Colorful collection of classics
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
May 10, 2013 | 3149 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Classic cars on display
Harlan Sutton wipes down the door of his 1967 Pontiac GTO that he restored in 2002, for display at the Tracy Clutch Burners 23rd annual Picnic in the Park car show at Dr. Powers Park on Saturday, May 4.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Shining chrome and a spectrum of colors were on display at the 23rd annual Picnic in the Park car show at Dr. Powers Park on Saturday, May 4.

More than 300 vehicles from the 1920s to 1972 filled the community park at the corner of Tracy Boulevard and Lowell Avenue during the show hosted by the Tracy Clutch Burners car club.

According to former Tracy Clutch Burners President Bill Jeffery, the event — which donates proceeds to San Joaquin Hospice and Tracy Interfaith Ministries — is popular among car owners because of the park atmosphere and the variety of activities offered throughout the day.

“We’ve got raffles, good food — we try to make it so they have something more to do than just sit around,” he said. “The owners like the show and the park. Not too many (car shows) have a park. “

Jeffery said the Picnic in the Park is one of the oldest car shows in the Central Valley. It has featured a tremendous variety of classic and vintage makes and models over the years, including many from across California and even outside the state.

The show Saturday was no different, though Jeffery has noticed older cars have become scarcer as collectors change their focus.

“A lot of the older cars are fading away,” he said. “You see more (from the) ’50s and ’60s. They want what they grew up with — Camaros, Chevelles and Mustangs — that’s their era. That’s what their parents had.”

Chris Guidera and her husband from Modesto were showing off an older classic — a pink 1932 Ford convertible with flames on the hood. While she has attended the show for several years with a group of friends, Saturday was her first visit as an owner.

“My husband wanted a car for 10 to 15 years, so we decided to do it before our kids spent all of our money,” she said. “This is our fun, our toy.”

Guidera’s husband, Pat, said buying the Ford was destiny. He had taken pictures of cars at many different shows and displayed them in his garage — but he only gradually realized he had photographed that particular car at three different shows.

“I think it was trying to tell me, ‘Take me home with you,’” he said.

Danny Holmes, of Riverbank, beamed with pride as he stood next to the car that was featured on his T-shirt, a 1933 Ford he built from the frame up. He said the fender-to-fender project took more than two years to complete.

“You fix a car because you like it and you want to show it off,” he said. “I drive it all the time.”

Pushing his 2-year-old son, Elio, in a toy car made out of an old fire engine frame, Tony Cardona said he wanted to teach the child about cars.

“I’ve been into hot rods since as far as I can remember,” the Tracy resident said. “I have a couple of cars, a ’59 Studebaker and a ’67 Chevy truck. Even if he doesn’t like it, he can learn to work on it.”

The event started at 8 a.m. and wrapped up around 2:15 p.m. with an awards ceremony.

Carole Compton, of Livermore, won top honors as the President’s Award winner for her 1940 Deluxe Coupe.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “This is probably my second or third time out in the car. I’m proud of my car. I like it when somebody else likes it, too.”

Jeffery said it will be a couple of months before the Clutch Burners know how much money the show raised for charity.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or

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