1996 starts with the traditional Auto-Rama. The first time our Club participated in this event was February of 1987. It’s hard to believe that this is our 10th year in a row participating in Cleveland’s first auto show of the season.
One year later at the 1997 Auto-Rama the Club is presented with a commemorative 10th year participation patch to be worn on our Club jackets. The patch bears the year ’97 which, in all actuality 1997 was our 11th year of participation. Someone erred.
The Auto-Rama ran from February 2nd to the 4th and was unfortunately marred by the inexcusable behavior of a certain element that twice caused near riot conditions on the lower level. Arrests were made and some cars were towed away. Fortunately, no damage was reported to anyone’s car or display. None the less the weekend was still scarred.
Once again we are awarded the “Best Club Display” along with $200.00. Out of the twelve cars that were on display eleven received awards, with some of those receiving multiple awards.
A joke that started on a WMJI radio program took on a life of it’s own. The joke resulted in the first ever ISCA (International Show Car Association) presentation of the “Weedwacker Award” to the 12th car in our display.
On Monday February 5th the Crawford Auto and Aviation Museum opens a three month long display of muscle cars. The 15 cars that are displayed all belong to the Rock-N-Roll Capital Street Machines! The cars are displayed at the foot of the main stairway. Our four foot in diameter Club logo is the focal point as you enter. Yes, this is another proud moment in our history.
Here is a brief recap of our 1995 charitable efforts. A Bedford Hts single mother and her two children are given a $200.00 gift certificate. The Christmas food collection is turned over to the Bedford Hts Community cupboard. The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland is our main charity. The collection box that is put out at the Tuesday night cruises all summer nets $231.10. The Club rounds out that amount to $500.00!
Take a moment here and reflect on the results of current charity events. If you have been with us long enough you can see the vast changes that have taken place in the last 10 years.
1996 is a year filled with events that were sure to please any car buff. Our Tuesday night cruises officially start on May 14th. The Hot Rod Magazine Power Festival at Norwalk Raceway Park keeps us busy from May 17th to the 19th and on May 28th the Club presents it’s first “Cruiser of the Year” award to a 1995 Solon Commons cruiser.
What good is your muscle car if you don’t exercise it on a regular basis? Thompson Drag Raceway is the perfect “Health Spa” for your car. June 2nd, July 7th and September 22nd are the dates scheduled to give your car a workout.
If you like parades there was the Solon Strawberry Festival parade on June 9th, then our 10th Bedford to Bedford Hts 4th of July parade not to mention providing escort cars for the 6K and 10K races in Bedford Hts.. The Club had been escorting these races for a number of years and continued doing so until we moved from Bedford Hts to Solon.
If you like to show off your car, we had a few places for you. Club members participated in the Bedford Hts Home Days on June 28th, the Garfield Hts Home Days on July 6th, TRW open house, the Stow Falls Center grand opening and the Klima Gardens Clambake.
Do you like Rock and Roll music with your display? We had 15 cars on display at the 1996 WMJI Moondog Coronation Ball. Members that displayed their cars at this event got to watch the Casino’s, Chiffons, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, The Capris, Gary “US” Bonds, The Cadillacs, LaVerne Baker, Bo Diddley and Little Richard perform. I don’t have enough space here to describe Little Richards behavior that night. I will just say it was like no other show from his younger days. I should add that we all had some very good seats.
The City of Bedford held another Street Festival on July 20th with our Club participating. The Crawford held it’s second annual Wings and Wheels show at the Cuyahoga County Airport in August with more Club participation. The Club also participates when the City of Willoughby holds it’s annual cruise and we show up with 24 cars.
Gone is our annual car show. After nine years of hosting a car show we call it quits. Our Tuesday cruise is out drawing the best of our car shows and require a lot less effort. (This statement was true 10 years ago. The Tuesday night cruises have now become very complex) Still with us are the Club picnics. The 1996 picnic takes place on July 21st.
Do you remember the song “I Can’t Drive 55”? On June 28th, 1996 we can now go 65 MPH! Now I can finally take my car out of first gear.
On August 18th the Club participated in the MDA Benefit Softball Tournament. We co-sponsored the event with Chuck Rambaldo of Tommy Edwards Records. This took place at the Solon Community Park.
On September 21st the Club celebrates it’s 10th anniversary as part of our Fall social. We booked the party room at the Independence Brown Derby Roadhouse. To mark this milestone in Club history the members are issued a 10th anniversary Club patch for our Club jackets. A picture of Chuck Vella’s car as he wished it to be appears in the center of the patch. The Club name surrounds the picture and the years 1986 – 1996 appear at the bottom.
Our officially scheduled Tuesday night cruises end on September 24th and is followed by a Sunday, September 29th Super Cruise. Even after the season had ended the lot would still be full on Tuesday nights. On one particular Tuesday night in October one of our current DJ’s, Firehouse Rock (Bob Shimits) showed up with a 1941 fire truck and played music for free from the back of the truck to a large appreciative crowd.
The plans for Cruisin’ the Commons 1997 are underway. In 1997 the Club will be moving the Tuesday night cruise onto the new rear Solon Commons parking lot. The 500 new parking spaces and the controlled access to the lot are a dream come true.
In the past certificates of appreciation were given to members that helped out at Club events. In 1996 the Horsepower Incentive Program was developed. Members that worked at the cruise or other club events were awarded Horsepower Points. The Points would be redeemable towards Club dues or merchandise. The value of the Points are determined by the board each year. To the best of my knowledge the value has always been 50 cents per Point up to the year 2006. Keep in mind that the value can change at any time.
The year ends with the 10th annual Club Christmas party. Santa Claus was there for the children, presents for all and a good meal. Once again we collect canned goods for the Bedford Hts Food Cupboard. The Club also donated 17 turkeys and collected $190.00 to help a needy family.
THIS IS WHO WE ARE AND THIS IS WHAT WE DO!
Your fellow cruiser, Joe Artale, member since 1987.