Collectible cars — waxed, primed and ready to shine

mvoorhis@sierrastar.comJuly 15, 2014 

Within 30 minutes, Ryan (9) and Lauren Buckles (11), along with Annie (8) and Avery (11) Fie had checked-out the collectibles and had picked their favorites — one of which just happened to belong to the event coordinator, Dave Wolin — a 2012 Corvette with the hood covered with expertly-painted deep hues of red and yellow flames.

While the girl's comments were more along the lines of "unique," "unusual," and "very colorful," Ryan took a moment before saying, "I think these flames are very realistic and were designed to look that way."

More than 80 car enthusiasts participated in the 2014 Collector Car Appreciation Day, sponsored by the Coarsegold Chamber of Commerce, and held at the Coarsegold Historic Village last week.

Ed Pickering stood proudly next to his 1932 Ford, which came to him in pieces more than 20 years ago, "... and I've been working on it ever since," he said. "It's a never-ending project that I love." With no mufflers and 600 horsepower, the engine is noisy. Rev it up, and it's almost deafening.

"From a dead stop to a quarter mile, the car can reach 114 miles per hour in just 11.5 seconds," Pickering said. He's had the car's speed clocked several times at Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield.

His next project is a 1950 Plymouth.

Between appreciating and taking photos of other collectible cars, Rich Brown of Oakhurst, talked about his 1929 Ford T, with 400 horsepower; he also spoke of the health benefits of owning a hot rod.

"This Ford T is more of a show car than anything else. I need to be careful driving it on the road because it's pretty light. Every doctor should tell guys over 60 years old to buy a hot rod," Brown said chuckling. "It will definitely keep them off the couch. Most of the guys at car shows have medical problems — like prostate or heart by-pass — and hot rods keeps rigor mortis from settling in."

David McConnell of Coarsegold has always been into cars.

"I have had many, many hot rods," McConnell said, "like a 1947 Willys wagon that I converted into a four-wheel drive with V-8 automatic."

McConnell built his 1967 Shelby from a fiberglass kit. He purchased the kit with the partially finished car in 2008, and is currently working on a 1927 Ford roadster.

While most displayed their collectibles for attendees and other car enthusiasts to drool or converse over, others saw the event as a perfect forum to possibly entice an interested buyer. Ron Stockall of Coarsegold was trying to sell his 1983 Buick Rivera convertible, which he said was basically a new car with less than 12,000 miles. Stockall said the reason he's selling is because he recently purchased a 1986 XJ6 Jaguar at a British Car Show.

"It was a very nice and successful event, with many, many cars," Laura Young, public relations director for the Coarsegold Chamber of Commerce said. "Because of the location, even foreign tourists stopped to take photos of themselves with the collectible cars."

In addition to the dozens of collectibles carefully displayed at the Coarsegold event, Miner's Grill offered delicious barbecue specials, as well as a live band for those who simply wanted to sit in the shade, or work off calories dancing.

Congressman Tom McClintock honored the day with his proclamation before the U.S. House of Representatives, while closer to home, Madera County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom Wheeler recognized July 11 as Collector Car Appreciation Day in Madera County.

As a tribute to the collector car industry and the millions of hobbyists it supports, the second Friday in July has been recognized as National Collector Car Appreciation Day for the fifth year.

The purpose of this special day is to raise awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society. For these passionate car buffs, the excitement never wans.

"This was a great event honoring the car collector hobby," Wolin added. "We were just one of about 200 locations around the country doing this."

"If I had to use six words to describe myself," collectible car buff Steve Core said, "it would be — still 16 after all these years."

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