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RIDING ON NOSTALGIA

Three members of the Baldwin family will cruise into the 42nd annual Concours d'Elegance


by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Garrett, Ray and Rick Baldwin all have classic cars.Ray Baldwin has owned hundreds of cars. A picture of each one hangs on a wall in his Beaverton home, because how else would the 82-year-old remember which vehicles have slipped through his possession?

Some, he turned over in just a couple weeks, replacing them with another car or two to rebuild. He said he’s currently going for a record, having held onto his 1940 Nash for about five years.

“Well, I want one of each. Before I die, I need one of each. I’ve had a lot of them, but you can only store one or two,” he said. “It’s a great hobby because it doesn’t cost you anything. You may invest $30,000, but it doesn’t cost you, and eventually it’s worth more. It’s cheaper than fishing or flying airplanes or anything else because the things (go) up in value.”

After working in shops as a kid, in the service, as a career and rebuilding classic cars as a hobby, Ray Baldwin couldn’t help but pass on the love of cars to his children and grandchildren.by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Ray Baldwin, the man who started it all, in his 1940 'old' Nash.

This Sunday, July 20, Ray, along with his son Rick Baldwin and grandson Garrett Baldwin, are all participating in the 42nd Annual Concours d’Elegance in Forest Grove. In previous years, they’ve even been joined by more family members who this year couldn’t make it.

Rick owns a 1965 Stingray Corvette, a car he bought due to nostalgia after his children were done with college. As a pharmacist, he never got very into actually fixing up the cars, so he found one that was ready to drive from the start.

“My job is simply to make sure the gas doesn’t get too old in the gas tank,” the 58-year-old Tigard resident said. “My job is to drive it... It seems like people tend to pick a car that’s nostalgic for when they grew up, you know when they were a teen. What they wish they had when they were in high school or college. Where my theory doesn’t hold is with (my son Garrett). You know, he should be driving a Honda Civic or something.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - The middle Baldwin, Rick, in his 1965 Corvette.

And somewhere between his father’s hands-off mindset and his grandfather’s hands-on determination, falls Garrett. Now 28 years old and a marriage and family therapist, he bought his 1965 Mustang nine years ago. At the time, the body was in good shape but the transmission needed a rebuild. Throughout his undergraduate years at the University of Oregon, the car sat at home in the garage, just waiting. When he decided to start working on it, Garrett recruited the help of his grandfather.

“After I finished (college), there was kind of a lull in the economy, so I was like, well, why not now?” he said. “So we rebuilt it over the summer together. He’s kind of the mechanical man — I couldn’t do it on my own.”

Though he’s been the catalyst for his family’s love of cars, Ray has the least amount of nostalgia for them. He’s more practical about the vehicles, perhaps because he more deeply understands the way they work, or maybe because he’s owned so many over the years. Where Ray has no problem taking his classic cars out in the rain (“It won’t melt”), his son and grandson would never dream of it.by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - The youngest Baldwin, Garrett, in his classic Mustang.

“They’ve come along good,” Ray said with a smirk. “I got them fairly well trained.”

He also trained another son, Dan Baldwin, who’s participated in the Concours d’Elegance numerous times, but is tied up rebuilding a deck instead of a car this year. Garrett’s brother, Parker Baldwin, is a car guy, as well, but can’t make it to Concours this year because he has a newborn baby at home. Ray even trained his granddaughter, and helped her find an old Volkswagen Beetle when she turned 16.

He loves cars, sure, but he loves them for the obvious reasons.

“They work,” he said. A short response, but not meant to be quippy.

“He’s not as nostalgic about keeping the cars. There’s a little more sentimental value for us,” said Garrett. “Part of it for me is it’s a good balance, because work can be kind of stressful a lot of times and it’s very heady stuff. Doing stuff with the cars, doing stuff with my hands, is kind of a nice balance. It’s the stuff that’s not really taught much these days — I feel like it’s almost the stuff that you can’t get out of school so much anymore.”

This reality is why Garrett knows what he knows about cars from his grandfather. And years later, his favorite memory with his Mustang is the summer he and Ray spent rebuilding it. Though quick to poke fun at each other and joke about their varying styles of car maintenance, the family’s common thread is a love of classic cars, and none of them anticipate that changing anytime soon.

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From rust bucket to car show

by: TIMES PHOTO: CAITLIN FELDMAN - Kevin and Candace Carsh waited three decades to restore the Mustang that Kevin bought right after graduating high school.

Kevin Carsh bought a 1967 Mustang convertible in January 1983, drove it home, and parked it. Less than a year out of high school, he knew the “rust bucket” needed to be rebuilt, but he didn't know that it would take him 29 years to start the process.

Finally, in June 2012, he and his wife Candace decided they'd saved up enough money and the timing was right to get it restored. Though Kevin had some experience working on cars, this project was too involved to do on his own, especially while working at Nike as a production manager. So, the Tigard couple trailered the car and took it to Gary's Mustangs in Clackamas, where it would live for 17 months while being transformed. Meanwhile, Kevin and Candace brought various parts back to clean up and paint.

“You realize there's a turning point where it's not being disassembled anymore, it's starting to be rebuilt,” Kevin said. “And that was kind of cool, to watch it all take place.”

With the car completed in October 2013, Kevin is excited to finally be able to put his Mustang in a show after years of being a spectator. For the first time, he'll be participating in the Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance on Sunday, July 20.

“We've been on the other side for all these years,” said Candace. “Now our car is going to be there.”

The Carshes spent nearly three decades trailering Kevin's Mustang and moving it from house to house to house. Even when they were overseas for two years with Nike, the car was placed in storage. There were times when Candace wondered why they still had it, but she accepted it was her husband's dream to someday fix up the car.

“The whole time I've known him it's been a dream he's had,” she said. “He always had this passion for the Mustang.”

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See the cars:

- The 42nd Annual Concours d'Elegance celebrates 50 years of the Ford Mustang and Pontiac GTO this Sunday, July 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

- The show is located at Pacific University, 2043 College Way, in Forest Grove.

- Ticket prices vary. For more information, visit forestgroveconcours.org, or call the Forest Grove Chamber of Commerce at 503-357-3006.




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