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East County classic car owners participating in Concours

A parade of gleaming chrome and polished leather will arrive in Forest Grove for the 39th annual Concours d'Elegance on Sunday, July 17, at Pacific University, 2043 College Way.

The painting of a 1955 Chevrolet BelAir Convertible on the event's promotional posters was based on a car owned by Roy Asbahr of Gresham. Artist Mike Hill, a participant in the Gresham Art Walk since its inception 10 years ago, painted the car.

Asbahr has owned the convertible since 1974, and says he bought it because it came out the same year he graduated from high school.

'It was a car I dreamed about when I was in high school, but there was no possible way I could buy it,' he says, noting he plunked down $275 for the set of wheels.

'You tell people today you bought a car like that for that price - they think you're lying,' he says with a chuckle.

Other local collectors who will be displaying their classic autos on Sunday are Ken Dickman of Gresham, who owns a 1962 Ford Thunderbird; Tom Zink of Gresham, who owns a 1940 Ford pickup; Alex Ordoniz of Gresham, who owns a 1977 Lancia Scorpion; William Walsh of Troutdale, who owns a 1955 Packard 400; and Larry Swiggart of Sandy, owner of a 1959 Cadillac Seville.

The famed automobile show has raised more than $1 million for student scholarships and youth and community service projects managed by the Forest Grove Rotary Club. And that's why Asbahr plans to show off his convertible.

'If you don't support local events, they go away, so I make a point of being out there every year to support it,' he says.

The show is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 503-357-3006 or visit forestgroveconcours.org.