Classic cars, classic movie: It’s nostalgia at the drive-in movie

PORT TOWNSEND — They came from Sequim and Port Angeles, Bremerton and Hansville in their shiny Corvettes and two-tone Chevy coups, their classic station wagons and Ford trucks.

Their destination: the Wheel-In Motor Movie, a drive-in at the edge of Port Townsend, where generations of teenagers have gathered for a great American tradition: not watching a movie.

“It was party time,” said Dave Brackett of Port Angeles, recalling going to the drive-in with friends as a teenager.

“We didn’t watch the movie much.”

Brackett is one of the 90 classic car owners who bought tickets for the “Nostalgia Night at the Movies” on Tuesday at the Wheel-In, the only drive-in movie on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Sponsored by the Rakers Car Club of Port Townsend, the event was literally a trip back to the past.

“Most of us drive cars from that era or older,” said Sharon Clark of Sequim, a Raker Club member who organized the event.

“It makes us feel like we’re sweet 16 again.”

The event, a special showing for the Rakers of “American Graffiti” — the George Lucas epic about teen angst condensed into a nighttime cruise on the streets of a small California town — was a first for the drive-in, said manager Rick Wiley.

His mother, Sharon Wiley, took tickets in the booth at the gate, which is made of logs and adorned with wagon wheels.

After his father, Dick Wiley, died in 2007, Rick has stepped into his shoes, managing both the Uptown Theater and Wheel-In.

With double features screening until well after midnight, it’s a big job that in the hey-day of the drive-in, took even more time and energy.

“All through the ’60s and into the ’70s, my father showed three films a week here,” Rick Wiley said.

“One on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, another for ‘Buck Night,’ when you got in for $1 a carload. He changed it again for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”

Rick Wiley said that organizing the special showing for the Rakers required planning months in advance in order get permission to show the movie and have it shipped.

More in News

Siena Vo, 2, of Da Nang, Vietnam roams through a lavender field at B & B Family Farm on Wednesday near Carlsborg.
Lavender star of weekend fest

Plethora of activities set for annual event

August primary ballots mailed

Races to be narrowed to top two candidates

David Faber.
Ethics complaint names Port Townsend mayor

18-page document details four points

Port Angeles City Council approves clean energy grant

City OKs lodging tax request, bed and breakfast ordinance

A kayker makes his way between the pilings of a former floating log yard near the entrance to Port Angeles Boat Haven. Pleasant conditions and calm waters are expected across most of the North Olympic Peninsula through the coming weekend. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Passing through

A kayker makes his way between the pilings of a former floating… Continue reading

Law enforcement officers arrest a man who allegedly led a high-speed chase from Port Angeles to Sequim along U.S. Highway 101 on Wednesday. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Man arrested following chase on U.S. Highway 101

Law enforcement officers arrested a man following a high-speed chase… Continue reading

Drought response activated on three water systems

Clallam County Public Utility District No. 1 has announced a… Continue reading

A Port Angeles public utilities crew vacuums out water and debris from a hole around a water main break on South H Street near West Sixth Street on Wednesday morning. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Public asked to avoid area of water main break in Port Angeles

Crews working at intersection of Sixth and H streets

Chloe Turner, a kennel technician with the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society, gives some attention to Dingo, a canine housed at the society’s Bark House campus. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Humane society closes Bark House, plans to sell

Executive director says monthly finances were ‘unsustainable’

State hopefuls address forum

Candidates discuss inflation, housing

Legislators learn effects of climate change in park

Kilmer: Day lodge funding could come in disaster supplement

Port Townsend City Council to interview four finalists for open seat

Sessions set Tuesday; selection expected Aug. 5