PILOT MOUNTAIN — Misty rain and temperatures in the low sixties put a bit of a damper on the first Hot Nights Hot Cars Cruise-In of 2016 which was held downtown Pilot Mountain on Saturday.
“We’re way off as far as attendance goes,” said event chair Jerry Venable. “But you know, I’m appreciative of the people that stayed. It’s been a good day even though it was damp.”
Venable estimated between 1,500 and 2,000 people came to the event, about one-third of what’s typical, and about 250 classic cars.
“I can’t complain,” he said. “I can control a lot of things but I can’t control the weather.”
Jeff Boles, owner of event sponsor Jeff’s Paint & Body Shop, brought the Classic Ride of the Month, a 1957 Chevy two-door hard top.
The owner of the restored Chevy, Jim Wheatley, unfortunately passed away a few days before the cruise-in.
“It meant the world to him,” said Boles, who met Wheatley when he brought the classic Chevy to Boles’ shop 18 years ago. The two men became friends and continued to restore the automobile together over the years.
“He was really excited to be down here with it,” said Boles, who discussed with family and friends the idea of bringing the car to the cruise-in.
“We figured that’s what he’d want,” he said.
“I think it was a great tribute to him and his wife,” Venable said. “I’m really thankful to Jeff Boles.”
Boles said Wheatley had owned the car for 30 years and emblazoned his deceased wife’s name on the windows, and had Boles apply a decal of an apple next to her name on the glove box door, reflective of her career as a teacher.
“He was just a special person,” Boles said.
While many of the classic cars had left early, Gary Brown, of Pilot Mountain, stuck around with his 1966 Ford Galaxy fast back.
“You did see all the cream puffs out earlier,” Brown said, explaining the term “trailer babies” referred to restored cars who are carried to events in a trailer rather than driven on roads.
“This is a driver,” he said, gesturing to his own car, which he’s in the process of restoring with his daughter, Lauren Brown.
“She wants to be driving this to high school,” Gary Brown said. “Those boys wouldn’t have nothing to say if she pulled up in this.”
The rain also didn’t deter the crowd gathered by the stage to dance and enjoy live music by Black Water Rhythm & Blues Band.
Dancing with her husband Mike, Kathy Mizerak, of Sparta, Virginia, was asked if the weather had affected her decision to attend. She said, “Almost, but no.”
“Almost, but no.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.