The weather started out questionably. But clouds parted and the sun burst bright Saturday on Sea Cruise 2018 in Beachfront Park.
Classic cars, trucks, vans, and motorcycles from as far as 700 miles away arrived to take part in the annual car show. Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sarah Caron said numbers of entries were down this year to 211 from 330 in 2017, likely due to the weather.
“A lot of people wait till the last minute to look at the forecast and some of them called for two days of rain,” Caron said, noting the rain only affected one day of the annual event. “I was really proud of our community for coming out, especially on Friday. It showed a lot of support that they put on raincoats and boots and came out, still smiling and having fun. It was really amazing.”
As for the Sea Cruise Car Show in Beachfront Park, both the temperatures and the music were in the 50s and 60s.
“We had a beautiful day (Saturday), with lots of support and great vendors,” said Caron. “Overall, I’d say it was a great event.”
This year’s Best of Show winners, Craig and Corrinne Spotts, drove down from Coos Bay, Oregon, in their 1937 Ford Tudor.
As this year’s Best of Show, the Spotts’ car will be featured on promotional materials for the 2019 Sea Cruise. However, it may be hard to exactly duplicate the colors, which Craig called “Tangalopear and plum.”
The car is pushed by a 5.0 Ford HO V8, running through a 1984 Mercury Cougar transmission, and a 9-inch rear end. More modern inclusions are bucket seats from a Dodge Viper, custom gauges, Alpine sound system and even a TV and DVD player in the dash.
Behind the Tudor is a custom matching trailer that folds out into a table with chairs and an umbrella.
Craig said he was excited to win Best of Show, because it was it was a complete surprise.
Last Year’s Best of Show, Bert Steele, took home several awards in various categories with several vehicles. A couple of notable locals, Dave Cormack and Roger Gitlin, also took home awards in their categories.
Frank Billy, a Coffee Creek resident who originally hails from Klamath, took home the first place award in the Rat Rod category. Introduced to Sea Cruise in 2014, an owner with a vehicle in the Rat Rod category can do anything they want to it, Billy said. For Billy, it was creating a mishmash of seven different kinds of trucks, from the years 1946 to 1955, and putting it on a state-of-the-art racing chassis.
Billy said he once raced the original chassis at Redwood Acres in Eureka and called his Rat Rod a repurposed race car.
“I can race against a Corvette, a Camaro…” he said, adding it took three years to build. “It’s heavily modified. I’m going to autocross with it in Medford.”
Though most came to Sea Cruise to check out classic cars, spectators could also get a closer look at a 2018 Tesla Model 3. Richard “Rick” Riker, of Grants Pass, said he purchased his new car in July, but had ordered it in April 2016.
Riker said a Tesla Model 3 starts at $35,000, but since he wanted retractable mirrors, adjustable seats, and long-range batteries, the car came off the line at $51,000.
“It steers like a sports car,” he said. “It tracks real well, goes in a straight line. It has nice torque. Press on the accelerator and it zips right along is an understatement.”
Though he entered his Tesla in the 1975 and newer class, Riker said this year isn’t the first time he’s entered an electric vehicle in Sea Cruise. He said he got an award last year for a pre-1900 Riker Electric Car.
“My grandfather was in the electric car business in 1900,” Riker said, adding that his grandfather’s name was A.L. Riker. “This is a rebirth of the family into electric cars.”
Triplicate Staff Writer Jessica Cejnar contributed to this report.