Parks’ Model A a sight to see at Saturday’s Car Show in Monte

Grandson restores grandfather’s old farm truck.

Back in 1931, Walter King bought a Model A pickup for about $500, and he used it as his work truck on his chicken farm. Dave Parks, King’s grandson, acquired the rusty old heap from his cousin, and $30,000 later, the Model A has been fully restored.

Parks, of Montesano, said his grandfather would think he’s nuts for spending that kind of money on his old pickup. It’s so beautifully done, though, all would be forgiven.

With the engine overhauled and restored by the cousin, Parks worked on the exterior, buying new when the original parts could not be salvaged. Time and use got the better of the truck’s body. It didn’t help that granddad backed it up into the piles of chicken manure causing the fenders to rust terribly.

Today, however, the truck gleams like new in the summer sun and in the varying light the color changes from almost black to a deep navy blue. The true paint color, the same as when Walter King owned it, is “Aquamarine Blue.”

Two headlights are perched atop the front end and just one brake light sits at the back on the left. Wide running boards flank the sides and there’s room for a spare tire by the driver’s side door. Thin rubber tires encircle the wire-spoke wheels.

The sparse interior speaks to the truck’s early make. There’s a handle for each door, one for each window and a couple on the front windshield which can be tilted for “natural” air-conditioning. Black ribs support the soft top cloth roof. Three gauges sit on the dash panel, along with an ignition. There are no airbags, no warning lights, no armrests, no seatbelts and no cup holders.

The beautiful simplicity belies the acumen needed to start the Model A. One does not simply start this vehicle by turning a key. Seemingly more like piloting a plane than driving a truck, Parks pushes levers on both sides of the steering wheel, turns on the gas, adjusts the choke, turns the ignition, puts the truck in gear, and only then is he off.

Parks monitors the gauges and adjusts the choke to thin the gas as he drives, depending on his speed. Without power steering, he cranks the wheel to make a turn. Driving down the road, the motor rumbles loudly with nothing to dampen the sound. The vehicle is all functionality, not made for comfort. Every pebble, every dimple is felt as the truck bounces down the road at a top speed of about 40 mph.

Without a doubt, this is the fun part.

Parks said the Model A attracts a lot of attention, garnering waves, honks, thumbs-up signs, and lots of smiles — and he’ll be sure to get lots more attention at the Montesano’s 14th Annual Historic Car Show on Saturday, July 16. Parks plans on entering his pickup in the show, perhaps winning one of the 40 awards presented.

The story of how Parks lovingly restored his grandfather’s Model A is part of the draw to a classic car show, said Dave Foss, event organizer.

“A lot of it is nostalgia. It’s the car you had in high school or it’s the car you always wanted,” Foss said. And some of the appeal, he added, is just seeing something that is so beautiful, it’s like a work of art. “But because it’s a car, you can take it with you, unlike a painting or a statue.”

Depending on the weather, about 200 to 250 cars are expected at the show. The wide variety includes fully restored vehicles, like Parks’ Model A, to highly modified hot rods to nearly brand new cars. Even some motorcycles make an appearance.

“There’s something for everyone,” Foss said.

Those entering the show pay a $20 entrance fee but it is reduced with a donation of food to the Montesano Food Bank. The show is free for spectators. Foss said because the event is all volunteer, the money raised helps local charities, like the food bank, Chehalis Valley Museum, Montesano Community Center and the Police Association Bike Rodeo.

The show begins at 8 a.m. and cars will line Main Street, in Montesano, from Spruce to Marcy. The show includes vendors of all types, informational booths, a swap meet and tours of the Montesano Courthouse. Live music, a pancake breakfast and a poker walk add to the fun.

On Friday night, a Poker Run to the Aberdeen Elks begins at Fosses Hot Rods and Cool Cars (71 Roup Road in Montesano) at 4:30 p.m.

Coinciding with the car show are Kids Summer Fest, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fleet Park and the Saturday Market, also at Fleet Park, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Kids Summer Fest offers free activities, including a bounce house, inflatable obstacle course, monkey bridge, National Guard vehicles and a fire truck, plus games, a bake sale, music and a live fish pond.

The Saturday Market offers food, local vendors and musicians.