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Restoring a classic car (show)

A new weekly car show will reunite hot rodders and classic car enthusiasts who used to congregate in the parking lot of American Motorsports Bar and Grill.

The Culver’s Car Show runs Wednesday nights beginning at 5 p.m. in the parking lot between Culver’s restaurant and US Bank in Cottage Grove.

Organizer Tim Conrad was a regular at the weekly “Hot Rod Hump Days” at American Motorsports, when as many as 40 classic car owners would hang out and talk shop.

The “Car Bar” closed in November after 10 years to make way for the new Hy-Vee supermarket.

Conrad, who owns a restored 1964 Ford Galaxie 500, missed the camaraderie and conversation.

“With the demise of them, I felt there was still a need for local people to have a place to gather,” he said.

Not long after the closing, he contacted Culver’s owner Ben Gathje about reviving the car show outside his restaurant on the other side of 80th Street.

“That same weekend, he approached and said, ‘Hey, would you like to do the car show?’” Gathje said. “I was always going to car shows and I always wanted to do one. I didn’t want to take away from something they already had going on at the Car Bar.”

He hopes this edition will be more family-oriented. Folks are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and park it in a designated area that will be marked off with orange traffic cones.

Every classic or muscle car driver who comes to the show will receive a free value basket coupon, he said.

Customers of Kohl’s or US bank will not be inconvenienced, Gathje said.

Conrad hopes the bumper crop of vintage Mustangs, GTOs and Jaguars in the parking lot will attract the attention of passing motorists on 80th Street.

“The location is more visible,” he said. “I think it’s a win-win for the community and for Culver's. I think it’s a nice way to spend a Wednesday night.”

Conrad said he doesn’t expect significant competition from a car show scheduled for the same night at the St. Paul Park-Newport Lions Club in St. Paul Park Their first show is May 11.

“I’d be all for it if there was nothing else going on but I think Culver’s is a much better location,” he said.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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