The passion for automobiles shines like glossy paint, gleaming chrome and crystal-clean engines.
At the very heart of car culture is the sharing of motoring memories. After interviewing hundreds of vehicle owners, I've found that every classic car has a unique story.
On Wednesday we revisited some of the stories and autos previously featured in this Classic Recollections column -- and learned about some new ones -- at the first of three summer cruise nights being sponsored by the Daily Herald and Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect.
This event, like car shows and cruise nights throughout the suburbs, was dedicated to sharing and enjoying the fond recollections behind our beloved classic, custom and collector cars.
Our show included a special gathering of' Feature Cars from Classic Recollections. These included Gail Wise and her 1964½ Ford Mustang, the Remembrance Rescue Project's Rescue 4 fire truck, and a special display by the Midwest First Generation Firebird Club that included a 1969 Pontiac Trans Am and two later anniversary editions.
The Volo Auto Museum also brought out KITT from the "Knight Rider" TV show. This family-friendly event offered face painting, balloon twisting and a chance for both young and old to climb aboard a Mount Prospect Fire Department fire engine.
Trophies were awarded for Fan Favorite as well as my personal selection, the Matt Avery Classic Car Champion. Most auto show prizes are given out based on a vehicle's over-the-top appearance or factory-exact condition, but I searched the parking lot for a vehicle that had unique memories -- a good story -- associated with it.
My award went to Gail Goldsmith of Palatine and her delightful 1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.
"As an 8-year old girl I would drive downtown with my dad to visit the drugstore he owned," she said. "We'd always pass a green Ghia parked out front. I'd point it out and say, 'One day I'll own one of those.' "
Goldsmith's husband surprised her with the car for her birthday in 2012. It came from Arizona where it had sat in a garage for 20 years.
It's fond memories like these that are worth preserving, sharing and reliving.
If you want to take part in more four-wheeled fun, be sure to attend the next two Randhurst Village Cruise Nights on July 16 and Aug. 20.