Unique ride closes out five years of cruising

  • 1954 Kaiser Darrin

    1954 Kaiser Darrin

 
 
Posted10/12/2019 6:00 AM

Wood is traditionally given to celebrate a fifth anniversary, but our Daily Herald Cruise Night settled for gleaming, polished chrome.

This summer, the newspaper's Events and Marketing team marked the fifth year of summertime cruising here in the Chicago suburbs by organizing five monthly cruise nights. Time really does fly when you're having fun -- and it's been a wild, smile-inducing ride when I think back to our launch in June 2014.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That took place at Randhurst Village, an outdoor lifestyle mall in Mount Prospect; now most of the cruise nights take place at Stratford Square mall in Bloomingdale.

Over the years we've featured performers, custom cars or attractions at various cruise nights, including one of our most popular: the rollout of the Original Owner Showcase. This unique exhibit is a collection of classic and muscle car owners who purchased their rides new from a dealer and still own them today. Another fan favorite was the Shop Spotlight, which highlights area builders and their latest projects.

Through it all, we've worked with some wonderful partners, such as the ever-popular LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry. This special group of veterans and their lovable golden retrievers always bring smiles to attendees, and they present the flag during our events' opening anthem ceremonies.

John Buchinger of Hoffman Estates receives the Zeigler Pick award from Zeigler Auto Group of Schaumburg's Lindsay Latsko. Buchinger drove his 1954 Kaiser Darrin to the final Daily Herald Cruise Night of the season last week.
John Buchinger of Hoffman Estates receives the Zeigler Pick award from Zeigler Auto Group of Schaumburg's Lindsay Latsko. Buchinger drove his 1954 Kaiser Darrin to the final Daily Herald Cruise Night of the season last week. -
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On a more personal level, looking beyond the fuel-fed fun, the cruise nights serve another purpose -- the opportunity for me to connect with readers. I've been privileged to write this wildly popular Classic Recollections column here in the Daily Herald for nearly 10 years now. Every event allows me to meet the folks who see and enjoy my work.

More and more, it's apparent this column isn't purely about cars, but also connections. I hear firsthand how enthusiasts who own or read about classic cars in the newspaper strike up conversations, because the stories are so relatable. Memories are shared and laughs are had, and that's all beyond wonderful. It's just another reminder that these cool old rides really do bring us together as a community in more ways than we realize.

Our fifth year of cruising closed out Wednesday with a big blowout finale hosted by Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Schaumburg. One car drawing lots of eyes was John Buchinger's 1954 Kaiser Darrin.

The Hoffman Estates resident's Kaiser turned heads with its unique factory styling, including doors that slide into the front fenders rather than opening outward. Those hot looks and more garnered him the Zeigler Pick award.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

As we close the books on the summer of 2019, I'm pleased to report Daily Herald Cruise Nights is far from over.

Plans are already in the works for our sixth season, which will kick off next summer. Rest assured, they'll be bigger, better and in the true fashion of six-year gifts, full of iron. But the kind that's forged in Detroit -- the sort that rumbles, woos hearts and stirs souls.

• Share your car's story with Matt at auto@dailyherald.com.

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