Classic car and boat show brings nostalgia to Frisco
Everyone loves old cars, and antique boats evoke similar feelings of nostalgia for days gone by. This weekend, locals will get an opportunity to have both kinds of vehicular flashbacks during the “Vettes on the Rockies” car show and the Rocky Mountain Classics boat show. The boat show takes place at the Frisco Marina on Saturday and features 25-30 wooden boats, as well as a presentation by Chris Smith, grandson of the founder of Chris Craft Boats. The Corvette show will have events in both Breckenridge and Frisco, though the final showcase of the cars is Sunday morning on Frisco’s Main Street.Locals have both cars and boats that will figure prominently in the weekend’s festivities. Bill Tordoff and Wayne Spaulding of Frisco have been restoring antique boats for over 20 years between the two of them, and three of Spaulding’s boats will be in Saturday’s show. Spaulding’s pride and joy, a 22-foot 1951 HackerCraft Deluxe Utility currently parked next to The Boatyard restaurant in Frisco, will be sitting at the entrance to the marina along Main Street.”I was hoping to have this in the show, but it’s not going to make it,” Spaulding said, due to the fact that the boat currently has no motor. “It’ll probably be ready when the snow starts flying.”Spaulding and Tordoff both readily acknowledge that restoring old boats is a painstaking, arduous process. Most of the boats they’ve restored over the years were in serious disrepair when they got them and needed to be almost completely rebuilt from scratch.”The biggest expense in restoring a wooden boat is time,” Tordoff said. “The second biggest expense is the motor.”Tordoff and Spaulding’s current project has already proven a costly venture, in both time and materials. They’ve been working on a 24-foot HackerCraft Overnighter for a little over a year, and Spaulding said it took most of the winter just to rebuild the bottom of the boat. Part of the reason Spaulding and Tordoff take so much time on the boats is they try to make the boats conform to the original design as closely as possible.”We try to put them back into the same shape as they were in when they left the factory,” Tordoff said.To that end, the pair used mahogany wood for the sides of the boat just like the original design called for and are planning on installing the original captain’s wheel. They even went so far as to use a process called book-matching on the side boards to make sure the grain looked the same on each side. As a result, the boats have a very sleek look and quickly garner a lot of attention when they’re on display or in the water.”Every time we pull up with one of these, people go ‘I grew up with one of those,’ or ‘I learned how to water ski on one of those,'” Spaulding said. “It’s retro, and retro’s pretty cool stuff.”
On the other hand, there’s nothing more retro than a Corvette, and Arnold Yuen of Frisco has a true classic on his hands. Yuen’s silver 1963 Corvette Stingray will be one of the stars of the weekend’s show. With its split rear-window, supermodel curves and 340-horsepower engine, Yuen’s Corvette can’t help but conjure up flashes of Americana from the likes of “American Graffiti,” “Grease” and “Gone in 60 Seconds.” Yuen said he also gets lots of attention when he takes the car for a spin.”I had a California highway patrolman give me thumbs up in this car,” Yuen said.A retired Air Force Veteran, Yuen bought the Corvette while stationed in Amarillo, Texas, when the car was brand-new in 1963. Ironically, he was driving another classic (a 1957 Thunderbird) when he saw the Corvette.”I saw it and I said, ‘I gotta have it,'” Yuen said. “And I did.”Yuen was sent to Vietnam in 1969 and left the car with his father in a garage in Hawaii. When he came back in 1972, the car was already falling apart. The car stayed in Hawaii through another deployment, Yuen’s retirement and a move to California. By the time Yuen got around to getting the car back in 1989, he was ready to sell it, but his family convinced him not to.”My family said, ‘This was the car you drove around as a young man, why don’t you restore it?'” Yuen said.The damage to the car was beyond Yuen’s ability to repair on his own, so he sent it to a shop in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Eighteen months and $15,000 later, Yuen got the car back with most of its original parts.”About 70 percent of that car is original,” Yuen said, including the engine, transmission, suspension and instrument cluster.Yuen said he enjoys showing off his car and drives it as often as he can in the summer, though he keeps it on blocks in the winter to avoid any damage from the elements.”This car is driven; it’s not a trailer queen,” Yuen said. “I’ll keep driving it until I can’t anymore.”
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