Gear heads rev up for Bayview car show

Langley’s JaNoah Spratt

In the driveway of his family’s Langley home, Janoah Spratt examines his 1965 candy apple red Ford Mustang as the sky reflects off the hood. The exterior looks spick and span, the interior is clean and all the parts are working perfectly. His baby looks good, he says, and that will need to be true as his mustang will go toe-to-toe with South Whidbey’s most sought after trucks, muscle cars and low riders.

Spratt is preparing for the Cool Bayview Nights Car Show from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 10 at Bayview Corner. The 11th edition of the South End’s own car show is sure to bring out scores of vintage Ford Model As, speedsters of all colors and even fixer-uppers with potential. Organizers expect roughly 60 cars to compete this year, and about 2,000 spectators. It’s essentially Christmas morning for gear heads.

“If you want to take a look at all the cars, you can just walk straight in,” said Brian Grimm, the car show’s founder. “It’s totally free, unless you want to grab a bite to eat.”

This year won’t just be for window shopping either. Grimm added a car-part swap meet and car corral this time around to beef up the event. There are a lot of parts sitting around on the South End, he says, and car afficiandos need to clear out their garages every once in a while. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, especially given the amount of retro cars on South Whidbey, he said.

Everything about Spratt’s car screams vintage: the retro black leather interior, the dice hanging from the rearview mirror, even the classic rock emanating from the speakers. The 16-year-old Spratt says he was meant for another era, and he doesn’t shy away from it.

“I’ve never been that into the new age flat-billed hats and hip-hop,” Spratt said. “I like classic rock and will sometimes wear leather jackets so I fit in pretty well with the old gear heads.”

Grimm started the Cool Bayview Nights Car Show back in 2006 after getting the idea from working with his brother Mel, who put on the car shows with the Lions Club about 20 years ago and later the American Legion.

The Grimms have a passion for cars that’s in their DNA. Grimm described his father as the South End’s car guy in his day. His well-known garage would overflow with car parts and it became the place for South Whidbey’s kids to get educated on hotrods. Grimm says his father’s garage was the genesis of a generation of car geeks.

“The car show is basically a tribute to my dad,” Grimm said. “He loved cars. He became other gear heads’ second father.”

Bayview’s car show has about 30 categories. Groups include a specific Ford Model A class, a class for every decade, fixer uppers and second generation cars that have been redone by their owners. Trophies are handed out in each class.

While the classics from the ‘60s may be the favorite of many car fanatics, some of the most regular faces are entering cars of different eras.

Port of South Whidbey Commissioner Ed Halloran enters one or more of his cars into the car show every year. His 1995 Jaguar XJS Roadster with sea foam exterior will be his ticket to win it this time around. In past years he has entered a 1968 Shelby GT500, in others one of his many Model As.

“I keep a variety of toys,” Halloran said. “I’ve won with Model ‘A’s over the years. I bought my first one for $50 and since then I’ve built 13 Model As.”

Regardless of which ride wins best in show this year, Grimm’s goal is fostering a sense of community through his passion for cars. He believes there was a lot more for a kid to do when he was young, so he’s attempting to bring the South End together over common interests.

“It’s just fun for a bunch of gear heads to get together and chat about a bunch of cars.”