Part X

Auto-Rama ’97 was a departure from anything the Club had done in the past. It had two themes. The first theme was “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. Gone was the macho image of gear heads and racers. Fairy tale caricatures are displayed with each of the eight cars on display. An added touch never before seen were the helium filled cow udders.

The second theme was based on the Clubs 10th appearance in a row at the Cleveland Auto-Rama. Someone flunked math 101 here. Our first Club display at Auto-Rama was in February 1987. My ten fingers tell me February 1996 was the 10th appearance.

The point of all this is we were each given a patch to wear on our jackets. The patch read, “Commemorating 10 Years of Participation” Auto-Rama” “Cleveland ’97 Ohio”. If you happen to see one of these patches keep in mind they are in error. 1997 was our 11th year of participation.

According to our February 1997 newsletter our display was crowned “Best Club Display”. Each of the eight cars received awards ranging from first to third place.

Something new was added in 1997, a monthly Cruise that actually went on a Cruise. On May 4th, thirty-nine (39) Club members cruised down to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We toured the restored buildings in the area and paused for a photo session. Each of our cars was photographed in front of a restored 1950’s style Pure gas station.

Having finished our tour of the park we headed off to “Whitey’s Booze and Burgers” in Richfield. Dinner and door prizes completed the day.

Last year (1996) work was started on a 500 space parking lot behind the Solon Commons Food Court. The project has now been completed. On May 20th the Club proudly opened the 1997 Cruise season in this huge new display area at the Solon Commons.

We opened with the live band “Eddie and the Edsels”. Our opening night sponsor was “Slam Jams” and the featured vehicles for the night were all “GM”.

A new magazine was brought out in 1997 and our Tuesday night Cruise was featured in that first edition of “Cruisin’ Times Magazine”. On the cover was a familiar looking ’53 Merc. One decade later Club member Gary “Chico” Oberc would again have the honor of seeing his ’53 Merc gracing the front cover for the 10th anniversary issue of Cruisin’ Times.

We ran into a problem with our Club jackets in 1997. They suddenly stopped producing our chosen style jacket. We finally managed to find another manufacturer to produce them. Ten years later in 2007 the same problem has resurfaced. History seems to have a way of repeating itself.

The Club had three Test-N-Tune events scheduled for 1997, June, August and September.

Our June monthly Cruise took us to the “Grand Opening” of the West Market Plaza in Fairlawn. Robert L. Stark Enterprises had asked the Club to display our cars at this special event.

On August 11th, 1990 our Club had a major roll in starting the annual Mayfield Village Cruise. The event was a major success due to our efforts. Our reward for all our efforts was a complete loss of recognition in the following years.

On June 21st, 1997 Mayfield Village once again asked the Club for assistance. This time they needed help identifying cars that should be admitted to the Cruise. I believe the answer was “Thanks, but no thanks!”

Other Club events in June included our annual weekend in Bucyrus, Ohio for their Cruise. The downtown streets of Bucyrus are closed to regular traffic in the evening. Show cars are everywhere and you can see and hear them cruisin’ the main drag. The Bedford Hts Home Days are once again graced with our display of Club cars.

On June 28th, nineteen (19) Club cars head off to Willoughby, Ohio for their second annual Cruise. We assisted them in getting this event started in 1996. A large number of Club members participated in this event. Everything was free including goodie bags. This year they charged us to park and we get a “Thanks for coming, hope you can join us again next year”.

A family man/home owner/Club member would be hard pressed to keep up with the Club events scheduled for July of 1997.

These events included the Bedford Hts 4th of July parade, The Garfield Hts home Days parade on July 5th and our monthly Cruise on July 12th. Once again Robert L. Stark Enterprises has a “Grand Opening”. This time it is the “Shops of Willoughby Hills”, formerly known as Loehmann’s Plaza.

On July 19th the Club displayed our cars at the Bedford Street Dance on Broadway. The street was closed to traffic and the roadway was filled with vendors, people and music. On July 20th the Club held it’s annual picnic in Brecksville.

On July 27th the Club participated in the Highland Hts Home Days Parade and won 1st place in the “Auto Division”. The first place prize of $100.00 the Club received was donated to the Bedford Firefighter’s who were collecting money for Bedford Firefighter Terry Tench who recently found out he had Lou Gehrig’s disease.

