SOAP LAKE — Classic cars, antique cars, some really wild vehicles, and modern cars filled the lawn Saturday at the Smokiam RV Resort along state Route 17 for the Hot August Nights car show.
Organizers said about 50 cars were entered, from street rods to modern pickups and convertibles, classic 1950s sedans, modern sedans, 1950s pickups, and – well, what is that truck?
Owner Chris McCart called it a rat rod, an old truck cabin attached to an old truck bed lined with old license plates, and plenty of metal all around.
“The rat rod is more a work of art than anything else,” McCart said. “I’m always adding to it.”
McCart wasn’t the only car owner who lavished a lot of time and attention on his car. Ray Kramer entered his 1948 Studebaker truck.
“I’ve done all the work on it,” he said.
There’s a saying among car enthusiasts describing a car restored by its owner.
“Built, not bought,” Kramer said. “I love doing it.”
Marv Scott said there’s another term for cars like his 1956 Chevrolet 210 two-door hardtop.
“They call it owner-built,” he said.
Scott said he did everything but the paint job and upholstery. (The upholstery he left to John Mares of Moses Lake, and wanted to give him credit for the high quality of the result, he said.)
While a Chevy 210 might look like a Chevy Bel Air, it’s not. Only about 12,000 of the 210s were built.
Scott took the body off the frame, went through the chassis and rebuilt the engine, lowering the entire car. The process took about seven years.
“I’m still working on it,” he said.
Jim Bessett also has done a lot of the work on his 2007 Ford F250 truck. He left it up to a car shop to lift the truck six inches, but he added the bigger wheels, installed the new lights and added the GPS system.
He’s always been a car guy, he said, and wanted to keep his car nice, whatever kind of car – or in this case, truck – he has.
“I just keep doing a little bit at a time,” he said.
Greg Dawson also has put in some time in his 1934 Ford. Technically, it’s for sale, because he’s got other cars he wants to work on and a shop to build. But if it doesn’t sell, it won’t hurt his feelings, he said.
“I did all the interior work and cleaned up the car in general,” he said.
The door panels feature a design he drew on his bedroom wall when he was a teenager, he said. He put his metalworking skills to work on the hood ornament, a skeleton of a running greyhound.
The front suspension is modern, and as a result it handles really well, even though it’s pretty low to the ground.
“It’s fun to drive. It drives like a sports car. It’s really fun to get in and go,” he said.
Dick Stites, too, has labored on his 1947 Ford for a long time. He’s owned the car for about 17 years.
“I’ve done a lot of little things you don’t really see,” he said.
He pointed some of them out to judge Bill Fielding, and the two of them got down on the ground to take a closer look.
Car shows were among the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kramer said he’s glad to see them coming back. A lot of the fun of a car show is meeting and talking with other car owners and car lovers.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.