Cool car owners shoot the breeze at Modesto's Graffiti show

Thousands of people scoped out about 800 classic cars and hot rods Saturday at the 12th annual American Graffiti Car Show and Festival.

Here's how some of them relived -- or experienced for the first time -- the days of rock 'n' roll and muscle cars brought to life at the Modesto Junior College West Campus:

Sittin' this one out

Some unfortunate timing caused former "Best in Show" winner Donald Patch of Modesto to leave something behind.

"I'm here in spirit with no car," said Patch, seen at right sitting next to a photo of his 1932 Ford Roadster and his 1994 first-place trophy. "It's in the shop."

Patch's hot rod was getting a new transmission on the day of his 12th-straight show. But he didn't let that stop him.

"I've got to keep the tradition going," Patch said. "I'll be here tomorrow with my wagon."

Grave display

Fred Arrollo of Salida, seen above peering in the window, has a taste for the macabre. His nickname is "Psycho." He works at a Halloween store. But Arrollo wanted to "step it up a notch" by restoring a hearse for Saturday's car show. License plate: GRV SITE. "They had never had a hearse in their car show," said Arrollo, who put a coffin in the 1973 Cadillac.

Oodles of poodles

Melissa Cervantes, top photo, dressed up in a poodle skirt and specially-ordered saddle shoes to celebrate her 10th birthday at the show with Jevette Aldana, photo-taker Cindy Cervantes and Mary Aldana, posing. Next up: a trip to the A&W and a hula hoop contest.

Baby on board with it

At less than 3 months old, baby Adriana may have been the day's youngest car show participant. She even sat in the garage as dad Anthony Dorman of Hayward worked on his cherry red 1957 Chevy Bel Air.

"I want her to get into (cars) as soon as possible," Dorman said, as Adriana got her diaper changed. "Gotta keep it in the family."

Day for the King

Oakdale residents Ron and Paula Dunlap, shown above left, love all things of the 1950s, especially Elvis. They sported matching Elvis T-shirts with Ron donning sideburns and Elvis glasses. They cemented their love for the King of Rock 'n' Roll and each other when they were married at Graceland.

On Saturday, Ron Dunlap saw two of the cars he once drove -- including a 1952 Chevy -- in mint condition. "These were cars I hadn't seen in years," he said.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at or 578-2337.

Video from Friday's Graffiti Parade