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NHRA Motorsports Museum Cruise Night
Pomona, CA
May 5, 2005
Pictures From Bill Groak
1 Page

POMONA, Calif. (May 5, 2005) – Greg Sharp promised a big surprise at the second Twilight Cruise Night of the season at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, and Boyd Coddington delivered

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The car has been the subject of Coddington’s Discovery Channel show lately, and the unveiling at the museum will be shown on Fri., May 27“It’s beautiful,” said Vern Hildebrandt, who hadn’t seen the final version of the car and was as surprised and awed by the finished product as was the crowd.

“It’s beautiful,” said Vern Hildebrandt, who hadn’t seen the final version of the car and was as surprised and awed by the finished product as was the crowd.

Sharp, the curator of the Parks Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, told everyone for weeks about a “major surprise” at Cruise Night, but no one expected that Coddington, the legendary street rod builder, would unveil a vehicle he has been working on for his TV show, American Hot Rod. But sure enough, Coddington and TV crew were there in front of a packed (and curious) crowd, lifting the sheet on Dennis “Hildy” Hildebrandt’s gorgeous blue restored 1934 Ford Roadster, now owned by his son Vern.

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Wally Parks and Tom McKernan

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Wally Being interviewed

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Boyd, Wally & Dick

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Wally parks & Boyd Coddington

The evening’s celebrity judges had a great lot to choose from. The five winners chosen will participate in a pre-opening ceremonies parade at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona this November

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Steve Frediani of Claremont, Calif., was not only thrilled his two-tone blue/champagne 1951 Ford convertible won, but was amazed by who picked it: Boyd Coddington! I’ve been a fan of Boyd’s since the ’70s,” Frediani said. “All his cars are outstanding quality. This is an awesome honor.”

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Another racing legend, “TV” Tommy Ivo picked Bob Franklin’s candy red ’37 Ford convertible. When asked what he like about the car, Ivo said, “What’s not to like? This is really slick.”

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That’s pretty much what Joe Martinez said about his pick, a father-son-built “basic” ’32 Ford Roadster.  Martinez, who along with Gary Moline give out “The Look” award each Cruise Night (and a $50 donation to the Museum from J.R. Martinez Design and Power Puzzles), gave Kevin and Jason Simpson from Upland, Calif., the nod. “It’s so cool,” Martinez said. “And I like that a father and son worked on it.

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“Great cars,” said Sam Jackson, executive director of the Parks Museum. “But Cruise Night always seems to bring out the best. That’s what makes this event so much fun. You never know what cars are going to be here, but you always know they are going to be fantastic.”

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The Parks Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., PST, with extended hours during NHRA national events. Current NHRA members are admitted free. Admission for non-members is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors 60 and older, $3 for juniors six through 15, and free for children under the age of five. The Parks Museum is also available for private parties, meetings, corporate events, weddings and special group tours. The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is located at Fairplex Gate 1, 1101 W. McKinley Ave. in Pomona. For further information on special exhibits, museum events or directions, call 909/622-2133 or visit museum.nhra.com.

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Sitting right across from the ’51 was Gil and Janet Losi’s winning ’67 super-sleek Buick Rivera, which was tabbed by drag racing legend Bob Muravez (or was it Floyd Lippencotte Jr.?). “These are my favorite type cars and this one is awesome,” Muravez said.

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Speaking of drag racing, Randy Fish, the west coast editor of Drag Racing Action, chose a jet black 1940 Willys coupe owned by Lynn Park of La Crescenta, Calif. “It’s real tasty,” Fish said. “It sits right, it’s black, it’s beautiful – I like everything about it.”

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 Not a surprise was the size of the crowd and amount of great vehicles which, as usual, filled two parking lots at the Fairplex in Pomona for Cruise Night. In April, the Museum had the largest Cruise Night opening in its six-year run, and this second installment was another heavily attended event with 363 cars and about 1,000 people. The theme was “Flatheads,” but as always, there were super examples of rods and muscle cars from several different eras.

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California, houses the very roots of hot rodding. Scores of famous vehicles spanning American motorsports history are on display, including winning cars representing 50 years of drag racing, dry lakes and salt-flat racers, oval track challengers and exhibits describing their colorful backgrounds.The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern

 

 

 

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