Cars, boys and pin-up girls

I spent the weekend with hot rods, pin-up girls, and rock and roll music. I was lending a hand at the Fraser Valley World of Wheels car show at the Tradex in Abbotsford and, despite the snow and sleet, the building was packed all weekend.

Over 200 classic and custom cars were on display and automotive celebrities from Los Angeles and Chicago, with catchy names like Jimmy Shine and Voodoo Larry, added to the draw. This year featured a pin-up contest that had 14 young ladies in 1950s retro clothing and hair styles competing for votes and the final judging was overseen by North America’s top pin-up model, Sabina Kelley from Las Vegas. Our American visitors enjoyed themselves and added some extra sparkle to the gleaming paint jobs and shiny chrome.

The pin-up girls reminded me of the old calendars my uncle had hanging in his workshop. He had no kids of his own so he didn’t have to be quite as restrictive in his wall decorations as our Dad. I did always wonder why some of the date pads on the calendars were out of date or were all still sitting at January even though it was June.

But if you had a tire shop or a garage or trucking company, you gave out calendars with scantily-clad women holding wrenches or hammers or leaning on trucks. The girls at the show were having a great time stopping and talking to old baby boomers and bringing out a few red faces.

People stopped by their favourite car. Maybe it was like the first one they had or the one they went across Canada in. The proud owners would never turn down an opportunity to tell the car’s story or why they chose that one to rebuild. Some of them had started out building model cars and had just kept on going through their teen years.

We had a group of kids with the quarter midget race association with a display out in the front lobby. All weekend someone was telling those kids to be careful, to move somewhere else. They had a bunch of Hot Wheels cars and were zipping them around, sometimes underfoot. You have to admit there was thousands of square feet of smooth concrete at the Tradex and we all know that Hot Wheels can go a long way on a smooth floor.

As parents, we all became quite adept at stepping over and around many feet of loops and track and jumps and at least tried not to step on a sharp tail fin in our stocking feet. Heck, most of us played with them ourselves as kids.

Unfortunately, these kids at the Tradex didn’t understand that this weekend the smooth floor was for the big boys’ cars. Each had their own territory marked out in a 10 by 20-foot stall surrounded by rope or barriers. Some signs simply said ‘Do Not Touch’ others were more creative, ‘Unless you are nude, do not lean on this vehicle.’ But make no mistake, if we had given the big boys an opportunity they would have raced those cars around that building all weekend.

By Sunday night we had picked the best car in the show, selected the top pin-up model and chosen our new premier. It seems the secret is to spend a lot of money, shine it up and make it look pretty.

At least that’s what McGregor says.