The owners of 700 to 800 vintage vehicles offered a glimpse of history and a stroll down memory lane on Saturday by filling Altoona's downtown streets and parking lots with pride.
After the 94th annual Labor Day parade concluded, the Blair County Antique Car Club took over the downtown and directed drivers to locations from 10th Avenue to 12th Avenue, between 12th and 15th Streets.
By mid-afternoon, hundreds of recently-waxed shiny examples of transportation, some with hoods raised, some with tops down, most with impeccable interiors, were parked and available for viewing.
Mirror photos by Gary M. Baranec
Casey Phillips, 10, of Duncansville loved the exterior color of Joe Lubert’s 1957 Chevy Bel Air and couldn’t resist checking out the interior of the car also. Lubert is from Roaring Spring and only recently completed the car’s total restoration.
"I started this Cruise-In six years ago," club organizer Rick Spielvogle of Duncansville said. "It was a hard struggle at times, but it has worked out well."
About 25 members of the club, along with Altoona police officers, fire police and firefighters assisted with traffic detours and related tasks for the event which attracted a steady stream of patrons.
Fred and Christina Nyiri of Altoona rode their bicycles to the show, providing them with easy access to see as many vehicles as possible.
"I just enjoy looking at them," Fred Nyiri of Altoona said. "I'd like to get into the hobby, but it's the money."
"It's a fun and a frustrating hobby," Travis Hillard of Wehnwood said as he and his wife, Dawn, walked along Eleventh Avenue. The couple own a 1955 panel truck that wasn't ready for this year's show.
"That's why I said frustrating, because of how bad it was running the other day," Travis Hillard said.
"Most people buy old cars and restore them," said Al Reimer of Juniata who brought his 1968 Chrysler Newport to the show. "I just happened to luck out."
His vehicle, with 2,700 miles and no visible imperfections in its shiny white paint, spent most of its life in storage before he purchased it a couple of years ago.
"When people go by, I'll hear them say: "Oh, my dad had one like that," Reimer said.
Altoona business owner Leonard Fiore transported 21 restored cars to the show, including six that have won North American championship titles. Fiore said he got into the hobby in 1975 when he bought the 1965 Jaguar XKE that was among those on display.
"As it is, this is a great car event," Fiore said. "And it's draw because there's no judging here. Some people don't like to have their cars judged."
Walter Zapotoczny, who owns Zap's Auto Repair shop at 1811 13th Ave., said he enjoys vehicle restoration work on the side and spent two years working on the Ford Thunderbird he drove to the show.
"It's a nice day to be out," Zapotoczny said.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.