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Country tour shows off Washington County


Saturdays pre- Concours event makes some new stops

Those headed to Forest Grove for Concours d’Elegance this weekend will view the countryside through the eyes of their Oregonian tour guide and the windshield of a classic car.

Rick Johnston of Forest Grove’s ProBuild Lumber has once again organized a route for the parade of Concours d’Elegance automobiles that will transport their drivers via bucolic byways through the area’s wineries, prized pastoral lands and charming small towns.

The annual pre-Concours d’Elegance tour takes 40 of the show’s participants through the best Washington County has to offer Saturday, July 20. That’s the day before the Pacific University campus is open to a crowd hankering to view hundreds of antique, classic, sport, race, modified and collector cars.

For those hoping to catch a sneak peek, the classic cars will line up on Main Street at 8:30 a.m. and leave downtown Forest Grove at 9:30 a.m. From Highway 47, they’ll head down Springhill Road to North Valley Road, where they’ll check out the Ken and Joan Austin collection, a private car reserve in Newberg comprised of roadsters, speedsters, trucks, tractors and cars.

From there, they’ll enjoy a catered luncheon and wine tasting at Abbey Road Farm in Carlton. Owned and operated by John and Judi Stewart, the business features grain silos converted into hotel and banquet rooms and meals made from ingredients that are about as local as it gets — eggs from the farm’s chickens, fruit from its orchards, cheese from its goats.

“It’s something fun for folks that come down just for the show,” Johnston said. “Overall, people are always pleased.”

This year, a 1932 Lagonda Le Mans, a 1931 Ford and a 1930 Packard 733 — as well as some newer cars — will be driven on the tour, Johnston said.

Johnston, who drives the route several times before the big day so he can foresee any hiccups, isn’t taking any chances. He’s organized for volunteers to greet the procession at almost every intersection on the route to ensure nobody gets lost. He’s also created in-depth maps, which will come in handy, especially for out-of-towners.

In case there is a problem, though, mechanic Mike McCready will come to the rescue.

“Whenever there’s been a problem, he’s always been able to rectify it,” Johnston said of McCready, who travels on the tour every year and offers his vintage automobile service skills. “He’s kept us running.”

The annual Concours d’Elegance car show is sponsored by Forest Grove Rotary.