Rain stops letting old cars strut their stuff at Mayfield’s Annual Cruise Night

Mayfield, Ohio – This year’s annual Mayfield Village cruise night – which was more like a late afternoon cruise due to its new time being 3-7 pm – was threatened by rain but to put the car owners and attendees off, a few fell Sprinkles only, allowing the fun to continue.

The threat of rain on Saturday (11 June) seemed to keep some car owners away. However, hundreds brought their classic cars to drive around and show off a little, much to the delight of hundreds of attendees.

“I don’t mind if the car got wet,” said Mayfield driver Victor Leers, who was present with his wife Linda, and owner of the Pontiac Bonneville 421 TRL convertible. “I just don’t like driving in the rain. That’s when the car gets really dirty. Plus, we didn’t have to go very far.

Sal and Lisa Chuba, of South Euclid, and their 1961 Ford F100 pickup truck.

Linda Lears owned Bonneville for 20 years, after she bought it from a Westlake guy she met at a Michigan auto show. Finding the car was the culmination of a long search.

“I had a red 1966 Bonneville convertible when I was in high school and loved that car,” she said. “I always wanted another one. I drove that (red) until 1977.”

Lerz attends many area auto shows, including weekly events at Annabelle’s Drive-In in Mentor on Saturday, Eastlake’s Boulevard of Flags on Thursday, and weekly shows in Painesville and Burton. They are members of the Pontiac Club and are looking forward to the June 26 show All Pontiac and Orphan to be held at Chili’s Restaurant at 6652 Macedonia Commons. Orphans are cars that are no longer made, such as Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Mercury.

“We’re at that show every year,” Linda said of Mayfield Cruise Night. “It’s a great show because they let you ride (on Wilson Mills Road).”

The classic car for Victor Lears, formerly the owner of a Ford 65 Thunderbird, was the 1993 Cadillac Alante.

John Smithson of Mentor on the Lake in his Chevy '37

John Smithson, Mentor on the Lake and his 1937 Chevy.

Pretty much every classic car owner has a story that goes with their car. For example, Sal Chupa, of South Euclid, and his wife, Lisa, in the afternoon, sat in front of their 1961 Ford F-100 pickup truck. As most of them were reviewing the cars, Sal Chupa said, “I’m a truck guy. I’ve been a truck driver.” all my adult life.”

Why a Ford ’61 pickup? “This is the kind of truck I drove (in the early ’60s) when I was working for Marshall Ford (formerly in Mayfield Heights),” said Sal.

For John Smithson of Mentor on the Lake, who was found sitting behind the wheel of a 1937 Chevrolet with its original compact engine, the story of how he got hold of the car was simple. “It was a good buy,” he said of the car he’s owned for three years.

Ed Marks and his 69 Cougar

Ed Marks, of Aurora, shows his 1969 Mercury Cougar during Mayfield’s annual Cruise Night.

Smithson, like Sal Chuppa with his pickup truck, added an automatic transmission to his old Chevy. Like many collectors, Smithson said the ’37 Chevy’s isn’t his only classic. He’s in the process of working on the latest Chevy model in his house, the 1965 Impala.

Ed Marks, of Aurora, spent part of an afternoon scanning the black leather interior of his glossy blue 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible. “I have a Model 68 Cougar too,” Marks said while working. “It’s the color of frost lime (color).” He also recently sold a Cougar.

Cougar from the late ’60s and early ’70s is a unique looking car that features headlights hidden behind a grill resembling a shark’s smile.

“This car was all over the country before I bought it from a guy in Mansfield,” Marks said. “She had several owners. But it was originally purchased from, I believe, Wake Lincoln Mercury in East Cleveland.”

Mark’s Cougar was one of four parked near the village’s Civic Center Square. On the flip side was a 1970 model that belonged to his brother, John Marks, of Northfield.

Victor and Linda Leers on Cruise Night

Victor and Linda Leers stand next to Linda’s dream car, her 1966 Pontiac Bonneville convertible, which features factory air conditioning and eight-lug wheels.

“His car is rare,” Ed Marks said of his brother’s car. “It’s a four-speed Cobra Jet. This is one of only 35 (made). It’s been heavily modified with four-wheel disc brakes (and other things). It’s said there’s $35,000 in the engine alone. He just bought it, though ( He didn’t put $35,000 in) the engine. He got a remarkable deal. There’s probably more than $150,000 in that car. He didn’t pay anywhere near that. The car is from California. (Former owner) made all the modifications” .

Joe Guzik, of South Euclid, who makes the Mayfield Cruise Night scene with his son and grandchildren every year, vintage cars and Cruise Night are family affairs. He owns seven vintage cars, which he is working to restore with his son Chris of Richmond Heights.

Night Cruise Mayfield

Spectators watch a parade of classic cars along Wilson Mills Road on the Night of the Mayfield Cruise.

“I’ve had it since 2009,” Jozek said of his car and Chris’ 1956 Chevy Bel-Air Convertible on display on Saturday. “It was a basket case and my son and I fully restored it. We did all the work ourselves. It took about eight years. This has a VA 265 engine.” Original engine. Everything on it is original, but it has been restored.”

While the cars are the main attraction at Cruise Night, there’s plenty more to do – music provided by three live bands, DJs, games for kids, and an all-out festive atmosphere. As is the case every year, attendees sit on folding chairs facing Wilson Mills Road to chat and watch the cars drive past.

Mayfield Cruise Night T-Shirt

Wendy Samuel, Mentor, left, who said she attends an annual Mayfield Cruise Night, and Debbie Garbo, executive assistant managing the Mayfield Village Building, and Cruise Knight volunteer, at the event’s T-shirt stand.

It’s the cars and the mobile museums, of sorts, that keep people coming back for Cruise Night every year. Were it not for those who put their hearts and souls into these machines and made them available for all to see, much of America’s past would be lost.

Upcoming cruises in the other area can be found here. Below is a sample, several per week:

• Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria Drive in Valley City, 4-8pm on Monday (13 June)

• Weekly drive-in cruise in downtown Cuyahoga Falls, 4-8pm Monday through September 19

• Weekly summer ice cream social ride at Mootown Creamery, 437 W. Bagley Road in Berea, 5-8 p.m. Tuesday through September 6, weather permitting

• Solon Tuesday Nights Cruisin the Commons, 6200 Enterprise Parkway in Solon, 5-8pm Tuesdays through September 27

• South Town Cruise-In, 233 Lafayette Rd in Medina, 4-9pm Wednesday through October 12

• Slim and Chubby’s Strongsville Cruise-In, 12492 Prospect Road in Strongsville, 5-9 p.m. Wednesday through September 28

• St. Charles Knights of Columbus Motor Show, in the car park of St. Charles Wilbur Street in Parma, from 10:30 am to 2 pm on June 18

• Avon Lake Town Center Cruise-In, 32914 Walker Road in Avon Lake, 4-9 p.m. on Sundays

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