Visitors Bring Their Classic Car Pride
The sights and sounds of Hot August Nights are quickly taking over in Reno and Sparks. We headed over to Victorian Square to see some of the early arrivals.
We didn't plan it this way, but we stumbled upon three American Motors classics all in a row…an orphan car jackpot. The first was “Darleen”, Janet Lee Bierman’s baby. Darleen sometimes gets passed over by crowds who go for souped-up Mustangs and '57 Chevys, but talk about a pampered classic. Janet spent most of her time polishing where we couldn’t even see a smudge. When we told her she “missed a spot," she told us, "I hope not!"
“Darleen” was once a rusted out heap that Janet bought for parts. But on the drive home, "She told me she was not a parts car, she was our car." Her 1960 American Motors 6 model, with the license plate "Our Finned 60," ended up teaching her car restoration. She learned, “My welding skills, my painting skills, my engine work..."
Driving Darleen is not for the bashful. This gleaming chrome throwback draws plenty of stares and smiles. Police notice it too. Janet gets pulled over for the flimsiest of reasons: "I actually had a tail light out, so he had a reason to pull me over. It worked tough, it worked. He got a good tour of the car!"
Alongside Darleen is Alan Golbov's 1970 AMC Javelin. For him, it's emotional. He has memories of old cars that'll never be topped, like cruising south Virginia Street on Friday nights: "Whoever had the nicest car, we'd pile in it and go up and down Virginia Street."
And next to him is Mario Sampaolo. This paint store manager from Salinas, California is a self-proclaimed "gearhead," who found the shell of his 1969 AMC SE in the junkyard: "And I purchased it for a whole $200, and it’s been a 32-year affair. It was just days away from the crusher."
When you talk to classic car owners, you really get to see the love. The question 'Why do you buy these cars', will get you the same answer…a look back at a happier past. A time when there were no LED instrument panels…when air conditioning was really a rolled-down window. To Mario, it represents “Independence, good times…a time bygone from years ago. You know, automotive rock and roll."
Mario was once offered a blank check for his "Rambler Scramber," but he'll never sell it: "No, never will, never will. Don't know if I'll give it away to my kids either."
Alan Golbov, though, does have a price. "I think it might take $20,000 before I’d sell it."
John: “That's an awful lot, you must not want to sell it." Alan: "Nope, not at all."