1928 Pontiac – High Level, Alberta
Saturday, a day for Northstar Dodge Chrysler to host High Level and region’s local show and shine, a day overcast with rain drizzling over each car, beading upon protected finishes of silicon and carnauba. With such weather it fits that this Northstar Dodge Chrysler dealership is situated on Rainbow Boulevard.
At 11:00 a.m., vintage car owners/collectors gather, cars being organized according to timeline – oldest to newest. These car buffs have had time to wake, wash and chamois their prized vehicles. The day becomes one of chatter, car-owner to car-owner, driver to driver, enthusiast to enthusiast. Within all the coffee, talk and bluster, an engine’s patter catches my ear, the sound sharp like a newly built V8, but the sound has a lighter, tubular aspect that is higher pitched – a 1928 Pontiac sedan arrives, its owner guiding it carefully into the spot allocated for the oldest vehicle at this show and shine.
I’m impressed by its colour, shape and current integrity. The radiator cap is the head of an Indian (Pontiac) and the top curve of the radiator has something that looks like two pennies, something I’ll have to research. I walk over to listen and watch as the owner demonstrates what he refers to as the vehicle’s air conditioning – he moves a crank high above the steering wheel, to the driver’s right; the crank moves the windscreen up and down to let air rush into the car, a mechanical innovation that makes sense … something that begins this day’s education about cars. I get a kick out of what this car represents – this Pontiac sedan precedes my father’s birth by four years, it precedes the second world war by eleven.
This 1928 Pontiac sedan is one of three Pontiacs at the show and shine – there’s a brown 1970 Firebird and an orange 1970 Lemans with decals (something that would have had a specialized appellation, ‘The Judge’). These latter vehicles are a year newer than the two door, green, Canadian-made, 1969 Pontiac Parisienne, the family car that my brothers and I grew up in and the car we shared in high school; the lines on each are recognizably Pontiac.
Listening to – The Verve’s ‘Lucky Man,’ Coldplay’s ‘Up in Flames,’ Snow Patrol’s ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are,’ and John Mayer’s ‘The Queen of California.’
Quote to Inspire – “The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.” Susan Meiselas