The Atlantic Nationals

The Atlantic Nationals

Atlantic NationalsStory and photos by Paul Kennedy

Our trip to the 17th annual Atlantic Nationals in Moncton, NB, was easier than expected, because we had the opportunity to use the new A-30 toll highway that bypasses the nightmare known as Montreal traffic. It is easily worth the $2.80 charge to retain your sanity.  We stayed overnight in Edmunston, NB, then drove to Moncton the next day, arriving for registration at the Wesleyan Church around 2:00 p.m.  When we returned to the car, I noticed a small washer and a cotter pin sitting on the floor mat on the driver’s side. This was not good.  I found a lady with the flashlight app on her phone, which she lent to me. I looked up under the dash, and there was the clutch rod, attached to the clutch pedal, but without its cotter pin. Yikes! Fortunately I had brought a small assortment of tools, and the long needle nose pliers were just the ticket. So I reinstalled it, and contemplated how good our luck was that after 1400 km, the cotter pin had fallen out while we were parked in a parking lot.

Even though our car show didn’t start until Friday, the show actually started Wednesday with a cruise in from 1- 4 p.m. at Auto Crew’s new store, followed by a cruise at 6:15 p.m. to Action Car and Truck accessories, both sponsored by the Moncton Cruisers Car Club.  On Thursday, the day started at 8:00 a.m. with a participant’s breakfast served by the Mayor and Council members at the Riverview Lions Club.  At 9:30, Gary Steeves Insurance sponsored a “Mystery Tour” cruise until 1:00 p.m., followed by a BBQ at the Steeves Garage, served by members of the Hillsborough Kiwanis Club. That night, there was a Meet and Greet, Drive-In movie, and a registered participant supper at the Moncton Coliseum.

We were the 79th registrant out of 1911 cars, good number for a 1979 Malibu. They have had over 2000 cars registered at previous shows, but the gloomy weather forecast kept some away this year. (It only rained late at night).  Friday, the downtown was closed to traffic and cars from the car show parked on a 5 block length of Main Street. There was even a live band at the top end, all part of the Mother’s sponsored Cruise-In and Rock and Roll Street Party. There were well over a hundred cars parked on both sides, down side streets – virtually everywhere. The show went until midnight, and the cars could be heard leaving enthusiastically until at least one a.m.

Atlantic NationalsSaturday, the show started at 10:00 am in the 230 acre Centennial Park.  When cars first entered, they could line up for a safety check performed by NSRA and Atlantic Nationals volunteers which even included jacking up the front end to check the ball joints – talk about thorough.  Having our car checked, and receiving the Safety sticker, made us feel much more secure about the drive home. They also perform Drive Through judging for the Top 10 pre and post 1948 cars. The drive to our parking spot was slow, as many of the people walking on the road seemed shocked to see a car idling behind them.  We were parked on a steep hill, ahead of cars which then couldn’t get out.  When I asked a volunteer if I could go back up the steep hill to a parking lot I had seen closer to the entrance, he informed me that I had to go across the one lane wooden pedestrian bridge to get out.  I did so immediately, and was very relieved I had done so when it was time for all of us to leave, as my new parking field was only 60 feet from the entrance.  Gene Winfield and Welder-ups Steve Darnell and Barber Dave were among the special guests, and spent most of Saturday and Sunday signing autographs. Saturday night also featured the Gene Winfield Birthday Bash at the Moncton Coliseum from 9:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. I am ashamed to report that two days of steady driving caused me to miss the party. I know, lame.

Sunday, the car show again opened at 10 a.m., and awards were to start at 3:00 p.m.  I only stayed until noon, since we had to check out of the hotel and head to Halifax for visits with our cousins.  The Atlantic Nationals was a great excuse to visit our down east cousins, but it’s safe to say I would attend them again even without the visits. Great venue, excellent mix of cars and places of origin, lots to do after each show day. The people in Moncton were most welcoming, and a huge number of spectators attended just to look at the cars on display.  Well done guys!

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