We’ve Lost Our #1

Part 8

On January 10th a dinner/meeting was held at Denny’s in the Garfield Mall. Auto-Rama 1994 is just around the corner and we are about to complete our plans for our 8th show in a row.

Our theme for the February 4th to 6th show was “Built in America”. The club went all out this year with a new display and carpet for the entire floor area. Fourteen Club members displayed their cars as a group and three more members were in competition outside of our display.

We went home with the 1st place award for “Outstanding Club”, 2nd place and $200 for the ISCA Club Display, 1st place and $300 in the Men’s Pit Stop Contest and 3rd place and $100 for the Co-Ed Pit Stop Contest.

Of the seventeen Club cars on display we received eight 1st place awards, three 2nd place awards, four 3rd place awards and two 4th place awards. Our Automotive Events Chairman Bill Tompot went home Sunday night a very proud man.

How would you like to own your very own Rock’N-Roll Capital Street Machines watch? This stunning timepiece can be yours for only $25.00. See Dave Zuber at the February 20th, 1994 Club meeting.

Contrary to common sense, our early Club rosters were not in alphabetical order. The members were listed in the order of their joining the Club. Rightfully so, there was a very definite pecking order as to founders and late comers.

Charles V. Vella, our founder, would be #1 on that list. In the sequential order of Club Presidents Chuck Vella would be #1. To us , he was always #1 in many small but important things he had done to build the foundation that this Club was built upon.

On February 23rd, 1994 the phone rang. A heart broken Joyce Vella was calling to inform us that after three operations over a four year period our “Number One” had lost his battle with cancer. Joyce had two requests. One was to notify the Club members of chucks passing and the second, to have a few Club members present at the funeral wearing Club colors. The second request resulted in the forming of our Color Guard, which stood by at the funeral home. We accompanied the casket to the church and the cemetery. A small tribute to a man that had served us admirably. The Color Guard would be called into service again in the future.

In March 1994 the Club renamed the scholarship fund to honor Chuck. It was now to be known as the “Chuck Vella Memorial Scholarship”. You can see the details in the Club Constitution under Article X, Sections one, two and three. Details for the Color Guard are under Standard Operating Procedures.

Our first cruise of the season is scheduled for April 19th at the Solon Commons, Weather permitting. As it turned out the weather was in our favor and the cruisers enjoyed the tunes by DJ Steve and the lovely Nancy Szabo of Mainline Express. Having the huge food court with it’s multitude of fast food vendors was a major asset for our Club. Other advantages included two large, clean restrooms and a shaded outdoor seating area with tables and chairs. The Club now has it’s own “Hotline” Dial 292-0705. Press #1 for Cruise information, #2 for shows, #3 for Events, #4 for personal info and #5 for Grub Runs??? The Club also has it’s own Post Office Box at this time. The Rock’N’Roll Capital Street Machines, PO Box 39332 Solon, Ohio 44139. The PO Box is still in use today, but the hotline is long gone.

You would be hard pressed to spend long ours on Cleveland’s Downtown streets and not come home with a story. A case in point would be the Square to Square event on Saturday June 4th and Sunday June 5th. The hours were very long. Saturday was a twelve hour day from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm with Sunday going from noon to 7:00pm.This was a very high profile event to raise money for charities and help revive the Downtown area.

With Jazz bands on Saturday, Sha-Na-Na on Sunday, mini race cars on the square, street performers and a parade. In the middle of all this were our Club cars lining the streets of Downtown Cleveland. A constant procession of people approach and ask endless questions. Some were asked so often that a standard answer was given that was as intelligent as the question. Some examples include, How fast will it go? Answered with another question, “On the ground or in the air?” Rich Krawczyk had some kids believing that wings came out of his car at 175 mph. Did you drive these cars here? “No, we have them airlifted everywhere.” How much is that guys Chevy worth? “To me nothing, to him a million.” Some questions just left you shaking your head. Can I borrow that car? Are all these cars yours? How do you get so lucky to drive these cars? The monotony is broken by a bizarre looking woman running straight to Steve Estrins 1956 Cadillac. She plants a passionate kiss on the enormous hood and quickly disappeared into the crowd. Fast forward to 11:00 pm, time to go home, the big white Cadillac refuses to start. Could this have been the kiss of death?

Saturday night June 4th the Club displayed cars at Blossom Music Center as part of a WMJI event. As if all this wasn’t enough for one weekend, the Hot Rod Supernationals were at the Canfield Fairgrounds. There were 2,736 cars and trucks registered for the Friday through Sunday event.

If you could only attend one car event in your life Canfield 1994 was the place to be. The show at the Fairgrounds was beyond words. Head East seven miles from Boardman and witness a cruise so large that it took two hours to drive the three mile cruise area. The Police estimated 40,000 spectators lined the streets to watch the cruise.

CANFIELD 1994 WAS THE GEAR HEADS WOODSTOCK! Every parking lot had a mini car show. One lot was full of motorcycles with some of the crotch rocket boys putting on a burnout doughnut show. Burn outs were taking place everywhere the Police were not and a tow truck was doing wheelies. Back at the motels burn out contests were going strong into the wee hours. In the following years this all came to an end with a very strong Police presence.

