Fourteen years ago the Mason County Historical Society car show in Shelton featured all of 10 vehicles, director Justin Cowling said Sunday.
But what a difference a few years make because the turnout for its latest car show stretched across several downtown Shelton blocks and featured not 10 classic cars, but hundreds.
Cowling estimated the total number of cars and trucks at somewhere between 375 and 450. The event is the historical society’s biggest fundraiser, he said. For each entry they ask for a $10 donation, plus they also sell pie and ice cream, Cowling said.
But the big attraction is all those classic cars and trucks. And there were also a few vehicles that might have had a few people scratching their heads and wondering: is that a classic car?
Carl Carlson of Shelton entered his red, 1980 F-100 Ford Truck, the seventh generation of that model, he said. In addition to entering it in car shows, he still drives it. He used it to move when he relocated to Shelton from Port Townsend. The truck bed is a little narrower when compared to later F-100 models, Carlson said, but it’s reliable, always starts and is good on gasoline.
“It’s not a road hog by any means,” he said.
Another vehicle at the show was a blue, 1976 AMC Pacer, one of several unusual looking car models produced by American Motors Corporation. Other models included the AMX, Gremlin, Matador and Eagle wagon.
This particular Pacer is owned by Bill McGee, one of the founders of the car show, his grandson, Brandon Furrer of Shelton said. His grandfather paid $2,000 for it and it’s worth $8,000 to $9,000 today, he said.
The car has a three-speed automatic transmission, AM/FM radio, no air conditioner and seats two up front and three in back. When the Pacer was first produced, according to an old advertisement on display at the show, it sold for $3,400 brand new and had this tagline: “Small was never this wide.”
Furrer said that when he drives it around it usually results in someone wanting to take out their camera and get a picture of it. The Pacer gets about 29 miles to the gallon, he said.
Another McGee car on display was a 1963 AMC Rambler, complete with built-in, box-of-tissue holder that rotates in and out of position under the passenger side dashboard.
Meanwhile, the historical society building at 427 W. Railroad Ave., Shelton, is undergoing a remodel that is expected to be complete at the end of July, director Cowling said. For the work, the society received a $76,000 grant from The Seattle Foundation, he said.