Ken Tamburini shows off his 1969 Mercury Cougar at an A&W Cruisin’ the Dub gathering this spring at North Ridge Plaza. The fast-food restaurant is a meeting place for cool cars every Wednesday evening this summer.

Ken Tamburini shows off his 1969 Mercury Cougar at an A&W Cruisin’ the Dub gathering this spring at North Ridge Plaza. The fast-food restaurant is a meeting place for cool cars every Wednesday evening this summer.

Cool cars and hot rods

The Harbour City offers a lot of different ways to shine up and show off any type of automobile, with numerous car clubs in the region.

There are a lot of ways to have fun on four wheels – just ask anyone who’s a member of a car club in Nanaimo.

The Harbour City offers a lot of different ways to shine up and show off any type of automobile, with numerous car clubs in the region.

“There’s the Ford clubs, there’s Chevelle clubs, there’s Cadillac clubs, there’s British car clubs, then you have your specialty car shows,” said Ken Tamburini, who likes to bring his 1969 Mercury Cougar to the weekly A&W Cruisin’ the Dub gatherings at North Ridge Plaza.

There are auto enthusiasts and collector cars in any city, but it’s especially noticeable on Vancouver Island, Tamburini said.

“On the mainland, there’s so many people, it’s so congested, you never see it. Nobody would take their vehicles out,” he said. “But here, yeah, you see it. Small-town feeling, big-time show.”

The parking lot outside the fast-food restaurant becomes a car show every Wednesday night during the summer. A&W offers a free root beer for anyone who participates.

“And then that entices you to go into the A&W and have a burger and some onion rings. That’s what I did tonight,” said Tamburini.

Motorists bring lawn chairs or wander around and chat.

“We’re sharing knowledge on the cars, making them better, more driveable, quicker,” said Ryan MacLeod, who brings in his modified drag-racer 1979 Chevrolet Malibu. “It keeps everybody in the same loop.”

They talk about the cars they brought, the cars they left at home, other cars they’ve had over the years, maintenance, parts, restoration, modification.

“And stories,” said Tamburini. “Because there’s 50 years of stories in those cars, right?”

Sometimes even more than 50 years. Brad McLuskie, past-president of the Nanaimo chapter of the Vintage Car Club of Canada, loves driving his 1950 Ford F1 pickup truck hot rod.

A vintage vehicle is generally defined as one 25 years or older, but anyone can join the club.

“They don’t even have to have a car, just car interest,” McLuskie said.

His group has a clubhouse at Nanoose Bay and they get together to share information, participate in shows, or just go for a drive. The cruising is McLuskie’s favourite part, he said.

“We did a cruise [this month] that was 17 of us that just wound through all these outer roads and the rural roads,” he said.

Some car club members drive farther than others. Cathy Gislason, chairwoman of the local chapter of the Old English Car Club, was getting ready to leave this month on a 3,000-kilometre road trip through B.C. and into Alberta with club members. She drives a 1966 Austin-Healey Sprite and her husband drives a 1966 Sunbeam Tiger and they join in the motorcade at the Empire Days parade every year. Club members participate in other car shows in the area, and put on their own Brits on the Beach car show in Ladysmith every summer.

The Old English Car Club has regular meetings, too, but “it’s not really a meeting,” said Gislason. “It’s just kind of, ‘Let’s get together with our cars,’ and we go and we have a picnic. We usually talk about cars; people stop and talk to us.

“For me it’s the social aspect. Lots of people know lots of things about these cars and they have a passion for it.”

Sharing that passion, finding that like-mindedness, is a reason MacLeod enjoys bringing his Malibu to the cruise-ins.

“Everybody likes the cars,” he said. “It keeps us all together. It’s sort of like our cult following: we get together, talk cars and have fun.”

Tamburini said he’s been enthusiastic about cars his whole life. He’d drive them, race them, beat up on them and have fun in them, and when he bought his ’69 Cougar, it was every bit as cool a car as he remembered.

“When I brought it home, it was like being back in 1985…” he said. “It was like bringing you back to your youth again.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read