We were the featured Car Club at the Streetsboro Wal-Mart Cruise on July 31st. Add five (5) Tuesday night Cruises at Solon Commons and one monthly Club meeting and that averages out to one Club event every 2.4 days!!

With all this Club activity we have caught the attention of Plain Dealer Columnist Ann Gelether. Almost every Sunday our Club is mentioned in the Automotive section of the paper.

Up to this point charity events have been a regular part of our Club activities. This year we have our first annual “Charity Night”. The net proceeds will benefit Ronald McDonald House. On August 26th we pack the Solon Commons with people and cars. Dennis Chandler and the Stratophonics perform first followed by Memory Lane. Both groups donated their time for this event. A replica of a St. Louis jukebox, a VCR and a color TV were given away as raffle prizes. 50/50 tickets were sold to help raise money. Channels 19 and 43 covered the event on the evening news. Our efforts were called a great success. The proceeds totaled $1,256.53!

“Cruisin’ by the Bay” took place on September 5th and 6th and had become another favorite with our Club members. Each year a few dozen members spent the weekend in downtown Sandusky for this annual Cruise event. Due in part to it’s location in the downtown bay area this Cruise was unique. The area was always well maintained to take advantage of the bay area view.

On Friday the downtown area was shut down to local traffic. Hundreds of show cars lined the streets. Open cruising started at 7:30 P.M. with “rapping” (loud exhaust) and flame shooting contests being the nightly attractions.

On Saturday the stage was set for a static car show with limited cruising and some contests. “Blind driver” and the “slow crawl” were for the normal contestants.

Ask anyone that witnessed the 1997 Panty Race to recount the event and they will laugh before they can speak. Two of our Club members had the crowd laughing and then cheering. Then the judges were loudly booed when they disqualified Dave Zuber and Bill Ellis for taking advantage of a gray area in the rules. Here is how it went down. A pickup truck belonging to Summit Racing pulled up to the starting line. This was a speed equipment test vehicle. The timers started as Dave and Bill jump out. They each must put on a size small pair of panties over their double wide clothed bodies. Previous contestants had problems with their shoes tripping them up. Dave and Bill are shoeless. Step two requires driving to mid course and swapping panties and drivers.

The crowd went wild at the sound of the roaring engine and screaming tires. Dave and Bill swapped panties as the cloud of tire smoke drifted by mid course. The smoke and noise was now attracting people from near by streets.

Having changed panties and drivers the boys crossed the finish line in record time, sideways, engine screaming and the tires near ruin. As they stopped the tailgate popped open and their stash of melons and peaches were sent flying like bowling balls.

Dave argued that nowhere in the rule book are the words shoeless, reckless, speeding or littering. Unfortunately, the judges would not yield. The disappointed crowd booed their decision.

Our final Test-N-Tune of the season was held on September 14th. The event drew over 160 cars which required opening additional staging lanes to accommodate the volume.

Once again our Club is called back to active duty at Norwalk Raceway Park. A three day event running from September 19th to the 21st requires a large work force. Take charge people are needed to judge show cars and to aid with parking, registration and racing. Unfortunately, heavy rains and cold weather from Friday to mid Saturday kept the show cars away. Everything had dried up enough by Sunday to allow the race program to take place.

Our new 500 space parking lot at Solon Commons has served us well for our weekly Tuesday night Cruises. With only two driveways we now had complete control of the show area. The Food Court, restrooms and easy freeway access made this the perfect location for a car cruise.

Our older members had become accustomed to seeing 40 or so cars at Pal’s and a hundred plus cars at our annual car shows. They were astonished when they saw the new lot completely filled for the first time.

The 1997 Cruise season came to a close on Sunday, October 19th with our Halloween Cruise. By now, we are without a doubt the biggest weekly Cruise in the area. Welcome to the “Big Time”

Our Fall Social/Dinner Dance is given a “Prom” theme this year. On Saturday night, October 25th, we ate, drank and danced at the Sherwin Party Center in Maple Hts. The cost for the buffet dinner with open bar, and a DJ cost members $17.50 each and non-members $27.50 each. Ron and Nancy Fox were our “Prom King and Queen”.

