4/29/2005 5:00:00 AM Email
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rods are cool
Rod and Custom Car Show
rides into Prescott May 7
By JOANNA DODDER The
PRESCOTT -- More than
100 street rods will cruise into town May 7 for the 8th annual Rod and Custom
Car Show. The Mountain Top Street Rodders club sponsors the show
from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7, on the grass field of the Prescott Mile
High Middle School, along Goodwin Street just a half-block southwest of the
The show attracted about 150 vehicles from Arizona and neighboring states last
year. Cars will start arriving May 6 for the Friday Nite Cruise at the M&I
Bank parking lot.
The local club has about 50 members, including relatively new Prescott residents
who brought their street rods from California. "There are a lot of nice
cars in town now," observed Katy Standhardt, wife of the show's chair, Don
originally built in 1959 and earlier are eligible for the show, and they can be
modified. They can be street rods, customs, classics, antiques or specialty
The show charges a $2 attendance fee to adults, but children get in free.
Participating vehicles pay a $30 entry fee and get a goody bag, door prize
raffle ticket and T-shirt.
Nearly all the proceeds from the show entrant and attendance fees go to charity.
People attending the show also can buy tickets for a cash bonanza prize of
$1,000 and other raffle prizes. The show is the biggest fundraiser of the
year for the middle school, which gets proceeds from the attendance fee and runs
a concession stand. The show also gave $10,000 last year to the American
Cancer Society's Camp Sunrise near Payson.
The club uses some of the proceeds for its own "Random Good Deeds" program that
gives money to local people who "fall through the cracks in the system," said
Kevin Gilmore, a founding member of the Mountain Top Street Rodders who owns a
1939 Pontiac. For example, the club bought Christmas gifts for assisted living
center residents and oxygen for a man who needed it on a plane ride to his
The club lets the sponsor of each trophy pick the car they want to receive the
trophy. Don Stone of McGuireville created all the unique Arizona
sandstone trophies in the shape of street rods, while Don Blazer of Chino Valley
crafted the sandstone bases. Mountain Top club members aren't eligible for
any of the trophies.
For more information or to reserve a vendor space, call show chair Don
Standhardt at 776-8813.
4/29/2005 5:00:00 AM Email
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Local rodder never
grew out of hobby
By JOANNA DODDER The
PRESCOTT -- Back in the
1950s when hot rods were a new fad, Prescott teens enjoyed cruising Gurley
Street and the courthouse plaza, then making a pit stop at the local Dairy Queen
to hang out. Of course, hot rods were made to race, and teens such as Don
Standhardt had their own favorite spot for drag racing too, on a strip of old
Highway 89A between Prescott and Prescott Valley.
Being teens in 1950s hot rods, they couldn't help driving a bit too fast in
town, too. The town was smaller then and the police weren't deputized, so the
teens figured they were home free if they could get to the town limits at the
spot where Checker Auto and AutoZone now sit in the middle of town along Miller
Valley Road. "It was a different world back then around here," Standhardt
recalled. "All the policemen knew all the hot rodders, and if they stopped you,
they just told you not to do it again."
Prescott teens in the 1950s also enjoyed hanging out at the Elks Theater, the
now-defunct drive-in and the former pool at Granite Dells. Don remembers water
skiing on Watson Lake too. Illegal drugs were non-existent in
Prescott schools back then, and some guys drank alcohol but they were the
exception, Don said.
Don and his buddies in the Pipers car club got their "high" on hot rods. They
often gathered in someone's backyard, taking apart a car and working on it.
Don's job working for the Chinese owners of the Palace Café on Whiskey Row
helped finance his hot rod habit. "Every little town had its own car club
back then," recalled Don's wife Katy, who moved to Prescott in 1977. Don
went through cars like children go through clothes, buying and modifying a 1944
coupe with an Oldsmobile V-8 engine in high school, then moving to a 1956 Chevy
in 1957 just before graduating from high school.
"Like they say, when we got to high school it was a babe magnet," Don said of
the hot rods. He bought a brand-new 1960 Ford shortly after high school, but
totaled it while racing a couple of motorcycles down Mingus Mountain, so he then
moved on to a 1960 T-Bird. Don is happily married now and doesn't need a
babe magnet, but he never stopped buying and rebuilding hot rods, which people
now commonly call street rods. Katy understands the babe magnet concept
"If I'm in one of those cars, every other car is waving," Katy said. Don
is still in a car club, too. It's called the Mountain Top Street Rodders. Katy
also is a member.
"I enjoy the companionship of a car club because they do fun things," such as
cruise nights, car shows and other events, Katy said. Don recently sold
his 1962 Corvette so he could buy every street rodder's dream, a souped-up 1933
Ford three-window coupe. It's definitely something that turns heads, all peach
with a fuel-injected Chevy Crate 350-cubic-inch engine, incredibly clean lines
(the gas cap is in a carpet-covered box in the trunk), and all the modern
conveniences -- power windows, air conditioning and tilt steering wheel.
He searched the Internet for months, then ended up finding the retro rod right
here in Prescott.
In its original condition, the coupe had a four-cylinder, 40-horsepower engine
that topped out at about 50 miles per hour. Now Don figures it cruises at 80 mph
and easily could top 100, though he doesn't say whether he's tried it.
When he took it out for a spin this week, Don played music that he first enjoyed
in the 1950s, but now it's on a compact disc.
Don recently bought a 1928 Ford Roadster too, but its condition is a world apart
from the '33 Ford. When his son saw it, he threatened to call the "Pimp My Ride"
TV show that restores beat-up cars. Katy saw it while taking a walk during
a Greeley, Colo., car show and ran back to tell Don about it, but he'd already
sniffed it out and bought it.
It basically was a rusted-out, bent-up shell, but Don's rebuilding it from the
bottom up. He's already added a new frame, 350-cubic-inch Chevy engine and 350
turbo automatic transmission. It won't be ready in time for the Mountain
Top Street Rodders' Rod and Custom Car Show that Don chairs on Saturday, May 7,
but the '33 coupe certainly will do.