The Highway 80 Progressive Car Cruise
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Before the sun swept away the darkness that enveloped East Texas with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees and well before the song birds broke their silence, classic car lovers from across north and east Texas, as well as from Louisiana and Arkansas, began their journey to Wills Point.
The first dozen of what would be more than 200 cars, were in place as the sun rose over the tiny railroad community, Elvis was in the house… or at least a good impersonator was singing and dancing with early arrivals as the early trickle of vehicles turned into a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam of sorts.
An Amphicar mixed and mingled with a 1939 Chevrolet Master Deluxe and a Cobra Street Rod held court with Shelby Mustangs and a Silverado pickup.
There were some cars being shined to a high gloss while nearby spectators got to see what these vintage vehicles can really look like in their rusted-out state.
A Wayfarer with fluid drive didn’t have a hood and the rust involved with what it did have allowed one to wonder what it might look like in another year or two.
Among the classic wanna-be types sat a rather regal Packard, another of the early arrivals, and by 8 a.m. the cars were triple parked along two streets and the parking lot behind the local chamber of commerce was filled.
A 1931 Ford had a “Repeal Prohibition” sticker on it and not far away a 1950 Ford truck once used by the U.S. Postal Service sat waiting to begin the trip. While the paint job was cracked, befitting a vehicle that had been found simply abandoned in a pasture, the inside had leather seats, air conditioning, power steering and cruise control.
For one vehicle the question was simply, “what kind of car is this?” And the answer was, “it’s actually eight different vehicles.”
Then there was the “one owner” 1936 Ford, “three window coupe,” and Bob Smith emphasized the “three window coupe” while laughing at the thought of it being a one owner vehicle.
Before the day would end in Gladewater many hours and some 80 miles later, the vehicles first covered the distance from Wills Point to Grand Saline for a break and then on to Mineola for another car show that played out before a large sun-drenched crowd with blues music for entertainment.
One planner called the first-ever event “phenomenal” and another said they’d do it again… “but hopefully on a cooler day.”