Car owners gear up for classic car show in Forest Grove
When the 45th annual Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance takes place in two weeks, Lincolns, Woodies and classic Minis will take center stage, but auto enthusiasts will find a wide variety of classic and sports cars, thanks to people like Wilsonville's Robert Bittle.
Bittle will be displaying a newer vehicle — his high-performance 2002 BMW MCoupe — while other participants like Canby's Jake Taasevigen will bring older models like his 1932 Ford Pickup.
Over the past 44 years, the Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance has drawn thousands of car buffs to the Pacific University's shaded campus to fawn over meticulously maintained Maseratis, Bentleys and Ferraris and admire pristine Packards, Chevys, Fords and Buicks.
This year's show — held Sunday, July 16 — will honor a Century of Lincoln Motors cars, featuring pre-war and post-war Lincoln automobiles. Special classes include Mini from 1959-2000 and wood-bodied station wagons. Bittle says it's a prestigious show he's excited to be part of.
"I used to be more active, but a gentleman I know who is connected with the show asked if I would bring my car. When someone calls and asks to show your car you say yes, because you love to show off your car when people come by to look and ask questions," Bittle says.
The 300-plus entrants for 2017 include a stunning 1941 Lincoln Continental, owned by Charles Humphreys of Ridgecrest, Calif., which served as this year's poster car. And in a nod to 'rods, the show will offer a rare up-close look at the hand-crafted custom Renaissance Roadster, which recently won the prestigious Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama custom car show.
Other notable entries include an 1896 Riker Electric, 1947 Ford Woodie, 1960 Austin Mini and 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster.
Bittle's 2002 BMW MCoupe is one of the newer entries, but it's also one of the rarest. Bittle says it's one of approximately 670 in the world. While he's excited to share his own vehicle, he says he's just as excited to connect with other car enthusiasts and see what others have to offer.
"You park your car, you sit there a little bit and then you get to walk around and look at the other cars. You can't help but say 'Wow' with what some people show. You just start talking and asking questions and learning about different cars," Bittle says.
As usual, the show organizers from the Forest Grove Rotary Club have lined up an impressive class of cars. Walt Johnson, a longtime car collector, is returning as Senior Judge, while Keith Martin and Donald Osborne, from Sports Car Market magazine, will again emcee the awards ceremony, telling the stories behind each car.
In addition to turning heads, the famed automobile show, run completely by volunteers, has also raised more than $1 million for more than 700 student scholarships and youth and community service projects funded by the Forest Grove Rotary Club.
Wilsonville Spokesman reporter Andrew Kilstrom contributed to this article.