This past weekend on September 22, 2018, Street Muscle made the trip to Ontario, California for the Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion. This marked the 6th annual premier car show for Ontario. With a gorgeous view of the San Gabriel Mountains, and thousands of people in attendance, not to mention all the awesome cars, it was a sight to behold.
Located on historic Euclid Avenue in old town Ontario, the show had a nostalgic vibe. Obviously all the classic cars aided in the “old-timey” feel, but it was more than that. It was the street lights, old buildings, food stands, Ferris wheel, and local people that really made it feel like a scene out of the movie ‘Sandlot.’ There was the smell of good food and old gasoline in the air, and everyone was having a great time. But, fun as it may have been, I was there to work.
For me, this wasn’t any other show. I had a personal connection to this place I’d never been to before. How, you ask? I had the pleasure of presenting the Editor’s Choice award for Street Muscle Magazine. At first, this seemed like a fun task, and it truly was. However, once my time to make a choice began to dwindle, it became evident that being the chooser was not all it was cracked up to be. It was really hard! There were thousands of cars there. All of which were not “muscle,” but at least hundreds of them were. Suffice to say, I had my work cut out for me.
Luckily, I wasn’t alone – the other judges were having a tough time as well. There were other awards to hand out – among them were the stock, and modified ’80s classes. As the award ceremony approached, the officials asked us if we could be of some help. They loaded us up on a golf cart with an awesome tour guide, and we were on the hunt for a few ’80s era cars as well. This proved to be no easy task, as you might imagine. While there were tons of cars, ranging from all years, makes, and models, there wasn’t much to choose from of the ’80s variety. Nevertheless, we found a C4 Corvette that fit the build.
We got back to the VIP tent just in time for them to write down our choices and get all their ducks in a row for the ceremony. But, I was sweating! I still hadn’t made a decision. As I stood before the official and her notebook, ready to jot down my selection, I narrowed it down to my top 3 choices – a wicked pro-street ’68 Camaro, ’70 Mustang Boss 302, and a super low-mile ’68 Dodge Charger. I thought a Chevy, Ford, and Dodge were fitting.
Making sure the big three were represented, it came time to make my final choice. Ultimately, I decided to choose the most radical of all three, and even though I feel that first gen F-bodies are easy to poke fun at, in the, “Oh another Camaro? Real original,” kind of way, I still chose the ’68 Chevy.
For starters, I felt I owed it to the show. The show had me feeling nostalgic all day long, and the pro-street style of the Camaro really brought that feeling home. It was attention grabbing, and embodied the spirit of a ’70s/’80s street machine. With a huge B&M blower sticking out of the hood, 427 tucked neatly underneath it, full roll cage, monster radials, and a gorgeous fire engine red paint job, it just couldn’t be ignored.
Much as I wanted to choose the extremely low-mile Charger because of how well it has been preserved, or the Boss 302 because of the beautiful, original seafoam green color, and wicked factory styling, I had to go with the Camaro because of its sheer brutish nature. It kept creeping in the back of my mind when I would consider the other two – pushing them right out of my thought bubble.
I mean, park any of them on the street, and watch people clamor and trample each other to get a closer look. But, at the end of the day, the Camaro just had all the pieces that make a great show car. Dripping in polished metal, the engine bay was clean, the interior tidy and well thought out, and the stance was tougher than a coffin nail.
With my choice made, the ceremony went off without a hitch, and all the winners were ecstatic. In all, we had a great time participating in such a wonderful event. Our hosts were amazing, and the City of Ontario was warm and inviting. We are already making plans for the 2019 Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion. If you want to find out more about the show, award winners, and next years festivities, head on over to the Cruisin’ Reunion website, here.