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Many love man-made machines with horsepower
Friendships form, memories recalled at area car shows
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Classic and modern-day cars line the streets of downtown Flowery Branch during an annual car show. - photo by Kelsey Williamson

Upcoming car and motorcycle show

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; registration begins at 8 a.m. June 20.

Where: Big Bear Cafe, 893 Main St. SW, Gainesville.

Cost: Spectators free; online registration $25; day-of-event registration $30.

More info: 770-532-8637, plavallee@att.net

While cars may be the primary mode of transportation in this day and age, models from yesteryear and the future carry memories for some and dreams for others.

Older cars bring back feelings of nostalgia. New cars transport people into the future with their technology and design.

No matter the age of the person or vehicle, however, car shows are popular events for owners and spectators.

“I think it brings people together,” said Clyde Grine, owner of a 1968 Ford Galaxie 500. “I like meeting people and seeing the other cars. These are good people. They appreciate the history of the cars.”

Grine has been exhibiting his vehicle for four years, but he started going to car shows five years ago. Each time, he sees some of the same people admiring the man-made machines. In fact, many friendships have flourished among car enthusiasts, making it more than a hobby to some.

His car is more than a hobby. It has a special meaning for him.

“It belonged to my dad, and he passed it down to me,” Grine said with a smile as he recalled the happy memory. “It has a lot of memories for me, and I thought people would enjoy looking at it.”

Many spectators and participants, such as Grine, come to car shows to reminisce. Grine not only enjoys showing off his car, he likes seeing other cars entered in shows.

“I love looking at the cars just as much as I like bringing mine,” he said. “I like, too, that I can just leave my stuff here with my car and I never have to worry about people messing with anything. That’s just the kind of people that come to these things.”

As he walks around any show, Grine may find one of the first cars such as a Ford Model T, or brand-new Teslas and electric vehicles. Sometimes, spectators even come across iconic replicas, such as the 1967 Ford Mustang dubbed “Eleanor” from the film “Gone in 60 Seconds” or the Volkswagen Beetle from the “Herbie” movies.

The memorable car from the 1977 film “Smokey and the Bandit,” recently made an appearance at a Flowery Branch car show. The 1977 “Bandit” Pontiac Trans Am is a realization of a childhood dream for Paul Gunio.

“When I was younger, the ‘Bandit’ was the first model car I ever bought,” Gunio said. “I saved up my money and my dad and I went to the store and got it. Then, I decided I wanted the real thing.”

Gunio still has the model car, which sits at the front of his Trans Am. His vehicle is popular because it is recognizable.

“People like the American muscle cars, and they know this one from the movie,” Gunio said. “A lot of people will come by and take pictures with it.”

Although some cars in the shows are classified as “daily driver,” meaning it is the person’s everyday car, Gunio’s Trans Am is only driven during great weather on Sundays or on special occasions. Then, he spends time sprucing up the car for shows.

“I spend a couple hours polishing the exterior and interior,” Gunio said. “It doesn’t need much because I don’t take it out that often. I’ll clean the windows and wipe down the outside throughout the day.”

Competitors spend extra time polishing their vehicles in the morning before judging, but once the vehicle is judged, owners will simply keep the car in top shape for onlookers and photos.

“Winning awards can be nice, but it’s really about bringing the cars out to take people back to a place in time or give them a dream,” Gunio said.

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