A parade of classic cars stroll across Riverside

By Glen Willett / Staff Writer

( Glen Willett )

By Glen Willett / Staff Writer

The Riverside East Rotary Club and The Old Farts Racing Team hosted their 12th annual Show and Go Car Show for Charity on the weekend of April 29. The three-day event took over most of downtown Riverside and featured 1,000 different classic cars.

Spectators in lawn chairs adorned the sidewalks and watched as classic cars, hot rods, imports, and motorcycles cruised down Market Street and Main between 14th Street and University Avenue.

The event is the brainchild of former Old Farts members Gary Echito and former John W. North High School teacher Ron Crandall. As a Rotarian as well as a member of the racing team Echito presented the idea of a car show as a means of generating money for charity to the Riverside East Rotary.

The initial show featured 300 cars and while it began and ended in downtown Riverside as it does today, the show took a detour on its Saturday leg for a one-eighth of a mile drag race at Riverside Airport.

Those races were really amazing to watch,” said Riverside East Rotary Club President Cynthia DeSoto. “The Old Farts are great. They put together the majority of the show and make sure to keep our costs to a minimum; the Rotary mainly has to deal with fundraising and food vendors.”

Since 1999, the Riverside East Rotary has raised close to $275,000 for over 50 charities from the car show including a contribution to the construction costs of the new Riverside City College Aquatics Center.  Another annual contribution is to a scholarship fund set up in the name of deceased event co-founder Crandall.

While a seemingly endless parade of cars roared down the streets, several other car owners chose to park their prizes and entertain questions from curious patrons.

One such individual was Peter Mendoza. Mendoza was the proud owner of a fully restored black 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback.

“When I bought this car I paid $4,000 for it and just the other day a guy saw me waxing it outside of my house and offered me $30,000 on the spot,” said Mendoza. “So you can just imagine how much work has gone into it.”

Mendoza was unwilling to divulge the actual cost of the rebuild for fear of his wife finding out the true cost associated with the rebuild.

While some cars were rebuilt with their original parts,  David Vianu, a nine-year participant of in the show, saw his completely custom 1984 Chevrolet El Camino named one of the top 40 cars in the event.

“This show has evolved into what other car shows want to be,” said Vianu. “Route 66 in San Bernardino is supposed to be the best show around but the fact of the matter is they just don’t get the same kind of crowd that shows up here in Riverside every year.”

While 15 individual awards were handed out by event coordinators, you didn’t have to be a car nut to find a favorite with so many awesome rides to look at.

“My favorite is that one,” said eight year old Luis Chrissinger of Yucaipa while pointing at Steve Schreiner’s 1964 orange El Camino. “It’s the same color as my dog.”

The Show and Go Car Show for Charity has grown exponentially over its past 12 incarnations. The Riverside East Rotary has already begun selling spaces for cars in next year’s show and according to DeSoto has even received a reservation for the show in 2012 as well.

Whether you like big engines, good food, friendly people or just things that are the same color as your pets back home; there is a little something for everyone at the Show and Go Car Show for Charity.