Transport yourself back to a simpler time: where people were friendlier, hemlines were higher, mom and pop hardware stores were as ubiquitous as Starbucks and McDonalds, soda was sold specially at the corner drug store, mother’s didn’t drive minivans (and didn’t need them), and even the ugly cars had more style than a GQ magazine. Sans seatbelts, naturally. But what fun would it be driving a car if there was no danger of having all of your teeth knocked out on the solid steel dashboard?
At the now annual Cruise Night, hosted by the Steelyard in Providence, motorheads, petro-junkies, and classic car aficionados joined together in celebration of automotive history. Fords, Dodges, Chevrolets, Plymouths and Buicks may have ruled the show in terms of numbers, but few cars matched the uniqueness or rareness of a 1955 BMW Isetta, (restored to?) perfect condition save for the fact that it only had three wheels, or the metallic mint green 1964 Buick Skylark convertible that was seen driving away from the Sac-O-Suds laundro… Oh. Wait. That was a plot line from My Cousin Vinny.
Sure, there was occasional 1980’s shitbox Ford Mustang, or the occasional 1994 Chevy 1500 pickup truck. But there was also a 1939 Ford Model A, a 1950’s Studebaker Silver Hawk, and a hydrogen fuel cell car built entirely by local high school science students. (If high school students can build one, what’s preventing major car manufacturers? Lookin’ at you, Honda.) While the hydro-car only gets an estimated 50-60 miles on a tank of hydrogen, that is more than enough for driving to and from work in Rhode Island – hell, even Boston is only 50 miles or so. And for just pennies, a tank of hydrogen is infinitely cheaper than a gallon of gasoline.
From hicks living way down in Westerly (I could probably count their total number of teeth on 2 hands), to hipsters, to tattooed muscle-building, wife-beater wearing garage heads; all types of people were represented. One woman, wearing little more than a skimpy halloween costume, high heels, stockings and tattoos sold raffle tickets. There was even a woman dressed for a Great Gatsby-esque ball – heavily powdered with makeup and complete with a knee-length, three-quarter-sleeved dress and a parasol (note: the weather on July 12th was anything but sunny).
With all of the testosterone and gasoline in the air, the only thing that would have made the night more manly were beer, and a visit from the Governator – and there were plenty of beer-drinkers.
Sure, the next Cruise Night might be a year away – but I, for one, will most definitely be returning to the Steel Yard. As for you, you have 365 days to prepare. So soup-up that 1991 Honda Civic, put an engine into your Radio Flyer, do whatever it takes – but do NOT miss the 2014 Steel Yard Cruise Night.
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