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Classic car enthusiasts cruise through 3 communities in annual Cobe Cup Cruise
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Classic car enthusiasts cruise through 3 communities in annual Cobe Cup Cruise

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CROWN POINT — At least one entry in Saturday’s Cobe Cup Car Cruise predated the original Cobe Trophy Race from 1909. Through Regional Streeters of Indiana, Saturday‘s cruise not only rekindled memories of that first automobile race in Indiana, but it drew more participants.

While each of the original two Cobe races drew only two drivers, this year’s cruise attracted nearly 60 drivers in six categories. Starting from the Lake County Fairgrounds, the cruise followed the original historical course through Crown Point, Lowell and Cedar Lake.

“It’s a beautiful course and a good day to get together,” said Ray Miranda, of Crown Point, co-treasurer for Regional Streeters. “Plus, all the people you meet are car people, so you can start talking cars.”

Terry Phillips, of Cedar Lake, drove his 1931 Model A Coupe, a family possession since 1963.

“I like everything about it,” Phillips said. “Just a good car.”

Craig Hansen, of Crown Point, showed off his 1930 Model A Ford two-door, which he mechanically restored and painted. A veteran of past Cobe Cruises, Hansen said he enjoys “just getting out with the car, especially on a day like today.”

The public voted on their favorite vehicle among these categories: antique, 1920s and older; vintage, 1930s; older-time, 1940s; cruiser, 1950s; muscle man, 1960s; and New Ager, 1970s and newer.

The original Cobe races took place in 1909 and 1910 south of the Old Crown Point Courthouse. This 25-mile race became the forerunner of the Indianapolis 500, started in 1911. Only two drivers competed in the only Cobe races, Louis Chevrolet and teammate Bob Burman. A Swiss-born master mechanic, Chevrolet founded the Chevrolet Motor Company.

Among the older vehicles was a 1908 Buick driven from the left side by Don Obermeyer, of Valparaiso. The family has had the classic since Obermeyer’s grandfather Henry Obermeyer bought it in 1908.

Noting that Buick switched to steering wheels on the right side in 1914, Obermeyer said the car is “easy to drive. It can get up to 40 mph, but we like to keep it around 20.”

Jeff Nosich brought a more modern car, a 1972 Oldsmobile 442 convertible, which he restored and has had for 26 years.

“Just a great design,” Nosich said. “It epitomizes the design of the 1970s.”

Self-taught in mechanics, the Munster resident has been at the Cobe Cruise many times.

“I hearkens back to the Indy 500 and it’s fun to see people come out and appreciate these cars. For me, showing my talent is what this is all about.”

The Cobe Cruise takes its name from Ira M. Cobe, president of the Chicago Automobile Club, who donated trophies for the first two races. Regional Streeters has sponsored the cruise for about 10 years, taking over from the Crown Point Historical Society.

Shaun Ewen, of Crown Point, remodeled a 1939 Chevy truck as a retirement gift for his father, who gave it back to his son.

“I said I’d get it on the road for my father, but now I enjoy it,” said Ewen, who replaced everything on the vehicle. “I like cruising and I like to be out during the day.”

Jon Pearson showed off a 1928 Model A delivery truck, originally a two-door sedan. With its new transmission, the vehicle can reach 55 mph.

“It’s fun to drive,” Pearson said. “I built the body myself.”

Dan Runyon of Crown Point was seated in his 1969 Dodge van, complete with shag carpeting, which he purchased in Atlanta in March.

“I’ve always been a van guy,” Runyon said. “I bought one out of high school, and I’ve always liked them. You come to a show like this, and you don’t see many vans.”

For Miranda, the fascination with classic cars relates to some connection the car enthusiast has from the past, either within the family or somewhere else.

For Miranda, it was seeing a 1967 GTO as a 10-year-old.

“That was it. I had to have one,” Miranda. “After I retired, I got one.”

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