Engines roared and revved, the smell of burning gas floated through the air as owners of Corvettes, Mustangs, Pontiacs, Jeeps and more met up to enjoy a classic American pastime.
It was a walk through history as vehicles throughout the ages filled the parking lot of Ne-Mar Center Friday for Cruise Night.
Claremore Cruise Night kicked off its second season and will continue at 7 p.m. every Friday.
“I want everyone to know how important it is to promote a positive environment for everyone to enjoy the car hobby and promote our home town,” event organizer Tim Taylor said. “Young and old are welcome. We all have a passion for our cars and trucks. There isn’t an era or style that is not welcome.”
Although everyone is welcome, there are rules, which include respecting the location, cleaning up after yourself, respecting the businesses, no burnouts in the parking lot and only a little revving here and there.
“No one cares to hear it,” he said. “If your car is special we will already know, no need to show us.”
Taylor said Claremore Cruise Night began last year when the pandemic began shutting down events.
“The pandemic had shut down all of the large car events all over the US, not just in our area,” he said. “Car enthusiasts were just ready to get out and enjoy their hobby. An outdoor event was a perfect way to do that.”
Taylor said Robert Melton gave him the idea to start the cruise night.
“He knew how much I loved the cars and the idea,” Taylor said. “Claremore is known for its cruising. People remember how it was years ago. I graduated in 1988. My wife — then girlfriend — and I cruised Claremore.”
Taylor recruited fellow car collector Tayna Mank to help get the event up and going last year.
“The response was amazing,” Taylor said. “The turnout ranged between 30-125 cars. The cruise is Friday night, so Football and other important events effect the turnout. Our biggest event was the Hot Rod Trunk or Treat. I can’t wait to do that again.”
Taylor said although his passion is older cars and trucks, it’s the people he looks forward to seeing.
“Hearing about their cars and the passion that went into building them,” he said. “I was really excited to see one of the first C8 Corvette show up at our cruise. And the 1958 Napco Apache was amazing.”
Mark Hanson brought a 1943 WC54 Dodge Ambulance that he found in Elizabeth, CO.
“I started with almost nothing,” he said.
Hanson said he bought the hull and put over 1,000 hours into it.
“Almost everything on it is new,” he said.
Hanson said he put in a new drive train, new engine, new glass, etc.
Jack Petitt brought a 1957 Pontiac Star Chief to the cruise night.
Petitt said he’s had the car for 27 years.
“It wasn’t like this when I got it,” he said.
Petitt said it took weeks to take it apart and a year to put it pack together.
“The backyard looked like a bomb went off,” he said.
Petitt was 8 when his dad bought a Pontiac Star Chief and they drove from Long Beach, CA to New York City.
“We came down Route 66,” he said.
Petitt said he’s from Long Beach but recently moved to Claremore to be close to family.
“You never know where you’re going to end up,” he said.
Taylor said this free event has made an impact on Claremore.
“People are running here and there to eat during the event or running to the parts stores for items needed to keep these Classics in top shape,” he said. “I eat somewhere before the event every Friday and always run into cruisers.”
One event that Taylor said he’s looking forward to is the first cruise night in April.
“April 2nd we are going to have a Chip Foose original ‘The HemisFear,’” he said. “The car is one of five. Tayna and Steve will have the car in the area and have offered to bring it for everyone to see.”