Car show visitors take a look at George Smith’s “Purple Haze” on Saturday in Philomath City Park. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

An old-timer when it comes to car shows, 76-year-old George Smith never grows tired of an opportunity to show off his latest modified roadster.

Called “Purple Haze,” the “chopped three-window roadster two-door coupe” features a 1932 Ford front suspension, 1955 Olds Rocket 324 cubic-inch motor and a 1957 Olds steering wheel — just to identify a few of the details. Built by Smith and Dan Phillips, the vehicle was painted in candy purple and was shining bright at Saturday’s Philomath Classic Car Show.

Smith, who lives in Eugene, loves going to car shows and especially enjoys seeing all of the modifications.

“No matter what car show you go to, there’s always a handful that are the same because of the way that they’re done but there’s enough people that make them different,” Smith said. “Just like this car I have. There’s probably more ’32, ’33 and ’34 Fords than any other single type of vehicle at car shows and cruises — that’s why I made mine totally different.

“If everybody had the same thing, I wouldn’t like cars — I’d get tired of looking at them,” Smith added. “That’s one of the interesting things is when you go to car shows, you always get to see something different.”

The local car show celebrated its 25th year this past weekend with what appeared to be a successful event at Philomath City Park. The show attracted a large number of car owners and car admirers. It was Smith’s fifth time coming to Philomath.

“I go to a lot of car shows and this is one of the better ones,” Smith said. “I like the venue, the way they put it together and everything.”

Smith said he goes to 18 to 20 car shows over the course of a year.

“Two or three weekends out of the summer, I’ll go to one on a Saturday and another one on Sunday even,” Smith said. “It gets pretty tight and it gets pretty tiring but I love cars.”

Among the vehicles that Tim Muir brought to the Philomath Classic Car Show on Saturday was this 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu with custom paint, wheels and tires. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Among the locals who were on hand at the event was Tim Muir, who had a ‘70 Chevelle and a ‘54 Mercury on display — and his son put in a ‘94 Ford. He goes to about three car show per year.

“Community — it’s good people,” Muir said when asked what he likes most about them. “Especially here, you know, growing up here, I see a lot of friends from high school and kids that I’ve coached and so it’s fun. You get to see a lot of people you know, get to talk with them and catch up.”

Muir’s always enjoyed cars.

“My kids like doing it and I’ve just always tinkered on them,” he said. “My stepdad’s big into them and he kind of helped me out as a kid — we just always worked on them and so it’s kind of a thing that stuck.”

On Purple Haze, Smith’s informational card in the window under modifications read, “too many to list.”

“I started working on it in 2007 and finished it in 2015,” Smith said. “That’s when I put it on the road. It’s an old-school hot rod — that’s what it’s considered to be.”

Like many of those who frequent car shows, it’s been a lifelong affair.

“My first one was a ’36 Plymouth two-door coupe and, of course, I did some modifications on it,” Smith said.

The car show featured a touching moment about halfway through the event in memory of longtime announcer and car show committee member Rod Holland, who died in 2020. Participants started up their vehicles and revved engines and honked horns for a full minute.

A car show participant revs his engine in memory of Rod Holland, the longtime announcer who died in 2020. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.