No Stone Left Unturned

Part 4

By the year 1990 the Club is now over three years old. We are now looking for new ideas for raising money to cover Club expenses. We are also outgrowing our Tuesday night cruise site at Pals Drive In. On top of all this the members are looking for some new, fun social events.

Many things are going to change as time goes by. Some changes are welcomed by all, while others are cause for divisiveness. For example, we made the bold move to add a black collared, button down T-shirt for a dressier look. The result was welcomed by all. The same result could not be said for the next change. Seventeen years later the summer “white” T-shirts are still a hot topic with some.

Most things change over time that we have no control over. One thing that has not changed is the winning spirit of our members. For example, the 1990 Auto-Rama (our 4th) ran from Friday Feb. 2nd to Sunday Feb. 4th. As always it snows on one of theses days. This year the snow storm comes on Sunday just in time to make a mess of the cars heading home.

The car owners didn’t seem to care since they were going home winners. This years efforts were rewarded with (9) trophies, (3) special awards and (2) TV/radio combination sets.

Mark Diemes edited twenty hours of video tapes turned in by club members into a sixteen minute attraction that held the spectators attention the entire weekend. Some people were seen taping it as it played on our Club TV while others were asking about purchasing a copy.

On May 6th the Club had a double event day. The rain that day was only a minor inconvenience that didn’t dampen the spirits of the 11 Club cars the participated in the Fleet Avenue Parade. Jerry Magyar took charge of that event. A 1941 Oldsmobile owned by Jack Leventry thrilled most of the people as it blew huge flames from it’s dual exhaust. A few of the older folks thought the car needed some repair work

Our other event that day was a Test-And-Tune at Dragway 42. This was a fun day with a short sprinkle thrown in during the lunch break. Sheltered under a tent provided by Tom Krebs our cooks Janice Zabish and Donna Lappert prepared lunch for all Club participants. In the video department, cameraman Bob Hamm rode the tailgate position of Tim Drogonys’ station wagon. He would race ahead of the drag cars and film them at speeds of up to 90 mph as they screamed past. Len Russo filmed the cars leaving the starting line, smoking tires, noise and all.

Our traditional Memorial Day car show is about to undergo a major change. Our show entailed a lot of work and a great deal of risk. When the Club was presented with the opportunity to take over Motormeet ’90 at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds we snapped it up. The deal came with a guaranteed return and no financial risk. We manned the ticket booths and ran the entire show which included judging the cars and presenting the awards. We had two buildings for our own use and used them to set up our Club cars in a special indoor Club display. To be fair to the non-Club participants in the show our cars were judges by two independent professionals.

There was supposed to be a second show involving the Club on Sept. 1st and 2nd. Although the Memorial Day show was a success we turned down the September show. One thing I had learned by this time is that everyone volunteers to help early in the cruise season. By September people are burned out and don’t respond well to work details on the last few weekends of summer. These shows needed at least 45 people to cover the work load of 500 show cars and thousands of spectators.

Rain washed out at least half the June 23rd-24th Muscle Car Nationals at Norwalk. The club was still paid $1000.00 for showing up!

Friday night June 29th the Club displayed 24 cars at Bedford Hts Home Days. This is done in appreciation for our discounted meeting room the third Sunday of each month.

Wednesday July 4th the Club participated in the Bedford/Bedford Hts parade. Steve Killeen has become Mayor Jimmy Dimora’s regular driver by this time. Stveve made a special raised (and reinforced) rear seat in his GTO convertible for the Mayor. Friday July 6th the Club displayed 13 cars in the Cleveland Budweiser 500 parade. Radio station 98.5 WNCX has now joined our long list of sponsors. We provided rides for radio personalities from WNCX and sponsor station WERE. People like Joel Rose, Merel Polis, Greg Brenda and Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley rode in our cars. After the parade we were given pit passes for the race track.

July 8th the Club donated $125.00 to the Bedford Hts 10K race fund. We also provided two escort cars for the race. This donation and the Home Days display covered our cost for one years use of our meeting and party room in Bedford Hts.

On July 8th the Vietnam Veterans held their 2nd annual car show at Ganley Mazda/VW. The Club was there again to support their efforts.

On August 11th, 1990 the Club started a tradition that still takes place today, although without our support. I was contacted by Mayfield Village Mayor Fred N. Carmen. It seemed a Village event that was to end with fireworks was rained out. He wanted to plan an event that would draw a large crowd and end it with fireworks at 10:15 PM. Scott Marquard and myself put together the annual cruise you see each year.

