Color, chrome fill Mills Park for classic car show |

Color, chrome fill Mills Park for classic car show

Sandi Hoover

Classic cars lined up in gleaming rows of color on the lawn beneath the cottonwoods Saturday as hundreds of people filled Mills Park for the annual Silver Dollar Car Classic.

Entrants traditionally come from all over California and other western states, but the show is particularly popular with locals.

A 1929 Ford two-door sedan painted “copper mist orange” with flames is owned by Ken Harper of Gardnerville.

“I bought the body from a farmer in Northern California and rebuilt it. It was rust when I bought it, and I only paid $100,” he said.

Today the Ford boasts a Corvette motor, air conditioning, tuck and roll upholstery and disc brakes. Harper also cut six inches off the top to give it a custom look.

Harper, who is president of the Douglas Dukes car club in the Carson Valley, estimates he has put more than $20,000 into the Ford, and used to drive it up and down California.

“It’s a hobby for me. I’ve worked on cars my whole life,” he said.

Harper is so passionate about his car, the tattoo flames on his left forearm match the flames on his car.

“If I have my arm out the window when I’m driving, I want it to match the car,” he said, laughing.

He says his hobby gives him a chance to meet a lot of nice people and keeps him out of trouble.

“My wife always knows where I am – in the garage,” he said.

For Ken Haskins, a member of the Karson Kruzers, who attended the show with his wife Cathy, it was all about the 1952 Packard 200 Deluxe, painted a cool “gulf green” with “Sahara sand” top.

The first year, he said, he worked on the outside – body, paint and chrome. This past winter, he took on the engine, transmission and carburetor – all to get it into show condition.

“My first car was a ’57 Chevy, but we’ve had a number of cars over the years,” Haskins said. “We sold our last one in 1997 when we put our younger daughter through college. It helped finance her education.”

The Packard was featured in the June/July issue of “Reminisce” magazine, and Haskins said he even has the original owner’s manual and service manual.

He estimates he has probably invested about $35,000 into this car.

“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “Car people are just fun to be around.”

Roger Romaine of Dayton brought along his 1954 Chevy 210 with a “red jewel” paint job, and his license plate is R54JL.

“I wanted my wife to be part of the car so (she) got to pick the color. I picked the interior,” Romaine said.

He bought the car in September and it went straight to the body shop.

“Four days after it got out of the body shop, it took first place in the Bully’s Car Show,” he said.

Romaine said he owned a 1939 Chevy Coupe for seven years, but sold it last year at Hot August Nights.

“I played with it for seven years – it was time to let it go – but I’ll probably keep this one,” he said. “It’s eye candy.”

What Romaine and his wife Bobbi like best about car shows is the camaraderie and being with people who have the same car interests.

“I also like the compliments on the car. That’s the reward you get for all the money and time you spend,” he said.

The Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau kicked off the Silver Dollar Car Classic 16 years ago as a way to bring people into the capital city the weekend before the start of Hot August Nights in Reno and Sparks.