Shared stories were king once again at this past week's Randhurst Village Cruise Night, the second of three summer car shows sponsored by the Mount Prospect shopping center along with the Daily Herald and Classic Recollections.
The shows attempt to place the limelight not only on diverse and unique vehicles, but also on the owners and their automotive tales.
One such example could be found in the Original Owners Display, which highlighted men and women who had purchased their vehicles new from the dealer. Nearly a dozen were gathered together, many of whom acquired their steel steeds during the 1960s.
Despite life's changing circumstances, each owner found a way to hang onto their vehicle. To keep a vehicle for decades and still be proud to drive and show it is an achievement that's worthy of attention. We were honored and privileged to have them be a part of the show.
More modern machines could be found in the Feature Car displays, which included a 2005 Saleen Mustang that was used on-screen in the Hollywood blockbuster "Transformers." Other feature vehicles included replicas of a 1977 Pontiac Firebird Esprit, matching one used by James Garner in the TV series "The Rockford Files," and a 1994 Jeep Wrangler duplicating those from the "Jurassic Park" films.
This dinosaur-park inspired Jeep, which bellows out dinosaur sounds, took home the Fan Favorite trophy, garnering the most votes from many of the kids among hundreds of spectators strolling the lots in the Randhurst Village shopping center.
The show also took time to recognize National Collector Car Appreciation Day, which the U.S. Senate dedicated as July 11 this year. Shows across the country are promoting the collector car hobby as part of this Specialty Equipment Market Association event.
I also gave out my award, Matt Avery's Pick, to a regal cruiser that had no trouble turning heads. Louis Modesti and his 1965 Lincoln Continental took home the prize.
Modesti fell in love with Lincoln Continentals thanks to a family legacy. "All of my family drove Lincolns (when I was) growing up," the Glenview resident said. It was his grandfather, Mario Modesti, who set the tone. The elder Modesti owned several models, and in particular it's the 1960s and '70s versions that stood out to Modesti.
"I remember riding in them over the years and thinking they were some of the classiest cars on the roads. I felt like a president when I sat in the back seat," he said.
It was those memories that spurred Modesti to acquire one of his own. He found his 34,000-mile, 1965 Continental several years ago in New Jersey.
"The car found me! My sister's friend found the car in an older woman's garage," he said. "Her husband was the original owner. We brought it to Chicago on a truck."
The vehicle has been repainted in correct Lincoln Black. However, other than a few minor items, the majority of its condition is original. Under hood is a 320-horsepower, 430-cubic inch V-8. Modesti replaced the wheels and tires, but the interior, wiring and dashboard have never been touched.
Modesti is a true-blue brand believer; his daily drivers also have been exclusively Lincolns.
"There's something special about being in one. My grandpa was right, nothing feels better on the road than a Lincoln."
It's stories and memories like this that are worth preserving and sharing. We plan to do a whole lot more of this at our third and final cruise night on Aug. 20. For details, visit dailyherald.com/events.
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