VALPARAISO | The classic cars were out on Saturday morning as crowds started to assemble for the Livin’ It Up Music Festival at Sunset Hill Park.
The event, which lasted all day, was a benefit for Porter County Special Olympics, but for car enthusiasts it was a way to show off the ride for a good cause, such as Carl Sanders of Lake Station who brought out his 1946 Chevy Fleetmaster.
“It took me a year to rebuild the engine and my son helped. I came out here today because I like talking to people and showing them the car which has the original interior. It shows some wear inside but people say I should leave it,” said Sanders whose car had that unmistakable classic car smell of plush memories.
Sanders shared his photo album with visitors which detailed the step-by-step process of restoring the engine, even with captions like “born September 1946, brought back to life April 2010.”
“I’ve named it Rolling Thunder, alias Thumper because it thumps as loud as a V8 and cackles when you let off the gas like a semi. It makes a lot of noise and I just keep giving it gas to make more noise. She’s quiet as a jet plane,” said Sanders who had set up lawn chairs and even a welcome mat for guests to sit and chat.
There were over two dozen classic cars on display, including Camaros, Impalas, Mustangs, and two Chevy Novas—a 1972 owned by Gary Kurek of Gary, and a 1969 owned by Rob Sanderson of Hessville.
“There’s nothing like going down the street and getting a thumbs up,” said Kurek of his royal blue supper sport model which took about three years to restore, he estimates.
Of his decade-long restoration, Sanderson said, “I love driving it. People see me and wave.”
Ron Schultz of Hebron brought his 1909 Sears Motor Buggy and talked to visitors as they peered into the open floor which showed the interior of the 13 ½ horsepower engine which could max out at 25 mph, although Schultz says he would hate to be in it if it were going that fast.
“I ride it around my backyard. It’s all original. That’s why it’s so dirty!” said Schultz.
For Devon Sabody, 10, and his brother Noah Sabody, 8, of Portage, coming to see the “awesome” and “cool” cars was an exciting day out.
“The hood goes up backwards and you can see the engine!” said Noah as Devon pointed out his favorite model, the “blue Mustang!”
The car show was judged by Special Olympic athletes and music features Chris and Lou, Hoosier Highway, Shut Up & Drive, Stonewave, Little Lover, Uncle Bucket The Mad Ants along with food and vendor tents.