Every car has a story and nowhere was that more evident than at Wednesday's final 2014 Randhurst Village Cruise Night.
the car show was the last of a trio of summer events sponsored by the Mount Prospect shopping center in conjunction with the Daily Herald, Classic Recollections and Clearbrook. Hundreds of vehicles streamed into the show, where the emphasis wasn't solely on glitz and glam but also on celebrating the motoring memories attached to each and every machine.
One such four-wheeled star that readily stood out was Ron Barclay's 1958 Pontiac Bonneville.
After chatting with the lifelong gearhead at length and hearing his tale, I deemed his ride an apt winner of Matt Avery's Pick trophy. I learned this wasn't his first Pontiac but rather a tribute to one he purchased in 1958.
"I was cruising in my '40 Chevy one year out of high school," the Gilberts resident said. "I came across a '58 Bonneville parked in the back corner of a car lot. It had been smashed in the rear fender pretty bad."
The ambitious 19-year old saw a blank steel canvass and headed inside the sales office. He was rewarded for his efforts. "I got it for half the price of one in a showroom."
The teen went right to work, rebuilding and customizing his new ride. He sold it four years later but in the following decades, he couldn't shake the blissful memories associated with it. "I had to have another one. It was the car I had when I got married and really special."
After a three-year hunt, he found this one in South Carolina in 2003 as a bone-stock unit. The now-grown enthusiast then spent the next two years customizing it to look just like the car he built as a youngster.
"Every time I fire it up it puts a smile on my face to be able to relive a part of my youth."
Another group of folks at the cruise night with plenty of street stories to share was our unique collection of original-owner cars. This gathering was launched at the July event and this show's display was even larger with more than a dozen original-owner vehicles, and of course the owners on hand to readily answer questions about their decades of care and maintenance.
Our Featured Club was the Illinois Sports Owners Association, which gathered together more than two-dozen Triumph sports cars. Many curious spectators were introduced to the unique British brand for the first time and were thrilled to see such a gathering of the micro machines; one of the largest in the area.