Our Club showed up with 56 cars! We had the church parking lot on the corner of Rt 91 and Wilson Mills Rd. for our own use. Over 500 cars cruised Wilson Mills rd. that night between 7:00 and 10:00 PM. We provided some special entertainment with a 1955 Chevy drag car called the “Gong Show” owned by Bob Grabowski. He provided a little “light ’em up” with a 1st and 2nd gear hole shot. The smell of cam 2 and burning rubber filled the air. The open exhaust drowned out the cheers of the crowd.

Jack Leventry put on his own show after sunset. His ’41 Oldsmobile lit up the night with a flame show. As planned the fireworks started at 10:15 PM. If you were home by 11:00 PM you saw our Club on Channel 3 and 5 news. My car and Al Leondarides Pontiac were featured. Our Club was also the subject of an article in the Sun Messenger on page A9 under “Nostalgia On Wheels”. Frank LaManna provided the information.

I love picnics or shall I say food. The Club reserved Valley View Lake Park for our August 19th picnic. This was by no means your average run of the mill picnic. We started out with Bill Ellis cooking up an endless supply of egg rolls. Next, Angie’s Rib Wagon arrives with pizza appetizers. While members fish on the lake and play games ribs and chicken are cooking on Angie’s huge grill. For dessert, Pat Matusik baked a splendid cake decorated with all the Club members names across the top.

Bob and Sherri Hamm hauled in a trailer loaded with donated door prizes from our sponsors. They also managed the games and contests. None of the 100 Club members present that day went home hungry or empty handed.

Saturday, September 8th we are at it again. Chicken and ribs, baked potato, corn on the cob, tossed salad, bread, butter, coffee and tea. All this for $7.00!! But wait, there’s more! Let’s throw in a hayride and the use of a barn at Blazin’ Bills. The 86 Club members in attendance that evening all had a ball.

On September 22nd we finished the drag season with another partnership, our old stand by car club Restored and Radical. In those days we did three things at the drags. One, we race, two, we film and three we eat. We had a young lady in the Club back then who was fast, very fast! Jody Allison owned and raced a dragster. We also had three other ladies who could really cook. Tom Krebs set up the tents and Pat Dovak, Joanne Obreza and Pat Matusik fed our members. Len Russo, Jim Dacek and Jim Vokerka filmed our drags which were later edited into our last official Club video.

On Sept. 25th Sam LaNasa, myself and five other Club members met with the people from 98.5FM WNCX. We discussed plans of combining our Auto-Rama display with the radio station. Ron Heitman was there and he agreed this plan would be of great benefit to us all. More on this issue in the next installment of the Club history.

Somewhere near this time frame our first Club President Chuck Vella underwent surgery at Hillcrest Hospital. Although he was doing fine at the time, the cancer would return. As if one car show during the winter months were not enough (Auto-Rama) we are now planning a show at the IX Center. This will be their first Rod and Custom show running from January 3rd -5th.

Our Tuesday night cruise site (Pals Drive-In) is now closed for the season and we will review our cruise at the November meeting. We have come to the conclusion that we have grown too big for their lot. Pals can’t serve the food fast enough for the crowds we are bringing in and the women are not very fond of the Porta-Potty back in the woods to the rear of the lot. For the first time the Club is talking about doing a charity event. Nothing is decided but we are looking to expand in yet another direction.

I won’t dwell on another Christmas party other than to say December 16th was the day, and to address a comment from Richard Johns from our July 2006 meeting, the time was 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

I had planned on taking the Club to Trolleyville USA sometime during the summer or fall but their open dates fell on our Clubs earlier commitments. They had a picnic ground and a trolley museum with trolleys going back as far as the turn of the century. You could even tour the repair shops or ride the street cars on their two and a half miles of track.

1990 was a very busy year. First of all we needed to earn money to cover the Club expenses. Unless we accomplished this important job the Club would not exist as we know it. Next comes publicity. Publicity comes in many forms such as Auto-Rama or parades. Sometimes it may seem that we spend too much time on these important necessities. We have tried to insert as many fun events as possible throughout the year. After all, I think we all joined up to have fun. I don’t think we have left a single stone unturned while looking for ways to accomplish these goals.

Stay tuned and on the edge of your seat for the next exciting chapter.