SIERRA VISTA — Nearly 300 cars of all makes and models filled Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday for the 32nd annual Cars in the Park.
The show, sponsored by Sierra Vista Car Club, featured 24 classes with first- through third-place trophies and seven “best of” awards.
Amid the spectacular vehicles on display, some came with interesting stories.
Take the 1937 International dually truck owned by Val Castro. While the 1.5 ton work truck was not one of the winning entries, it was a crowd showstopper.
“I’ve been all through here looking at the different cars and trucks, and this is my favorite,” said Glenn Swaim, who is from Tucson. “The restoration is beautiful, state-of-the-art.”
The truck was purchased in Canada by the brother of Castro’s neighbor, Lois Gregan, and stored on her property.
“My brother, Wayne LaFlamboy, decided to purchase the truck after he saw it advertised online,” said Gregan, who lives off Charleston Road next door to Castro. “Wayne lived in Massachusetts and didn’t have room on his property to store it, so he hauled it to our property where he parked it, with plans of coming out here to start working on it. But he passed away before ever starting the restoration.”
The truck, which sat on Gregan’s property for about three years, caught Castro’s eye.
“I called Mrs. Gregan and asked her if the family would be interested in selling it,” he said. “She contacted her nephew to see if he would be willing to part with the truck, and he agreed to the purchase.”
Within weeks after acquiring the vehicle, Castro handed it over to M&M Collision and Powder Coat out of Huachuca City, and the truck went through a 14-month restoration.
M&M owners Tim Montoya and Yvette Rambo described the project as a “complete frame-off restoration.”
“Everything was restored, the motor, drive train, wheels, frame, suspension, brakes, wheels, everything,” Montoya said. “Our team did all the work, representing a 14-month project. All the parts are original, and that includes the fenders, which is really unique.”
Every M&M employee worked on the truck at some point, said Rambo, who noted that the fenders alone involved more than 100 hours of labor.
“We’re very proud of how this turned out,” said Sean Carr, an M&M employee who stayed busy polishing the truck’s fenders and hood during the show. “This truck is getting a lot of buzz. People are stopping and asking questions about the restoration and they want to know all about its history.”
A 2010 Pontiac Lingenfelter LTA, which belongs to former Sierra Vista Fire Chief Redmond, is another vehicle with an intriguing history.
“Ken Lingenfelter, who owns Lingenfelter Performance Engineering out of Michigan, is a Pontiac enthusiast. When Pontiac stopped building in 2010, he decided to have his engineers from his facility work with General Motors to design what Pontiac would have built as a Transam in 2010 when they reintroduced the Camaro.”
They built five of the cars, and Redmond owns car number two. Lingenfelter has the first one built. Redmond’s vehicle was part of Lingenfelter’s personal collection until 2015.
Lingenfelter then sold it to a friend of his, who kept it in his personal collection until the end of 2018.
“I bought it in January of this year, when it had 3,000 miles on it. In fact, I signed on the car on my birthday in February.”
Brand new, the 660-horsepower Lingenfelter LTA prototypes sold for $200,000.
Gary Skogheim, who chairs the car show committee, said he was pleased by the number of cars on display, the crowd size and vendors.
“We’re having perfect weather, there are 294 vehicles registered for the show, all the vendor’s spots are full. Everyone seems happy, and it’s been a successful show.”
Proceeds from Cars in the Park benefit six local charities and are used to fund a $1,000 Cochise College automotive program scholarship.
This year, the show benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Sierra Vista, Cochise Serving Veterans, Forgach House, Good Neighbor Alliance, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and VICaP (Volunteer Interfaith Caregiver Program).