Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Willy slows down and enjoys a chrome-filled weekend
While the long weekend offered so many great car- and motorcycle-related events that it was tough to decide which ones to attend, Cousin Mikey and I finally opted to head west on Saturday to the Super Run car show in Brandon.
The streets of Brandon were humming with hot rods when we arrived early Saturday afternoon, making the Wheat City feel like a scaled-down version of Minnesota's annual Back to the Fifties car show.
Super Run took place on both Saturday and Sunday on the grounds of the Keystone Centre. Although it's typically used for hockey games and horse-trading, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better venue for a car show. The grounds were picture-perfect and featured a nice combination of blacktop parking and lots of green space where cruisers parked on the grass under shady trees.
There was also a great all-day swap-meet Saturday. Judging by the lofty prices some folks were asking for their junk, the Canadian Pickers had already rolled through. But I did manage to buy a perfect, vintage Firestone tire ashtray to add to my growing collection.
Though just two hours west of Winnipeg, the event attracted a great offering of show vehicles from Saskatchewan, Alberta and even B.C. A few of our neighbours to the south also crossed the border to show off their cool rides. With more than 500 vehicles on display, it was tough to pick favourites, but a few really caught my eye.
Garry Reid from Souris made the 30-minute cruise to Brandon in his beautifully restored 1966 Meteor Montcalm. Reid, who stands about seven feet tall, requires a big car, and this massive two-door hardtop fit the bill to perfection.
Reid reported that although Brandon is where all the action is, the car scene in Souris is alive and well -- he and a buddy cruise into town in their old cars for coffee at least once a week. And there must be something about Canadian-only Fords in the Brandon area -- we spotted a couple of minty Monarchs and enough old Mercury trucks to start a Canuck convoy.
Alongside all the home-grown talent, Super Run also included the usual suspects: Camaros, Corvettes, Mustangs and a nice offering of Mopar muscle. The sighting of a '70 Plymouth Duster sporting Saskatchewan licence plates begged me to ask Cousin Mikey if that made it a crop Duster? He didn't laugh either.
In among the trees, we spotted our buddy Al Schulz, the long-time owner of Midnight Auto & Truck Parts on Redonda Street in Transcona. Al and his wife, Dot, made the run to Brandon in their rare, 1963 Dodge Dart convertible.
Schulz was picking up a truck in North Dakota last year when he spotted what looked like a car under a cover in the seller's barn. As any self-respecting car guy would, he asked about it. After a bit of haggling, Schulz bought the car for a song and towed it home.
This clean little white Dodge Dart ragtop came from the factory complete with a red interior, a push-button automatic transmission and a smooth-running Slant-6 engine. Known to gearheads as the "leaning tower of power", most Slant-6 motors have been swapped out of convertible Darts in favour of V-8 engines. But, since this is a numbers-matching Mopar, Schultz intends to keep it that way.
Another six-banger that caught my eye was the stunning 1967 Chevy II owned by Winnipeg's Irv Braun. The bright-red two-door hardtop is super-clean, with a light gold interior and a drive-in-friendly bench seat. Under the hood, it features a spotless 194-cubic-inch Straight-6 engine. Braun fired up the little Deuce and we could barely hear it running.
At $1.30 a litre for gas, Schulz's Dart and Braun's Chevy II reminded us that smaller old cars with fuel-efficient engines make great sense.
It was a great afternoon, and by all accounts the Super Run crew did a terrific job organizing this event. If you haven't been to Brandon lately, it's worth the trip, even if just for a steak at Albert's Bistro. Cousin Mikey picked up the dinner tab, and I paid for gas. You know who got the short end of that deal.
On Sunday, we rode our much more fuel-friendly motorcycles out to Gimli to enjoy the always exciting show at Interlake Dragway. The highlight of the day was watching Andy Beauchemin of Edmonton pilot his top-fuel Harley-Davidson, named "Joker's Wild", down the track to a blistering 6.99-second 1/4 mile pass at a speed of more than 320 km/h.
If you haven't made your way to Gimli this year for some racing action, check out www.interlakedragway.com for a complete listing of upcoming race dates.
Since we are on the topic of speed, it's time to come clean. On the way to Brandon at the helm of my Chevrolet Silverado pickup, talking cars with Cousin Mikey, I let my speed creep well over the posted limit -- and the flashing lights in my rear-view mirror confirmed that.
But, after running my name and discovering that I'm not as greasy as I look, the kind and concerned RCMP constable from Carberry let me off with a warning. "Slow down and enjoy the weekend," he said, handing me back my cherished licence.
That was hands-down the best advice I've heard in ages.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 9, 2013 F4
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