One hundred and fifteen (115) Club members and their families were treated to dinner at our annual Christmas party on December 21st. We all gathered at the Bedford Hts Community Center for a fun event that pleases the children and attracts an early visit from a gift laden Santa Claus. As always the Club donates to the food bank.


Enter the Back Door Cruiser

Part X

The 32nd Annual Cleveland Auto-Rama took place February 6th through the 8th, 1998. This was our 12th year of participation in Cleveland’s largest car show. Eleven Club members displayed their cars around a landscaped illuminated fountain.

This years theme was “Rock-N-Roll Capital Street Machines Auto Museum” Our efforts were rewarded with a second (2nd) place award for our display. Six of our cars received 1st place awards in their respected classes. Three cars received 2nd place awards and the final two received a 3rd and 4th place awards.

Sam LaNasa suddenly found himself taking over as Club President after the abrupt departure of Debra Sue Tobak. At this point in Sam’s Club career he has served as Secretary, Vice President and now President. He has served each position with confidence, dignity and honor.

The City of Detroit, Michigan held its Auto-Rama several weeks after the Cleveland Auto-Rama. On February 14th, 46 Club members took the bus trip to Cobo Hall to see some of the countries top custom cars. General admission to this show was $12.00 in 1998. Club friend, Ron Heitman negotiated a price of $5.00 per person for our Club members.

All day trips such as this one always included a stop at some restaurant on the return trip home. On one trip to Detroit we ate at a rather nice restaurant a few miles from Cobo Hall. On this trip however, after traveling a mile or so it became apparent we were not heading into one of Detroit’s finer areas. This had become a trip through a war torn third world ghost town.

Ahead you could see signs of life, a building with some lights. As we approached you could see a high cyclone fence topped with barbed and razor wire, surrounding a windowless building and its parking lot. This was our destination. Safely inside it became apparent that at one time this restaurant was a top attraction in a once thriving downtown Detroit. The food was good and well worth the trip.

On other Detroit trips we ate at safer locations including Olive Garden in Dearborn or the Old country Buffet in Toledo. The busses were always top notch, spotless and comfortable. We would show movies that were viewed on multiple screens. If someone should need Psychotherapy we always had our own Dr. Mary Lou on board.

Plans had been on the drawing board for a third entrance to the Solon Commons rear parking lot since 1997. At first a gate and a separate drive at the South end of the lot seemed like a good idea. It would alleviate the traffic jams at the end of the Cruises.

With the West drive blocked off we had complete control of the show area from the East drive. At times it would be necessary to reject cars that were not acceptable or show worthy. This was an advantage we were not aware of at the time.

The rear drive became a reality in 1999, a year later than anticipated. Along with the new drive came a new type of cruiser. Those cars that had been rejected at the front gate simply drove around the block to the unmanned rear gate. You can find these “Back Door Cruisers” parked somewhere in the rear of the lot. They don’t register their cars or support our Cruise in any way.

Our first official cruise night for 1998 was on May 19th. Chevrolet was the featured car of the night with 425 show cars in attendance.

The Clubs first Mystery Cruise took place on June 20th, 1998. Departure was from the Solon Commons at 2:45 P.M. The trip was to take one hour and cover 34 miles to a secret destination. Each participant was to follow a map and drive at their own pace. It wasn’t long before some found it hard to drive while reading directions. This lead to a parade following a leader.

Stop signs and traffic lights quickly broke up the parade and people started getting lost. After regrouping, the cruise ended at Georges Dinner Bell Restaurant in Painsville. Georges was known for its long running feud with the city. As his battle with the city intensified he resorted to painting his building in questionable color schemes and bring in farm animals to graze on his property. He was making news headlines on a regular basis. Georges was also known for its good food. Most of the 35 members that ate there seemed to agree.

A second Mystery Cruise took place on Saturday, September 19th. 12 Club members Departed the Solon Commons, drove through the Cuyahoga Valley, South to our secret destination which turned out to be the Skyway Drive-in Diner in Fairlawn, Ohio. After burgers and fries we drove to Winks Drive-in Diner for their Saturday night cruise.

