days until Sunday, with hundreds of the iconic hot rods assembling for Northwest Deuce Days at the Inner Harbour.
It’s the eighth time the cars have congregated in Greater Victoria for Northwest Deuce Days, held once every three years.
Almost 1,400 hot rods, street rods and rat rods vehicles — all built before 1951 — are set to fill the area around the Inner Harbour on Sunday.
About 650 of them will be Deuces, the highlight of the show.
Some of the colourful cars, with colours from mild to wild, have journeyed to Victoria from across Canada, almost every state in the U.S. — and even one from New Zealand.
This grandaddy of car shows on Vancouver Island was started by Al Clark, who has been building and modifying hot rods for clients worldwide from his home garage in Fairfield since 1996.
Clark, who turned 74 this week, said it all started with a meet at Gorge Kinsman Park in 1998.
The show moved to Oak Bay Village in 2000, before ending up at its current location in the Inner Harbour in 2004.
The show’s stature among fans was evident in 2007, when more than 400 Deuces turned up in Victoria for that year’s Deuce Day — more than those who attended Ford’s 75th anniversary celebration in Detroit.
It was so popular, it was expanded to three days in 2010.
Since then, the show has continued to grow, drawing crowds of up to 100,000 spectators at last count. The high turnout speaks to the enduring appeal of hot-rod culture, which began in the 1950s.
While there are younger owners — the youngest attendee this year is 16 — many are in their 70s and 80s and were teenagers when hotrods were at their zenith.
“Many of them wanted a hot rod when they were teenagers, but couldn’t afford them,” said Clark, who has built both chassis and whole cars for friends and clients over the years. “Now they’re grown up and can afford them.”
The price of admission can be steep, however, with some desirable cars costing upward of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Two cars set to make their debut at the gathering this year reportedly cost more than $1 million US apiece. One has already won a number of awards, including Street Rod of the Yearfrom the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association in 2017.
For those who have always wanted a hot rod, there will be cars for sale at the show.
Prices depend on a vehicle’s history and provenance and whether they are based on an original chassis or are essentially brand-new cars.
While some of the cars might look similar, no two cars are exactly the same, with some owners spending considerable time and money to individualize their rides. Customizations run the gamut, limited only by the owner’s imagination and budget.
Spectators have an opportunity to talk to owners who choose to stay with their cars.
Some of those cars will be arriving in colourful convoys, picking up participants along the route. If you want to get a peek, hang around the Black Ball Ferry terminal and the Hotel Grand Pacific on Belleville Street at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, when 90 cars will disembark the Coho ferry.
On Saturday, more than 500 cars will gather at Clover Point and along Dallas Road at 9 a.m. before embarking on a “Poker Run,” where participants receive a poker card at every stop.
At the end of the drive, the car with the best poker hand gets a prize.
This year, the run will take them into Langford for the first time. Spectators will be able to see participants on both sides of Goldstream Avenue (heading east from the fountain) from 10 a.m. to noon as the cars complete that section of the Poker Run. The road will be closed to regular traffic for two hours.
Although the main Deuce Days show runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, owners will start arriving to park their cars at 3:30 a.m.
Deuces will be parked along Belleville Street between Douglas and Pendray Streets, on the circle drive, side lawns in front and the parking lot behind the B.C. legislature. They will also be on Government Street from Superior to Broughton (and perhaps Fort Street), on Menzies from Belleville to Superior Street, on Wharf Street and in the parking lot beside Ship Point.
Viewing any of the events is free. For information, go to northwestdeuceday.com.
See vehicles' style on a smaller scale
They may be smaller, but all the hot rods you will see at the Deuce Days in Scale model car show are just as impressive as their full-sized cousins. The show runs Sunday at the Hotel Grand Pacific.
Hosted by the Scale Plastic Automotive Modellers of Greater Victoria, the indoor model show is essentially a scale version of the car show taking place outside.
As at the Deuce Days gathering, there will be models of cars from 1951 or earlier, with an emphasis on 1932 Fords, the Deuces.
There will be a number of special displays, such as models of all 15 body styles offered by Ford in 1932. Two models will be featured with the song lyrics and album cover of the Beach Boys’ Little Deuce Coupe.
Visitors will find the first Deuce Coupe to appear in the first issue of The Rodder’s Journal and on its first poster.
You can also trace the history of Deuce model-car building through a large assortment of ’32 Ford model kit boxes.
Favourite models will be chosen for awards and there will be a ballot for spectators to pick their favourites. There will also be a special award for the most promising young modeller.
Admission is by donation for adults and free for children ages 13 and under (they will receive a car poster to take home to colour).
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the North and South Pender Rooms of the Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St.