Cruise in captures hearts, imagination of visitors, owners
By Rick Wade
Every car has a story. Some have many.
A car’s story is told in part by its condition: rust, missing hubcaps, spare tire now serving as a permanent replacement … or fresh paint job, immaculate interior, not a dent or scratch. And that shine.
The rest of a car’s story is told by — and about — the people who own them.
There were many, many car stories told July 27 in Carlinville during the Macoupin County Cruisers and Carlinville Community Chamber of Commerce-co-sponsored Route 66 Cruise in and Car Show on the Downtown Square.
As trucks and autos crawled the brick street around the Gazebo in the center of the Square, hundreds (if not thousands) of pedestrians over the course of the day examined the individual cars parked between the white lines on either side of the street.
Many cars sat with hoods raised to expose the powerful engines, windows open for curious heads to be stuck through them but “DON’T TOUCH” signs to keep fingers off.
There were car colors never before seen in nature, brilliant burnt orange, vibrant blues. Red to make you weep.
Car owners often sat back on the sidewalk behind their vehicles, or polished the fenders and windows, answering questions and accepting compliments, sharing with the eager listeners the stories about their cars.
There is only one way to describe the car Mike Jatcko of Litchfield put on display at the cruise in: hot rod.
“It’s a 1932 Ford Roadster with a full-out ‘49 flat head V-8,” said Jatcko. “It took about five years to build. It’s a fresh new car, it’s got a new body, new frame. The antique motor. It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve got a couple hundred miles on it so far.”
He said the car is painted “Volkswagen green” or “cyber green,” sort of a pale lime green.
Jatcko said the engine in the hot rod is a rarity.
“It’s the old original hot rod motor from the ‘40s and the ‘50s, until about 1955, when they came out with the ‘55 Chevys. That is when that engine started on its downhill slide. That engine started it all.
“You won’t ever see another one with that motor in there. That motor is so rare,” he said.
Jatcko operates a body shop in Mt. Olive. “We’ve had several old cars … some 1927s, ‘57 Chevys, a lot of cars. This will probably be my last one. I want to keep it.
“It’s more of a show car, but we’ve been caught a couple times when we had to drive it for an hour or two. It’s fairly dependable. I haven’t had any trouble with it. We drive it in parades, and take our grandbaby around in it,” he added. “Me and my dad built it.”
To read more coverage of the Cruise in, see our e-edition.