Hot wheels to go on display Friday

Proceeds from car show help support JDHS activities fund

Posted: Thursday, May 05, 2005

It's taken Stan Ridgeway five years to turn a drab, rusty 1940 Ford half-ton pickup into a fire-engine red street rod with painted flames on the hood and a "HOT 40" license plate.

Just in time for the fifth annual Classic, Custom, and Antique Auto and Cycle Show on Friday and Saturday at Centennial Hall. Proceeds benefit the Juneau-Douglas High School activities fund and vocational scholarships.

Car enthusiast Ridgeway, who is a Juneau Assembly member, originated the local car show. He rented the hall for the first one with a personal check after attending a show near Phoenix, Ariz.

"I got a brainstorm of having a car show in Juneau because I kept seeing all these great cars come out on sunny days," Ridgeway said Wednesday as he brushed nearly invisible specks of dust from his truck.

Today the show is sponsored by the Juneau Dipsticks, a car club, and a number of businesses, which give cash prizes and door prizes. Attendees vote for the $500 Best of Show Award, funded by Bear Body Works.

The show attracts 1,500 to 1,800 viewers, and has garnered $28,000 for the high school, Ridgeway said.

The show is always held on Mother's Day weekend - but not on Sunday.

"Even a bunch of dipsticks knows that Sunday is Mother's Day and you can't have a car show that day," Ridgeway said.

This year's show has a 1950s theme, reflecting the era when street rods and hot rods came into being, although all sorts of cars and motorcycles will be displayed.

Among the exhibits will be 1959 and 1964 Ford Thunderbirds, a 1954 MG, a 1941 Chevy pickup, a 1954 Jaguar, and a 1955 Chevy sedan delivery vehicle.

The show features for children three tracks of slot cars, four soap box derby kits as door prizes, and a coloring contest.

A dance will be held from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Hall. Admission is $3 for those with car-show tickets, and $5 otherwise. But it wouldn't be a car show dance without a car. The DJ, Dennis Burri of Oregon, will work out of his 1933 Ford roadster.

5th annual car show

what: classic, custom, and antique auto and cycle show

where: centennial hall

when: 5-9 p.m. friday; 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. saturday.

admission: $5.

proceeds: benefit the juneau-douglas high school activities fund and vocational scholarships.

For Ridgeway, working on cars is a labor of love, but he admits to spending at least $50,000 on his 1940 Ford truck.

"It was in terrible shape," Ridgeway said.

The truck needed a new bed. The car's frame was sandblasted and painted, and it received a modern Ford front end with rack and pinion power steering. Part of the body was fabricated.

Ridgeway took off two inches of the cab's height to give it a sleeker look. All the chrome was "shaved" off, also for looks.

The idea wasn't to restore the truck, but to create a street rod. It has power windows, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, leather seats and no door handles. You need an electronic device to open the doors.

Under the hood is a very clean Chevrolet small block engine. It's a running joke that you hardly ever see a Ford engine in a Ford body at the shows, Ridgeway said.

Local resident Josh Anderson did a lot of the fabrication and painted the flames on the hood freehand with an air brush, Ridgeway said.

"I've always been a car enthusiast," Ridgeway said.

He drove his dad's 1941 Plymouth sedan in high school in the 1960s, and has since restored it.

"Working on a car is not a chore to me," he said. "It's a release, relaxation. My wife might differ with me on that when I'm frustrated with something."

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