If Santa Claus drove a car, instead of a sleigh, it would surely be decked out in twinkling lights — just like the vintage vehicles in Dave Cruickshank’s yard.
For the second year running, the Red Deer car collector and restorer decided to deck out his front yard on Spruce Drive with some cool rides from Christmases past.
Tucked up near Cruickshank’s house, and awash in red lights, is a shiny black 1924 Nash touring car with a lit-up Christmas present on the roof, while in his driveway is a red-and-white 1940 Ford hot rod.
The customized ‘rod’, lined with rows of white lights, was restored in one of the Red Deer Collision body shops Dave owns and runs with his son, Scott.
“A lot of guys in the shop helped build it, and my son painted it,” recalled Dave, who added, “we’re pretty lucky to work with stuff we like.”
Also in his collection is the red 1926 Model-T Ford he put out in his decorated yard last Christmas, and a brass car from 1910 the Cruickshank family regularly drives in Red Deer’s Westerner Days parade.
Dave admits he’s been a car nut since he was 13 or 14. “I’m 61 now, so I grew up in the muscle car era of the late 1960s, early ’70s.”
But his first restoration project, back in 1979, was a 1923 Nash.
Although the grandfather of five is a big fan of Christmas, it was his wife, Karen, who first suggested he incorporate some of his vintage vehicles in the family’s annual seasonal yard display.
“She said, ‘Hey, why don’t you stick one of those out there?’ ” and the suggestion got him thinking.
While many auto owners only let their vintage vehicles of the garage when all the snow’s gone, Dave decided, “I’m not scared to put them out … You’ve got to take them out sometimes when the weather’s bad, otherwise you don’t get to enjoy them very much.”
So far, people from all over the city have been tickled by his nostalgic Christmas display.
“Kids and a lot of people seem to like it,” said Dave. “People have come by to say ‘thanks,’ or ‘good job.’ We’ve even had some people leaving us notes. On Sunday night, someone left us a box of chocolates with a ‘kudos” note …
“If people like it, then hey! I enjoy doing it,” he added.