Doane Yawger: Plenty of sightings in Merced even without a car show

October 24, 2013 

Considerable time often elapses between old-car shows, particularly this time of year. For the old-car fancier, that means something akin to withdrawal.

Lately, however, I’ve seen more than a dozen vintage vehicles while I’m running around Merced, Turlock and Modesto. I’m not sure whether it’s dumb luck or something I should expect routinely. I sure hope more rolling delights pass my way during the car show down time.

But if you keep your eyes open, you may be rewarded handsomely.

At least three early 1970s GMC pickups were observed around Merced. And there were several late-1960s to early-1970s Chevrolet trucks cruising local streets.

I’ve noticed at least two late-1960s to early- 1970s Ford pickups, but not as numerous or well-preserved as their General Motors brethren.

A few days ago, there was a 1941 Buick coupe riding on the back of a rollback tow truck; it didn’t look like much was wrong with it. In central Merced, there is a 1948-50 Ford F-1 pickup that’s a neighborhood regular.

Just a couple blocks away, a 1963 Chevy II four-door sedan sits in a driveway. It could use a paint job, but the old Nova gets driven regularly.

At lunch this week, I spotted a lime green and white 1955 Chevrolet two-door hardtop in a local shopping center.

My neighborhood has a 1964 Chevrolet El Camino along with a 1962 Cadillac four-door hardtop. There’s also a 1954 Chevrolet pickup that has certainly stood the test of time.

I regularly see a 1969 Chevy four-door station wagon, not something one would encounter very often.

At least two dazzling 1968 Mustang convertibles cruise around Merced. I’ve also spotted several late-1960s Camaros about town. The latest sightings are a 1967 Pontiac Firebird with eye-catching paint and graphics, a bright green 1970 Nova and a 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II sitting outside a local repair shop.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon in Turlock, what shows up but a pristine 1958 Chevrolet two-door sedan. Along busy McHenry Avenue in Modesto, there was an all-white 1961 Cadillac Coupe De Ville – it was definitely worth a second look.

Vintage vehicles are meant to be driven and enjoyed. I certainly am the beneficiary when an old-car lover takes his pride and joy out for a cruise.

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

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