People involved in the car hobby are social animals so a gathering held just before Christmas is always a great reason to get together and talk about the old iron.
These events make the long non-car season known as winter far more bearable.
An added bonus is that these car guys get a chance to show their commitment to the community as a collective group.
That’s what happened recently when Trevor Comfort hosted his annual Christmas party at his shop.
Car guy events are pretty basic-no waiters with white gloves and valet parking for the Rolls Royces. These guys show up in pickup trucks and park them where the snow is cleared.The party is held in a working body shop-that’s great because Trevor always has a classic car project kicking around the shop and there is no better icebreaker for car guys. Inside the shop, the buffet is all potluck and the conversation is all automotive.
Trevor inherited the car-guy Christmas Party from his friend, boss and former mentor: “The X-mas party has been a tradition at this shop for well over 20 years. It was originally put on by my former Boss- Guy Tosfrud. Years ago it was mostly the old-school hot rod gang that were into pre-48 cars, a lot of rodders from Edmonton, Calgary, and Ponoka would attend. Eventually the car crowd here in Red Deer grew and became know as Red Deer Street Rodders. After Guy passed in 2004 the party became a potluck event.”
Every year Trevor likes to raise a glass to toast Guy’s memory and since then he’s begun to add other car guys to the list. This year, unfortunately, added several names to the list and every name was aligned with the late car guy’s ride because the car and owner are inextricably linked forever.
That’s why Trevor filled out the list this way, “The Toast to lost car buddies were Guy Tosfrud-’41 Chev rag top, Jerry Collenutt-’39 Chev tudor, Jim Clifford- ’65 Chevy Bel-Air 2dr. sedan, Darrell James-’33 Ford Tudor Sedan, Nick Sagan–’57 Chevy 2 dr. sedan, Mike McCrimmon-’35 Plymouth coupe, Errol McMullan-’29 Model A Sedan Delivery, Russell Craft- Big Block Blown Chevy in a Model A 2-tudor Sedan”.
To an outsider, this list might seem odd given that the car and owner are named together… but to car guys the list would be incomplete without the mention of the rides. That’s because they know how the late car owners’ lives were dedicated to finding, building and driving their old iron. The car defines the car guy-that’s an irrefutable constant in car world.
Something that rarely gets mentioned in discussions about the hobbyists is their steadfast commitment to the community. Most car clubs around the world have a keen sense of responsibility and they are always driven by a sense of giving back to the local community. Typically they do this “under the radar” and in fact, many clubs choose to downplay this contribution because…they’re car guys. They don’t need or even want the publicity-they simply get enough out of the act itself.
This Christmas party was no different-as Trevor explained,”I had come across some old 1950s fridges and painted them up to look like old coke machines, Guy had done one for his office, I thought it would be cool to use them to raise money for various charities, such as MADD, Food Bank, and we helped raise about $1100.00 a few years ago for a young boy fighting cancer. At that time Ray Bouchard won it then it too was auctioned off. This year’s fridge came from a heritage house in Calgary. The seller knocked off $40.00 when I told him what we do. This year’s fridge was a big hit thanks to my friend Dave laying down the cool pin stripes”.
Trevor happily reported that the 2010 Christmas Party broke records: “This year’s Fridge was won by Rose Moore, Soren Hansen’s life partner. She gave it right back and it was auctioned off by our buddy” Col. Tom” (53 Pontiac 2 dr.), he owns Cherry Hill Auctions. The winning bidder was Terry McCrindle, he owns Big Guy Automotive he drives a ’69 Super Bee and ’64 Chevy custom pickup but I think Fred said we raised $2400.00 Cool!”
Ultimately, this money went directly to the Red Deer Food Bank and the people involved were very humble about their contributions to a very worthy local charity-in true car guy fashion.
Events like this don’t happen without a great deal of cooperation. As Trevor said, “it’s hard to thank every one who helped put the party together. I would have a real hard time if it were not for the help of Joe Lanchuka! He rallies everyone to step up to bring food and sends out e-mails. Joe has also been instrumental in helping Donna McCrimmon with a lot of things since Mike’s passing”.
There are events like this in every corner of the car guy world and even though some of these old hot-rodders may have run afoul of the traffic laws a few times in their youth, clearly their bond to their respective communities is a lifetime commitment.
That’s the car guy way.
Jerry Sutherland @mystarcollectorcar.com
ROBERT:I’m allways amazed be how giving and unselfish people are. If everyone gave like the car show folks do, the charities would be set”.