2nd Annual Malaise Invitational draws attendees from across state, cars from across time


Jiratana Tungkawachara

An attendee at the 2nd Annual Malaise Invitational car show in Philomath, Ore. peruses a set of cars on June 24. The car show is open to cars manufactured between the years 1972-1995.

Wes Flow, News Reporter

To many, the lines of cars that filled a field northwest of Philomath may have looked like a used car lot from years gone by. For the attendees of the 2nd Annual Malaise Invitational, however, they represented daily drivers, dream cars and cherished possessions.

Around three dozen cars from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s descended on the field to take part in the event, hosted on Saturday by the Malaise Car Club of Oregon. 

According to club president Daniel Bones, the club welcomes cars built between 1972 and 1995, and currently has 400 members across Oregon and other parts of the Pacific Northwest. The club was founded in 2021, and the idea for a car show hosted by the club came not long after.

The event attracted a variety of venerable vehicles. A red Peugeot sat at one corner of the field, a pair of AMCs sat at another and a green Ford semi-truck towered over the crowd. For some attending, it was stories and personal connections that made their cars special.

Stephen Hodges, an Oregon State University graduate, brought along a 1981 Subaru GL hatchback, which Hodges first purchased some 20 years ago. 

“I got it in 2003, even before I could really drive it, and sold it my freshman year at Oregon State,” Hodges said. 

Hodges would go on to graduate from OSU in 2010, and returned in 2016 to teach in the college of business. More than a decade after selling the car, Hodges would get a second opportunity to own it, after finding it for sale online.

“Flash forward 11, 12 years, I found it on Craigslist and my wife bought it back,” Hodges said. “I could not believe it.” 

Since then, the car, which has over 300,000 miles on the odometer, has received honors such as winning Hagerty’s 2018 Car of the Year award, and Hodges has taken part in rallycross competitions with it.

The show drew attendees from beyond just Benton County. Emily Baumker drove down from Portland for the event, making the journey in a 1980 Ford E-150 van. Baumker has owned it for seven years, first purchasing it in the Albany area, and has used it as a daily driver since, putting over 40,000 miles on the van.

“I take it everywhere. I take it up mountains, I take it to the coast … it has problems, but I fix them” Baumker said. “It’s old, it’s slow, but it gets there.” 

Baumker wanted an easy-to-work-on vehicle, and the van fit the bill, with its lack of modern features such as computers or a fuel injection system.

In Chad Ryan’s 1995 Nissan President, however, the extra features are everything. 

“It has all these options,” Ryan said. “You can control the passenger’s seat, it’s got heated rear seats, there’s an aftermarket TV (in the back seat) with a remote … it’s just got all these little things, all these little tiny features that are my favorite part.” 

Ryan purchased the car from another attendee of the show less than a year ago, who imported the car from Japan. In 28 years on the road, Ryan’s President has only done around 34,000 miles, and Ryan only takes the car out to shows or for drives on nice days.

“I’m not the kind of person to go get a fast car,” said Ryan. “I just like the smooth, quiet ride and how elegant these cars look.”

According to the event website, proceeds from the show will go to supporting The HIV Alliance, a Eugene-based organization aimed at supporting those with HIV, as well as preventing new infections. Beyond this, the group has programs for other things, such as Hepatitis C management and education programs on a variety of topics.

“A few months after the club’s formation we had the idea of doing a yearly show for charity,” said Bones. “The HIV Alliance was chosen for a number of reasons such as their eagerness and their mission.” 

The show moved from Eugene to Philomath this year to take advantage of a venue opportunity. According to Bones, the property that the show was held on belongs to the family of a club member. 

This, combined with scheduling conflicts for some club members, meant that attendance at this year’s show was down from last year, but Bones said these factors will be taken into account when planning next year’s event.

“Every year that we do this show, we learn more and more from our mistakes and our goal is for this show to one day be as recognizable as Function 4 Junction,” Bones said. “Until then, we’ve got some growing pains to overcome.”

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