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Car Show Packs Them In
Gleaming with chrome and painted all the colors of the rainbow, both classic and new cars covered the grass at the Riverbank Community Park last Wednesday and drew more than the usual crowd for the Farmers Market event.

"We have a large group of Corvettes on the side lawn. We're packing them in. We'll soon have to start stacking the small cars on top of the large ones. I'm glad I brought a small car," announced the show's organizer Scott Pettit near the start.

The fifth annual Favorite Rides Car Show, hosted by Pettit's Black Belt Academy/Karate for Kids had approximately 100 vehicles on display at the June 23 market. Among new features this year, the winners were chosen by a vote of the entrants. Each entry was given a ballot and asked to vote for their favorite ride with the top five vote getters receiving trophies.

People's Choice awards went to Ken Rogers of Riverbank with his 2007 Corvette 206, Gary Magann of Oakdale with a 1930 Ford Model A and Louis Levin of Modesto with a 1952 MG TD.

The two top vote getters received Best of Show trophies. They were Cody Christensen of Modesto showing a 1996 Chevy SS El Camino and Dub Kyle of Modesto, though no information was available on his entry by press time.

Also new this year was a Best Club award sponsored by Riverbank Sno-White Drive In and this award went to the Central Valley British Car Club.

British car fans had a long line of sports cars like MGs, Triumphs and Morgans and even a humble Morris Minor family van parked along the east side of the community center and were more than willing to talk about their merits.

"It looks like fun to drive and it is," said Tom Payne from Ceres of his 1974 Triumph Spitfire 500. "It's easy to park and cheap on gas. My wife drove it to work for two years. I'm a Sunday driver and take it to shows and functions."

British Leland built all these sports cars but they stopped exporting to California in the 1980s because they couldn't meet its exhaust emission and safety standards, enthusiasts reported. Chrome bumpers, for instance, were changed to rubber and the British firm could not follow.

Levin talked about his canary yellow 1952 MG, a make instantly recognizable by its long, sweeping mudguards.

"I've made long trips in it, 200 to 300 miles. Can be uncomfortable. It's a harder suspension of course than an American car. It's not fast. About 55 mph tops. It's only a four cylinder, 1250cc engine. Sports cars like the TR 6, however, will go as fast as you want."

Showing a very different kind of car, Riverbank resident Carlos Torres had brought along his 1937 Chevy that he uses as a family car. Remarkable for its high, vertical Parker radiator grill and square Beluga trunk at the rear, this model has been fitted with electronically operated doors and windows, a digital dash and other refinements.

"I just like the way it looks. Those 1930s vehicles had character," said Torres, who bought it five years ago.

Speaking of costs, Torres reckoned he's put around $16,000 into restoring his Chevy.

"But that's nothing," he added. "Owners regularly pour $25,000, $40,000 or even $50,000 into their vehicles.

"If you see a car with small chips in the paintwork, you know they drive it pretty often. If it's without a mark on it, they keep it at home," he added.