SEASIDE – For three days, Seaside’s downtown corridor felt like a 1950s flashback.
Spectators ogled at brightly-colored Chevys, Pontiacs and Plymouths lining Broadway, as others swing-danced and hand-jived to rock ‘n’ roll classics in front of Dundee’s.
But the flashback was actually this year’s Seaside Downtown Development Association’s Wheels and Waves event, known for showcasing cars made in 1965 or earlier. This year, more than 200 cars registered to participate in a number of slow cruises through town.
While many of the hot rods were models from the 1940s and ’50s, some reached all the way back to 1915.
Ted and Pam Lively, both from Warrenton, sat dressed in the correct period dress of bowler hats and petticoats next to their 1915 Ford Model T. As locals, the two have attended the show as spectators for many years, but this was the first year they chose to enter a car themselves.
“If we’re going to make a spectacle of ourselves, we might as well do it all,” Ted Lively said, pointing to his costume.
The Livelys found the now glistening, black Model T in rusty, faded condition in a bedroom of a home in Pendleton about a year and a half ago. The owner stored it there for years before deciding to sell it to the couple, which Ted figured was because “she probably wanted her bedroom back.”
His love for Model T’s are rooted strongly in family memories. Growing up, the first car he drove was a Ford Model A, and he has fond memories of working on them with his brother and dad.
“I love driving them. Model T’s are as simple as simple can be,” Ted said.
With a Model T, there is no need to worry about any type of generator or complicated electrical wiring, but refinishing one can be a challenge. Almost everything is crank operated, and sometimes it takes months to find increasingly rare parts — like a kerosene taillight or tires — for a car that is the last model to be legally classified as a “horseless carriage,” Ted said.
But after months of work, the two got the car running well enough to putter down U.S. Highway 101 to the car show at the car’s maximum speed: 35 mph.
Almost every aspect of the vehicle has been restored as authentically as it would have been in 1915, except for the noticeably modern iPhone mount on the windshield. The 1915 model never included a speedometer, so the Livelys use a speedometer app on their phones to suffice.
“I have no desire to buy a new car,” Ted said.
The Livelys’ love of preserving and remembering history is something they work to impart upon their children and grandchildren. Ted has worked on a number of Model A’s and T’s over the years, and even passed one down to one of his grandchildren to drive to high school.
“That one could go 45 mph,” Ted laughed.
The two enjoy coming to car shows to share these kinds of stories with other car enthusiasts, Pam said. They enjoy answering questions about how a car this old can still operate in a 21st-century world.
“You get attached to them,” Pam said. “It’s important for people to see how things were. People don’t know our history anymore, and history gives you a good sense of who you are.”