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Classic cars showcased in Old Town La Verne

Louie Gonzales (left) shows his 1969 Dodge Charger R/T at the annual Cool Cruise 2012 Car Show on Saturday in Old Town La Verne. Gonzales purchased the car in 1968 and has cared for it ever since. The car show invaded the streets of Old Town with over 400 participants, and many more spectators, who enjoyed fresh food, friendly people, classic cars and hot rods. Cool Cruise was originally proposed to the city of La Verne in 2000 and has been a staple of the area ever since. / photo by Mitchell Aleman

Cindy Vallejo
Staff Writer

Classic cars, vendors, restaurants and car enthusiasts lined the streets of Old Town La Verne on Saturday for Cool Cruise 2012 Car Show.

The Car Show started at 9 a.m. with power parking, which is quick parallel parking, then was followed by the opening ceremony with Dave McClelland, the official master of ceremonies for Cool Cruise, who kept the event rolling all day.

“We got into Cool Cruise through our friend, Mike, and we have been attending Cool Cruise in La Verne ever since,” Bob Mohlaer, owner of an SS 350, said.

For the 2012 show there were more than 400 cars, 40 vendors, two charities and 10,000 spectators that came out to Cool Cruise.

The day’s events blocked all of Third Street, Bonita Avenue, “D” Street and Second Street.

“I enjoy coming back to Cool Cruise every year, because of the camaraderie; I get to see people that I haven’t seen in a year,” Garey Rubottom, owner of a 1935 Master Coupe, said.

Rubottom has been participating in classic car shows for almost 12 years and has been to events in different states, such as Colorado and Kentucky, to showcase his hot rod.

Nicholas Fito brought his 1932 Ford Pickup that has been chopped, channeled and sectioned to make the roof lower and car closer to the ground and has a paint job that gives the car a smooth, clean look.

“Since day one I have been interested in car shows,” Fito said. “I believe my first car show was when I was 1 year old.”

Fito also works for Chopit Kustom, his family’s business that specializes in customizing classic cars, in La Habra.

The show draws more than car owners– families come out to support each other and spend time together.

“I came out here today because my son, Dylan, really likes to see classic cars,” Shelby Ghassabin, a mother of two children, said.

“I come out to Cool Cruise every year and this year I came out with my husband-to-be,” Linda Wong, a Montebello resident, said.

The Answer, a quartet from Northern Ireland, played classic rock music and kept their audience entertained with jokes as they played throughout the event.

Different stores in downtown La Verne were also selling food outside of their business.

Café Cabo and Roberta’s Village Inn were two of the restaurants that sold a variety of foods to the different spectators that came to Cool Cruise.

At the end of the event, 27 different awards that were given out, such as Best Flames, Major’s Choices, Merchant’s Choice and Promoter’s Choice.

Cool Cruise was first presented to the city of La Verne in March 2000 in an effort to promote the Old Town La Verne business area.

With three months to plan and a limited budget, the first Cool Cruise was a success. The event had 175 hot rods and classic cars and brought many enthusiastic locals to downtown La Verne.

Cindy Vallejo can be reached at

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