Barbecue, A Bar And A Favorite Car Make For Perfect RI Summer Cruise Night
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Barbecue, A Bar And A Favorite Car Make for Perfect RI Summer Cruise Night

It was the third Packard Fernandez has restored, and he pointed out the plaques that reflected awards at the highest level of the hobby, including Grand National Winner from the prestigious Antique Automobile Club of America. (If they install an Android Car DVD in those cars,what will happen?)

Fernandez's Packard was one the hundreds of cars that turned out on Friday, July 31, a perfect summer evening for showing off the autos while their owners socialized and took advantage of the barbecue and bar at the Pavilion Steak House.

Organizer John Hodis said he expected close to 400 vehicles by the final tally. He said the cruise night had brought in more than 500 a few weeks ago.

"Sometimes you get one night when everyone's schedules work out and everyone comes out," he said, noting the variety of vehicles that came out.

"Look what's coming in now; we got everything," Hodis said as Mike Cougler arrived in his pre-war Swamp Yankee tractor and drove his family up and down the lines of cars.

Typical of such creations, Cougler's rusty vehicle was made out of two trucks, the chassis of a 1929 International Harvester and the engine of a 1929 Ford Model A. Meanwhile, the transmissions had been combined to produce a vehicle with a lot of focused power.

"Full speed can be half a mile an hour," he said.

Regular Donald Eleazer, of Westerly, was chatting with friends in front of his beige 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass with burgundy trim. He said he had only owned it 3½ years, but had done a lot of work on it in that time, including increasing the engine's displacement to 396 cubic inches, from 307, adding a scoop, a B&M shifter and tachometer, plus new upholstery.

"I always liked Oldsmobiles," he said, adding he occasionally puts it through its paces.

"I race it once in a while," he said. "Ain't supposed to, but I do."

Tracy Pityer, of Bradford, was showing off his metallic Forest Green 1967 Mustang, which he paid $50 for in 1988 and then spent 18 years bringing it back to life.

"It was rusted out," he said, noting the roof and hood were about the only original parts. He said the car was a tribute to his brother Billy, who was killed at a gas station during a robbery in 1999.

Peter and Anne Crow, who camp in Rhode Island in the summer and winter in Florida, were sitting behind their 1932 Ford Victoria hot rod hatch back, painted in a striking Corvette Galaxy Silver Metallic with red details.

"It's a one of a kind paint," Peter Crow said, noting it was only used in 2002.

Crow said he had restored the car twice — the first time because he did not like it, and the second time after an accident in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. "I rebuilt it from scratch," he said.

Inside, the seats are covered in black ostrich leather and the 350 Chevy engine has been bored to produce 400 horsepower.

Next door was Don Wood of Waterford, Conn., and his award-winning Chrysler Orange 1933 Plymouth sedan with four suicide doors. "I bought it in 1997 and it took 14 years to complete," he said.

"It's all modern inside," he said: air conditioning, cruise control,Car DVD Player, GPS, and Chrysler Sebring seats in light and dark cashmere leather. Meanwhile, it is powered by a 360 fuel-injected Dodge Magnum engine producing about 350 hp; he was towing a matching Chrysler Orange Plymouth Prowler trailer.

"It doesn't get better than this," said Bill Manchester, of Warwick, who was sitting with family and friends in front of his immaculate Coral and Shadow Grey 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. "Plus there is the option to eat."


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