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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

August 20, 2010 at 5:24 PM

“Rolling pieces of art” arrive at Columbia Plaza on Sunday

Sketched Aug. 18 at Columbia Plaza
My Thursday post featuring members of Old Rides Seattle and their vintage automobiles drew some interesting comments I wasn’t quite expecting. “Beetlejuice” wrote that these cars should be filled with concrete and buried. “They are a waste of space,” he wrote. Terry Parkhurst made the point that classic cars are usually much better mantained than the cars you see on the road and shouldn’t be dismissed as “gas guzzlers.” All opinions are welcomed so thanks for chiming in!
Energy-saving arguments aside, I think everybody would agree on one thing: classic cars are easy on the eye. That’s what makes them fun to draw. And who doesn’t turn to look when you see one on the street?
A few curious people even stopped to talk to Valerie Pipkin as I sketched her 1955 Buick Roadmaster last Wednesday at Columbia Plaza.
She likes classic cars for the same reasons I do. “I don’t care about the mechanics. I just like the way they look,” said Pipkin, a member of Old Rides Seattle since 2008. “They are like rolling pieces of art.”
Pipkin bought her car at Hot August Nights, a popular car show in Reno, Nevada, that attracts automobile enthusiasts from all over the country.
She said she was sold on it as soon as she saw the interior’s blue and gold upholstery and art deco dashboard. She also loved all the “bright work,” the chromed fender benders and metal decorations that adorn the exterior body of the car.
It all makes it look very luxurious, but Pipkin said this car was the “Cadillac of the working class.” If you couldn’t afford a Cadillac, you bought a Buick.
Pipkin’s Buick was her ticket to join Old Rides Seattle in 2008. To become a member, you need a car that is at least 30 years old and is in driving condition, explained founding member Henry Nelson.
That will make our family’s cars qualify in a couple of decades. We have a 1999 Chevy Prizm and a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. I don’t see them as “art” right now, but years from now some chrome may do the trick.
Where to see more classic cars
This Sunday you can see more than 150 classic cars as Old Rides Seattle hosts their second annual Columbia City Classic at Columbia Plaza from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit
Back to school is around the corner. Do you have any interesting back-to-school stories that I should consider sketching? As a parent, the first picture that comes to mind is of little kids whose backpacks are bigger than they are, but for a possible future sketch I’m interested in talking and sketching adults going back to school and pursuing new careers. Are you one of them? I’m always happy to hear from readers. Please contact me at gcampanario at seattletimes dot com or via Twitter or Facebook. Have a great weekend!

Comments | More in Cars | Topics: Columbia City


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