Great car shows don’t happen by accident.
The ingredients that go into a successful car event are similar all over the world. You need a good location, great cars and a thoughtful, hard-working team to pull it all together.
Bend, Oregon is located 162 miles south and east of Portland, Oregon. With a population of just 87,000, it might seem like an unlikely place to find more than 150 vintage and classic cars on display. But last Saturday, the driving range at the lovely Broken Top Golf Club came alive with a field of cars. They shined in every color of the rainbow, along with a few — like the striking light metallic green of a Lamborghini Gallardo — that have never graced the skies.
The Oregon Festival of Cars is the brainchild of John and Carlyn Draneas and Ed and Barbara Grayson. John Draneas is SCM’s legal columnist, while the Graysons provide top-flight service to Jaguar and exotic car owners through their shop, Consolidated Auto Works. This was the event’s 21st year.
Graphic design, support services and the glue to hold it all together come from Jodi Ellis.
It’s been several years since I’ve attended the Oregon Festival of Cars. Too often, my schedule in late September has been packed with conflicting events. However, this year I had an opening and made my plans. John had already engaged the very capable duo of Paul Duchene and Mark Scholz to act as emcees, so I was free to lollygag around the field and just kick tires — something that I rarely have the time to do when I am working at a car show.
The event starts Friday morning with a tour from Ron Tonkin Ferrari and Maserati in Wilsonville, just south of Portland, ending with a lunch at the Erickson Air Museum in Madras. Nearly every plane in the collection is air-worthy; just that morning they had taken out their B-17 and their P-51 for flights.
We got a behind-the-scenes tour of their restoration facility, where we examined two exceedingly rare WWII German warplanes being brought back to life — an FW 190 and an ME 109.
That night there was a reception at Kendall Porsche of Bend. The following day, while those working at and participating in the show were up at the crack of dawn in 40-degree weather, wiping the frost of their cars and doing final detailing, I was at Starbucks enjoying a latte. Being a civilian has its advantages.
New this year were three-dozen Porsches from the High Desert Region Porsche Club and the mostly-modern cars looked terrific as they provided the right flank of the classic car showfield.
The show itself, with its theme of “Going Topless in 2016” featured an eclectic array of cars, ranging from a 1959 Auto Union 100S brought by Jamo Ojala, to the cover car of the program, a Ferrari 488 Spider owned by collector Brendan Gallaher. (Gallaher’s Ferrari 250 TdF won “Best of Show” at this year’s Concorso Italiano in Monterey, CA).
Presenting sponsors of the OFC include Chubb Insurance, Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo, GermanMasterTech and the Broken Top Club. Other sponsors include Kendall Porsche of Bend, Club Carrera, Mount Bachelor Village Resort, XKs Unlimited, H&R (premium suspension components) and Enthusiast Media Group. Proceeds from the OFC benefit the Humane Society of Central Oregon.
The day concluded with some special awards. They were:
- Jay Audia “People’s Choice”: Steve Spangler (Powell Butte, OR) 1965 Austin-Healey MK III 3000
- Tom Anderson “Participant’s Choice”: Josh van Eikeren (Bend, OR) 2003 Lamborghini Murcielago
- Humane Society’s “Pick of the Litter” Award: Ken and Kathy Granacki (Bend, OR) 2008 Lamborghini Gallardo
- RTGT’s “Best Italian Car”: Mike Stinson (Pocatello, ID) 1979 Fiat Brava
- XK’s Unlimited “Best British Car”: Jeff Spear (La Pine, OR) 1960 Austin Seven Mini
- Chubb Insurance Award: Howell and Cynthia Cobb (West Linn, OR) 1968 Jaguar E-Type OTS
The next day, more than 60 classic and modern cars lined up for “The Dash,” a spirited two-hour drive that took us over the 5,325-foot Mackenzie Pass Highway through a 65-square-mile lava field and ended at the Belknap Hot Springs Lodge and Garden Springs resort. Their homemade black-and-blueberry pie, topped with cream, was worth every diet-busting calorie.
As someone who simply came to look at cars and chat with friends, this was an immensely satisfying event. From the way the driving green was carefully marked so that each car had a specific place to be staged, to the tours and the dinners, each car owner was made to feel special, whether they were bringing a new Maserati or a vintage Porsche.
An additional treat for me was that the car I drove achieved second-place in the balloting for the People’s Choice Award. That wasn’t completely unexpected, as McLaren had delivered a 2017 570GT for me to drive on the twisting two-lane roads to Bend. But that’s a story for another time.