Rumbling into town this past Thursday, the summer celebration of the iconic George Lucas film, American Graffiti, made a stop in Riverbank. Car buffs showed off classic cars, hot rods, trucks and the occasional motorcycle in the parking lot between Cool Hand Luke’s and the Galaxy Theatres along Patterson Road in Riverbank. Crowds of young and old, car owners and those who just appreciate cars, all jammed the row upon row of vehicles lined up for their review on June 8.
Fords, Chevys and other well-known manufacturers were represented, in classic cars lovingly restored, or “rod-ded out” with equal amounts of affection. There were vehicles that are remembered by most for their rich history, and some known by only a few.
One from the latter category, a 1929 Graham Brothers delivery truck, might be the last one of its kind, according to an article in Classic magazine. As it appeared in Riverbank, the stake bed truck has been lovingly restored to its off the assembly line condition by its current owners.
On the other end of the spectrum were what some consider ‘Rat Rods.’ They are vehicles that are still under construction but still displayed by their owners. Many are on four wheels, with perhaps just the motor restored or customized. The rest, as some say, are ‘in production,’ still waiting for a paint job, interior work, or other restoration/customization details.
Another display showed off a three wheeled, two passenger motorcycle.
Before coming to Riverbank last week, the Graffiti Summer car shows, sponsored by the Mid-Valley Chevy Club, started in Modesto on Sunday through Wednesday, and Friday saw the annual classic car parade in downtown Modesto, hosted by the Kiwanis Club. It was followed by a cruise-in, also downtown in Mo’town.
The American Graffiti Car Show and Festival moved to the Modesto Municipal Golf Course for this past Saturday and Sunday. More activities continue through the month.
The movie American Graffiti was based on Lucas’s own teenage years, growing up in early 1960s. Set in Modesto in 1962, the film is said to be a study of cruising and rock and roll cultures popular among post-World War II baby boomers.
Since it was first released, it is estimated to have earned $200 million in box office gross and home video sales, not including merchandising.
In 1995, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.