East Valley club to host car show fundraiser Dec. 12

 

Queen Creek residents Bob Jackson, left, and Rod Downs with Mr. Downs’ 1940 Ford convertible. Among the car clubs the men belong to is the East Valley Senior Rodders. (Courtesy of Bob Jackson)

Queen Creek residents Bob Jackson, left, and Rod Downs with Mr. Downs’ 1940 Ford convertible. Among the car clubs the men belong to is the East Valley Senior Rodders. (Courtesy of Bob Jackson)

Visitors to The Mirage Sports Grill on any given Wednesday morning can find a sort of mini car show of classic cars and trucks in the restaurant’s parking lot. The souped-up, super-shined and under-construction vehicles belong to members of the East Valley Senior Rodders, a social organization for men from Queen Creek, Mesa, Apache Junction and other nearby communities who live and breathe cars.

Members meet at 9 a.m. Wednesdays in the back room of the sports grill, 725 W. Apache Trail in Apache Junction. Most of the active membership — which soars from 25 during the summer to nearly 500 during the winter — drive their vintage vehicles to the meetings, creating a display of cars and trucks in a wide variety of colors, models and sizes in the parking lot for people to enjoy, member Don Meacham said during an interview.

Now, the social club is expanding its display of classic vehicles by holding a car and truck show, which will take place 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, in the southeast parking lot of Apache Junction High School, 2525 S. Ironwood Drive, Mr. Meacham said.

The rodders hope to raise $3,000 through food sales, auctions and vehicle entry fees to benefit the Apache Junction Food Bank, 575 N. Idaho Road, No. 701. It is the club’s first fundraiser show for the food bank, Mr. Meacham said.

The EV Senior Rodders have a history of donating to local nonprofits, contributing about $10,000 this year. Last month, Queen Creek residents and club members Bob Jackson and Rod Downs presented the Senior Rodders with a check for $300 from another car club to which they belong — the Over the Hill Gang, Scottsdale chapter. The money is to be used to purchase Christmas presents for area chldren, Mr. Jackson said during an interview.

The money the rodders distribute includes proceeds from the organization’s weekly 50/50 drawings and individual donations by the members, Mr. Meacham said.

Vehicle entry fees are $10 each in advance and $15 at the show. Awards will be given in the following categories: coolest car, fastest car, neatest bike, best truck, best rat rod and best Christmas decorated vehicle. All pre-entered vehicles will be eligible for a special drawing, and all entrants will receive a free dash plaque.

Activities include a silent auction of car parts, a 50/50 drawing, a 21 wheel, bingo and valve cover races. The latter is similar to the Boy Scouts of America Pinewood Derby, in which non-motorized, model cars made from wood are pulled by gravity down an incline, but it features a valve cover from an automotive engine to which a chassis, wheels and weights have been added, Mr. Meacham said.

Show organizers ask spectators to bring cans of non-perishable food for their admission fee.

A possible contender for the show’s best rat rod award is William Cathcart’s 1950 Willys pick-up truck. Rat rods are generally assembled from the parts of a variety of other vehicles; rodauthority.com calls them “highly exaggerated versions of 1950’s style Jalopy hot rods.”

Mr. Cathcart, an EV Senior Rodders member who lives in Apache Junction, spent three months customizing his rat rod, named “Willy’s Rat.” It includes the engine from a 1966 Chevrolet, the bed from a 1955 Ford pickup truck, the back frame of a 1983 Chevy truck and the front frame of a 1923 T-Bucket hot rod, he said.

Bob Towne of Mesa performed all the mechanical work and electrical wiring on his 1937 Ford Slant Back. He has driven the brightly colored vehicle from ocean to ocean, he said. (Wendy Miller/Independent Newspapers)

Bob Towne of Mesa performed all the mechanical work and electrical wiring on his 1937 Ford Slant Back. He has driven the brightly colored vehicle from ocean to ocean, he said. (Wendy Miller/Independent Newspapers)

Bob Towne of Mesa has been a club member for about one and a half years. His 1937 Ford Slant Back sedan, which he’s driven from ocean to ocean, has already won many awards thanks to hundreds of hours of body work over about six years, he said during an interview. The chassis is custom-built and he did all the mechanical and electrical wiring, he said.

Outwardly, the car is a standout for its vibrant paint job. The color is PPG Lamborghini Tangerine Orange, a specialty paint that cost $1,000 a gallon, Mr. Towne said.

East Valley Senior Rodders members can be any age. The club is so informal there are no officers and members are not pressured to attend every week, he said.

“We’re just a bunch of guys who like to get together and talk cars and such,” Mr. Meacham said.

Mr. Meacham hopes people from all over the east Valley will attend and in doing so, help the rodders help the local food bank.

“We want to do something for the community,” Mr. Meacham said. “We obviously have money; these cars aren’t cheap. This will be a fun way to raise money while visiting with fellow car enthusiasts.”

To register a vehicle for the show, call Mr. Meacham at 775-722-7271, Bob at 925-989-9889 or Tom at 231-499-7618.

Editor’s note: Mr. Meacham’s phone number has been changed since it was first published in the Independent. The new phone number is included here.

News Editor Wendy Miller can be contacted at 480-982-7799 and via e-mail at qcnews@newszap.com, or follow her on Twitter @WendyNewszap123.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.