Jay Walter only owned his 1960 C1 Corvette for a week before polishing it up and hitting the road – destination, the car-loving community of Langley.
The 56-year-old Vancouver collector discovered his candy apple red machine in Saskatchewan in late August, but he was admittedly pretty excited to show it off.
He’d long dreamed of owning what he dubbed the classic American sports car, a 1950s or ’60s model Corvette with stylish curves and lines like no other vehicle he’d ever seen.
Being a relatively new empty nester, he started the hunt for just such a car in earnest a couple of months ago.
He combed ads and club listings throughout B.C., Alberta, and even the western U.S. Failing in his quest closer to home, he eventually expanded his search a little farther afield. Then, almost ready to give up, the first inquiry he made in Saskatchewan netted him his new baby.
“It was fortitudes, it was exactly what I wanted. I couldn’t ask for a better fit,” he said, admiring his new wheels as they sat in front of the Preston Chevrolet dealership doors on Labour Day Monday as part of the BC Corvette Club’s 17th annual show ’n’ shine.
This car is not his first classic car, but Walter sold his last collector vehicle 10 years ago and admitted he had a hankering to get back into it again.
He bought his “gem” on a Monday, had it loaded into a trailer and transported home by Wednesday. By Friday it had been inspected. And, that same day, learned about the upcoming Corvette show in Langley, he had signed up as a new participant in the Langley show.
Three days later he was sitting on his folding chair, by the trunk of his car, watching as hundreds passed by admiring his new set of wheels.
“I thought, I have to come out and meet some other owners of similar vehicles,” Walter told the Langley Advance Times. He got much more than he expected when attending.
“What a show. It’s phenomenal,” he said, looking out over a sea of more than 130 new and collector Corvettes that filled the car dealership lot at Langley Bypass and 200th Street throughout the late morning and much of the afternoon.
“You can see the love and the care that goes into these vehicles,” he said, commenting that he not only learned a lot about the cars during his first Corvette show, but also met many people from the club who made him feel “incredibly welcome.”
That’s what it’s all about, club president Loren Cocking said. It’s the people and their cars.
A sunny summer holiday afternoon on Sept. 2, Labour Day, made for the perfect conditions so that Corvette owners could shine up their vehicles at Preston GM and show them off to streams of sports car enthusiasts, he said. Just like Walter, this Coquitlam car owner was at Monday’s show with one of his favourite vehicles, his 1992 C4 Z07 Corvette coupe.
It was one of the largest on record when it came to the car count.
“The parking lot is full. We have a whole bunch of cars. The weather is great. And we’re all here together sharing our love of Corvettes. Life doesn’t get much better than that,” Cocking said.
“We had 116 cars in attendance and then about 40 more out in the lot that came and joined in later on,” Cocking said. “It was a terrific day and turnout – lots of first and third generation Corvettes, which we hadn’t seen much of in the past few years.”
While thousands upon thousands of Lower Mainland people spent their Labour Day scrambling to get themselves or their kids ready for back to school, he grinned when noting that close to a thousand or so people spent the day with him – on the asphalt at Prestons.
“We’re here today playing cars. That’s what we do,” he chuckled.
While the show is about celebrating the seven existing (soon to be eight) generations of this car, the show is also a fundraiser, explained Cocking, president of the club for the past four years.
Throughout the year, the car club hosts a number of events to raise money for charities, including the Variety – children’s charity and bursaries for automotive trades students at BCIT. This year’s show was no different. While numbers were still be finalized, Cocking was optimistic the amount raised for the cause will be up, as were registrations and spectator numbers. He estimate the amount raised at this year’s show would exceed $850.
Show host and sponsor Peter Heppner, Preston president, was proud that the car show has grown into a “real community event,” noting the event allowed Preston to highlight its community partnerships with organizations such as the Vancouver Giants, the Langley Rivermen, Langley Events Centre, and the Preston GM Langley FC socceer league – all which were on site for the day.
The show and shine was a great chance to re-connect with and mingle with old clients and Langley residents, he added.
“It’s certainly grown into quite a community event over time. It’s great to have the new products to look at every other day, but once in a while, it’s nice to see where you came from – this event certainly helps that,” Heppner said.
Though the day was absolutely meant as a celebration of all things Corvette, live music and food trucks provided a lively atmosphere.
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