One by one, the muscle cars, the hot rods and the pony cars arrive. They come from all directions and creep into the parking lot, their drivers searching for an open space or a friendly hand to wave them into one.
“Back it in, please. A little more, a little more – you’re good.”
A turn of the key and the car goes silent, its low, rumbling engine already having jogged more than a few memories.
“My neighbor had a car just like that.” someone says. “Oh?”
A soft rag and spray bottle of liquid wax in hand, the car’s owner begins to wipe away the bugs he crossed paths with on the way over.
The headlights will seduce even more on the return trip, but for now the car’s hood needs to be raised; this fella here wants to see the engine. A third man joins them.
Cruise Night at the Culver’s in Huntley is officially under way.
Now its eighth year, Culver’s Cruise Night is held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. every second and fourth Tuesday of the month from June through August. The event is free and averages about 80 cars per show, with vehicles at one recent show ranging from a 1972 Chevy Chevelle to a 1927 Ford Roadster. The roadster was one of two cars belonging to David Boswell of Hampshire. His other car is a blue and white 1955 Chevy Bel Air. Helping Boswell at the show was his son Andrew, a member of the Army who just returned home after a nine-month stint in Afghanistan. It was Andrew who drove the ’27 Roadster.
“The stuff I drive (in Afghanistan) weighs several tons. That’s a few hundred pounds so it’s a big difference,” he said.
Also participating in the show were Wally and Dorothy Thomas, of Woodstock, who drove down in a 1940 Deluxe Coupe that Wally, now 87, spent 2½ years rebuilding.
“I didn’t think he’d ever get it done,” said Dorothy, who, with her husband, is a longtime member of the Centerville Antique Auto Touring Society.
Among the other owners displaying their vintage vehicles were Marengo’s Dick Schinske (1972 Chevy Chevelle), and Bob Hartman (1956 Chevy Bel Air), as well as Huntley’s Fred Nuesser (1967 Volvo 122S) and John Ciombor (1976 Chrysler Cordoba). Nuesser says he’s owned the Volvo for 20 years. Ciombor’s car was purchased new by his parents and has 146,000 original miles on it.
For the participation, each driver is entered into a Culver’s raffle of which the prize list includes merchandise from other Huntley businesses.
“The list goes on and on of Huntley businesses who participate or have participated,” said Richard Myers, assistant manager at the Huntley Culver’s.
It is Myers who organizes the event, and he cites Rudy Kay of Huntley, the event’s provider of oldies music, as another example of how Culver’s reaches out to the Huntley community.
“Culver’s is a family-owned, family-run business that totally wants to embrace the community, and that’s what I have done here with the rest of the team,” Myers said. “At this particular location we’re involved with the schools, we’re involved with the churches. Last year we donated nearly $50,000 to local charities.”
Of course some of the money that Culver’s donates stems from fundraisers and the Culver’s menu, which received a strong endorsement last week. Remember Andrew Boswell, the Hampshire native who just spent nine months in Afghanistan with the Army? Well, the first restaurant he visited upon returning home was the Huntley Culver’s.