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posted: 6/15/2012 8:23 AM

Oakbrook Center welcomes 100 classic cars for Father's Day show

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  • The Father's Day Classic Car Show will feature 100 well-kept vehicles on display Sunday within Oakbrook Center shopping mall. Organizers say the event has become a place where owners and aficionados swap stories and memories.

      The Father's Day Classic Car Show will feature 100 well-kept vehicles on display Sunday within Oakbrook Center shopping mall. Organizers say the event has become a place where owners and aficionados swap stories and memories.
    Daily Herald File Photo

  • Russ Rodriguez will showcase his 1937 Cord Cabriolet at the Father's Day Classic Car Show at Oakbrook Center. The car, he says, was meant to be driven.

      Russ Rodriguez will showcase his 1937 Cord Cabriolet at the Father's Day Classic Car Show at Oakbrook Center. The car, he says, was meant to be driven.
    Courtesy of Russ Rodriguez

  • A committee selects cars for the Father's Day Classic Car Show to ensure the vehicles on display represent a variety of styles and eras.

      A committee selects cars for the Father's Day Classic Car Show to ensure the vehicles on display represent a variety of styles and eras.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

Sometimes classic car owners lock up their prized beauties in garages and never do the one thing they were designed to do.

Drive.

They linger over the cars and polish them frequently. In "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," that red 1961 Ferrari was apparently rubbed down with a diaper.

In the show world, the cars are called "trailer queens." Instead of getting behind their wheels, the owners haul them off to car shows in trailers, dreading dirt or dings.

But for Russ Rodriguez, the best way to preserve a classic car is to drive.

"They need to have their fluids circulated," the Itasca man said. "They need as much exercise as a physical human being sometimes."

He should know. He owns about 20 cars, three of them certified classic. Rodriguez will showcase a 1937 Cord Cabriolet at the 44th annual Father's Day Classic Car Show in Oakbrook Center on Sunday, June 17. The free event draws more than 100 classic cars and attracts an estimated 80,000 people.

Rodriguez also serves as chairman of the committee organizing the show as a member of the Greater Illinois Region of the Classic Car Club of America.

"This is basically candy for the eyes," Rodriguez said.

He spotted the 1937 Cord at an estate sale, a car with ahead-of-its-time features like front-wheel drive.

"It's so striking to the eye," Rodriguez said. "The dash looks like an airplane, very futuristic. It's just breathtaking."

He first started collecting classic cars in 1995, motivated in part by his neighbor's pursuit of the hobby.

"I fancy myself as an aficionado of beauty," Rodriguez said. "While some may be attracted to things that they can hang on their wall and other things that they can wear on their neck, people like myself admire and respect and enjoy the ability to look at a car and be able to drive it as well."

In an approval process, Rodriguez said the committee evaluated cars on both unique design and function. The result is a car show highlighting a wide variety of models rarely seen elsewhere, Rodriguez said. The oldest car in the hoods-closed show was manufactured in 1919, he said.

Besides all that beauty, multiple generations can swap stories in what has become a Father's Day tradition, says Suzanne Beres, Oakbrook Center's senior marketing manager.

"The whole atmosphere of the day and the whole story telling of the day is remarkable and rewarding," Beres said. "I always take that with me every year that we host this show."

Come rain or shine, the show will go on, Rodriguez said.

"I think owners of these treasures owe it to the world to share them as much as possible," he said.

The show runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For information, call (630) 573-0700.

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