For a few short days each year, the City of Mesquite is gripped by Motor Mania. Everywhere one goes, classic and specialty cars cruise the Boulevard, reminding us of times gone past. For us, who were fortunate to live in a more-simpler era Motor Mania makes us older folk feel good. Like a scene out of the movie ‘American Graffiti’ 100’s of classic cars display their power and sleekness as they are driven and shown by their owners in casino parking lots throughout Mesquite. Did I just see a glimpse of a blonde behind the wheels of a 57 T-Bird? My mind immediately goes to lyrics of a song by Ronnie Milsap, ‘Lost in the 50’s tonight’ as I drive the Boulevard with the radio turned up to the oldies. Will I see my first cars, a 47 Mercury coupe, a raked 51 Chevy with moon hubs or my first new car a 64 ½ Mustang in the Oasis, CasaBlanca, Virgin River or Eureka parking lots. I realized as I reached the old Oasis that my ride is still a monstrous Ford Exhibition and finding a parking spot is difficult.
Hundreds of classic car aficionados, young and old, oohed and awed as they saw their favorite rides being displayed. I could hear occasional words,” remember when we cruised in that model” or dragging main was cool” from gray haired individuals like myself. My mind drifted back to the San Francisco Bay Area town of Mountain View where I cruised the El Camino Real some 60 years ago looking for school friends. Kids don’t know how cool it was to go to Johnny Mac’s and Spivey’s drive in restaurants looking for chicks and showing off our rides. We communicated in those days face to face not on a smart phone. Our radios were tuned to KSAN and the precursor to Rock and Roll, the Sepia Serenade with hosts Don Barksdale and Bouncing Bill spinning our favorite disc.
Wow, back to reality as I and thousands of fellow car lovers walked the rows of vehicles admiring the hot rods, rat rods and classic cars representing almost 100 years of motorized travel. There were Cudas, Comets, Novas, Firebirds, Vettes, Nomads, T-Birds, Deuce Coups, three window coupes, Hornets, Mustangs and of course every American made car on the road even a BMC Mini. I stopped to talk to local resident Steve Clutterham standing in front of his original 1967 Dodge Coronet 500. While chatting, Kendall Wild of St. George Utah stepped up and said,” I have four Coronets of my own.” The Coronet was a family car not known for hot-roding around town so I asked, what makes this car so valuable? Simultaneously both answered,” It’s very rare making it more valuable than other cars of similar makes.”
Residents and visitors alike can thank the Las Vegas Cruising Association for bringing Motor Mania to Mesquite and the Eureka, CasaBlanca and Virgin River Casinos for providing venues for all to enjoy. The various events were entertaining, the food was good and the thousands of visitors were courteous. From a personal stand point, the only things lacking were a drive-in restaurant and a sock hop dance Friday night. Well we can dream can’t we?
*Check back later, as we will be posting the winners from the weekend as soon as they are made available*