She's just one of the boys at Cruise-In
While the majority of participants at classic car shows are typically male, Sandra Walton proves the Langley Good Times Cruise-In is not just another boys’ club.
The 66-year-old New Westminster woman will be steering the wheel of her own classic vehicle to the annual event—a haven for hot rod and classic car buffs of all ages and genders.
“I guess you could call me a bit of a tomboy,” joked the retired administrative assistant, who has been bringing her baby Annie, a 1982 Camaro Indy Pace Car—to the Cruise-In since it first started back in 1997.
Declared one of the most aerodynamic cars ever made when it was released, her pride and joy was voted Motor Trend magazine’s car of the year. Just last month, Annie won first place in the 1980s restored and/or original category out of 455 cars at Westcoasters Daze Show ‘n’ Shine in White Rock.
Walton has maintained the car’s original silver and blue paint scheme, special four-colour lower body striping, Indy 500 door decals, special blue cloth/silver vinyl interior and red pinstripes on its aluminum wheels.
Fellow car buffs are often surprised to learn that Annie belongs to Walton and not her husband or boyfriend, she said.
“Most of the women at the Cruise-In are there with their spouses, I’m one of the very few single ladies who show up alone. I get asked all the time whether it’s my car.”
But that doesn’t mean she is the odd woman out.
“I fit right in,” said Walton matter-of-factly. “I’ve met so many great people there over the years. If they want to treat me like one of the boys, well that’s just fine with me.”
Walton was raised on a farm in Truro, N.S., where she became a fan of cars at a young age.
“I was likely to be found playing with toy cars, rather than dolls,” she said. “My cousins and I would spend hours just sitting around and naming all the cars that drove by on the farm roads: the Chevys, the Fords and the Chryslers—by grade school I knew almost every car on the road.”
While Walton has exhibited Annie at car shows throughout Greater Vancouver, the Langley Good Times Cruise-In is her all-time favourite show as both a spectator and participant.
“The Cruise-In is one of my saviours, it’s what I live for,” she said, noting her disappointed when the event was cancelled in 2010. “Well, that was pretty tragic. I’m just so relieved it is back on.”
In addition to being surrounded by a variety of some of North America’s most beautiful cars, Walton is a big fan of the Cruise-In’s festival atmosphere.
“There’s just so much variety, so many things to do,” said Walton, who hopes to secure her regular spot in front of Choo Choo’s restaurant in downtown Langley this weekend. “You party all night and then are up staging the next morning at 4:40 a.m., but I don’t mind at all. You don’t go there to sleep, after all.”
The Langley Good Times Cruise-In takes place in downtown Langley City on Saturday, Sept. 8. Admission is free. All proceeds go to charity, and visitors can contribute through raffles, merchandise sales and at concessions.