Car aficionados rev it up at Mills Park
Appeal Staff Writer
Forget about Hot August Nights – try some cool Carson days.
With the sun beaming off spotless chrome and a light summer breeze glancing off the open hoods of more than 300 classic cars in Mills Park, Saturday was described as paradise by more than a handful of the 1,000-plus car enthusiasts attending the 13th annual Silver Dollar Car Classic.
“What, like it gets any better than this?” Apple Valley, Calif., resident Chris Dillon asked rhetorically as admirers stopped and gawked at his ’62 Chevy Impala. “There are too many people doing Hot August Nights. This is a time for the family – we can come up, relax, and enjoy these cars and the era they’re from.”
It was a family affair indeed for Dillon and his cousins, nephews and siblings who entered five classic cars in the show. That included his cousin Diane Rollins, who sat in a lawn chair beside her candy-apple red ’56 Chevy.
The car, which the Klamath Falls, Ore., resident has owned for 20 years with her husband, Frank, holds special meaning.
“Well, Frank and I met in 1956. We were married in 1959, and it’s been 48 good years, so I guess it’s kind of good luck,” Rollins said. “It may be old, but the car keeps going. So do all of us.”
As onlookers would stop by and ask questions about their machines, the Dillon and Rollins families shared some good-natured ribbing between cousins, siblings and in-laws. Trish Dillon summed up what she thought the classic cars mean to her family.
“For all of us, well, we grew up in the ’50s,” she said. “It really was the best of times. Now, keeping these things going from generation to generation is what we live for.”
Attending the car show were many members of the younger generation – and forget hybrids. For the 5-year-old with the discriminating eye, nothing beats a little good old-fashioned American muscle.
“I like all of ’em,” said Alex Bodenstein, 5, as he pointed to a lime green Dodge Charger. “That one and that one and that one …”
Alex and his brother Josh, 3, were treated to a special escort to the car show in their grandpa’s black 1983 Camaro Z-28. When asked what he liked best about his “Papa’s” car, Alex turned circumspect:
“I get to sit in the front.”
It seemed nearly all showing at the Silver Dollar Car Classic, those with $100,000 hot rods, to a “nickel-‘n’-dime” restoration project shared one similar sentiment:
“It’s not about the trophies or needing to be seen by the biggest number of people,” said Reno resident Bob Mooney, who with wife, Sylvia, drove their completely restored “yet all original” 1964 American Motors Rambler down for the day. “It’s about enjoying the rides – and that seems to be a common thing with everyone.”
When curious spectators came to ask about the leaf-green, four-door sedan made by the now-defunct motor company, Bob was effusive.
“American Motors was actually rescued for a while by (GOP presidential candidate) Mitt Romney’s dad,” he said. “Kind of in the same way that Lee Iacocca rescued Chrysler.
“People look at this car, and they say, ‘That’s something I haven’t seen in a while,’ and they love it.
“We’ve met some really, really great people.”
As if on cue, another curious observer pointed at the Rambler’s original sticker price – $2,000 – affixed to the car’s back window and gawked.
“Yep, those were different times,” Sylvia Mooney said.
• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at 881-1219.
It’s not too late to check out the last day of the 13th Annual Silver Dollar Car Classic.
Today, the event concludes with the Million Dollar Poker Run starting at 8 a.m. The best poker hand will have a chance at the $1 million-dollar hole-in-one at the Empire Ranch Golf Course.
Here’s a complete schedule of events at Mills Park:
• 8 a.m. – Breakfast
• 8 a.m.-noon – Million Dollar Poker Run
• 11 a.m.-1 p.m. – Great Fixins’ Barbecue
• 1 p.m. – Awards