Back in the day — let’s say the 1960s — folks, of course, didn’t post selfies on Instagram. Instead if you wanted to be seen in Seaside, you’d hop in your car and take a spin around the Turnaround. The more chrome, the better. That automotive history is revisited twice a year during Seaside’s Muscle and Chrome (June 17) and Wheels and Waves (September 7-10) car shows.
“When you get the fiberglass in your blood, you can’t get it out,” insists Mike Itel, a Portland resident who regularly attends and volunteers at both Seaside shows.
The Muscle and Chrome show in June celebrates show-quality muscle cars from 1960 to 1978, Itel explains. It also features factory-performance models from 1979 to present, like Dodge Vipers and Corvettes. Typically, more than 100 vehicles — all in mint condition — will line city streets, bringing together generations of car lovers.
A member of the Multnomah Hot Rod Council, Itel is a ‘vette man. How many does he own? “It’s a secret,” he says. When pressed, he admits to “a few.”
He says for him and others of his generation, muscle cars induce nostalgia.
“Maybe they wanted a muscle car back in the day but couldn’t afford it or the insurance,” explains Itel. “Now they can.”
And those owners love to show off their high-horsepower rides on Broadway Street all the way to the ocean, much to delight of thousands of spectators.
The three-day Wheels and Waves show in September is even larger, with about 230 cars, including restored hot rods from the ‘30s, ‘40s and onward.
Itel goes to about 10 car shows throughout the summer, but the Seaside ones are among his favorites.
“You can’t beat the setting,” he says.
While die-hard car enthusiasts may happily attend a car show in the middle of nowhere, the buzzing city of Seaside offers something for sometimes-reluctant passengers — maybe a spouse or antsy kids, who are eager to enjoy the bumper cars, shopping and beach.
“You’ve got a lot of things to do, right there alongside the car show,” says Itel. “It’s a lot more entertaining.” And it’s free to look!
Have some wheels you want to show off? To register a vehicle, contact the Seaside Downtown Development Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 503-738-7637. Registration costs $35 for Muscle and Chrome and $45 for Wheels and Waves.