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His best car yet

WL's Don Weathers will showcase 1957 Chevy Bel Air at Forest Grove show


by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Don Weathers spent four years searching for his 1957 Chevy Bel Air before buying it from a dealer in Seattle.Don Weathers is not the type of car show regular with an ever-expanding fleet of rare vehicles.

The West Linn resident usually owns just one or two at a time before selling them, and gains more thrill from chasing new cars than showing off the models he has. But Weathers’ latest purchase, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, is one he’ll never sell, and he’s looking forward to showcasing it at this weekend’s 41st annual Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance car show.

“This is the best car I’ve ever had,” Weathers said. “It’s a complete frame-off restoration, and I’m not exaggerating: There’s not a scratch on it.”

Weathers and his vintage convertible make up just one of the 200 entrants at the annual event, which is considered one of the premier classic car shows on the West Coast. Held on the campus of Pacific University in Forest Grove, this year’s show will take place on Sunday and will feature “American Royalty” with a display of coach-built and luxury automobiles made in the United States. This year’s event will also celebrate 60 years of the Chevrolet Corvette and 50 years of Porsche 911 with special classes.

This year’s list of 200 entrants includes a 1915 Ford fire engine from Roseburg, a 1927 Bugatti being brought by Bob Ames of Portland and a 1931 Duesenberg J Phaeton owned by Clifford Stranberg of Beaverton, which is featured on the show’s poster. But there are also more modern classics, including a 1968 Jaguar XKE Roadster, a 1970 Corvette, a 1973 Triumph Stag and a 1976 Porsche Coupe.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Don Weathers rarely drives his 1957 Chevy Bel Air, but he says he'll never sell it.

And then there is Weathers’ “matador red” 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, which has always been one of his favorite models. He spent four years searching for one before finally purchasing it from a dealer in Seattle about a year and a half ago.

“Every nut, bolt and washer has been removed and redone,” Weathers said. “The job was flawless, and to my knowledge it’s 100 percent correct as it was back in the day.”

Weathers doesn’t enter the Forest Grove car show every year, but in the past he did showcase a 1951 Chevrolet five-window pickup — which he still regrets selling — as well as a 1935 restored John Deere tractor.

Automotive author and collector Ken Gross, a regular at the Pebble Beach Concours, is the senior judge at this year’s show. Keith Martin and Donald Osborne from Sports Car Market magazine will emcee the awards ceremony, telling the stories behind each car.

The show runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Pacific University in Forest Grove, at 2043 College Way.

Advance tickets run between $5 and $17, and gate tickets are priced from $7 to $20. To purchase advance tickets, visit forestgroveconcours.org or call 503-357-2300.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The car is a complete 'frame-off restoration,' according to Weathers - identical to how it would look in 1957.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Weathers works hard to keep the car looking factory fresh.




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