‘Stunning’ cars on show in Oak Bay

Ian Smale tools around town in Chrysler eye candy for vintage-car lovers — a bright aqua 1960 Saratoga with sleek, irresistible fins and a brocaded swivel driver’s seat that’s taken him to California and back.

His car was one of stars of the 16th annual Oak Bay Collector Car Festival Sunday that stopped traffic in the village so that the crowds could get a good look at more than 250 gleaming vehicles from a bygone era.

“It’s called Tahitian turquoise,” said Smale. When he bought the car nine years ago, it had been painted, reupholstered and chromed to a condition fit for a dealer’s lot in the Eisenhower era. At 63, Smale said he has driven a car with fins since age 19.

“Stunning, stunning,” said Michael Carter in admiration.

Beside Smale’s showstopper was an equally sleek red 1961 Saratoga, pristine down to the whitewall tires.

“It’s completely original,” said Raymond Burgwin, a friend of the owner’s, who said it cost about $10,000. The vehicle looks as if it’s kept not in a garage, but under glass inside a house.

Such roadsters outshine the looks of modern cars, said Chris Gannon, who quotes his four daughters on the topic.

“They say: ‘Dad, modern cars look like potatoes,’ ” meaning they definitely lack the space-age design. 

Randy Otto of Victoria and son Axel, 12, enjoyed hands-on fun with a well-rounded, bright blue 1955 Chevy convertible, built when Ralph Kramden was a bus driver on The Honeymooners.

“They’re so perfect,” Randy said.

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