An orange 1959 Chevy Apache owned by Douglas Fire Chief Kevin Lomeli and his father George, was picked as the overall “Best of Show” at the Douglas Street Rods annual Memorial Day Car Show that was held Sunday, May 26 at the 10th Street Park.
This is the second consecutive year the ‘59 Chevy has won the Best of Show at this car show.
After winning their class and then being selected Best of Show, Kevin said hours and hours of hard work and sweat went into getting the truck restored to the point it could compete in car shows.
The restoration took 12 years to complete, he said, with a majority of the restoration taking place in his back yard. Two-years ago the restoration was finally completed allowing the family to enter the truck in car shows around the state.
In addition to winning the Douglas Street Rods Car Show twice in Douglas, the ’59 Chevy has won car shows in both Tucson and Phoenix.
“We’ve been going to shows around the state and enjoying the experience as a family,” Kevin said. “This was originally my father’s truck. It’s been in our family for over 30-years. It was passed down to me. I used it during high school. When I completed high school, we agreed to dis-assemble the truck completely.”
The truck, which was originally green in color, has a 502 cubic inch motor, a 400-turbo transmission, power windows, power steering and power brakes. It also has wi-fi.
“Going to the various car shows and talking to people is overwhelming, humbling, it makes me proud to be able to tell them my father and me accomplished something so great together,” Kevin added. “It’s nice that we can enjoy these experiences of going to the car shows together. We want to keep this in the family. Hopefully, someday, I can pass it on to my children.”
George said when he first bought the truck Kevin was 8-years-old.
“We both put a lot of hard work and some tears in restoring this,” he said. “I’m very proud of (Kevin) for taking it on and happy to see it doing so well in the shows we attend. It turned out really nice.”
This year’s car show had 69 entries with participants from Douglas, Elfrida, Sierra Vista and New Mexico all showing off their custom vehicles. First and second place trophies were awarded to the top two vehicles in each of the 21 different classes.
Douglas Street Rods Car Club President Reyes Huerta says his club has been holding the car shows every year since 1997.
“All in all, I felt it was a good car show,” he said. “Our numbers were down a little compared to previous years. I think the wind had something to do with it. In previous years we’ve had 80-90 cars; anything over 60 is okay.”
Huerta stated the wind that was blowing throughout the show, caused some concern for the car owners adding the gusts, which were at times 30-40 miles per hour according to the National Weather Service, could damage the vehicles or dirty what had been a nice, clean interior.
Another unique vehicle at the car show was a 1969 Volkswagen owned by Huerta. While the vehicle, called the Ratrod, was not entered in a class it was used to cook the hamburgers that were being sold at the event.
“We call it our Ratrod grill,” Huerta said. “We use it for our once a year picnic for our club or any kind of fundraiser we may have like the one we did for Howard Henderson. It’s a car that just happens to have a grill on the back of it.”
Huerta stated that despite the wind he did get a lot of good comments in regards to the show and that’s what it’s all about.
“It’s a chance for us to show off our community,” he said.
On behalf of Street Rods, Huerta thanked the community and all those who contributed. He noted the Los Viejitos Car Club of Douglas who helped judge the entries. Show sponsors this year were: Devore Auto Supply, Mi Ranchito Meat Market, C&R Auto Repair, Byrd’s Construction, Henry’s Import, Southern Arizona Auto, Jeff’s Auto Clinic, Dairy Queen, Border Taco/Chatitas Restaurant and Phagan Insurance.
For more information about the car club, visit Douglas Street Rods on Facebook.