Car enthusiasts drawn to Bob Harris Jr. show in Orange

  • Cars of all makes, models and paint jobs lined up in rows at the Orange Municipal Airport on Sunday for the Bob Harris Jr. Memorial Harvest Car Show. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Mike Purcell, left, and Joe Paul, middle, with their Dodge M37 Power Wagons. Paul’s model, left, was produced in 1952, while Purcell’s model on the right was produced in 1953. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Warwick resident Joe Paul’s dog takes the wheel of his Dodge M37 Power Wagon. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Cars of all makes, models and paint jobs lined up in rows at the Orange Municipal Airport on Sunday for the Bob Harris Jr. Memorial Harvest Car Show. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Cars of all makes, models and paint jobs lined up in rows at the Orange Municipal Airport on Sunday for the Bob Harris Jr. Memorial Harvest Car Show. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Granby resident Jeremy Carriere said his 2012 Challenger R/T Classic, pictured, is just one of around 1,000 produced with a “Header Orange” paint job. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Cars of all makes, models and paint jobs lined up in rows at the Orange Municipal Airport on Sunday for the Bob Harris Jr. Memorial Harvest Car Show. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Cars of all makes, models and paint jobs lined up in rows at the Orange Municipal Airport on Sunday for the Bob Harris Jr. Memorial Harvest Car Show. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Granby resident Jeremy Carriere said his 2012 Challenger R/T Classic, pictured, is just one of around 1,000 produced with a “Header Orange” paint job. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

Staff Writer
Published: 10/11/2021 1:56:42 PM
Modified: 10/11/2021 1:56:43 PM

ORANGE — Despite gray skies, the Bob Harris Jr. Memorial Harvest Car Show’s sea of vibrant paint jobs lit up Orange on Sunday.

The event, held at the Orange Municipal Airport in honor of longtime show organizer and car enthusiast Bob Harris Jr., drew a wide variety of cars and trucks of all ages. One hour into the show, around 75 to 100 vehicles were in attendance with more continuing to arrive, according to Bob’s widow and current event organizer Pam Harris.

After a year’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those in attendance voiced feelings of relief that a common interest could drive them together once more.

“It improves the morale for everyone,” Harris said of the car show. “Everyone is anxious to do something.”

Granby resident and Car Club New England member Jeremy Carriere shared this feeling, describing the car enthusiast community as a “brotherhood and sisterhood.” He attended the show with his “Header Orange” 2012 Challenger R/T Classic.

Although Carriere had been interested in cars for several years, he said having his Car Club membership is still an exciting new experience that brings a strong sense of togetherness.

“The experience I’ve seen, everyone is willing to help you … but they’re not pushy with it,” Carriere said.

The group of attendees was diverse in both experience and in terms of what vehicle they brought. A cluster of early 1950s Dodge M37 Power Wagon military vehicles stood out from the crowd, providing an added dimension of history.

“I enjoy bringing the history of these things back,” Warwick resident and M37 owner Joe Paul said. “To me, it represents the servicemen who fought in these eras.”

Mike Purcell, an M37 owner and 6th Cavalry Army attack helicopter gunner and crew chief during the early 1980s, emphasized that the vehicles were not historic merely due to their age and service, but their advanced technological capabilities. He said the vehicles, which were made to haul gear, were the first four-wheel-drive pickup trucks and were sometimes bought by civilians post-war for work purposes.

“It’s not only the history of the day, it’s the technology,” Purcell said of the Power Wagons. “Without them, we wouldn’t be here today with new vehicles.”

Purcell said the modern influence of such vehicles resonates with him, especially when he sees young people enamored by them.

“When you see a little kid in the driver’s seat of one of these, you see the smile on their face,” he said.

The car show was co-sponsored by the Athol Lions Club and North Quabbin Cruisers. All profits from the show go to scholarships. The North Quabbin Cruisers offers up to four $500 scholarships to students entering an automotive-related field. Harris said the Orange Scholarship Fund also receives a donation.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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