Other events for 1998 would include the Bedford/Bedford Hts 4th of July Parade in which we won 1st place in our division. On July 5th we participated in the Garfield Hts Home Days. Five days later on July 10th we displayed several dozen cars at the Bedford Hts Home Days. Saturday, July 11th we had the honor of displaying our cars at Loehman’s Plaza. One week later we were the featured attraction on Broadway Ave. in Bedford. This year it is called a “Street Fair”, with sidewalk sales, food and live bands.

Test and Tune events took place on June 28th, July 19th and September 20th. We had over 100 cars at our first drag event on the 28th. On July 19th the turnout was down to 78 cars racing with ten of them belonging to Club members. From there everything went down hill. Sunday, September 20th was our third and last drag event of the year, and guess what??? It rained!

With beautiful weather on Thursday night July 23rd our Club was the featured Club at the Wal Mart Car Cruise in Streetsboro. Our members displayed 28 cars that night.

The 1998 Charity Cruise was held on August 25th at the Solon Commons. The day started out a bit wet. Even though the crowd count was on the light side all the Charity Night Tickets had been sold, with all the proceeds of the evening going to the Ronald McDonald House. The annual cruise in Sandusky, Ohio, “Cruisin’ by the Bay” took place on September 11th. Several dozen Club members reserved rooms and stayed the entire weekend. This was one of the nicer annual cruises in Ohio.

The last event the Club participated in was at the Stow Falls Center on October 3rd. Our Club was part of the main attraction designed to attract shoppers to the area. This was also a paid event to benefit our treasury.

On Sunday October 22nd, 94 Club members and friends, filling two busses and a spill over group following in cars departed the Solon Commons at 10:30 A.M. Heading East, the destination for our Fall Cruise would be Quaker Steak and Lube in Sharon, Pennsylvania.

Sharon, PA had many attractions other than the Drive-in Diner everyone was familiar with. It was a shoppers paradise. Chocolate lovers could spend hours at Daffins Chocolate Factory drooling over the candy and chocolate wonderland display.

The last stop of the day was at Kraynak’s in Hermitige, PA. This one stop store has something for everyone. On weekends people are lined up to see the Christmas Wonderland display.

A new program was introduced in August of 1998 called the “Club Member of the Month” The program would require members to B visible, B active and B involved to qualify.

By September, Dave Zuber would be the first person to demonstrate the three B’s. By never missing a Club event, taking pictures for our albums and serving as Newsletter Editor. Dave was chosen as the first “Club Member of the Month”. A twenty five dollar gift certificate to Applebee’s Restaurant went with the nomination.

Our October recipient of this prestigious award went to Gary “Chico” Oberc and Mary Lou Krawczyk had the honor of being chosen for November. John Phillips finished the year as Decembers recipient.

The cruise season was to end with the Halloween Cruise on October 18th. Our entire cruise season had been plagued by rain except for 7 nights. Luckily October 18th wasn’t one of them.

Donetta Lemmerman-Maczko and Mary Lou Krawczyk made arrangements with the Sherwin Party Center to Host our Fall Social. This was a dress up Saturday night event on November 7th.

Sixty (60) members enjoyed a buffet dinner consisting of meats, fish, salads, sides and desserts. Dinner and dance music was provided by DJ Troy. There were corsages for the ladies and boutonnieres for the gentlemen.

The highlight of the evening was the “Ron Fox Roast”. This fun filled evening cost members a mere $18.50 each. Non-members paid $28.50 per person, still a great bargain.

Donetta and Mary Lou were busy again in December. They handled the arrangements for our Club Christmas party. This is one tradition that, except for location, has not changed throughout the years. There was a brief meeting, followed by dinner with our friends. Santa arrived thrilling the children with gifts and the adults with door prizes. The Club also contributed non-perishable food to the Food Bank.

Your fellow cruiser, Joe Artale, member since 1987.


Y2K Year 14

Part X

As the last moments of 1999 ticked away the world anxiously awaited the arrival of Y2K. Some people believed our society would grind to a halt when the computers that we have grown dependent upon would fail to acknowledge the year 2000. The New Year came and nothing changed, or did it?

