Car Buffs Get All Revved Up for Mondays

August 17, 2010

Text and photos by Ted Regencia

SKOKIE, Ill — About once or twice a month during the summer, Steve Millar likes to show up at a car cruise in Skokie. His ride of choice: a green, four-door 1955 Neptune Chevy Bel Air 210. It’s similar to the first wheels he owned in high school.

Millar said he likes Skokie’s Monday Night Car shows “because they are just a couple of hours in the evening.” For him, it’s a way to relax and hang out with friends. Besides, he does not have “the attention span” for daylong exhibits.
It was 2007 when Skokie entrepreneur and Oldsmobile enthusiast Rick Glickman invited friends and fellow car aficionados to an informal social gathering. At the first event, he arrived in his 1972 Cutlass Supreme convertible.

Meeting at the parking lot of the Hungarian Kosher Foods, 4020 Oakton St., the group quickly grew and attracted crowds. Owners of classic cars, muscle cars and hot rods soon joined in, so Glickman and his friends decided to make it a regular happening.

“I said, ‘We’ll do it, but we should do it with a purpose,’ ” Glickman said.

Now, the convergence of car buffs, which runs every Monday night from Memorial Day through Labor Day, raises money and provides scholarships to the shop program at Niles North and Niles West high schools.

“I love it,” Glickman said. “I love the camaraderie, and all these people are still sitting around having a good time, and they become friends. The neighborhood kids show up. What more could you want?

Glickman said he wants to teach high school students “how to do things with their hands.”

“You know that’s how our country was built,” he said. “But people don’t do that anymore. If young people are interested in doing something with their hands, and getting involved, then you want to encourage them and build on it, and make it worth it.”

Part of that younger crowd in attendance was Osiel Lopez and his girlfriend Rachel Sweeney.

Lopez, 19, came to show off his 1966 Plymouth Fury and the Oakton Community College student excitedly displayed an old picture of his metallic green Plymouth as well.

Another regular was Russ Wodis, a life-long Skokie resident. Accompanied by his dog Zippy, Russ guards his 1957 Chevrolet Matador Red 2 door hardtop coupe with pride.

“I like the people,” Wodis said as he puffed on a cigar. “I like all the different cars. Everybody is very friendly and I just enjoy being here. It’s nice to get out.”

So, what’s the attraction of having a vintage car?

“If I can take you for a ride, then you would know right away,” Wodis said.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he added. “It sounds really good. Sounds like the old time hot rods. It’s about as quick as the new cars are today. You don’t have any trouble keeping up with traffic.”

Wodis’ Chevy packs a 1965 Corvette engine and transmission.

While being interviewed, a car zoomed past Millar and he pointed to the driver.

“That’s what happens,” Millar said. “You get a car like that in high school. Then you get married, and you have kids, and you can’t have it anymore. And then when you get to a point, and you buy it again.”

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