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Dream cars on parade

There’s a phrase for the time in a man’s life when, if he’s so inclined, his thoughts turn to tinkering with spark plugs, squeezing the last bit of horsepower from a stack of air intakes, or waxing the car of his youth to a baby’s-bottom touch.

David Jackson calls it “male menopause.”

Jackson, 62, of Auburn, was positively giddy after showing off his ’39 Ford convertible, replete with heated seats, power windows and a engine that churns out 500 horsepower, during a preview of a big car show this weekend.



Today, Jackson will show his baby, one of 850 custom classic cars parked at the Nevada County Fairgrounds for the two-day Roamin Angels’ Ninth Annual Car Show.

The fairgrounds on Friday turned into a show of excess under the towering pines. If an old ’57 Chevy coupe was loud, a ’67 Camaro was louder.




If you thought the paint job on Jackson’s Ford was hot, well, all you had to do was walk over to Terry Henry’s 1948 Calypso green Oldsmobile Roadster.

Once you looked past the spit-shine clear-coat paint, Henry directed a visitor’s eyes to the mammoth air scoop, a small chrome mountain range protruding from the hood with an air intake the size of a manhole cover.

This baby churns out 800 horsepower, screaming notes on tires wider than the track at Darlington International Speedway.

“I built this car for speed,” Henry said, noting that the car is worth more than $200,000. The rig has a top speed of 160 mph, bringing the rider to that breakneck pace on air-ride suspension.

The car’s been chopped, sectioned and narrowed, Henry said.

“People look at this car, and they freak out,” he said. “My wife says I’m an ego maniac.”

She complains that she can’t see out the windshield, over the air intake.

Many of these car guys ” and gals ” do much more than simply recreate the dream cars of a bygone era. They reinvent them ” and then some.

Terry McDonald of Rocklin showcased his ’68 Chevrolet Camaro, which is as old as his marriage.

The car is not unlike many out on the grass at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Under the hood purrs a 2001 Corvette LS1 engine.

“My wife oftentimes thinks this car means more to me than she does,” he said. “She’s coming around, though.”

Still other cars were tricked-out with cushy leather seats, power windows, beefy stereos and smooth-shifting transmissions not seen in their father’s day.

“After all, what are we? Barbarians?” asked Bob Monsonen of Auburn, standing next to his 1955 Chevrolet Handyman station wagon.

Dave Bowling of Granite Bay showed off his 1932 Ford Model B. For a Ford guy, the fact that the rig contained a Chevy engine under the hood might sound like blasphemy.

Not so.

“It’s a Ford, built by Chevy, because the engine fits,” said Bowling, who’s had the car body since the early 1960s. Now retired, he finally had the time to finish the job.

“When I turned 65, I said I’d better hurry up while I was still above room temperature,” he joked.

The car, with BMW power leather seats, was appraised at $95,000, he said.


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