Classic cars shine on cloudy day

Bellingham resident Jack Bittner stands next to his 1959 Ford Skyliner hardtop convertible at the North Whidbey Lions Club Car Show last weekend. - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Bellingham resident Jack Bittner stands next to his 1959 Ford Skyliner hardtop convertible at the North Whidbey Lions Club Car Show last weekend.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Lions car show draws hundreds

Bellingham resident Jack Bittner’s 1959 Ford Skyliner brings back memories. He drove such a car when he started dating his wife, Sandy. And when an occasion comes up that rekindles memories of high school, he looks forward to bringing his car along.

“I had one of these when we dated and now we bring one to every class reunion,” Bittner said as he was cleaning some spots off the hard-top convertible. He entered it into the North Whidbey Lions Club Car Show, which took place the same weekend as Sandy’s Oak Harbor High School Class of 1968 reunion.

Bittner’s Skyliner was one of the 240 or so cars located on the grassy fields of Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor. The annual car show completed its 23rd year last Saturday. Entries ranged from early 20th century automobiles to modern sports cars.

Jim Woessner, who has organized the event each year, said the day went well considering the cloudy skies and the 2 p.m. downpour.

For some folks attending the car show, it offered a chance to brainstorm and fine-tune some projects they are working on at home.

Oak Harbor’s John Davies was admiring a 1950 Chevy 3100 and said that he is trying to decide which way to go with restoration of his 1953 GMC pickup.

Near Davies was Chuck Jaeger, who was examining a 1950 Ford F1 pickup for inspiration.

“I’m building one like this so I have a lot of interest in it,” Jaeger said.

With scores of cars entered in the car show, 70 awards were given out to the car buffs.

Oak Harbor resident Allen Mitchell’s 1952 Ford F1 pickup earned “best of show” honors this year, Woessner said.

He pointed out that several cars that were entered in the first North Whidbey Lions Club Car Show earned trophies again this year. Those cars include Jim Croft’s 1979 Camaro Z28 and Larry Smith’s 1984 Lincoln. Woessner has a 1978 Camaro, but he doesn’t enter it the car show anymore.

More than a chance to see restored and customized cars, the event is also a fundraiser for the North Whidbey Lions Club.

Woessner said he didn’t have any figure yet on how much money the July 9 car show raised, but the amount in recent years averages around $10,000.

He said all of the money raised helps fund the community programs the Lions Club runs. Those include the eyeglass program and scholarships for seniors at Oak Harbor High School, among many others.

“It all goes back into the community,” Woessner said.

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