Durango’s love affair with nostalgia moved into the automobile age Saturday as nearly 300 vehicles from Model T Fords to modern sports cars revved for attention at the 2013 Durango Motor Expo on Main Avenue.
Steve Wylie, who until this year had been president of the Durango Old Car Club for 20 years, said, “Everybody enjoys the show for some reason,” whether it’s seeing an old car they once had or dreaming of owning a classic or modern mechanical marvel.
He also said that it was for a good cause because revenues from entry fees, silent-auction winning bids and other sources go to Hospice of Mercy, which provides a variety of care for patients who want to remain at home at the end of their lives.
Among this year’s entries was a 1936 Diamond T school bus owned by John and Lorene Miles of Bloomfield, N.M. The bus now is essentially a camper that has logged more than 100,000 miles since being restored, John Miles said.
“We found it up on a mountain in Vernal (Utah) ... and traded a pair of headlights to the people who had the title,” Lorene Miles said.
John Miles said they found the bus, now nicknamed “Classy 36,” while hunting, and it obviously had been used at a cow or hunting camp, including once having a wood stove in it.
The Mileses previously had restored a 1936 Diamond T pickup. John Miles was a mechanic with his own shop until he retired. It was mostly restored while the couple still lived in Vernal, but, like most restorations, the work never ends.
The bus wasn’t the only large vehicle on display. Two big-rig truck tractors were in the show, including a 1959 International Westcoaster owned by Randy Flaherty of Aztec.
Scott and Susie Callaghan of Durango brought a black 1970 Mach 1 Mustang fastback and a 1966 Ford Country Squire station wagon with restored imitation wood paneling.
Callaghan said he “always loved the Squire” and bought it from a friend of his.
Durangoan Steve Sency showed his restored and tricked-out 1977 Toyota Land Cruiser, which now has a rooftop tent that requires a ladder to access, two drinking-water reservoirs with a foot pump and lots of other camp-friendly conveniences.
“I can stay in the backcountry six days, seven days,” he told a curious couple.
John and Leslie White of Farmington proudly showed off their restored 1939 Chevrolet Sedan delivery vehicle.
“I bought it from a guy in Farmington nine years ago,” John White said.
It originally was green, but White two-toned it in cream and metallic red, then nicknamed it “Lil’ Red.”
“I’ve always been a car guy,” he said.
High-end cars also were represented, with the likes of Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, Pantera, BMW, Ferrari and others getting their share of attention.
More than cool cars
While the vintage and specialty cars took up much of Main Avenue, several blocks were reserved Saturday for the Durango Discovery Museum’s ninth annual Daddy Fest. The event is a celebration of fathers and children and raised money for a variety of museum programs.
Daddy Fest supports the museum’s operations and activities, including Discovery Kids early-childhood play and learning center, Sudden Science after-school science clubs, Camp Discovery summer science camps and the Solar Roller + Portable Plant mobile discovery lab.
Among Saturday’s family-friendly opportunities was live music from Grupo Ruitmo, Flume Canyon, Jazz Sermon, Papa Otis and The Messers. Participants also partook in food and drink, a beer garden, a MicroGolf course, the Wet Zone and Dunk Tank, face painting, panning for gold and a strider course for young cyclists.