Parked alongside all the classics at the Peach City Beach Cruise were an off-roader, a bus and a distinctly un-classic 1997 Honda Civic that barely resembles its former self.
Vashaun Henderson bought it for $4,000 in 2008 and planned to use it for commuting around the Lower Mainland. Soon after, he began working out of town and the car transformed from a daily driver into a hobby.
So far, he’s plugged about $40,000 into the hatchback, which boasts a 1.6-litre engine that makes 300 horsepower, thanks to a turbo kit and custom exhaust. But what really catches eyes are the Lambo doors, which open up instead of out.
“It kind of started as a joke between friends… and then I kind of looked into it and saw it’s actually not that hard to do and thought, I’ll do it,” he said.
“People see it and go, ‘Hey, that’s pretty neat.’ It has the wow factor.”
Henderson, who now lives in Kelowna, said despite the proliferation of classics at the Beach Cruise, he prefers to look beyond a vehicle’s vintage.
“I appreciate more than the year of the car or the make of the car,” he explained. “I appreciate the work that went into the car.”
Plenty of work went into all 609 entries in the 13th edition of the Cruise which were judged Saturday.
The outright star of the show and triple crown winner this year was Mervyn Pidherney’s 1961 Ford Thunderbird concept car, the only one of its kind in the world.
The sleek, bright red machine with the double-bubble, canopy roof was front and centre at Gyro Park Sunday, shinning as brightly as its proud owner who trailered the vehicle here from Rocky Mountain House, Alta.
“I’ve been coming to the show with cars for about four or five years but this one really turned some heads,” said Pidherney, glancing over his shoulder at his pride and joy. “I won the mayor’s choice, ‘60s modified and People’s Choice, but I think the People’s Choice is the best one.”
The Alberta resident purchased the Thunderbird in Florida for a sum he declined to disclose.
“No way,” he replied when asked the price. “You’ll tell my wife.”
Organizers make a point of welcoming all makes and models, including those that take up extra parking spots, like Sarah McPhee’s 1961 MCI bus, which she and her husband entered in the special interest category.
“And it’s definitely a special interest,” she said with a laugh.
In a past life, the bus was a Vancouver Island tourist coach, before it underwent a $120,000 retrofit.
“You’ve got a washer and dryer in it, a big master bedroom, lots of storage. It’s a lot of fun,” said McPhee, who lives in Sidney and has the bus for recreational use, like attending car shows.
“It’s a lot more efficient to live in it and enter it, instead of paying for a hotel,” she explained. “We’re living right on it. It’s perfect.”
Felix Menu hopes to have his 1968 Ford Bronco road-ready later this month.
The Vernon man has spent four years and $15,000 restoring the off-roader that’s now just a few weeks away from a government inspection that should make it street-legal.
Like the Civic and the bus, the Bronco was without peers at the Beach Cruise, although Menu hopes to change that.
“I’ve had three people come up to me and say that they have Broncos as well,” he said, “so I took some names and numbers, and hopefully we can get our own club and show up at the shows and let everyone know what Broncos are about.”
According to president Ron Muzzillo of the Penticton Historic Automobile Society, with the exception of a bit of rain, the weekend went well.
“Overall people were very happy and they’re coming back. We’re already getting registrations for next year,” he said.