At annual Eagle River car show, a drive down memory lane
On display at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center Saturday, Bill Crawford’s 1960 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia looked as good as the day his uncle bought it new.
The square-weave wool rugs were made in Germany, just like they were 57 years ago, Crawford said. The paint is still the original color. The brand new upholstery is just like the upholstery from the original factory. He still drives on spotless white-walled tires.
During the annual Alaska Custom Car and Cycle Show April 28-30, Eagle River was filled with history on wheels.
On Saturday morning, the second day of the three-day show, longtime local car club members talked shop on the arena floor. Rock music pumped over the speaker system. Families strolled around the classic convertibles and restored racecars lined up inside the Mac Center and in the parking lot outside.
There was a 1951 Anglia-English Ford, once raced in Washington before coming to Alaska to drag race in Palmer in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, according to its owners. There were rebuilt old Chevrolets and flashy sports cars and a long row of motorcycles. Event organizers estimated this year’s show entries were worth a collective $5 million to $10 million. Restoring them to that point was no small task, car owners said.
“You spend a lot of time and money,” said Crawford, laughing. “My wife is always asking me, ‘Is that necessary?’”
Crawford has been bringing his Karmann Ghia to the Mac Center car show for “six or seven” years now, he said. He’s been a member of the Midnight Sun Street Rod Association for about 15 years. His appreciation for fine vehicles began well before that.
“I’ve always liked good-looking cars that are well taken care of,” Crawford said.
The local car show stems from an event founded in the 1970s by the Midnight Sun Street Rod Association. In 1990, the show moved to Eagle River.
“Back in the day, they used to bring up some big-name car guys, even though it’s a small-town, homegrown car show,” said Victor Knott, a 35-year MSSRA member. “It gave you that big-time feeling.”
He’s attended the annual car show for decades, he said Saturday at the Mac Center. In years past, more than 3,000 people attended the show.
“It was fun, it really was, and that’s what it’s all about,” Knott said. “We’ve seen it grow over the years, and then now the car thing isn’t as popular in Anchorage anymore, and so now it’s kind of dying, but we have this event every spring, still.”
It’s good to get out, catch up with old friends, share projects and see what the younger generations are building, Knott said. Some things have changed, but some things stay the same. Inside the Mac Center this year, the cars were as fine as they’ve ever been, Crawford said.
“If you look around, everything in here is quality,” he said.
Contact reporter Kirsten Swann at [email protected]
People’s Choice: Rory Hausser 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner
Best in Show Car: Martin Hausser 1970 Plymouth Cuda
Best in Show Bike: Dustin Reynolds 2004 Big Dog Bulldog Custom
Best Display: Barb Abrams & Ron McCormick 1950 Plymouth Business Coupe
Best Interior: Barb Abrams & Ron McCormick 1950 Plymouth Business Coupe
Best Paint Car: John Hagmeier 1954 Chevy Bel Air 2-Door Hardtop
Best Paint Bike: Dustin Reynolds 2004 Big Dog Bulldog Custom
Best Engineering Car: Ted Harkelroad Ford Roadster
Best Engineering Bike: Troy Gonzales 2004 Big Boy Custom
Long Distance: Dave & Tracy Williams (Seward)
1. John Hagmeier (Anchorage) - 1954 Chevy Bel Air 2-Door Hardtop
1. Hal Cronquist (Eagle River) - 1957 Chevy Bel Air
2. Mike Moreno (Anchorage) - 1950 Chevy Deluxe
3. John Hagmeier (Anchorage) - 1951 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop
1. Barb Abrams & Ron McCormick (Anchorage) - 1950 Plymouth Business Coupe
1. Kenny Jackson (Anchorage) - Mercedes CLS550 Mayweather Edition
2. Hal Cronquist (Eagle River) - 2003 Corvette 50th Anniversary Edition
3. Eric Thompson (Eagle River) - 1981 Corvette
1. Bill & Gaye Crawford (Anchorage) - 1960 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Convertible
2. Anthony Pridgen (Anchorage) - 2004 Mercedes Kompressor C230
1. Troy Bullock (Wasilla) - Chevy S-10
1. Rory Hausser (Anchorage) - 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner
2. Troy Gonzales (Anchorage) - 1961 Chevy Impala Bubble Top
3. Layne Johnson (Wasilla) - 1969 Plymouth Road Runner
1. Martin Hausser (Anchorage) - Plymouth Cuda
2. Mike McRae (Anchorage) - 1967 Chevy Impala
1. Jerry Jatho (Anchorage) - 1931 Ford 5-Window Coupe
2. Ted Harkelroad (Wasilla) - Ford Roadster
3. Dennis Anderson (Eagle River) - 1934 Ford 5-Window Coupe
1. Dennis McCormick (Chugiak) - 1972 Chevy 4x4 3/4 Ton
2. Larry Evans (Anchorage) - 1953 Ford F150
3. Reid McDonald
1. Judy Kesler (Anchorage) - 2015 BMW GSA 1200 w/ Sidecar
2. Jim Meyer (Eagle River) - 1962 BSA Gold Star 500
3. Gerry Cronquist (Eagle River) - 2009 Spyder
4. Troy Gonzales (Anchorage) - 2016 Kawasaki Ninja H2
Mild Custom Bike
1. Rick Harding (Eagle River) - 1950 Triumph
2. Dustin Reynolds (Anchorage) - 2012 Harley Blackline
3. Tracy Try (Palmer) - 2011 Harley Davidson Dyna Super-Glide Custom
Radical Custom Bike
1. Dustin Reynolds (Anchorage) - 2004 Big Dog Bulldog Custom
2. Troy Gonzales (Anchorage) - 2004 Big Boy Custom
3. Kenny Jackson (Anchorage) - 2002 Suzuki TLR
4. Ron McCormick (Anchorage) - 2010 Harley Davidson Sante
1. Chris Richards (Wasilla) - 1967 Ford Mustang Pro Mod
2. Willie Brown (Anchorage) - 2004 Tube Carz Blown Alcohol Dragster
3. Michael “Quincy” Quintieri (Anchorage) - Chevy 225” Top Sportsman Rear Engine Dragster