The last Sunday in April brought a sunny day, and almost 2,000 vintage auto lovers from all over the state came to check out the car parts swap. They also came to admire rows of old cars and trucks for the Corvallis Historic Auto Club’s “Dust ‘em Off” Swap & Show held at the Benton County Fairgrounds.
According to Peter Rocco, the club’s current President, there were more vehicles registered for the event than ever before. Entrants came from Corvallis, Philomath, Turner, Florence, Salem, Albany, Keizer, Blodgett, Tangent, Buxton, Tidewater, Eugene, Lebanon, Monmouth, Foster, Aumsville, Toledo, Shedd, and Springfield.
“We had 119 vehicles, breaking our record when we last did this in 2019 when our record was 84,” says Rocco.
The Corvallis Historic Auto Club was founded in 1965 and started the car show in 2016. This year the show joined the swap, which has been around for 54 years.
The owners of the historic vehicles were competing for trophies in 25 different categories ranging from Mayor’s Choice to Shiniest Paint, from Rusty but still Rolling to Best Hole in the Hood.
Many from the different city departments joined in the fun as judges.
Since the Mayor, Biff Traber, was away visiting family, Andrew Struthers, Ward 9 City Councilor and Council Vice President took his place as a judge. Struthers brought an ‘advisor’ – his young daughter.
Rocco noted that Struthers wrote on his judging form, “My daughter said it was a really cool red car that was really shiny. She also liked how the tires were really shiny.” Struthers awarded The Mayor’s Choice Trophy to Cody Curtis of Tangent, who wrote on his registration card that the 1953 Chevrolet 210 Club Coupe was a ‘Torrid Red.’
The Corvallis Fire Department sent Dave Busby, Emergency Planning Manager, who took his job at the show just as seriously. His job was to pick the Shiniest and Brightest. Rocco notes Busby wrote in his comments for that category’s winner, “The detail of every element is perfect. Paint is Flawless. Chrome, bumpers, nuts, bolts all detailed and built the way I would want to do it.” The proud winner is Rick DeHutt of Blodgett, who brought his 1972 Blue and White Chevy C-20 pickup.
Captain Joel Goodwin of the Corvallis Police Department, and acting Chief that weekend, selected a 1934 Chevy Panel, the “Rusty Rat Rod” for the “Most Likely To Get Pulled Over” trophy. Rocco noted Goodwin wrote on his judging form: “Parts likely to fall off, Fast and Furious spoiler, huge engine, gate latches on doors, etc.”
Goodwin also presented the Corvallis Historic Auto Club’s trophy to Danny Robinson of Buxton who arrived at the show in his 1934 gray Chevy Panel Truck.
Forest Ledbetter, owner of the 1925 Ford Model TT with a Holmes 490 wrecker kit, said that he and his dad spent eight years rebuilding their Oldest Entrytrophy winner. They enjoyed hunting down different parts from other cars that went into this model. All but one of the wooden spoke wheels are original.
“It was fun to drive over from Albany,” said Ledbetter about his coming to the event.
The Car Show Season
There are plenty more old car shows and events coming up now that the nicer weather has found us. Many are listed on the Corvallis Historic Auto Club’s website or post in their Facebook page. The first Saturdays of the month, starting on June 4, there will be informal get-togethers called “Corvallis Cars & Coffee” at the corner of Walnut and NW Highland.
Says Rocco, “We enjoy sharing our cars with the public and give them a chance to see them up close and speak with the owners. So many of the car owners love to talk about their pride and joys.”