Doane Yawger: Weekend twice as nice with Atwater, Snelling car shows

September 14, 2012 

Two car shows in one weekend. How fortunate could I be?

Between the monthly cruise night at Sonic Drive-in in Atwater and the annual "Super Sunday at the River" car show at Snelling's Henderson Park, I must have seen upward of 300 vintage vehicles.

Couple them with delightful weather, great company and visual delights and you've got a splendid recipe of vehicle-viewing success.

At Sonic, several old cars and trucks were first-time sightings. A dark green 1952 MG TD roadster was immaculate and undoubtedly a fun little cruiser. A chopped-top Volkswagen "Bug" had a custom-made frame, a GMC six-cylinder engine, some pretty decent body work and clever workmanship for an in-progress project. This VW definitely was different and worth a second look.

A 1957 Ford four-door looked as if it had been awakened from a years-long slumber; its light green and white paint could be brought back to decent shape with some waxing and buffing.

Several four-doors cruised to Atwater, including 1955 and 1957 Chevrolets. They weren't cool years ago, but they sure are now.

A jet-black 1948 Chevy two-door sedan looked fetching with big whitewall tires and small hub caps. It even sported old yellow California license plates.

Also spotted at Sonic was a 1948 Chevy fastback in two-tone blue, sporting a few mild custom touches.

A 1928 Ford Model A five-

window coupe still had its fenders and running boards. Three 1956 Ford F-100 pickups were on hand, along with a number of late 1960s and early 1970s Chevy trucks.

The Valve Burners' car club show has been held for nearly two dozen years and makes for a fun day.

First-time Snelling sightings included a stretched 1957 Chevrolet limousine, something you're not likely to see very often. A Ford Model A mail truck had an unconventional seat for its passenger: a toilet.

A 1955 Chevrolet two-door sedan was looking plain-Jane in black and white paint with blackwall tires and little dog dish hub caps. A former drag car from the 1950s, that sedan sounded as if it had been treated to a power upgrade.

A 1964 Plymouth Barracuda had bright red paint that was even too flashy for a firetruck. A 1939 American Bantam two-seat roadster in two-tone gray won an award Sunday. A 1953 Chevy station wagon had surfboards on its roof and a definite beachgoing vibe.

I haven't seen very many 1935 Dodge pickups. And a 1950 Ford F-1 truck had a canary yellow coating and street-rod presence. An early 1970s Vega compact still showed off the pro-street treatment with large rear tires and wheels, something popular a decade ago.

Not too often do I get to attend two old car events in a three-day span, so it's all good.

I could get used to that very easily.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or

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