No advertising was necessary to promote their stop, it was easy to spot that something unusual had traveled to Lakeview.
On Tuesday, Sept. 17 crowds formed almost immediately to gaze at a collection of antique vehicles, pristinely preserved by their owners, and talk shop about the fascinating cars on display for much of the day at the local Safeway, Chamber of Commerce, and Lake County Fairgrounds.
Around 75 classic cars came through around lunch time, ranging from dragsters to Model T’s and more – a veritable traveling museum of still-operable rolling American history. Collected from various antique car clubs, the vehicles were part of an invite-only traveling tour making multiple stops regionally.
As gearheads, fanatics, and curious nostalgia-filled locals surrounded the vehicles to ask questions, vehicle owners happily answered every query no matter how unusual. Vehicles ranged in vintage from mid-1930s to as early as 1906. All were still fully operable and appearing fully restored back to original condition thanks to countless hours and funds to maintain each vehicle for the annual tour.
“The dealers don’t return our calls, so spare parts are a bit hard to find,” joked one anonymous antique vehicle owner.
“We take vehicles out for the public to see as much as we can,” said Jeff Malka, proud owner of a beautiful 1906 Tourist Car. “There are a number of people here from different clubs and different countries.”
Malka’s 123-year old vehicle was built in Los Angeles and the original owner kept it in Elk Grove, Calif. for more than 40 years. Malka’s father bought the car in 1952 and had it until 1969, after which time it went back to Los Angeles. Later it was purchased by a collector in Gresham until Malka bought it 20 years ago. He maintains the vehicle at his residence in Roseville, Calif.
According to Malka, the vehicle requires constant maintenance and oil, since it does not have a re-circulating oil system. Taking the vehicles on the road has an added benefit, as inevitably old timers with prior knowledge of vehicles can often spot trouble before the owners do. Such was the case with one vehicle in the Safeway lot thanks to an eagle-eyed resident.
“By far the most enjoyable part of this is the people, we don’t have to announce anything, crowds just show up,” added Malka. “A big community comes out everywhere we go. Really it is our history, just a different aspect of it. We try to educate people as much as we can.”
The touring troupe stopped for lunch in Lakeview before hitting the road, Alturas being their next planned destination. Additional stops include Canby before an antique car show in the Portland area.