Classic car season rolls in with the Spring
For those who spend the majority of their Spring, Summer and early fall travelling to car shows, car events and cruise nights, the winter can be bleak and boring. As the snow begins to melt, the grass begins to green, and the temperature slowly rises back into those positive double digits, the time of year that ever car enthusiast waits for with baited breath is beginning to come to life.
Slowly, but surely, the streamlined, colourful, and bold classic, antique, and current sports and luxury cards are making their way back out onto the roads, and that’s something to be celebrated.
The car enthusiast community is one full of life, that draws in people from all ages, gender, race, and taste over one common thread; the love of automobiles. In Dufferin County, there is certainly no shortage of such people, and the many, many different events throughout the season in Orangeville are a testimony of that.
With the warmer weather and longer nights brings the Road Hazards Cruise Nights, a popular weekly gathering every Wednesday evening at the Canadian Tire parking lot. There, people can see everything from the latest Mustang and Dodge Charger, to classic Jags, Corvettes, and more.
The Blues Cruise, which takes place the Friday night of the Blues and Jazz festival, is also a popular event, and one that grows with each passing year. With upwards of 300 cars lining Broadway during the event, and Blues and Jazz musical performances throughout the evening, it transforms you to a different time and place, when chilling with cars and tunes were part of regular events.
“Where else can you walk down the main street of your town, seeing cars that maybe remind you of your youth or that you are in love with, while listening to cool music?” said Lorraine Parkinson of Road Hazards Car Club of Orangeville in last year’s Blues Cruise article. “It’s like a puzzle; it just fits together.”
There is no limit to the types of cars that can be entered or seen in this event, which is open to anyone and everyone, often seeing people from all over the place, including the GTA in attendance.
“The worst thing that people in the car hobby can do is put in all these rules and treat it like a business,” said Lorraine. “It’s not. It’s for fun, it’s for helping each other out and that’s part of what living here is all about. Whether the people with the cars live here or come and visit here every week, they become intermixed with it.”
Orangeville is fortunate to be home to some pretty special cars as well, like Reg Beer’s 1960s Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce, which can be seen in the summer months sitting out front of the Lord Dufferin Retirement Lodge on Elizabeth Street.
“It came out in 1960, and to me it was the most beautiful car,” said Reg Beer to a Motoring reporter in 2014. “I would never be able to afford one I thought. It so happened that it got within my range, and I was in the business. If I hadn’t been in the business, I wouldn’t have bought one I don’t think.”
Reg Beer became known in the area for his classic car restoration business, Reg Beer Coachbuilders, and although he has since retired, his two sons continue to run the business. Anyone who was involved in the classic and antique car market back in the day would be familiar with both Reg’s name, and his passion for cars.
Over the years, he has both restored the antique vehicle, as well as made modifications to improve the luxury quality of the vehicle. The Rolls-Royce now boasts power windows, power breaks, power steering, as well as a cocktail cabinet in the back and a picnic table that folds out from the trunk.
“It has everything but a toilet,” Mr. Beer added jokingly.
Though Mr. Beer is no longer able to drive the car himself, as he is legally blind, the Lord Dufferin Centre allows him to park the car out front, and a driver comes to take him around when he wants to go out. And while he may not show or rent the car, he does use it to take two different Lord Dufferin residents and a worker to the Black Birch restaurant in Hockley every weekend while the car is out.
Other events that local car lovers can hopefully look forward to as we gear up for the summer months is the Annual Vintage Car and Bike Show at the Dufferin County Museum and Archives, The Silver Willow Classic Car Show, Wheelfest and more. One thing people can count on for sure, is that it won’t be long before we see these beautiful vehicles travelling around town and local roads once again.
Written by Tabitha Wells