Hot summer nights bring back memories of cruising with your car in your hometown, talking to friends old and new, swapping stories, and soaking up the setting sun. That tradition continues this summer with the Currie Motors Ford of Valpo "Cruising Downtown Valparaiso" event that kicked off Friday night on Lincolnway.
Bringing together a huge range of classics, from a mint condition 1957 Chevy and a 1960 Impala, to the latest Mustangs, Chargers, and unique rides like Dune Buggies, Jeeps, and Monster Trucks, the parking lot was filled with sweet rides and cool memories for both the car collectors and the hundreds that came out to enjoy the night.
“We have always supported the Cruise Nights that have been hosted by Valparaiso Harley-Davidson. When the opportunity arose to keep that tradition going in Valpo, we wanted to make it happen,” said Leo Sfikas, General Manager of Currie Motors Ford of Valpo. “[We are] a big believer in connecting with the community. Whether it be holding the Folds of Honor event at the dealership, raising money through the Drive 4 UR School events, or fun events like these summer Cruise Nights, we want to be involved…People can come out on a hot summer night, check out some of the latest models as well as some beautiful classics, and you see people from doctors to laborers connect with a common interest in cars.”
Each car has a story, and the one surrounding Bruce Penrod’s 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air has all the components of a classic. Penrod grew up with a ‘57 and his son, Steve, knew how much that car meant to him. Not long after Penrod’s wife, Barbara (Bobbi), passed away, Steve pulled up with a ‘57 in need of work, handed his dad the keys, and told him to take good care of it. The two of them spent the next couple of winters restoring virtually every aspect of the car to bring it to its current incredible condition. The vehicle’s inaugural ride took place on June 2nd, Bobbi’s birthday.
“[Steve] knows what he is doing when restoring cars, and I helped him as the gofer,” Bruce Penrod said. “It was a great way to spend time together, and it was all done to honor Bobbi as can be seen with her name on the dash, on the trunk of the car, and on the license plate. I really enjoy coming out to talk cars with people, but more importantly, just making friends and meeting so many new people and hearing their stories.”
Another generational story came from James Swearington who was out to enjoy the night with his wife Stephanie, son Corbin, and daughter Rory.
“My dad was a muscle car guy, and when I was young I really wanted to learn to do body work, and really focus on the finish of the car. Now I am teaching Corbin how to do this kind of restoration. We are working on a ‘68 Buick GS that he will be able to drive someday.”
That love for cars has clearly transferred down through three generations with Corbin stating Buicks were his favorite cars to see at events like this.
Bob Paulson and his wife, Dawn, became involved in events like this through their desire to demonstrate support for our nation’s law enforcement officers who risk it all to keep us safe. He started with a truck from Currie years ago and then added the lift, cap, lights, and all the graphics that show now as Team Leona (Law Enforcement Officers of North America). The theme of the truck began with the thin blue line and expanded with All Lives Matter graphics. Now they are regularly raising money for K-9 programs. Coming out to connect with the community is their way of supporting first responders.
“They do so much for us, and they deserve our respect and support. The K-9s are a critical part of the police program. It is expensive so every bit of help we can give them makes a difference,” Paulson said.
For Bob Hyndman, the opportunity to acquire his current 1952 MG seemed like a twist of fate. A friend told him of a woman in Kouts who had an MG in a barn that had been there for years. When Hyndman found paperwork suggesting that the original owner was from St. Croix, he hopped on Facebook and tried to search for the owner. He found the owner’s daughter, Christine Henley, down in St. Croix and connected with her to learn more about the car, its history, and her dad, Chuck.
Last winter, Hyndman and his wife took a cruise that stopped in St. Croix where they connected with Christine. She gave them a great tour of the island and brought them to meet Chuck, where he shared stories of the car that has come to mean so much to Hyndman. The light blue MG now reflects a deep connection he made with another family, all because of the mutual passion for cars.
The family friendly "Cruising Downtown Valparaiso" event will continue July 13th and July 27th from 5-8pm and will be located at "Lot 37," also known as the old 3D Lot on Lincolnway in Valparaiso. Please enter on Roosevelt Rd. between Leo’s Mobile Bicycle Service and Ironwood Brewing Company.
Check out Currie Motors Ford of Valpo at https://www.facebook.com/CurrieFordOfValparaiso. We look forward to seeing you out there enjoying some sweet rides!
Currie Motors Ford of Valpo ‘Cruising Downtown Valparaiso’
Chris Mahlmann is the founder, CEO, and publisher of the LIFE networks and has developed the industry standard for connecting people with all that is positive in their community. Visit Chris on Google Plus, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.
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