Once again we are starting our Club calendar of events with Auto Rama. We displayed 8 Club cars in this, our 14th Club showing. The results were as follows. Four first place awards, two second place awards, one fourth place and one sixth place award.

The Club took the “Best Club Display” by Auto Rama and by Sponsors Choice. After 14 years of hauling cars to downtown Cleveland in the dead of winter the show had started to get a little long in the tooth. No one knew it at the time, but this was our last Auto Rama display as a Club.

On February 26th we once again visited the Detroit Auto Rama. 55 people attended the annual bus trip to the Nations top rated car show. After a day of walking and talking the hungry travelers made a stop in Toledo, Ohio for a welcomed dinner.

Erin Chase, the representative from Ronald McDonald House attended our February Club meeting. She came to thank us for last years efforts, our mid year fund raiser. She was also there to answer any questions pertaining to our 2000 Charity Cruise. That night we were informed that we ranked in the top 10% for private contributions to the House.

A humorous note from the Cleveland International Car Show at the IX Center. Thanks to the American Cruiser Car Club we were invited to display our cars in the Classic Car Show downstairs. Our Club members could clearly hear spectator comments about our cars being displayed. Many self proclaimed experts identified Ed Pezak’s Cobra as everything from a Mustang to a Corvette. Someone thought it was a BMW. Another person was sure it was the display car from American Commodore Tuxedo. Sue Pezak’s Mustang had come from a museum. Gary “Chico” Oberc’s Merc was in the movie “Grease”. They say humor is the best medicine. These automotive wizards served up enough laughter to brighten up the long days.

Our cruise season began May 16th with the Millennium Cruise. The schedule ran to mid October ending with the Halloween Cruise. Charity night was Tuesday night, August 22nd.

In the year 2000 we would lose some valuable parking spaces at the south end of the Solon Commons parking lot. RTA extended its bus line to the Solon parking lot when they built a bus shelter to accommodate travelers from Solon and Cleveland.

We had two Test-N-Tune dates for the season. The June 4th date was a complete success. The same can’t be said for the September 4th date. Did you guess rain may have been a problem? Now you know why they call Thompson Drag Raceway “The Thunder Capital”.

June 3rd, ten cars traveled to Pickle Bills in Grand River for another Mystery Cruise.

One Tuesday night cruise stood out for its strange turn of events. The cloudy, over-cast evening of June 27th did not look very promising. Club President George Lemmerman showed up in his daily driver. The rains failed to materialize. The lot filled to capacity and the cars still were coming. The police gave permission to park cars in one fire lane. When the gates were shut we had show cars lined up all the way down Aurora Road to Cochran Road. You may be asking yourself “what was the attraction”? It was Corvette night.

Summer Club events would include the Garfield Heights Home Days where we displayed 32 cars. The Bedford/Bedford Heights 4th of July Parade won us first place in the Antique/Classic Car division. The $100.00 prize was made possible by the 16 cars representing our Club.

The Bedford Street Fair was always a favorite event for many of our members. 20 Club cars showed up for the July 15th event.

Once again Timberlake Park in Solon was the site of out Club picnic on July 23rd.

I have not mentioned a charity event that I was involved with a year earlier because it was not an official Club event. Because of the large number of Club members involved in the 1999 and the 2000 events and the conditions that they endured I thought it would only be proper to include the events as part of out Club History.

In 1999 I agreed to help the people from Rolling Thunder to get some show cars to ride along with their Charity Motorcycle run from the Solon VFW to the Brecksville VA Hospital. Once there we would display our cars for the Vets at the Hospital and take part in their cookout/picnic. 1999 went off without a problem. I had someone else drive my motorcycle. George Lemmerman brought his motor cycle as did Chuck Mote. We had a total of 35 Club cars and several hundred motor cycles on the road with a police escort from start to finish. Imagine driving 20 plus miles through a dozen cities and not stopping once.

The July 29th, 2000 Charity Run and Cook-out was to be an exact copy of the year before. As I left my house in the Mustang I thanked God for my roof and wind shield wipers. It was pouring down rain. The Rolling Thunder people ride rain or shine. I know that car people are a different breed. I was 100% sure I would be the only car to show up. To my surprise Ed and Sue Pezak pulled up with the Cobra. This is a semi topless car when the top is up. Rick Krawczyk showed up with his new show car that he claims had never been in the rain until that day. One by one more Club cars were showing up. When we pulled out of the parking lot we had 27 Rock-N-Roll Capital Street Machines. The rain let up along the way, and at the Hospital three more Club cars were there waiting for us.

