Thousands of vintage automobile enthusiasts filtered through the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center on Saturday to admire or purchase hot rods and show off their car collections at the Goodguys 17th Great Northwest Nationals car show.
Woody Mitchell, awards director for Goodguys – the vintage car organization that coordinated the event – said between 1,200 and 1,500 cars came through the show Saturday. He said Spokane was one of the organization’s smaller shows, but he enjoyed hosting events in the area because of the number of locals who participate.
Diane Noxon, a car show employee, brought her own vehicle to the event. Noxon said cars have always been important to her, especially Ford Thunderbirds. She said at one point, she had collected seven Thunderbirds, but now she just has one and is restoring another vehicle as well.
Noxon has worked at the Goodguys car show for about five years, but she participates in the group’s other shows around the country, as well. She said she grew up at a service station in Oregon and has been going to car shows for 20-plus years.
“I’ve been a gearhead all my life,” she said.
John Clarizio, of Spokane Valley, also has a highly specialized interest in cars, exclusively collecting 1936 Fords. He said 1936 was the last year Henry Ford had input on the cars produced at his company.
Clarizio said he spent seven years searching for the perfect station wagon and brought it home only a few days before the show. The vehicle has wooden doors and is almost completely original, with only a few small changes for functionality.
Clarizio said he bought it restored, but he and his wife put the finishing touches on it together. He said he’s had an interest in restoring cars since middle school. His other vintage car, a 1936 Ford Pickup, once belonged to his father.
“Some people collect vases, some people collect exhaust pipes and some people collect water pipes. I like ’36s, and my wife likes them, too,” he said. “We’re in this together.”
Vendors, car parts dealers and artists also attended the event, doing on-the-spot paint jobs.
Lonnie Stradley, who works as a garbage truck driver for the city of Spokane, was one of a few vendors offering custom lettering at the event.
Stradley said he wanted to be an art teacher, but his plan didn’t work out, so he does art as a hobby. He originally painted mailboxes and now airbrushes cars and paints pinstripes. He also restores vintage license plates for people around the state.
Stradley said he has been an artist all his life, but his car-related art hobby started about 12 years ago.
“Life has a way of bringing you to the things you are supposed to be talented at,” he said.
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