By Russell Hixson
YALE, Okla. —
It didn’t have airbrushed orange flames, hydraulics or sparkling chrome rims like some of the cars at the Sizzlin’ Summer Cruz N’ car show in Yale, but Bill Johnson has kept his Ford Galaxie for 32 years. Its gone through engines, transmissions and the driver’s seat is covered in brown duct tape. But he’s not ready to let it go yet.
“It’s basically the way it came from the factory,” Johnson said. The Glencoe resident isn’t interested in modifying or tweaking the cream white car.
He remembers when the Galaxie was introduced by Ford in 1965 so the model brings back memories. But he’s made some new ones with this Galaxie as well. Johnson remembers fondly the days he would take it to the drag racing track for the thrill of competition and the deep rumble of engines.
“It’s like music,” he said.
Johnson, clad in blue overalls, jeans and blue cap, said he was happy to get out and about for the car show.
“Not many years left, they opened me up here,” the 74-year-old said, gesturing to his heart.
Tulsa resident Jim House was also in Yale to show off his car. It’s a 1932 Ford Coupe with a small block Chevy engine.
“It’s called atomic tangerine,” he said of the hot rod’s bright paint job. It’s bold, it’s expensive and his mother hates it, House said. But he loves it. House said he caught the hot rod bug at an early age and after taking a ride in his friend’s 1944 coupe as a teenager he was hooked.
“My family doesn’t understand it,” he said. He plans on modifying a new car once he sells this one.
The car show at Jim Thorpe Park in Yale is just one of many attractions at this year’s Sizzilin’ Summer Cruz N’. Fair rides, St. Louis Rams cheerleaders and a dunk tank were just a few of the things visitors could do.
The yearly event raises money for the Oklahoma Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation grants the wishes of children facing life-threatening illnesses.
Make-A-Wish Oklahoma Development Officer Beverly Mullen said six Make-A-Wish families from around the state were at Jim Thorpe Park Saturday to enjoy the car show.
“They have gone so over and above I am blown away at this community,” Mullen said of Yale.
The Summer Cruz N’, which is in its third year, is organized by the Yale Police Department and volunteers.