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Show ‘N Shine packs Arlington's Olympic Avenue

ARLINGTON — Olympic Avenue was choked with cars on June 11, but it wasn’t a traffic jam.

Rather than honking their horns or simmering in exhaust fumes, visitors to downtown Arlington that day strolled along the street and complimented one another on their stylized and polished vehicles at the 12th annual Old Town Show ‘N Shine Car Show.

Event Chair Marilyn Bullock estimated that this year’s show drew more than 300 entrants, beating last year’s count of 297, but she couldn’t even begin to guess at how many attendees showed up that day.

“We have a contingent from Canada that comes down every year, and the furthest away that any of our attendees has come from is Nevada,” Bullock said. “Of course, they used to live here and wanted to come back home for the show, but that’s still pretty impressive.”

Bullock cited the variety of vehicles on display as one of the show’s most-praised draws, and between the restored antique rigs and the souped-up hot rods, there were plenty of custom cars to attract attention, including a 1993 Geo Metro that Arlington’s Jeff Fletcher had modified to the point that it was unrecognizable as its original make and model.

“I wanted it to be futuristic and old-style all at once,” said Fletcher, whose added features included tail fins, DeLorean-style gull-wing doors, a three-wheel design with two in the front and the third barely visible in the back, and a flashing red LED bar on the front grill reminiscent of KITT in “Knight Rider.” “I named it Lorraine, after my mom’s middle name, because it’s one of a kind.”

Indeed, Fletcher won the “Most Unique in Show” trophy at the May 21 “Cruzin’ for a Cure” car show in Smokey Point. He’s only taken Lorraine to two car shows this year, after completing his work on the car six months ago. Although his job as an aerospace fabricator has allowed him to use scrap materials to shave some costs off his work, he laughed as he admitted that he didn’t even want to think about how much he’s spent on customizing the car since 2006.

“I couldn’t put a price on this,” Fletcher said. “There’s not another one like it in the whole world.”

Marysville’s Don McCann was only willing to divulge that he’d spent $500 to purchase his 1933 Ford ice truck 25 years ago, plus $1,000 that he spent on oak for its back end. Unlike some vehicle restorers, he didn’t even have any nostalgic connection to the make and model of his vehicle, but he treasures the history that he and his family have built up with his old rig.

“We just saw it sitting on Highway 41 on the way to Napa Valley,” McCann said. “The owner didn’t want to keep it, so we took it off his hands.”

McCann’s wife Teri suggested to him that he inquire about acquiring the truck, and Don credited her with helping him get it into shape. The photos on display in front of the truck included their daughter Erin as a girl, since she contributed her labor as well. Erin’s name appears in a shamrock on the truck, and she’s since grown up into a 28-year-old journeyman electrician.

“I guess it just takes me back to a simpler time,” Don McCann said. “Plus, a lot of great people own older cars.”

“It’s not just about showing off their cars,” Bullock said. “There’s a real sense of community here, like a family reunion. They enjoy getting together and visiting with each other.”

 

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