The Clubs first Test-N-Tune of 1994 was held on Sunday June 26th at Thompson Drag Strip.

Back in Bedford Hts there is the 4th of July parade that the Club participates in each year. This is followed by the Friday night, July 8th Home Days Display.

The City of Bedford has planned a street festival for Friday night July 22nd and asked the Club to be one of the attractions on Broadway. Those that participated will remember some very good food and music.

Our Social Events Chairwoman Jo Ann Magyar Obreza has come up with a fun event for Club members. On Sunday, July 10th we set sail aboard the Goodtime III for a river and lake cruise. These boat cruises give the passengers a view of Cleveland that does not exist from land. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the view. One week later Jo Ann has a Club picnic planned at the Brecksville Recreation Center. This would replace our monthly meeting.

Once again our Club is one of the attractions at the Garfield Hts Home Days. Congressman Eric Fingerhut is a passenger in Club member Carl (Wolf Man) Martino’s T-Bucket. As the parade was nearing the end Congressman Fingerhut decided to jump out of the T-Bucket (which was still moving) to shake hands with the voters. As you know, T-Buckets have very large rear tires and no fenders. The Congressman fell to the ground and the right rear tire drove over his foot. The good news is no harm came to the tire.

The Club is invited to display it’s cars at the Bedford Community Street Fair on July 22nd. Unfortunately, two hours into the event it rains. Gary (Chico) Oberc blames the rain on a female Club member. This female member gets even with Chico on Sunday, July 24th at our Norwalk Drag Day by pinning him in the Porta-Potty with her car.

The Clubs 8th Annual car Show was held at the Solon Commons on August 7th. We had 119 Cars registered for the show and 35 Club cars on display. Steve Estrin Displayed his “Druid Princess” which was built by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. If you don’t remember the ’60’s you won’t have any idea what that means.

Mainline Express was the morning DJ with Dennis Chandler and the Stratophonics playing live music for the afternoon. The WMJI jukebox was once again on display providing a great backdrop for where the door prizes and awards would be presented. After the car show the Clubs softball players are off to play the Tommy Edwards Records All Star team. The All Stars had just beaten Majic 105’s team and would go on to beat us as well 7 to 6. This was a fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy.

On July 30th, Chairperson Sherri Hamm showed the community of Highland Hts what an enthusiastic and proud Club we are. We display 10 cars in the parade down Wilson Mills Road. The adults loved the cars, the children loved the candy treats.

The Tuesday Cruise at Solon Commons takes on a new look in August with the WMJI on air personalities Ravenna Micelli and Tony Rizzo share DJ duties on alternating weeks. We are now in show biz, so to speak. On Saturday September 25th we bring 20 cars to Blossom for their Community Days Festival and get to enjoy a free concert while the concert fans get to enjoy our car display.

Our drag racing season ends in September at Thompson Drag Strip. For some reason our turn out at Thompson was never as strong as it was at Norwalk or Dragway 42. At that time the roads there were very rough and the strip needed some TLC. The roads have now been paved and the track fixed up, yet Club President Dennis Maczko still gets light turn outs for the Test-N-Tunes.

The show “Grease” opened on Playhouse Square on October 10th. They closed down Euclid Avenue and roped off a large area in front of the Playhouse for, you guessed it, our Club car display! All cars used were all 1970 and earlier models.

On Saturday, October 29th, after participating in the Revco grand opening in Rocky River we head to the Brown Derby Road House in Independence for our Halloween Dinner Bash. Cost was only $10.00 each with a number of members coming in costume. One Club member came dressed as a female causing some shock and confusion in the men’s room. Jeff and Barb Takacs have entered into discussion with Ronald McDonald House about them becoming our primary charity. Until now Jeff and Barb have been manning the Cruise registration table at the Commons and collected donations in a container placed on the table. The total amount collected was small in comparison to the years that would follow.

The first reorganization meeting is held by the Inter-Club Council. This is a group that plans to keep area car clubs informed about club events and pending auto oriented legislation. The first meeting which was held at the Crawford Auto Museum is to get us acquainted. The ICC plans regular meetings starting in January 1995. We are a part of this new group.

At our November meeting a motion was passed to set a standard rate for appearances at various events for groups or organizations that request a display of cars. The rate was set at $25.00 per car, with a five car four hour minimum and $5.00 per car each additional hour. Back by popular demand is another bus trip to Sharon, PA. On November 27th at 9:00am a full bus leaves the Solon Commons. The first stop is the Christmas display and shopping at Kraynaks then on to Daffins Chocolate Factory for sweets and their chocolate wonderland display. . From there we move on to Quaker Steak and Lube for dinner. Before heading for home there is a shopping spree downtown at the clothing and shoe stores.

The art work for the first Solon Commons Cruise Nite T-shirts was approved at the December meeting. It features the front of Food Court with five Club cars on the front. A list of participating Solon Commons merchants are on the back. Shirts sell at $10 for club members and $12 for non-members.

We end the year with the annual Christmas party and a food collection for the Inter Church Council. The Club adds $300.00 cash. Ron Fox uses the money to purchase additional food for the needy.

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