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T-Birds and ’vettes roll on Vashon
In what organizers said was a first, dozens of classic Thunderbirds and Corvettes rolled together on Vashon on Sunday — bringing together two makes that their manufacturers long considered archrivals.
The rivalry still exists between the Corvettes, the brawnier of the two cars, and the Thunderbirds, the more elegant make. But it’s a friendly one now, as evidenced by Sunday’s event, when some 45 T-Birds and ’vettes — gleaming red, brown, orange, black and ivory ones — lined a field next to Engel’s Repair and Towing.
The Engels’ annual classic car show has long brought Vashon’s finest machines out for the day. But this year’s event was bigger than ever due to the participation of three off-Island car clubs — the Puget Sound Early Birds, the Olympic Classic Thunderbirds and the C-1 Corvette owners.
“I’m ecstatic,” Gordon Thorne, one of the organizers, said of the event as he stood next to his cherry red 1957 Thunderbird. “This is a huge gathering. To have 45 show up is really quite something.”
Jerry Little, a Corvette owner and the other organizer of Sunday’s event, said he hoped the gathering marks the start of a new annual tradition for the clubs. He’s owned his gleaming roadster, which looks orange but is actually considered “Venetian red,” some 31 years.
“It’s a lifestyle,” he said of his passion for the car.
The clubs came together a year ago after Little heard that Thorne’s club, the Puget Sound Early Birds, was considering a road tour of the famous Route 66. Little’s club, the C-1 Corvette owners, had done such a tour a few years before, and he called Thorne to wish him well.
The two stayed in touch and decided to tour together, Little said. “This is it,” he said of Sunday’s event.
After several hours under a blazing sun, owners of the 45 classic hotrods headed to Point Robinson, where they were slated to get a private tour of the lighthouse, and then into town and onto Vashon Winery. Debi Richards, director of the Vashon Chamber of Commerce, which helped convince the clubs to bring their tour to Vashon, said she was pleased.
“I thought it would be fun for the drivers and a boon for the Island,” she said. “The ladies are all headed into town to shop.”