A menagerie of vintage cars rolled into town on Aug. 28 for the Galt Area Historical Society’s Drive Down Memory Lane Car Show.
Automobile aficionados perused the rows of vehicles on the lawn of the McFarland Living History Ranch, admiring the classic lines, restored engines and quirky personal touches. Some of the owners could be found by their cars, ready to share their stories.
For Don Aron, it was the peculiar contours of a modified 1942 Packard Clipper that caused him to buy the sedan sight-unseen.
The men who originally found it in a North Carolina junkyard took the already curvy car and added yet more curves by reshaping the front and rear bumpers. They also lowered the car’s top. Aron did his own work on the Clipper after purchasing it.
“It looks more modern than some modern cars,” one attendee said of the result.
Aron said he appreciates Packard’s forward-looking design sensibility and the rarity of the model, which quickly went out of production during World War II.
“I just fell in love with it. … The lines on it were so unusual. It’s such a rare car,” Aron said.
By contrast, the 1929 Ford Model A that Mia Marshall owns has barely changed at all.
“It’s all original … except for the four tires and the gas cap,” Marshall said. “But I still have the original gas cap.”
The thrill of driving a vehicle that’s nearly a century old was what appealed to Marshall, and her 11-year-old son has insisted that he also owns the car. Marshall said that, as a Black woman, she defies stereotypes about classic car owners.
Alvin Schmierer’s 1944 Ford Deluxe takes him back to his high school days in the ‘50s. He got a motorcycle permit at 13, his driver’s license at 14 and a Deluxe at 15.
“But I couldn’t drive it after 10 o’clock at night.” Schmierer said. “Wasn’t supposed to, anyhow.”
The night driving would have to wait until he turned 16, but it was memories like that that spurred Schmierer to seek out and restore the Ford he brought to the car show.
When he found it, the car was rusted out with parts bent and broken. The trunk lid looked as if someone had shot it.
Schmierer spent 2½ years restoring the automobile, locating elusive replacement parts and salvaging what he could, including the hood ornament, the fenders and the trunk lid.
“I could’ve bought one, but everything I looked at, someone’s modified it, and that wasn’t what I wanted,” he said.
According to Galt Area Historical Society President Janis Barsetti Gray, the event featured 89 registered cars, music by Brian King and tours of the historic McFarland home. In addition to the car show, various vendors, including antique and collectibles vendors, had items on display in the barn on the grounds.
Barsetti Gray said that nearly 400 guests attended the event, earning the nonprofit organization more than in past car events.