1st big custom, classic car show in capital city planned for May

Posted: Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Stan Ridgeway wants to borrow your car - as long as it's old or cool.

Ridgeway is organizing what he's hopefully calling Juneau's First Annual Classic, Custom and Antique Auto and Cycle Show.

So far, he said, about 25 car owners have committed to displaying their vehicles May 11-12 at Centennial Hall to raise money for school activities, such as clubs, that don't have gate receipts of their own.

"I've always been kind of a car enthusiast," said Ridgeway, a Juneau School Board member. "Over the years in Juneau I've seen dozens of classic or collector cars maybe once or twice and then they go hibernate in garages."

Ridgeway has a restored 1941 Plymouth and a 1975 Volkswagen convertible, and he's turning a 1940 Ford truck into a "street rod," the term used for a modified, custom car or truck.

His vehicles give some idea of the categories in the show. In the car world, antiques are anything over 25 years old. Classics are cars of any age that have a cachet, such as the 1956 Thunderbird. And custom cars are standard vehicles, often older ones, that hobbyists have turned into something unique.

Among the more recent classics Ridgeway expects to be entered are two Plymouth Prowlers, a Dodge Viper, a Ferrari Spider and a Mercedes Compressor Coupe.

Steve Allwine, one of the owners of Mendenhall Auto Center, plans to enter a 1932 Plymouth, a 1994 Viper and a Prowler.

"Cars are one of the those things that will just make your heart go," he said. "I love the speed involved and I grew up around them. For me, it's a little like going back to my childhood."

Eric Simpson, a dentist, has a 1933 Dodge pickup, and his wife has a 1934 Chevy two-door sedan he made into street rods. He's been working on street rods for 15 years for recreation, he said. It can take two or three years to rebuild a car with a new chassis, frame, steering, brakes, transmission and engine.

"I've always sort of enjoyed taking something old and crummy-looking and making it look new and nice," Simpson said. "I kind of like the nostalgia of it."

The car show is sponsored by Dodge, the Mendenhall Auto Center and KINY/KSUP, Ridgeway said. Owners of cars and motorcycles who want to enter the show should call him at 789-1937.

Ridgeway said there will be awards in a variety of categories. "It's amazing how much money someone will spend on a car to get a $29 trophy."

Eric Fry can be reached at efry@juneauempire.com.

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