Crowds fill Solvang for car show

Crowds fill Solvang for car show



The roar of supercharged V-8 exhaust notes echoed throughout Solvang on Aug. 23 from some of the 260 classic, antique, and custom cars that lined the streets of the valley’s center of Danish culture. The Wheels ’n Windmills Car Show attracted thousands of car buffs for the 4th annual event that filled Copenhagen Drive, First Street, and Second Street with brightly painted Chevys, Fords, Chryslers, and many other hot rods, some one-of-a-kind.

Event organizer Bob Stokes of Buellton provided a tour of the event and introductions to many of the owners of these restored pieces of American automobile culture. Stokes explained that the event moved to Solvang after a 6-year run on Avenue of Flags in Buellton.


A pet project of late city councilman Bill Traylor was the motivation for moving the event to Solvang, said Stokes. “When he changed the second grass area on the Avenue to a pedestrian zone we lost the ability to have the event there,” said Stokes.

Enthusiasts from all over California drove or trucked their projects to Solvang for the one-day event. Certainly the oldest vehicle at the event was an 1890 Doctors Surrey owed by Paul and Jill Dubois of Los Osos. The wooden body vehicle is powered by a “modern” 1926 Jaeger 3 ˝ horsepower single cylinder engine that speeds the open vehicle at a bit faster than a fast walk. Dubois was formerly an Indy car engine builder with Cosworth.


Just a few feet away was the custom 1953 Corvette owned by Bobbie Bruhn. The fiberglass beauty is powered by a supercharged LS-1 Corvette engine that reportedly puts 550 horsepower to the rear wheels. The custom ’Vette has little in common with its original design, as the body was stretched and widened to accommodate the modern engine and running gear.

Many parts on the custom car were handmade by Bruhn. Although the values of custom cars are in the eye of the potential purchaser, Bruhn’s last custom car sold for more than $250,000.

Promoters pointed out that the event helps the community. In the past, more than $25,000 has been raised in support of local charities, such as the Solvang Friendship House, the Solvang Senior Center, and the Sunny Fields Park.

This year all event proceeds will be donated to the Solvang Elementary School Educational Programs.