Doane Yawger: Car show season has arrived again

May 19, 2012 

Doane Yawger, Sun-Star reporter

MERCED SUN-STAR

Car show season is here, and I couldn't be happier. For the next five months or so, we get to enjoy several informal and organized car events in this area.

One of the biggest cruise nights locally is held the first Friday night of the month at the Sonic drive-in restaurant in Atwater, on Bellevue Road near Winton Way.

Both April and May events attracted more than 100 vintage vehicles and a sizable crowd of spectators.

The car count and crowd is bound to increase next month when summer weather is here. Temperatures were a little bit chilly for both previous events and that could have discouraged some participation. That excuse shouldn't exist in June.

While I've seen a good number of these cars before, there always are "fresh faces" that show up at Sonic. I'm not complaining about seeing the same cars over and over again. I would be content getting another look at some cars I've seen for several years, but it's always nice to be drawn in by something new and different.

My two favorites from the last Sonic show are a mild custom 1959 Edsel four-door sedan and a late 1920s Ford Model A pickup. The Edsel was painted a semi-gloss green color, had narrow whitewall tires and spoke-type rims and 1959 Cadillac taillights sticking out of the eyebrow-like tail panel. This epitomizes custom cool.

The other gem was a fenderless Model A pickup that was just spotless.

The immaculate little truck was powered by a 312 cubic-inch Ford Y-block motor from the late 1950s and was mostly stock looking. While it might have been a workhorse 80 years ago, the pickup now is living a pampered life. Another roadster pickup with more of a hot rod vibe sported black primer paint, big whitewall tires and bright red rims.

If you like 1960s and 1970s Chevrolet trucks, the Atwater event is the place to be. Ford, Chevy and Chrysler muscle cars are very much in evidence, along with a few nicely done "rat rods." There's plenty of variety to appeal to all automotive tastes.

Today is the annual car show at Big Creek Lumber Co. on the former Castle AFB grounds. This show has attracted 50 or more vintage vehicles and is a fun event to attend.

Last week about a dozen cars from Valley Vintage Car Club members were spotted at the Mexican restaurant on the former Air Force base.

I would go out of my way to see even one or two old cars or trucks, so the more cozy and humble events with only a dozen vehicles are just as nice as the bigger ones.

Besides seeing some terrific eye candy, the chance to have fellowship with like-minded enthusiasts also is a plus. Come on, summer!

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dyawger@mercedsunstar.com.

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