Medford Used Cars – Amidst a sea of red candy-apple, beer-root chocolate, and English racing greens at Medford’s Fichtner-Mainwaring Park, the weathered Blue Fire paint on the conversion of Gary Pierce stood apart. Satellite Plymouth in 1970 has had better days. The hubcaps are gone, the side mirror is missing and the inside is torn. Compared to the hundreds of original vintage performance cars, trunks and habits that filled the 2019 N ‘Shine Medford Cruise Show on Saturday, Plymouth may look like an ugly half-brother.
But for Pierce, showing the car he loved – and that his father had loved – was a shining moment. “This car is a memory,” Pierce said. “This car is my father.” Pierce lost his father in 1996, and he and his family had no choice but to let Plymouth sit. Pierce was 19 years old when it happened and “life took over.”
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Saying he was “not a big car man,” and overcoming his limited car knowledge, Pierce spent the past year turning on the engine again. He called it “Phase One” of car restoration.
For Pierce, hearing the hum of the machine bring him back to his childhood and relate it to his father. He remembered how his father bought him new in 1970 when he was stationed in Virginia, and how the car followed him and his family to New York, to El Paso, Texas, to Southern California and finally to the Rogue Valley in the early 90s.
The car still makes memories for him, his wife and children. For Father’s Day, Pierce’s son drew pictures of cars and engines.
“That’s heritage,” Pierce said.
Starting around 1:30 pm Saturday night, around 560 cars of all sizes and lines have been exhibited at annual fundraising events for local youth organizations, according to Medford Vice President Cruise Maidez Bill. The event was followed by a three-hour cruise featuring 1979 and older cars in downtown Medford.
For some people, ‘N Shine’ is an opportunity to show off something special, like a local Lotus Exige sports car in 2000. Of the eight imported into North America, the owner, who did not say his name, said he collected five mid-engined sports cars.
For Mike Vaara, who recently moved to Medford from Everett, Washington, his sparkling white Corvette in 1970 symbolizes the realization of the goals he has had throughout his life.
Vaara said his father used to work at a Chevy dealer in the 1950s, and Vaara remembered how he took home Corvettes and shared a car with him.
“He will sit on his lap and we will drive them out,” Vaara said.
Others describe their cars as part of the way they always live, like Dean Thompson, which is radiant on sparkling tin ‘57 Chevy Bel Air.
“I didn’t realize that there were 150 colors between gray and silver,” Thompson joked about the color of the paint.
Thompson said that when he was young, he always repaired a Chevrolet, sold it and bought another. He remembered at least three ’57s, two’ 56s and at least one ’55, even though Nova ’67 was also in the mix.
“I always have a hot rod,” Thompson said.
With his grown-up son beside him on the show, Thompson said that with all the decisions – from paint to wheels to upholstery – custom cars reflect their owners.
“That’s you, that’s your personality,” Thompson said.
Contact Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.
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