Denny Napier of Roseburg sat in a shady spot at River Forks Park on Saturday behind his 1950 Willys Jeepster, a maroon convertible he adopted three years ago.
“I like orphan cars. That means they’re no longer in production, so they kind of need a home,” he said.
Napier has had at least one hobby car — sometimes as many as seven or eight — since he bought a 1940 Chevy in 1960.
The orphan cars grabbed him after he bought his first, a Studebaker, in the 1980s. Over the years he’s owned several Studebakers, a Hudson and has become a real fan of the Willys cars. He owns three of those right now.
“I have a sign above my shop door at home that says ‘Denny’s Orphanage,’” he said.
Napier’s Jeepster was among hundreds of cars on display at the annual River Forks Show-N-Shine west of Roseburg.
Napier said it’s satisfying to own a piece of history.
“They bring a lot of nostalgia to people, including myself,” he said.
At the other end of the park from Napier’s Willys sat a 1930 Ford Model A Woody C Cab with a body made of wood.
Owners Clint and Eadie Gardner of Cave Junction said it’s a copy of the original, which served as a pie wagon. Others of the same type were used for milk sales in the 1930s, they said, but the wood construction makes it unique.
“It’s one of a kind,” Clint Gardner said.
The Gardners also own a matching teardrop trailer, also made of wood.
“We always wanted a wooden trailer, just ‘cause we like things that are different,” Eadie Gardner said.
They enter the vehicle in parades sometimes pulling another wooden creation, an adult-sized hobby horse.
“We just like things that make people happy. My goal in life is to get people to smile,” she said.
Also on display were a number of later cars, from the 1960s and ‘70s. Gary Gettings of Santa Barbara, California, buys and sells cars. He said some of the older cars can be very expensive and not great for driving long distances, but cars like the 1979 El Camino can take you wherever you want to go.
Many of the older cars are works of art, and very familiar though, he said.
“I can tell you every one of these cars. You take me down to a new car lot, I can’t tell one from another,” he said.
For many, though, it was Robert Arents’ banana yellow 1957 Chevy Bel-Air that drew the eye. It was one of the most popular cars of its time, being one of the last of the Tri-Fives, the Chevies of 1955, 1956 and 1957.
It’s still a crowd-pleaser today.
During a brief interview with The News-Review, two potential buyers stopped to obtain more information, and Arents said people had been picking up informational flyers about it throughout the show.
Pat Brown told Arents he lost his own Chevy in the late 1960s.
“I had one just like it, but I got drafted and my mom sold it while I was in the Army for $400,” Brown said.
Arents hopes his will sell soon.
“It sits in the garage more than it should. It’s time for somebody to purchase it that maybe might use it more often,” he said.
He does enjoy bringing it to Graffiti, though, which he said is the largest collector vehicle show in the Pacific Northwest.
“People come from all over the place to admire the vehicles, and hopefully buy one,” he said.