Classic stories and cars get better with time
Daily Herald Cruise Nights fired up for the 2015 season this past Wednesday, when the first of three summer events was held at Stratford Square Mall in Bloomingdale.
Stratford Square is hosting the cruise nights in conjugation with the Daily Herald and its weekly Classic Recollections feature in the Auto section. The emphasis will be on spotlighting and celebrating the truly incredible stories and fond motoring memories that lie with each and every vehicle.
One that readily stood out last week was the tale of Schaumburg residents Lowell and Lee Streufert and Lee's 1965 Chevrolet Corvette they brought out to cruise night. The two brothers' cousin ordered the iconic sports car new from a St. Louis dealership.
"We thought it was the most beautiful piece of machinery we had ever seen," Lowell said. With a marriage fast approaching, their relative made the tough call to sell his ride after just one year.
Lee jumped at the chance to own the curvaceous drop top and ponied up the needed sum. He and Lowell flew down to St. Louis to drive the new prize home.
Lowell was a senior in high school and can still clearly remember the trip.
"It was a perfect crisp fall day with a beautiful blue sky," the enthusiast said. "The whine of the engine and the rumble of the exhaust is just as vivid; as if it was yesterday."
Lee was working his way through college and used the 'Vette as his daily driver year round. He recalls one wintry commute from Mount Prospect to Libertyville.
"I slid off the road in the snow. Four guys stopped and we lifted the car and put it back on the road."
Lee also remembers outings with his family, including loading his four children behind the seats for local jaunts. The vehicle continued to be used and loved for nearly 30 years before being rolled into storage for another 20. The impetus to bring it back out and return it to it's road-going glory came from Lowell. "I had this passion to relive those early memories with my brother. I kept thinking, 'If we don't do this now, we're never going to.' "
A frame-off restoration was in order but the Chevy still wears it's original Goldwood Yellow paint it had when it rolled off a St. Louis factory floor.
"The car was produced in June of 1965," said Lowell. "This week it's been fifty years exactly that it rolled off the line."
A new feature for the 2015 shows is the Shop Spotlight, which showcases an area hot rod shop and several of its most recent four-wheeled creations and the stories behind them. Hot Rod Chassis & Cycle in Addison brought out five of its vehicles for display, including Kosmic Outcast, a wild, over-the-top 1940 Ford pickup truck custom.
In addition to this newspaper and Stratford Square, the cruise nights are sponsored by Feeny Autos, Motor Cycle Center and Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. The next event is July 15 and the third and final summer cruise night at the mall will be Aug. 19.
Vehicle registration is free at events.dailyherald.com.