As soon as his wife retires, Bud Bower dreams of hitting the road.
He’d like to drive Route 66, the famous highway that runs nearly 2,500 miles from Los Angeles to Chicago.
“I want to go the whole way,” said Bower, a retired barber from Albion. “I want to visit Cadillac Ranch, where the cars are buried. And I want to buy a sticker everywhere we stop.”
He doesn’t plan on renting a car to make the trip, though. If he goes he’ll travel in style – riding in the brilliant green 1953 Dodge Coronet he’s owned for 11 years.
Up to this point, Bower said, he’s only driven the car to various car shows around the region. That was the case Saturday, when he brought it to the Hot August Nights Show and Shine event on Lewiston’s Main Street.
Like many car owners who participated in the show – as well as those who came downtown to admire their vehicles – Bower has always loved classic cars.
“I remember getting the Sunday paper as a kid, poring over the used car ads looking for my dream car,” he said. “My uncle had a 1957 Plymouth Fury. When you stepped on the gas, it just bawled. I’d turn the radio off to listen to the carburetor.”
Galen Qualey of Moscow understands that sentiment. His dad had a car shop in Genesee during the ’70s and ’80s, so he grew up around engines.
“I had two cars before I had a driver’s license,” he said. “I’ve owned 30 or 40 cars total. When my dad passed away, I had to get rid of 11 cars.”
Qualey brought his shiny red 1967 Chevy Camaro SS to the Lewiston show. His wife parked her 1991 Camaro Z28 next to him.
Although he described himself as “pretty much a gearhead,” Qualey also saw his muscle car as a good investment.
“I’ve been offered twice what I paid for it,” he said. “I could put the money in the bank and not make that kind of interest.”
Whether purchased for love or money, there were plenty of classic cars and trucks on display Saturday. They extended for several blocks along Main Street, on both sides of the street. Hundreds of people strolled along, admiring all the handiwork.
“I just like looking at them,” said Joanne Deyo of Orofino, who stopped by with her husband, Mike. “I like the older style cars. They have character.”
Mike Deyo said he used to own a ’56 Chevy and ’69 Camaro.
“We didn’t realize (as kids) they were so cool, and they’ve gotten cooler with age,” he said. “With modern cars, the technology is amazing, but 50 years from now I don’t know that we’ll be having shows to admire them.”
But while he appreciates all the hours of work and expense that went into the classic cars that were on display Saturday, Deyo said there’s no danger he’ll go “over the edge” and start spending much money on them.
“I want them to run good, but I’m not going to put $10,000 into a paint job,” he said.
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