The Classic Car Parade with hundreds of old cars jammed the traffic in early June at Eteläranta in Helsinki center.
A civilian police car observed the tail of the parade in the afternoon while a nervous driver of a tourist bus walked back and forth on the sidewalk, pointed at the bus and gestured with his hands that his day was done.
“Ei tippa tapa ja ämpäriin ei huku … (A drop doesn’t kill you and one is not going to drown in a bucket),” the lyrics of an old Irwing Goodman song echoed in the street from a 1960s Chevrolet with windows down. Middle-aged men in the backseat took long sips of cheap lager and waved at the smiling Sunday strollers.
“What is that?” asked a man called Benke.
Benke, who arrived with a dazzling, shining red and white 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air from Stockholm, Sweden, was pointing at the Helsinki Cathedral rising above the Senate Square.
“That is called ‘Helsingfors domkyrka’,” the reporter said.
“It’s wonderful! I am sure it will become a mosque soon,” Benke said and laughed hard.
“Do you know where the petrol tank on our Chevy is?” he asked.
“It doesn’t appear to have one. Does it run on air?”
“Check this out!” Benke moved behind the car and lifted the left taillight.
There it was! The petrol tank.
I was told that Benke and his friend Agneta were one of the 160 classic car enthusiasts that arrived with a Tallink-Silja ferry from across the gulf.
“Our goal, next year, is to have the whole car deck loaded with classic cars!” said Agneta.