I had people set up a video camera along the route to film both of these Charity Runs plus I was given some video from the Rolling Thunder people. I have enjoyed these tapes many times. I feel a sense of pride in knowing that all these people would come out under these conditions to pay their respects to our veterans.

There were plenty of events the Club participated in 2000. July 30th ,Loehman’s Plaza Cruise, July 30th, The Solon Home Days Parade, Our very successful Charity Cruise on August 22nd, and we were the featured Car Club at the Streetsboro Wal-Mart Cruise on August 24th.

Friday night, August 18th, our Club made its TV debut on the Big Chuck and Little John show. Imagine turning on your TV and seeing all those familiar faces.

Some of my favorite Club events were the hay rides. On September 23rd, 52 people enjoyed chicken, ribs, side dishes, beverages, and an endless array of desserts and snacks. This hay ride took place at Meadow Ridge Farm, about an hour drive east of Cleveland. There were two hay wagons running nonstop. The rides through the country side would last about 45 minutes.

The night ended as it began, indoors, in front of a huge fire place. A white elephant party and door prizes ended the night.

I cannot do the justice our 2000 Charity Cruise really deserves without writing an entire chapter. Here is a recap of parts of the night.

Dennis Gage from the hit TV show “My Classic Car” was our main attraction. Someone saw to it that all the newspapers would spread the word. The thought of being on television attracted car owners we have never seen before. By 9:00 a.m. they began to arrive from Marietta, Oh, Pittsburg, Pa. and everywhere in between. By 1:00 p.m. the lot was half full for a show that was to start at 6:00 p.m. At 5:00 p.m. the lot was full, and cars began to fill the surrounding lots, grassy areas and the field behind the Commons. Solon streets were grid locked. Traffic backed up on the Route 422 freeway. Aurora Rd was at a standstill from S.O.M. Center Road west to Bedford Heights. The Police department had to take charge. An estimated 3,000 show cars were turned away.

The Charity Cruise turned out to be a huge success. Dawn Conover, the Ronald McDonald House representative gratefully accepted our check for $4,368.20 at the September Club Meeting.

Once again the subject of switching Charities came up at the October Club Meeting. We voted to stay with Ronald McDonald House for another year.

The “My Classic Car” episode that was filmed at our Charity Cruise was shown on National Syndication the week of December 4th to the 12th. Copies of the episode were available on VHS from My Classic Car for $15.00

As the year drew to a close we lost one of our original members. Chet Matusik always had a smile and a kind word. Whenever there was a job to be done, Chet was there to help out. If you knew him you will have missed him.

Thankfully the Christmas party has not changed throughout the years. Someone has always stepped up to make sure that young and old alike would have a wonderful time and an enjoyable meal.

Your fellow cruiser, Joe Artale, member since 1987.


2001 End of an Era

Part X

During the past fourteen winter seasons the Club had concentrated it’s energy on Auto-Rama. That tradition was broken in 2001. If you were to ask a dozen members that were active in the club’s early years, why? You might have received twelve different answers. You might hear, meeting on the streets of Cleveland at 3:00 A.M. Thursday morning to be first in line at the doors that open at 8:00 A.M., getting home late Sunday night or early Monday morning. The other reasons heard could be the high cost for each car owner, the one or two days of bad weather that seemed to plague us each year or it could be all the work and cost involved in building the Club display, hauling it downtown and back and then storing it somewhere.

Shows such as the IX Center and the Canton Car show were much less work and hassle. Regardless of the reasons given, we had reached the end of an era.

Our Clubs main interest from now on would be our own Solon Cruise. The first CTC meeting for 2001 was scheduled for February 20th at the Perkins Red Roof Inn on Rockside Rd.

At the January 2001 Club meeting there was a discussion on the Club sponsoring a Soap Box Derby car for the City of Cleveland Recreation Department. By March we had purchased a car in kit form and donated it to the Rec Department for the underprivileged kids to build and race. Cleveland Mayor, Michael R.White thanked our Club for it’s support and donation of the car at the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Soap Box Derby track in Cleveland.

