Muscle cars, low riders, trucks, hot rods, foreign beauties and American classics will all be rolling to one spot on South Whidbey this weekend.
Arriving by the dozens in tones of Pacific blue, candy apple red, sun fire yellow and just about every other shade of the rainbow, they’ll transform Bayview Corner into a sparkling treasure chest of the most coveted cars in the world for the 10th annual Cool Bayview Nights Car Show.
“I think we’ll have 60 to 70 this year,” said Brian Grimm, event chairman and founder.
“It’s a tribute to anyone on South Whidbey who has ever loved cars,” he said.
The event is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 11 in the field usually occupied by the farmers market, just off Highway 525. The market relocates to the parking lot, its former location. (Competitors see sidebar below for details.)
Grimm, a lifelong Whidbey resident, started the show in 2006. The son of Mel Grimm Sr., you could say a love of cars in his blood. Growing up in the 1960s, he and his brother spent weekends with their father hauling home vehicles that had seen better days to fix, sell for parts or soup up for racing.
“You could buy three ’55 Chevs for $20 bucks back then,” Grimm said.
The family’s garage was known around the South End as a place for parts, particularly among island teenagers. Many considered his father a second dad, as the man was a bit of a godfather to the community’s automobile world.
Coming from such a background, Grimm said it was only natural years later to organize a car show. It followed past events put on the Lions Club and later the American Legion, which was put on by Mel Grimm, Grimm’s brother.
Grimm said it was a pastime he just didn’t want to see disappear. His hope is that it will inspire younger generations to step forward and volunteer too.
Similarly, he decided he wanted the proceeds to go toward restoration efforts and property taxes of the Bayview Community Hall. His grandfather helped build the structure in 1927, and it’s been a meeting place for the community ever since.
“I’m all about doing community stuff to make our community a better place to live,” Grimm said.
The car show’s first year was a bit slow, with just 13 registered vehicles including a 1973 one-ton farm truck that still had hay in the bed, but the event has since grown by leaps and bounds. Recent years have seen participation as high as 80 vehicles and 2,000 spectators.
While the growth has been steady, Bayview Nights isn’t as large as other car shows on Whidbey Island, such as Oak Harbor’s, according to Ed Halloran, an organizer. But it’s still a lot of fun, he said.
Besides having the chance to show off their cherished rides, it’s a chance to meet and chat with those who are just as crazy about cars. Also, you’re often seeing and competing against the same people, and the friendly rivalries that develop only add to the flavor, Halloran said.
“I always get beat by Dick Hunt,” he said. “I do well when he’s not there.”
Hunt has a 1962 red Austin-Healey, which seems to regularly wow the crowds just a bit more than Halloran’s 1995 Jaguar Roadster. Halloran isn’t without trophies, however; his 1968 Shelby GT 500 secured a first-place win at a past Bayview show.
This year’s event has 20 different divisions in which to compete, ranging from stock and modified vehicles sorted by decade to motorcycles, newer cars and hydraulic low riders. A first this year will be live music by Guy Daniels, who grew up in Coupeville, and sales by artist Galen Hanby — he paints scenes on rocks and owns On The Rock.
Safe Ride Home, a community service program, will also have a booth at the show. The program gathers funds to cover taxi bills for people who can’t get home because of drugs or alcohol, uncomfortable or unsafe situations, or simply because one is too tired to drive. Grimm started it in 2011 after three young men were killed in a car crash on South Whidbey.
While Grimm said the booth is just another opportunity for education, Halloran didn’t let him off so easy. Grimm is a community-focused man who’s always looking to do good, he said, from starting a car show that generates cash for a public resource to helping foster past partnerships with local schools to design event graphics and posters. Then there’s Safe Ride Home.
“He’s a pretty nice guy,” Halloran said.
Spectators: The show is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 11 at Bayview Corner in the field usually occupied by the farmers market.
Participants: Cost to enter is $15 per vehicle in advance and $20 per vehicle day of the event. To register, visit www.coolbayviewnights.com to download a form or call Brian Grimm at 360-321-8482 for details.
Highlights: Live music by Guy Daniels, art sales by artist Galen Hanby, hot food, car show apparel and an information booth for Safe Ride Home.