By on May 28, 2012

Vancouver’s a funny place when it comes to car culture. One one hand, we’ve got a downtown core that’s switching over to highly affluent residential living, similarly well-heeled Western regions and, carved into the hillsides of West Vancouver, a community that rates its own “Real Housewives Of…” unreality show.

Fuelled by wealth swirling off the Pacific Rim, there’re a lot of high-status automobiles on the streets: throw a rock at random and you’ll likely hit a Supercharged Range Rover, but only after a bounce off two 911s and a Ferrari California. I’ve seen more curbed dubs, beat-up Vantages and hack-job ‘tuner’ M3s than I care to remember. I even recall seeing an RS4 with doilies on the headrests.

Still, to each his own, and for the residents of East Vancouver that means a backlash against conspic-consump buggies and an affinity for hot-rodding. Quick, hand me a ballpoint before somebody notices I don’t have a neck tattoo.

Loud. That might well be the theme of this year’s East Van Show and Shine. A four-piece band just finished hooking the crowd with Back in Black and have moved into their own set list which is considerably uptempo. Cars are rolling in and out, this chopped n’ channelled rod’s lumpy idle sounding like Rodimus Prime falling down a flight of stairs.

Naturally, no show could be considered complete until somebody shows up in a Studebaker Avanti with straight-pipes and has a rev-off with a chopper-bike. (The Stude takes the win, if you’re interested.)

The heterogeneity of the crowd might well be summed up by this particular eyesore. Sure, the two Ray-Ban’d young persons checkin’ it out might be just back from a photo-shoot for hawking underpants or cologne, but there’s all sorts here. Also, a Corel Word Perfect sticker? Seriously?

Bike culture is big in Vancouver, and, like other West Coast cities, much of it could be described as anti-car. Not these two harmonious lead-sleds – make welds not war.

Not a commuter-car then. Gas flipped to a buck-fifty per litre this weekend (past the $6-a-gallon mark), which should mean we all run out and buy Velosters for high-style low-impact motoring. Alternatively, run this thing and rob banks.

Bikes are a big part of the outlaw identity of those pushed East by developers, but cubes don’t necessarily count.

There’s a whole range of two-wheelers here, and I kinda dig the sharpie-scrawl on this next one…

On a Husqvarna no less!

Categories? This ain’t that kinda show. with a single block set aside for angle-parking, it’s the wide mix you get that makes things interesting. A pink Isetta just makes sense.

And not everything is weird or ratty. Plain black t-shirt with jeans and green Chucks = still a badass.

D’ye loike dags? Funny how there’s a pack of mutts here and not a single dalmatian: no Sublime fans?

Just shot down Snoopy.

More evidence of the Grand National Problem: every Firechicken a Burt, every Gran Torino a Starsky.

The old. An empty lot, a ratty Olds, a decrepit VW bus, body-shops, brickwork and bars on the windows.

The new. Splinters of glass-front hammered into the East as the real-estate bubble swells outward. This cherry cherry Caddy lasted. It won’t.

Gas is expensive. The car is a dinosaur. Efficiency is king. Gridlock strangles horsepower. Regulations clamp down fun. The public is falling out of love with the automobile.

Rock n’ Roll is dead. Except, of course, that it isn’t.

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14 Comments on “SoCal Rockabilly in the City of Glass...”

  • avatar

    What’s with the creepy ads at the bottom in some of the pictures?

  • avatar

    A caffed Norton Commando, backed by a mid’60’s Shovelhead chopper. My idea of heaven. The “Husqvarna” is an interesting mix: Front end is ’71-72 Triumph or BSA (the ‘comical’ brake version), engine is ’71 Triumph or newer, but the frame is ’70 at the newest, most likely mid-late 60’s Triumph.

  • avatar

    Vancouver reminds me of Miami of the early 80`s. Instead of drug money, it is the money of the Far east immigrants. Audi A 8, Bentley Continental, Lambos, Ferrari of any type and Rollers are routine sights driving through the city of any day. It is the repainting of the $200,000 cars in that flat black finish that amazes me.

    • 0 avatar

      ‘Instead’ of drug money? BC is the weed capital of North America! There is as much drug money here as there is money from China, if not more so.

  • avatar

    Paint that looks like unfinished primer is in baby. I’ve got this weird fantasy of defacing the GTR in my parking lot my sneaking off and buffing in a good shiny coat of wax into the matte black finish…

    Looks like it was a awesome day… but since when does the second generation Firebird count as ‘vintage’? ;-)

  • avatar

    I happened across this event on my way to a steam up the block- waht a great little gathering. The old ratty Chrysler competed in a 50’s Baja run and is owned by ex Olympic rower (Isreal) and noted local dog and car owner Tevy Smith. It is completely unrestored, and totally bonkers in its accumulated “badges”.

    The badassness of the whole affair seemed kind of out-of-place among the earnestness of the local newly developed urban hipster/socialized housing human filing cabinets. I was there in my gym shorts, tank and back pack and couldn’t help but notice the stares from the carefully freaked out and tatted crowd- an interesting mix of seemingly authentic resto-rat garagistas and the well thought out, office on Monday youngsters out for a fashionable pre wine and salmon bbq event.

    Too bad there wasn’t a deserted streatch of warehouse feeder roads closeby to exercise these beasts after the show.

  • avatar

    Those two sport bikes are an interesting pair. I think the blue one is a well-kept Yamaha RZ350, a bike that was the default late-80s small track/cheapskate sportbike of the late 80s in Canada and the US, but the white Honda beside it is something else. My first guess was an NSR400 crazy 3-cylinder 2-stroke repli-racer only imported to Canada, not the US, but now I think it might be a JDM Honda, likely a 250. The Comstar wheels are what makes me think that.

  • avatar

    “a decrepit VW bus”

    It’s hard to tell without seeing the rocker panels but that Type II looks pretty solid to me. I’m guessing about a ’74.

    • 0 avatar

      Most buses you see around Vancouver are rot free (no salt in the lower mainland). You only know they are decrepit because of A) the umpteenth hideous flower-power paint job, or B) the engine sounds like a chorus of blacksmiths trying to hammer their way out of a steel prison.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex Mackinnon

        VW Buses seem to be pretty well off around here.

        There’s 4 Westies within a block of my house in East Van, none of which are garage stored, and all of which are in at least passable condition.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    The Ladner show in July is an interesting as well.

    on a side-note, for every descent driver in Vancouver there is probably ten other drivers c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y unaware of their surroundings.

    I feel sorry for all professional drivers, motorcyclists and bicyclists out there in this City.

  • avatar

    Ok the dog in the sidecar is the best picture there and by far the most interesting.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Love the stretched Cadillac air cleaner on Thirsty Bitch; that’s an especially clean design.

  • avatar

    You can get a slightly rough, driver-grade classic for $5k, a new sporty, stylish commuter for $20k.

    Even at $5/gallon, $15k buys a lot of gas.

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