LOUDONVILLE - With an estimated 670 cars packed into a four-block area of Main and side streets, the village of Loudonville enjoyed one of its biggest and best car shows ever.
An annual event since 2000, save the 2020 closed date due to the coronavirus, the 2022 version was graced by nearly perfect summer weather, temperatures in the low 80s and bright sunny skies. Cars started rolling in to the show before 7 a.m., with streets filled by 10 a.m.
While the majority of the show cars were classics, Chevy Super Sports, Olds 442s, Firebirds, Corvettes and the like, a host of unique vehicles made the day interesting for the hundreds who walked the four-block show area between Spring and Union streets.
For instance, Rob Lenhart of Spencer brought his 1951 Chevy Car Hauler, with a 1949 Chevy Fast Track mounted on its back. Lenhart said his unusual vehicle was built specially to haul cars, a truck customized with an extended, wedge-shaped rear end designed so cars could drive right onto the back.
Lenhart said he still uses the hauler for its designed purpose, hauling cars, often bringing them to special events. He shows the hauler about a dozen times each car show season, and has brought it to the Loudonville show just about every year for the past 10.
Larry Hanna of Spencer brings one of his restored vehicles every year to the Loudonville Car Show
Larry Hanna, also of Spencer, brought a historic 1948 GMC pickup with a frame extended by 22 inches. He acquired his truck 22 years ago, pretty much restoring it from the ground up, a process that took nearly seven years, including 17 months in the body shop.
Hanna said he has restored several cars over the years, and his pride and joy is a 1977 Ford F-250 pickup. “I drive it almost every day and have put 147,000 miles on it, yet it still looks brand new.”
He says he brings one of his restored vehicles to the Loudonville show every year.
Dan and Carolyn Koprivic of Marshallville displayed their modified 1934 Ford Coup equipped with a 383 cubic inch Chevy Stroker engine.
“I’ve had it for four years, and we rebuilt it from the frame up,” he said. “This is my fourth restoration project. We show it whenever we can, almost every weekend, but this is the first time I’ve brought it to Loudonville.”
Also displaying a pickup was Allen Bush of Loudonville, who showed a 1970 Ford F-100 that he acquired three years ago.
“It was really rough when I got it, and I spent over two years restoring it," Bush said. "Before I got it, I heard that it had sat in the woods for a long time.”
Car shows are important for Bush, as he operates a vehicle restoration business, Al’s Restoration, in Loudonville. He has been in the restoration business since 1986.
Station wagons popular this year
Perhaps symbolic of a trend in the world of show cars was Mike Badger of Ashland’s 1955 Pontiac Chieftain 860, a repainted station wagon.
“I bought it four years ago from a guy who primarily built hot rods,” he said. “It was partially restored, but I finished it, the fourth vehicle that I have restored.”
Badger’s was one of seven station wagons at the Loudonville show, and he noted “station wagons have become a hot item in the car show world. Five years ago, you couldn’t give them away, but today lots of people are restoring them.”
Badger parked his green and white wagon with the driver’s side front window down and a car hop tray, complete with dinner and a drink mounted on the tray.
He said he shows the wagon almost every weekend, and will take it to the Good Guys Car Show in Columbus next weekend where it will be displayed along with an estimated 7,000 other cars.
A more traditional vehicle at the show was Mitch Sotak’s 1972 Dodge Demon.
“This has the look of a classic car, but actually was only in production for two years,” said Sotak, who also is from Spencer. “Dodge got a lot of criticism from religious groups about the name Demon, so in 1973 they changed the name to the Dart Sport. The Demon, and Dart Sport, were almost identical to the Plymouth Duster of the same era.
“Today, Dodge has come up with a new Demon, this one with a 700-horsepower engine,” he said.
Sotak said he brings a vehicle to the Loudonville Car Show every year.
Nissan Figaro one of the most unique vehicles at the Loudonville Car Show
In terms of uniqueness, perhaps the most unusual vehicle showed in Loudonville Saturday was the 1991 Nissan Figaro, which, according to owner James Coco of Medina, “is a Japanese car inspired by the Italian opera, and designed to resemble Italian cars. It was sold only in Japan, with just 20,000 manufactured, so few that it had to be sold by lottery.”
Coco said he purchased and had the Figaro imported to the U.S. in 2016, 25 years after it was built, as there was an import restriction on it prior to that time.
Tyler Manchester of Loudonville displayed a vehicle very much symbolic of Loudonville’s history, a 1950 Flxible Visicoach bus built in the community.
His father, Ron Manchester, acquired the coach to honor his parents, who both worked at the Flxible and actually met there before they were married. Tyler’s grandfather, also Ron Manchester, worked for the company for over 40 years.
The Visicoach was originally sold to the Boise-Winnemucca Stage line in northern Nevada and Idaho. Its original Detroit Diesel engine was replaced in 2011 by a rebuilt Caterpillar 1160 Diesel engine with a four-speed Allison transmission.
Loudonville Antique Festival, Lions Club chicken barbecue also take place
In addition to the car show, the Loudonville Antique Festival, which started Friday, continued Saturday, with a number of food vendors serving.
The Loudonville Lions Club also served its chicken barbecue starting at 11 a.m.
The car show, antique festival and fireworks shows are all sponsored by the Loudonville Chamber of Commerce.
This article originally appeared on Ashland Times Gazette: Loudonville Car Show enjoys nice weather, big crowd