Winnipeg, eh?

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go up to Winnipeg, Manitoba as the guest of Peter Ginakas for one of his Sunday night cruise-ins. Peter is a restaurateur in Winnipeg and is also a serious car guy. He has four restaurants around the city which all go by the name, Pony Corral, and several years ago he started holding Sunday night cruise-ins at one of his locations. These really caught on and have grown steadily.

Winnepeg - My Classic Car

Winnipeg is a real car town. Without a doubt, it is the cruisin’ capital of Manitoba; and perhaps all of western Canada. There are a lot of cars there and the quality is quite high. I attribute that to a combination of factors; very skilled craftsmen and really long winters. I also love going up there because they are such huge fans of the show. I always say, there are no fans like Canadian fans!

I flew in on Saturday and when the plane broke thru the cloud cover during landing, I noticed a lot of standing water everywhere on the ground. They apparently had gotten quite a bit of rain the previous night and earlier that day. I figured that surely it would clear off for Sunday’s cruise-in, but instead it proceeded to dump record amounts of rainfall through the evening and well into the night.

Underpasses throughout the city were flooded, the Red River which runs thru Winnipeg was well beyond its banks, and the flood control system that diverts excess water around the city was at its capacity. All I could think was, “Well this sucks!”

Sunday morning didn’t start out much better. It was grey and chilly and showed little promise for improvement. Peter had a VIP brunch at one of his restaurants, and I was surprised at the number of people that attended with their cars in spite of the weather. These Canucks are tough!

The cruise-in itself was scheduled to run from 4 to 10 pm at another one of Peter’s locations, and I was really keeping my fingers crossed for an improvement in the weather. As luck would have it, almost on cue, the clouds parted at about 4 pm, the sun beamed thru, and the cars began streaming in. It was still only 55 degrees but hey, for Winnipeg, that’s balmy.

Before it was all said and done, there were several hundred cars in attendance, and there was some really great stuff. Of course there were a few Canadian-only vehicles like Monarchs (which are largely rebadged Mercs), Meteors (which are largely rebadged Fords), Beaumonts (which are Canadian Pontiacs but they look an awful lot like Chevelles), and Mercury pickups.

My Classic Car - Mercury Pickup

There were a few cars that really caught my eye tho. I’m a sucker for wagons, and this ’65 Belvedere with a Super Stock engine was pretty slick.

My Classic Car - 1965 Belvedere

As was this satin black retro-rodded ’58 Mercedes sedan.

My Classic Car - 1958 Mercedes Sedan

And of course if there’s a Stude anywhere nearby, like this way cool turquoise President, I’m gonna find it!

My Classic Car - Studebaker President

There was even a WWII era, Canadian-issue, military Harley 45; complete with front mount machinegun holster.

My Classic Car - WWII Military Harley 45

I also got to hang with Paul Williamson (aka Willy) who is an automotive journalist for one of the Winnipeg newspapers and also a budding television personality himself with a program, Willy’s Garage, about the local car scene.

My Classic Car - Willy's Garage

I signed a bazillion autographs and posed for countless pictures with cruisers and their rides. These folks just flat out wore me out, but I had a great time. Like I said, there are no fans like Canadian fans! Beauty, eh?

Happy Motoring,

  1. Janet says:

    Great pic on the cycle!

    • Dennis says:

      That is a cool pic. All of them were taken by George Drazic, except for the one of the Merc pickup up. That was taken with my cell phone. Don’t blame George.

  2. Vernhill says:

    Sure wish I had known you were coming to the Peg I would of been there rain or shine with my 57 Pontiac wagon. Owell maybe next year in Gimli Manitoba nudge nudge.

  3. Roland says:

    Cool event.. Thanks for the entertaining post. We are revitalizing our Brits Best show in Radium Hot Springs BC. It would be great to able to see you here once again.. BTW, there is another event held here in Sept. that is drawing close to 1,000 cars every year.. as well as the Van Deusen Brits car show in Vancouver BC. The Van Deusen gardens are a fantastic setting for an event that draws some concours level cars.. Love your show.. Roland

  4. Bob Chubala says:

    Hey Dennis,
    Always a pleasure having you in the ‘Peg! I was glad the weather cleared off and you were able to spend some time with owners of some of the finest classics in Canada.Hope to arrange things for the 37th annual Piston Ring World of Wheels next March!Til then…thanks again…good luck in your future endeavors! Regards…..Chewie!

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