Cruise control |

Cruise control

Peter Thompson
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal A view from the inside of Dayton resident Chuck Martens' 1962 Ford Galaxie 500XL convertible, left, at the Silver Dollar Car Classic at Mills Park last year.

For true car lovers, $2.89 for a gallon of gas is a pithy price to pay for the pleasures of cruising around town in a classic automobile, when even a trip to the grocery store is a joy ride and a rush-hour traffic jam utterly powerless to wipe the showroom smile from a driver’s face.

Over 300 labors of well-buffed, polished and detailed love will be on display for the 11th annual Silver Dollar Car Classic beginning Friday night at 6 p.m. with the “Cruise of Champions,” followed by a rock ‘n’ roll dance party outside the Carson Nugget at 7 p.m.

Live music will be performed by the band Route 66.

Event producer Bob Davies says to expect the unexpected – mind-blowing juxtapositions like a 1930 Model A Ford parked next to a 2005 exotic.

Davies says he just got his 1933 Ford delivery pickup truck out of the shop and has been driving it around his hometown streets in Bakersfield, Calif., making sure it can hold up in the Nevada heat.

The weekend-long show will include plenty of cruising, parade laps at Champion Speedway, a $1 million poker run and lots of barbecues and parties.

“It’s a nice, family type environment,” says Davies, looking in the rearview mirror at his cruising past, while keeping his imagination buckled snugly into the future of the custom car scene.

He says America’s love affair with the automobile is over a century old and isn’t going to be letting up anytime soon, no matter how much a full tank costs.

Turn on the TV and you’ll see one of about three different things: People playing poker, redesigning their houses, or building cars and motorcycles. Especially up in the higher channels.

“A lot of the younger kids are getting into racing rat rods these days,” he says. “I think they’re great.”

The low-riding 1950s throwbacks are on the verge of a primer-colored resurgence of do-it-yourself custom car building. The usually crop-topped convertible racers often lack just about everything but the motor and a pair of seats.

“I think that’s the coolest thing,” says Davies. “When it’s hard to find a good car under $30,000 these days, they’re throwing these things together for $5,000 and a little sweat.”

Virginia City is once again offering a dinner and ride on the Historic Virginia & Truckee Railway as cruisers are encouraged to make their way up to the top of the Comstock to show off their dream machines.

Saturday’s Show & Shine at Mills Park from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. remains the place to see and be seen.

Sunday’s poker run gives the winning lug nut a chance to take home a million dollars if they make a hole-in-one at Empire Ranch Golf Course.

“It’s a great chance to cool off, relax a little and get into the spirit for (next week’s) Reno’s Hot August Nights to begin,” says Davies.

11th annual Silver Dollar Car Classic Schedule of Events


• Kick-off cruise at The Plaza hotel, 801 S. Carson Street, 6-9 p.m.


• Registration at Mills Park from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Cruise of Champions 6 p.m.

• Rock ‘n’ roll street dance from 7-11 p.m.


• Show & shine from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Cruise to Virginia City from 6-10 p.m.

• Cruise to Champion Speedway at 6 p.m.


• Million dollar poker run from 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

• Winner’s circle display from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

• Awards ceremony at 1 p.m.

More information: