WILSON CREEK — It was overcast and chilly, for a Saturday in June, and a few raindrops splattered on windshields, but that didn’t stop classic car owners from coming and showing their vehicles on Railroad Street.
“I’ll take brisk instead of wet!” said Alan Jones of Omak as he registered his ancient Volvo after rumbling into town with it.
It was the morning of the Little Big Show in Wilson Creek, and the town of just slightly more than 200 souls was filling up — with classic cars, motorcycles, even the occasional “Ratrod,” cars cobbled together from various bits and pieces, looking for all the world like something Dr. Frankenstein might put together if he were an auto mechanic rather than a mad scientist.
“This is very cool, very nice,” observer Angela Brooks said as she walks along, looking at the cars. “The ratrods are the coolest, because it takes time to make those from your imagination.”
“This is a 1940 Dodge truck cab with a ’57 Cadillac rear end and a Chevy 454 engine,“ said Ken Coates of Wenatchee. “A lot of time and originality went into this.”
“And imagination,” said Brooks as she strolled by.
“My mind’s like a bad neighborhood, I should never go there alone,” Coates responded.
Sitting in a folding chair on the sidewalk, Coates said he shows it off four or five times a year. He also pointed out the bullet hole in the lower passenger side portion of the windshield, which adds to the character of his invention.
“Some guy cracked it, so I took it out back and shot it,” he said. “I filled it up with silicone so nobody gets hurt.”
Ephrata resident Shanon Nelson is showing off his custom rebuilt Willys 1957 truck with the Mercedes diesel engine in it to a few guys who are curiously looking at the engine.
“This is custom-built, did it all by hand,” he said. “This is the maiden voyage.”
Nelson, who works construction, said he spent much of his winter downtime — “seven or eight hours a week for six months” — rebuilding the vehicle. He’s even proud of the mileage it gets, about 40 miles per gallon.
“It drives nice,” he said, adding that he plans on showing it a lot across Eastern Washington this summer.
Still, with the sky overcast and a bit gray, it seems that attendance is down and Railroad Street isn’t as busy as it has been in years past.
“It’s slow so far, but we’ve got hot coffee and hot chocolate,” said Deanna McUne, Wilson Creek’s cheerleading coach who is overseeing the group’s concession booth while the cheerleaders wander around and cheer participants.
“It’s our second year, so hopefully we’ll keep doing this. It’s a good fundraiser,” she said.
Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at email@example.com.