3rd Annual PreWar Antique Car Tour

Northumberland County - August 10th, 2008

 Reprinted with permission from Glen Woodcock, Sun Media

Mike Butters of Cobourg, Ont., leads a line of  pre-World War II autos in his 1928 Graham convertible.


Just about this time last year I did a feature on what I called “the  slowpokes’ parade” – a tour of the Ontario countryside staged by Rick Morrison, who is president of the Great Pine Ridge Region of the Antique and Classic Car Club of Canada.

This wasn’t just any tour for old vehicles, it was limited to cars and trucks made before civilian production ceased in January, 1942 when all domestic automakers turned to more important war work. It was the second such pre-World War II tour that Rick had organized and he had about 20 cars – the same number as for the initial gathering. Recently, the third tour was staged in the rolling hills of Northumberland County and registrations zoomed to 63.

Zoomed. That’s an interesting word to use when writing about pre-war cars, because very few of them can zoom. In fact, it’s because his meticulously restored 1926 Pierce-Arrow had trouble keeping up with cars from the ’50s and ’60s on ACCCC events that Rick and his wife, Diane, from Grafton, Ont., organized their first pre-war event. Actually, there are two tours - one for really slow cars such as Model Ts (and six-cylinder Pierce Arrows), the other for newer and generally faster cars from the late 1930s and early ’40s. Rick carefully chooses two routes, one a little longer than the other for the quicker group, and schedules it so they both arrive at the lunch stop at just about the same time. I get to come along in my postwar 1947 Frazer Manhattan only to act as a sweeper to make sure no one has broken down or needs assistance. This year, everything worked according to plan, with only one car pausing to replace a plugged fuel filter, and most cars arrived at the picnic stop just as heavy rains moved in. Cars came from as far away as Toronto and Ottawa, with one 89-year-old gentleman, and his wife, who is 86, driving 250 km from the nation’s capital in their Model A Ford.


A 1939 Packard owned by Al Gibb of Markham, Ont. and a 1940 shark-nose Graham belonging to Larry Houlieff of Oshawa.

As well as the usual collection of Model Ts and Model As, there were some real rarities including a shark-nose 1939 Graham, a 1913 Overland and a Canadian-made 1932 Frontenac coupe. Cost is kept to a modest $10 per person and that includes lunch and a DVD of the event complete with period music. The prewar tour is proving so popular that next year Rick may have to limit the number of registrations to 100.

Such an event is a great idea for older vehicles that can’t keep up with the later models from the ’50s and ’60s that dominate the old car hobby today. Not only is it fun for participants, but it’s a great opportunity for spectators to see a wide array of vintage vehicles in one place. If there are a number of older autos in your area, perhaps it’s something your club or organization could consider staging. If you wanted to steal the idea, I’m sure Rick wouldn’t mind. You can find out more by writing him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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