The grand opening of a Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum branch in Hazel Dell could offer a once-in-a-lifetime event for car enthusiasts Friday with a stopover by 120 vintage automobiles taking part in The Great Race.
The Great Race started 38 years ago as a time-speed-endurance rally. The car museum at 1015 N.E. 78th St., will be the second to last stop on the rally’s nine-day route.
The event will showcase rare cars on display at the museum and cars brought in for the event from local clubs.
“I expect it to be a very eclectic collection,” car collector and museum founder Ron Wade said. Despite a lifetime in the car industry, this will be his first time seeing The Great Race.
“At 3 years old, I was standing on the passenger floor board identifying the cars around us,” Wade said. “I’m one of the truly blessed people to have been able to earn a living with my passion.”
The Great Race draws teams from around the world driving vintage cars from Riverside, Calif., to Tacoma, according to museum manager Trent Campbell.
The first cars are expected to arrive at 5 p.m., giving spectators a chance to see a 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS, 1921 Hispano-Suiza Sports Tourer and 1930 Riley 14/6 Speed — just a sample from the vintage automobiles that have entered the race. A full list of race participants can be found at www.greatrace.com.
The cars will remain on-site until 8 p.m. for viewing and conversations with race participants.
“Vancouver is lucky to have the race stop here; it may never happen again. The cars that are coming to this event are pretty spectacular,” Campbell said. “It’s really an honor.”
Visitors can also explore the collection at the museum, which focuses on cars with very low production. For example, a two-toned red 1931 Chrysler Custom Imperials Dual Cowl Phaeton on display is number 50 of 58.
The collection, assembled by Wade, isn’t limited to old cars. Also on display is a 2006 750 horsepower twin turbo charged Saleen S7, one of only 20 made, Wade said.
The museum is operated in partnership with the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum in Hood River, Ore. Campbell said the current plan for the museum is to operate on a donation-only entrance fee.
If you go
What: The Great Race stopover in Hazel Dell.
Where: WAAAM West car museum, 1015 N.E. 78th St.
When: 10 a.m. Friday, museum and food carts open; 2 p.m. cruise-in; 5 p.m. first vintage cars scheduled to arrive; 5:15 to 8 p.m., The Great Race vintage cars on display and live music from the King Brothers.
Food: 10 food carts on site.