For a change, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base community focused on automobiles instead of aircraft.
The 3rd annual Charity Cruise-in, with vehicle registration monies benefiting the 2016 Miami Valley Combined Federal Campaign, was held Sept. 29 in the base’s Area B. Hosted by the Association of Old Crows, Kittyhawk Chapter, with support from the Wright-Patt Junior Force Council and the Association of Graduates of the United States Air Force Academy, the cruise-in showed off about 20 cars and trucks. Food trucks nearby added to the festivities. More than $260 was raised for the CFC.
David Diaz has been one of the event’s organizers since its beginnings. He said he wanted to thank the vehicle owners for caring and braving the less-than-ideal weather conditions. He showed off his own black Audi, complete with Superman-themed plates.
Col. Raymond Otto, MVCFC’s vice-chair, brought his 1973 Volkswagen Thing Type 181 convertible. The Thing had been in a barn for 12 years but is now up and running.
“We’re having fun and fixing it as we go – one rust hole at a time,” Otto said. “This is our ‘weekend, enjoy-the-weather-and-look-at-the-fall-colors’ car.”
Some key vehicles at the show were:
- 1955 Volkswagen Type I/Beetle owned since 2004 by Joe Schmidt, who purchased the car when he was stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. “There are a lot of parts available and it seemed like an easy project. But you pretty quickly learn that there are no cheap hobbies,” he said.
- Superlite Coupe kit car still under construction by Pete Ballentine. It has an all-aluminum chassis and a fiberglas body. Weighing about 2,500 pounds, it has 480 horsepower. Ballentine takes her to car shows, auto cross and the track. His kids love it but his wife is not crazy about it – it makes her somewhat claustrophobic, he said.
- 1992 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon with seating for eight, including a rear-facing seat, owned by Tad Williams, who said, “I’ve always had a soft spot for Oldsmobiles.” He purchased the car from the parents of a friend. He likes to take it to shows and drive it when the weather is nice. He gets all kinds of reactions from people when they see it. “It’s just fun. My wife has a dog training business and sometimes we need to haul all three dogs. When you put the seats down, it has more floor space than my truck does,” Williams said.
- 1956 Ford F-100 pickup owned by Dana Springer, who purchased the truck when its builder passed away so he could continue his friend’s legacy. It has a 351 Ford engine with automatic overdrive transmission, a 1977 Plymouth Volare front suspension with disc brakes, a wood bed and a Dodge front bumper.
- 2016 Ford Focus RS in Nitrous Blue, owned by Raymund Garcia. He just took delivery of the 350-hp hot-hatch a month ago after waiting for six months. “I go from zero to 60 (mph) really fast,” he said. “My wife doesn’t like the ride because she says it’s too harsh, but my 10-year-old son loves it.”
- 1970 Pontiac GTO owned for 30 years by Darren Carrier. It was the first car he bought himself and was in terrible shape. It finally got a top-quality paint job applied last fall, including pinstriping by local legend Don Boeke of The Egyptian Body Shop. Carrier said the car won “Top GTO Pick” at the Goodguys Nationals show in Columbus this summer, second place in Kettering’s Holiday at Home show on Labor Day and first place at the Beavercreek Popcorn Festival on Sept. 11. The car’s name is Elizabeth. “We’ve had a long-term relationship; she’s my girl. It doesn’t hurt that it’s the wife’s middle name. It makes me happy to drive it. It’s mental therapy.”
- 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28 owned by Carl Borsani, who owns an ASE certification practice testing business for automotive technicians. He has owned the Z-28 for 15 years and has done both light and major restorations. Borsani’s wife nicknamed the car “Jolene” because “she’s the one who stole her man,” he said. He’s driven her about 20,000 miles. “I get a smile every time I get her out.”