Classic cars, memories roll into Oak Lawn
By STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org July 8, 2012 9:40PM
April Harris, of South Holland, relaxes under a canopy next to her 1958 Chevy Yeoman at the Annual Oak Lawn Classic Car Show at the Oak Lawn Village Green in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Sunday, July 8, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 10, 2012 6:32AM
Now that Ron Breier finally has a classic car to call his own, he can start planning how to make it snazzy enough to enter car shows.
That’s why the Oak Lawn man and Kathy, his wife of 40 years, strolled through the Oak Lawn Car Show in the library’s parking lot Sunday morning, soaking up the sights and getting ideas.
Breier, 65, recently bought a 1929 Ford Roadster for $4,000. He found the car advertised online by an Indiana man who had owned it for 17 years.
The car is made of fiberglass so rust is not a problem, he said. But Kathy thinks he “bit off more than he can chew.”
“It’s a project in the making,” he countered.
Breier’s dream was to buy a 1932 Ford. There’s just something special about that model, he said.
“The Beach Boys had one on their ‘Little Deuce Coupe’ album cover. There’s something about them,” Ron said.
But he couldn’t afford one when the asking price is about 30 grand.
Kathy is resigned to the fact that Ron’s new toy may get lots of his attention.
“He likes to putz (around) and do stuff on his own,” Kathy said.
Then he’ll fit in with the dozens of classic car owners at Sunday’s show.
Kevin Sadowski, 48, of Chicago’s West Lawn community, got admiring glances for the 2001 Chrysler Prowler he bought new at a dealership in Iowa. He likes his cars to stay new looking. That’s why it has only 423 miles on it, he said.
Strolling past, John Bodoki, of Chicago’s Clearing community, paused and admired Sadowski’s Prowler.
““When you go to car shows, you’ve got to look at the competition, It’s so shiny and colorful and it’s a Chrysler product. We’ve got the other Mopars over there,” Bodoki said.
Mopar is the parts and service arm of Chrysler products.
Bodoki is the original owner of a 1969 Dodge Charger that has 82,000 miles. Call him the anti-Sadowski.
“Why have a car if you don’t drive it?” Bodoki, 65, said.
He and friend Jim DiBiase, 67, of Orland Park, are at car shows nearly every weekend. DiBiase owns a blue 1967 Dodge Dart. Just like Bodoki’s Charger, it is rust-free.
“They weren’t made to last, but they cost more. If you wanted a muscle car in the ’60s, you went to Mopar,” DiBiase said.
Bodoki, who paid “$3,800 out the door, tax included,” said his Charger “is now worth close to six figures.”
Will he take the money and run? No way. Most classic car owners have invested too much blood, sweat and cash into their wheels to sell them to the highest bidder.
”You spend a few hours every weekend, tweaking this or that,” Bodoki said.
Seeing their babies driven away from home would break their hearts. Plus, they’d miss the camaraderie of attending car shows, DiBiase said.
“It’s a labor of love,” said Leslie Kina, of Palos Hills, of the time he and his fellow classic car aficionados devote to the vehicles.
“It’s like a woman. You take care of it, she’ll reward you back,” he said of his car that looks like it was driven off the showroom floor.
A retired American Airlines mechanic, Kina, 64, sat near the 200-horsepower, bright green, 1975 Corvette he bought brand-new for $8,100. It’s now worth around $35,000.
After 37 years, there’s no splitting up these two.
“This car was slated to go to Hawaii when I spotted it. My mother gave me the $500 to make the deposit. Ever since I came home from Vietnam, I wanted a ’vette. So I saved my nickels and dimes. My father almost hung me from a tree. You could have bought two Chevy Impalas for that price,” he said.
The Corvette’s odometer has 29,000 miles, some which were added quickly the day he drove 143 mph down the Tri-State Tollway.
“I held it there for five, 10 minutes. I backed down, and it still wanted to go,” he recalled with a smile.