They don’t have all the modern safety features — shoulder belts, high head rests or third brake lights. And great gas mileage? Forget about it.
What they do have is the ability to take one back to a different time.
A car show is planned as part of the 13th annual Lakes Festival of Lights, set for noon to dusk Dec. 14 at the intersection of Lake East and Lake Sahara drives. The street will be blocked off, and parking will be available behind Citibank, 8701 W. Sahara Ave.
The family-friendly event is set to feature live entertainment, holiday fun for children, a crafts show and food for purchase. It also will collect toys for needy children.
The Lakes Festival of Lights ends with a special light show, hence the name of the event. It is free and open to the public.
One of the major draws is the car show, part of the festival since 2002.
“It has been a showcase attraction every year since then,” said Greg Toussaint, event founder and organizer. “Our free event focuses on the entire family, so we try to have something for everyone. There are plenty of things for the kids to do, but we also have the craft show and the car show, so that adults have a great time, too.”
The car show’s organizer is Ed Metcalfe.
Known as “Smilin’ Ed,” Metcalfe is the founder of Mopars of Las Vegas, a car club with nearly 300 members who own about 400 cars among them. But Metcalfe has contacts with other car clubs and said Festival of Lights Car Show attendees can expect to see entries from a Ferrari club, a Corvette club, the Las Vegas Cruisers and others.
“The first year, I went all out. We took over three whole streets, and after that, Greg said, ‘Um, I need some space for the crafts and stuff,’ ” Metcalfe said. “So now, I limit it to 75 cars.”
Some are vintage, while others are muscle cars, and still others are refurbished to be unique, such as a hot rod truck made to resemble a fire engine. One year, the show saw a Bentley. It was new, on loan from the Towbin dealership. It cost $300,000.
“The sticker was still on it,” Metcalfe said. “It was, like, $40,000 just for the paint, or some ridiculous amount like that.”
His daughter, Meagan, helps him put together goodie bags for the car show participants.
“I’m really into Christmas, so I’m looking forward to the event because there are a lot of Christmas activities,” she said. “The car (portion) is for him.”
One of the top pulls planned for this year is a 1963 Corvette with a split rear window. That was the only year the split rear window was offered. Back then, it was a $90 option. It features a 327 cubic inch engine with 300 horsepower. Owner Ken VanLul has had it for 33 years.
“I wanted one ever since I was in high school,” VanLul said. “Of course, I couldn’t afford one back then, but I stumbled across one, back in 1980, that a friend of mine was selling. It had been in storage for a couple years.”
He got it up and running again, but it was another 17 years before it was restored to its original glory and painted Sebring Silver. The split rear window makes it an extra-valuable model.
“It’s a very rare car,” VanLul said. “There were only 10,000 made, and when I traced the numbers down with the color combinations, the engine and so forth, there were only about 400 made.”
He said he’s getting more cautious about driving it on the streets. Some people will drive up next to him to gawk at it and not maintain their lane. Others, driving behind him, don’t realize he’s braking because the car has small taillights and no third brake light.
He said it was important to him that it be restored to stock condition, as he likes “original cars.” He estimated he has about $45,000 into the car.
“I was offered $125,000 for it last year,” VanLul said. “I didn’t sleep for three days and three nights” trying to decide.
In the end, he turned down the offer. This will be his third year of displaying the car at the Festival of Lights. VanLul said it was a chance for those with similar interests to get together, compare stories and get leads on good repairmen.
Metcalfe has two restored vehicles of his own, a red 1968 Dodge Dart convertible with a bumblebee racer stripe circling the rear end. He has about $20,000 invested in it. He also has a green 1969 Plymouth GTX featuring a roaring 440 engine with a “six pack” carburetor. He bought the latter about 35 years ago for $450, and he put about $15,000 into it.
“I’m working on the fifth motor … When I bought it, it was missing everything,” he said. “It was basically (a car) with a bucket of parts on the floor.”
It looks nothing like that now. It’s valued at $50,000.
Attendees will find the car owners approachable and ready to talk shop. Just don’t get too close to the paint job with your swinging keychain.
“The owners will pretty much stand next to their cars,” Metcalfe said. “They’re very protective of their cars.”
He said he was undecided about which of his cars would be included in the show.
The car show is scheduled to end around 4 p.m. As dark descends, residents of The Lakes will pass by the park in boats lit up with holiday decorations.
For more information, visit lakesassociation.com/festival.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2949.