Car lovers: Start your engines | July 18, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - July 18, 2008

Car lovers: Start your engines

Hot Summer Nights adds 'muscle cars' to classics

by Meghan Neal

Thursday is the first Danville Hot Summer Nights car show of the year. And this time, expect to see some things old and some things new.

After the initial disappointment of having the number of shows cut from four to two, the event's organizers are making changes to step up the two remaining shows.

"We're going to pack four shows into a two-night event," said David Miller, one of the organizers.

For the first time since the event's debut 13 years ago, classic cars from the 1960s will be shown alongside vintage hot rods from the '50s and earlier.

"(It) opens up an entirely new, gigantic category of car lover and car owner, because there are now cars that are a whole different classification - what we call the 'muscle cars,'" Miller said.

The term muscle car refers to high-speed, high-horse-power automobiles that became popular in the 1960s. American carmakers put large and powerful V8 engines in mid-sized vehicles to create a "supercar" for street driving and racing.

"These cars were very, very powerful. Street legal. It was a whole different technology (and) engine power than what was available in the 1950s," Miller said. "You know, the kids loved to have the souped up cars."

A lot of baby boomer generation car buffs are eager to show off their nostalgic treasures, said Miller. "These people have been begging us for years to please allow us to let their cars be displayed."

The organizers finally complied, just to switch it up a bit.

"Year after year you saw the same owner, the same car. It was like watching the same 'Godfather' movie over and over again," he said. "I mean how many times can you watch it? You love looking at it, it's a great movie, but you've seen it before."

They expect the change to bring in a record number of exhibitors and spectators this summer. The affair typically attracts tens of thousands of people to town.

"If my prediction is right, the two new Danville Hot Summer Nights car shows will be bigger and better than ever before," said Miller.

In some ways it's already bigger. The area of town devoted to the car show is being expanded about four extra blocks. The show runs along Hartz Avenue, which closes for the evening. This year it will go all the way up to San Ramon Valley High School and also spill into a portion of some of the side streets off Hartz.

"It's going to give us more space for more cars," said show organizer Tony Carnemolla.

The number of cars displayed next week will depend on how many can fit in the space, Carnemolla said, predicting around 350 cars. It's on a strictly first come, first served basis. Those interested in exhibiting register the day of the show at the SRVHS parking lot.

"You'll see cars coming into Danville probably about 2:30, 3 o'clock," said Carnemolla. The event starts at 4 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m.

The area was expanded to help make up for the two missing shows. In early April, the Town Council voted 3-2 to scale back the event to free up two nights for the Shop Local campaign, which was created to promote local retailers.

The vote followed complaints from many downtown shop owners who say it's impossible to do business during the car shows. They say the huge throngs that gather in the area seldom visit the shops and deter regular customers.

There is also a growing concern among residents that rowdy crowds can get out of control and are unsafe. Fifteen to 18 police officers typically staff the shows, significantly more than any other town event.

But others say the annual car show is one of the most fun and well-loved occasions in Danville, and brings worldwide recognition to the community.

Out-of-towners come to admire the classic cars and also enjoy the festive scene, which includes live music and booths selling food and drinks.

Three local bands will be stationed along Hartz Avenue this year, playing music that fits with the '50s and '60s theme, said Carnemolla.

"Next year I'm going to shoot for four shows again," he said. "Otherwise, I don't know if we're going to go to a new location, or if we'll go with two shows - if they'll allow two shows again. But we're definitely going to shoot for four."

Miller said he's not going to think about next summer until this one is over.

"Right now my only focus is to appreciate what we have and not to focus on what we don't have. I'm just focusing on making these a great show for people to have a great night," he said. "It's going to have a little new look to it, but it's still a car show for the public to come down and enjoy."

Vintage autos

What: Hot Summer Nights car show

When: 4-9 p.m., Thursdays, July 24 and Aug. 21

Where: Hartz Avenue in Danville

Cost: Free to public; $10 registration fee for exhibitors

To volunteer: Call David Miller at 437-3649


Like this comment
Posted by DAN
a resident of Danville
on Jul 24, 2009 at 11:05 am

8/21 is a FriDAY!

Like this comment
Posted by Dolores, editor
a resident of Danville
on Jul 24, 2009 at 3:37 pm

This is an old story from 2008, when Aug. 21 was a Thursday.

The second Hot Summer Nights for 2009 is Thursday, Aug. 20.