For the love of cars

Agassiz-Haarrison Lions car show takes place this Sunday

Jim and Betty Blackburn will be bringing their 1951 Ford Victoria to the Lions street meet this Sunday.

Jim Blackburn has always been a car guy.

“It’s a sickness,” he jokes. “I had a weakness for them right from a kid.”

He got his first car when he was about 14 years old. It was a 1930 Model A. Since then, he’s owned probably a dozen Model A’s plus a handful of other vintage vehicles. There’s a story behind every car, like the truck Jim’s wife Betty bought him, assembly required, for his 60th birthday. Or the Model A they carted their two kids in to Yellowstone National park. Or the car they drove away on their honeymoon 47 years ago, a 1962 Chev Biscayne.

The Blackburns are taking a true classic to the Lions car show happening this Sunday. It’s a 1951 Ford Victoria. Maroon and chrome and gleaming in the sunshine. Even for amateur car enthusiasts, it’s obvious this is a special car. It hearkens back to the era of big cars and big dreams.

The car was owned by a Rosedale family for many years. They did some restoration on it, but then it was sold and hopped from owner to owner for a number of years.

“This poor old girl was kind of mistreated,” says Blackburn.

Blackburn bought it pretty much as it is now, though he’d love to put his personal stamp on the car some time.

Obviously, with a car like that cruising down the road, the Blackburns turn a lot of heads. He admits that maybe that’s why he and others in the world of vintage cars drive them.

“Anyone can drive a new car and they all look the same,” says Blackburn. “But these ones, you get the stories.”

He often drives to the local coffee shop to meet with a couple other collector car owners. They talk shop and shoot the breeze. Just the day before our interview, a woman came up to ask if there was a car show on. They got to talking and it turns out, they recognized the names of her dad and uncle who were big car guys back in the heyday of classic cars.

“That’s the kind of thing that happens with these cars,” he reflects.

The car is a way to connect with people. They want to talk about their classic cars, their shared histories or experiences. The stories are one of the things that bring the Blackburns out to events like the Agassiz-Harrison Lions car show. They will be one of many car enthusiasts with a piece of history to share in downtown Agassiz this Sunday, July 26.

Come share in the history of cars at the Lions Street Meet, open to all older cars, trucks, street rods, stock or custom and motorcycles. The meet happens from 8-3 p.m. on Pioneer Ave. The event includes prizes, live music and a barbecue.