Latest News

Aurora Car Show

By David Sharos.
Amanda and Michael Sargis of Aurora brought their five-year-old son, Elmer, to Aurora's LaSalle Street to look at cars and take in a bit of local history over the weekend.

When asked which members of the family were "car guys," Amanda Sargis replied. "We all are," she said.

"I grew up doing the car thing with my father," Michael Sargis explained. "We spent many hours working on antique racers, and today, I still fix everything myself. I'm currently working on completely retrofitting a '48 Ford and restoring it completely. I've been working on that for five years."

Amanda Sargis said her father owned a body shop and that if she didn't go to school, he'd tell his daughter, "You can come and work with me."
"I'd get a whole bucket of carburetors and put them all together," Amanda Sargis said.

Joe Dispensa, who serves as president of the Friends of LaSalle Street Historic Auto Row of Aurora, has the same goal every year when the organization presents the show.

"I want people to see LaSalle Street and make it a destination," Dispensa, 78, said Sunday. "Years ago, Aurora used to be the place to buy a car outside of Chicago, and there are a lot of beautiful buildings here and people should see it."
For the 8th year, the Friends of LaSalle Street held their annual auto show Sunday which Dispensa said would feature about 100 cars, along with a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle, food and other things that Dispensa said "make it a family affair."

"We also work with the Aurora American Legion, and any profit we make from the show goes to them," he said. "I'm a big supporter of vets and feel I should do whatever I can to help them."

The show kicked off at 11 a.m. and ran until 3 p.m., with awards for show vehicles given out at 2:30 p.m. The event, which began in 2009, typically draws about 500 people, Dispensa said.

Highlights this year included a replica of the car used in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang movie, owned by La Grange resident Mat Klemp. Plans to again feature a Vietnam era UH-1 Iroquois helicopter, nicknamed "Huey" had to be scrapped because of construction issues and the inability to land the aircraft on LaSalle Street.

The fall-like weather brought visitors out early. Dennis Guither of Princeton, Ill., said he brought a car to the show and was also serving as one of the judges.

"I have a '58 Chevy Bel Air two-door that I've had for 12 years," Guither explained. "I have pretty much enjoyed cars since I was a kid. This is always a great show and I don't mind the 75-mile drive to get here."

Klemp said his movie replica car was something he built himself, and devoted "4,000 hours of work to do it."

"I probably bring this to at least 20 car shows a year and maybe drive it 1,000 miles annually," Klemp said. "I always liked the movie where Dick Van Dyke takes this old race car from a junk yard and makes something out of it."
Klemp said he has received a few offers for his car, which include swapping it for a 1913 Buick. The car, which he completed in 2013, does have a price tag.

"Let's say if someone offers me $250,000 to start – I'll listen," he said.

Bill Wackerlin of Aurora stopped by Klemp's car and admitted he has seen it and others like it before.

"There are only six of them in the world I've heard," Wackerlin said.

Greg Walega of Shorewood had his eye on a '55 Chevy that he said he'd buy if he had the money.

"I love the paint job on this one and these are what you call 'classic' cars," Walega said. "I think the one feature I miss the most about the old cars are the vent windows – those were really great."

Virtually everyone agreed car shows are about nostalgia and that two ingredients make for a great show: a great variety of cars and the people who own them.

"The thing I like is that you can walk up to a perfect stranger and, because you and he have cars, you already have something in common to talk about," Guither said.

"It's definitely the people that come here," Amanda Sargis said. "You have the same kind of people here within a group – it's like a family of owners."

No comments

Post a Comment