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Sleek hotrods and vintage classics to be on display at Vashon event
Automobile aficionados will have a chance to gawk at dozens of hotrods, vintage classics, rare cars and even a few rust buckets that will be on display this Sunday at an annual car show and outdoor concert at Engels Repair and Towing.
Paul Engels, who works at the Island gas station just south of Portage that has been owned by his family since 1951, has banded together with a group of his friends to put on the car show for the past seven years, typically held on a sunny Sunday afternoon in August.
In keeping with tradition, this year’s show will include live music by The Doily Brothers — an iconic Island band that got its start in the 1970s and has been rocking local venues ever since.
“Every year, a couple hundred people come through, even though we’ve never advertised it,” said Engels, a boyish-looking 40-year-old man dressed in a car mechanic’s uniform of brown, zippered coveralls. “It’s been a grassroots, home, Vashon-only thing, but this year, we’re trying to get some other cars from off-Island.”
A few days ago, Engels took time off from towing and repairing cars to show off his own prized possession that will be on display at the show — a snow-white 1960 Impala convertible with sleek fins, a near-mint condition red vinyl interior and shiny 1964-era Cragar wheels.
He has owned the car since 2002 — acquiring it through in a colorful and complex transaction that he insisted had to remain off-the-record.
“Every car has a story,” he laughed. “A buddy of mine firmly believes that every car has a heart and a soul.”
According to Engels, Vashon is a place filled with noteworthy and collectible cars — beautiful specimens tucked away in moldering garages or behind old houses.
“There are a lot of them hiding back in the woods,” he said.
One car that Engels is looking forward to seeing on Sunday is a 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt that belongs to Islander Jim Chunn. The car, an altered factory experimental drag racer with a 427 V8 engine, is one of only 40 left in existence.
Islander Mike Strobble, Sr. is also expected to show up with another powerful car — a 1969 Dodge Dart GT that can accelerate from zero to 130 miles per hour in 10 seconds flat on a quarter-mile drag strip.
But not all the cars at the show will be hotrods and racers. Islander Barry Briskmann is expected to show up with one of his award-winning vintage cars; among the vehicles he owns are a 1938 MG and Packards from 1936 and 1948.
Some of the hydroplanes that race around the Island every Fourth of July will also be on display, as well as antique tractors and an impressive range of pick-up trucks.
The show is free and open to all. Members of the Vashon High School football team will be on hand to collect donations for a memorial fund for Robert Bennedsen, a 25-year-old Islander and Vashon High School graduate who was killed July 18 by a roadside bomb in Afganistan.
One of Bennedsen’s passions was working on cars.
Engels said he was a regular attendee of the annual car show, and that this year, his absence would be keenly felt.
“He’d help us set up and clean up, he’d show up early and leave late — that’s the kind of guy he was,” Engels said.
The car show and concert will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22, at Engels Towing and Repair, 22825 Dockton Rd. S.W.