<strong>LOGAN—</strong>The Cache Valley Cruise-In officially kicked into high gear Friday as car after car rolled into the Cache County Fairgrounds for the three day event. This year is the 30th anniversary of the Cruise-in, and between 800-1000 vehicles are expected for the annual gathering.
From local automobiles to those that travel across the country, the Cruise-In is a favorite summer activity of valley residents. First year participant Steve Stone from Madison, Wis. said he and his wife Marilyn have really enjoyed the event, and been stopped and encouraged by many locals to have a good time.
Stone showcased one of the more unique cars at this year’s event, a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. Stone is the original owner of the Corvette, having ordered the car when he was 18 years old. He said he had his father co-sign on the loan with him, and his mother passed off on the purchase.
Worth $5,000 when he purchased it, Stone said he has been told the car is now worth anywhere from $50,000-$100,000. He has certainly got his money’s worth out of the ‘Vette. Not one to put his car in storage and hide it, Stone and his wife drive the Sting Ray across the country from show to show, and he has racked up more than 480,000 miles visiting all of the lower 48 states.
“I try to encourage people to get them on the road and drive them, because what else is better than driving them,” Stone said. “It doesn’t do them any good to sit in the garage and look at them. It’s a lot more maintenance for cars – I believe – if you store them around and don’t drive them much.”
Stone said he is expecting to pass the half-million mark on the odometer this season, and is looking forward to the milestone.
“Literally thousands of people have seen this car over the past few years, a lot of them Corvette enthusiasts, and nobody’s seen one like it,” Stone said. “I know they’re out there, but I don’t know where they are.”
More important than the monetary value of the car, Stone said, are the memories it has given him over the past 50 years. With four sons, and numerous grandchildren, he has no shortage of suitors to inherit the Corvette eventually. Interestingly enough, he said the fate of the Sting Ray depends on those who have married into the family.
“It all hinges on daughters-in-law, two of them would sell it,” Stone said. “The one that’s going to get it, she would kick my sons’ butt if she thought he was going to get rid of it. He won’t, but just to put it in perspective, she would be vicious about it. There’s no way in hell that she would get rid of it.”
Like Stone, Ron Allen and his wife Terri were also first time participants in this year’s Cruise-In. However, unlike Stone, Allen was not the original owner of his car, a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. Instead of focusing on one vehicle, Allen’s Bel Air was just one of the many cars he had restored over the years and taken to car shows.
“I’ve always been a classic car guy, I’ve bought and built several,” Allen said. “This is not the first, nor will it be the last.”
Allen said he purchased the Bel Air six years ago, and spent nearly four and a half years restoring it. It was finished in May 2011, and he and his wife have put nearly 7,500 miles on it since then, as the Scottsbluff, Neb. natives travel all across the country to different car shows.
“I have a big United States map in his shop and we pick a state or two every year that we’ve never been to,” Terri said.
From restoration enthusiasts like Allen to sentimental favorites like Stone, the Cache Valley Cruise-In provides a wide variety of classic and custom automobiles. The 2012 event will run through Saturday evening, and culminate with the annual parade down Main Street.
Prior to the parade, which will start around 6:30 p.m., a 1928 Ford Delivery Wagon will be given away at the fairgrounds. Contestants must be present to win, but all who attend the Cruise-In will be entered into the contest.