Saturday, February 24th, 55 Club members traveled to Detroit. The bus dropped 11 people off at the MGM Casino. The remaining 44 “gear heads” spent the day at Cobo Hall’s Auto-Rama. The group enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Old Town Buffet in Toledo on the return trip.

The TV show “My Classic Car” had visited our Cruise last summer. We were now able to order videotape copies of that show for $15.00.

Some members had concerns of liable suits that may arise as the result of a potential problem at a car function. In February 2001, Club members voted to incorporate the Rock-N-Roll Capital Street Machines. The paperwork was filed with the State of Ohio in March 2001. The Club is now a Corporation.

Quaker Steak and Lube had an unofficial grand opening in March. Many local dignitaries were in attendance as well as some VIP’s, US!

By April 2001, the Club had a website. The web address is The Club had two “Mystery Cruises” in 2001, one on April 28th and the other on October 20th. On May 20th we cruised on over to Quaker Steak and Lube. The trip had two objectives, one was to get everyone together for a meal at the new restaurant and the other was to donate a Club jacket for display in the restaurant.

The Club hosted three Test-N-Tune events in 2001, June 10th, July 22nd and September 23rd. On the 4th of July, in spite of the rain the Club still managed to win 1st place in the Classic/Antique division of the Bedford/Bedford Hts parade. We came home wet but $100.00 richer. That event was followed by the Garfield Hts Home Days on July 7th, the Bedford Street Party on July 14th, Bedford Hts Home Days on July 27th and then finally on Sunday, July 29th we participated in the Solon Home Days Parade.

The Walmart in Streetsboro had a weekly Thursday night cruise. On August 2nd we were the featured Car Club. Several weeks later the Club was a guest on the Big Chuck and Little John TV Show. The show was taped on August 16th and shown on air the following night.

The Clubs Charity Cruise was held on August 21st. The only details of the night are a long list of door prizes and names of members that made it a huge success. There were no financial details to be found in my records. I am sure that the Ronald McDonald House people were pleased with the amount, whatever it was.

Meadow Ridge Farms was the site of the Clubs October 6th hayride. Members brought snacks and desserts. Meadow Ridge Farm served chicken and ribs as well as side dishes and beverages. The Club provided door prizes and desserts. Two tractors hauled wagons loaded with hay and RNRCSM members over bridges, across rivers, through the woods and across farm land.

January had been established as the month to collect the Club dues from all of the members. This went into effect in 1987. New members paid the full amount when joining and were required to pay again in January, regardless of what month they joined. Potential members wanting to join in the latter months of the year were put off by having to pay twice in a short period of time.

To be fair to new members this was changed in 1989. The Club voted to allow new members to pay the standard dues rate and be covered for the next twelve months. This policy was fair to the new member but put and extra burden on the already heavy work loads of the Board and the Newsletter Editor. Each month the newsletter printed the names of members who were required to pay their dues.

In October of 2001 we voted to cut back on the paper work and return to the January collection of dues. Once again fairness became an issue. Different people tried various solutions such as pro rating the dues or attending meetings as a guest then joining the Club in January. There were hidden problems with each of these ideas.

At the June 2007 Club meeting the dues problem was revisited. Once again, the Club voted and regardless of the time of year a new member joins that new member is required to pay their dues in full. The January collection date will apply to everyone.

The benefits of joining this Club will always far out weigh the cost of the dues. The cruises, picnics, our Club members receive. hayrides, Spring and Fall Socials, bus trips, and the Christmas party are all prime examples of the benefits

Your fellow cruiser, Joe Artale, member since 1987.


Leave Solon Commons??

Part X

By the end of the 2001 Cruise season there were only three food vendors remaining at the Solon Commons Food Court. By years end they too would be gone. The future of the vacant Food Court cast a dark cloud over our Tuesday night Cruise in Solon.

In 2002 the Club found itself facing the unthinkable, finding a new Cruise site. Other communities that were aware of the Clubs reputation and the fact that we were about to be homeless came courting. Beachwood, Chagrin Falls, Northfield Township and Valley View came forward with offers to use some part of their cities.

