Classic car show at Fort Getty raises funds for Hurricane Katrina victims
The seventh annual Jamestown Seaside Family Cruise, a classic car show held at Ft. Getty on Sunday, attracted fans of all ages. Participants, driving highly customized as well as meticulously restored vintage cars, trucks, and motorcycles filled the display area with their best.
“Let’s see, it’s just a little after 11, and we already have over 150 cars,” said show host and organizer Art Washburn, a Jamestown resident and owner of Art’s Auto Body Shop on Southwest Avenue. “It’s a nice turnout. This year all the proceeds will go to help those people down south that got hit with the hurricane.”
As Washburn stood at the show entrance with his wife Jan and 23 month-old granddaughter Madeleine, a parade of friends, fans, and participants stopped to pay their respects and thank him for staging another successful exhibition. Some of the people he sees only once a year at the annual event.
“Every year, we seem to have a few more. A lot of out-of-state cars. One guy drove over twoand a-half hours to come down. And we have quite a few locals too. Even the fire department brought a vintage fire truck. It’s right up the hill,” he continued.
Retired Jamestown Fire Chief Bob Bryer and friend Ken Caswell did indeed bring a vintage fire truck on loan from the Providence Historical Society. American LaFrance, the country’s leading manufacturer of emergency vehicles, built the 1925 Bryer noted.
“We could go to a fire right now. It might take us a while to get there, but we could put out a fire,” he said, laughing.
The Fort Getty parking lot looked like a scene from the 1973 movie “American Graffiti.” The nostalgic atmosphere was reinforced by Cruisin’ Bruce Palmer, who spun oldies that blared through loudspeakers from his booth next to the concession stand. Here, people lined up for hot dogs and refreshments as they enjoyed the great weather, fabulous exhibit of classic cars, and music that was reminiscent of times gone by.
Bob Smith and his wife June of Attleboro, Mass., showed their highly customized, purple, ’51 Mercury. “We’ve been coming here ever since he (Washburn) started this thing,” Smith said.
“We wouldn’t miss it. I host car shows myself. I do the Lions Club car show every year,” he said proudly.
Tony and Beverly Gonsalves of Middletown, R.I., brought their red ’57 Chevy convertible complete with a car-hop tray hanging on the door and speakers from a drive-in movie standing by the driver’s side window.
“We’ve come here for the last four years,” shouted Gonsalves over the Beach Boys singing “Little Deuce Coup” in the background, followed by Ronnie and the Daytonas immortalizing the GTO.
“This 1915 Model T is mine too,” he said, pointing to the car next to the ’57 Chevy. “I bought it from the original owner. He paid $490 for it when it was new. I paid more,” he noted.
A 1964 Morgan sports car from Cranston, R.I., sat proudly among the American muscle cars. Across the aisle, Rich Irwin of Jamestown displayed his green 1929 Model A Ford truck next to a 1951 Studebaker Golden Hawk.
Taking into consideration that the classic car show was one week earlier than usual this year and competing with a number of other Labor Day weekend events, the turnout was spectacular. Like vintage wine, the value of these cars increases with age, and next year, they’ll be back, another year older, and one year better.