Each of the sites offered had a problem of some sort that would be a disadvantage to a cruise. Solon’s Mayor, Kevin C. Patton became involved in preserving the Tuesday night Cruise that had celebrated ten very successful years in his city. He enlisted the help of Jeff Davis, of the Davis Automotive Group and owner of the Solon Commons. Mr. Davis assured us we would have the use of the parking area. Toilet facilities rank very high on the list of must haves. Arrangements were made with the theater next door to use their restrooms.

Food is always a nice feature at car events. Food vendors lined up to provide a variety of fast food and drinks. With the Cruise site crises solved we were free to concentrate on normal Club activities.

The Club withdrew its elaborate yearly displays from Cleveland’s Auto-Rama in 2001. The Canton area car show was now our winter destination. Our display was seen at Cruise-A-Rama from the 1st to the 3rd of February.

Much of 2002 was a repeat of earlier years. The bus trip to the Detroit Auto-Rama was enjoyed by 56 members and friends on February 23rd.

Another winter car show that required little Club effort and expense was the I X Center Auto Show. We displayed cars there from March 1st to the 11th.

On a sad note we learned of the passing of Butch Adams. His sudden passing was a shock. He was a quiet guy, always there with a smile and a helping hand. He enjoyed drag racing his Firebird. If you really knew him you will have missed him.

Our newsletter was given a face-lift in April 2002. It was published in a magazine format. It featured pictures and articles of Club members and their cars on the cover. Inside was a review of past, present and future Club events and other important information and pictures.

This work of art (for our small organization) was mailed out in an envelope so that it would arrive at your home in pristine condition. It has remained unchanged to this day. (July 2007)

The only Club event for April was a Mystery Cruise attended by 22 members. Cruisin’ The Commons 2002 started on May 7th with the promise that this would be our permanent home. Three Test-N-Tunes were scheduled for 2002. June, July and September.

Summit Racing has played an important part in our Cruisin’ The Commons and our Test-N-Tune events. In 2001 they sponsored three cruise nights and one Test-N-Tune. They were also very generous with Gift Certificates. Summit Racing picked up the pace in 2002. They sponsored four cruise nights and two Test-N-Tunes. Terry Taggart designed the 9 x 11 multi-colored window/owner identification cards used at our cruises. Summit Racing paid the cost of printing 10,000 copies.

July is the month for parades. We have been in every 4th of July Parade in Bedford/Bedford Heights since 1987. In Solon, July means Home Days and a parade. To us it means another opportunity to display our cars to the public.

On August 11th, 2002, the Club made a repeat visit to Quaker Steak and Lube with a Club jacket to display in the restaurant. It seems the first one donated in 2001 had somehow vanished. The replacement was enclosed in a shadow box and permanently mounted out of harms way. Five years later it remains on display, and out of reach. Just walk in the front door, look up at the wall on the right side, just to the right of the big archway. There you will see a Rock-N-Roll Capital Street Machines jacket and logo displayed amongst the icons of automotive history.

The Sports Editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer contacted our Club in July 2002. He was looking for some muscle cars for use in a photo shoot featuring area football players. A small number of our cars were selected for the feature article titled “Fast and Furious”. The article appeared in the August 20th edition.

Club picnics hit a new high on September 15th. President Ed Pezak was able to incorporate our Club picnic with the Multi-Club picnic and Car Event at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake Park. We dined on steaks (supplied by our Club) grilled on charcoal by our Club. Members provided salads, side dishes, desserts and drinks. There were nine other clubs that participated in this picnic, with our Club having the largest number of members in attendance.

The Model T Club provided mid-day entertainment. They would drive a Model T Ford off a trailer and completely disassemble the car it using only hand tools. They would then reassemble the car in just over three minutes, start it up and drive it away.

In 2002 our Charity Cruise was still held on a Tuesday night. Once again Ronald McDonald House was the recipient of our August 20th fundraising efforts.

The year 2002 ended with the annual Christmas party at the Bedford Hts Civic Center. We also ended the year as the “Number One Cruise In” in Northern Ohio. Not bad for a Club that was about to be homeless just twelve months earlier.

Your fellow cruiser, Joe Artale, member since 1987.