MARION — For 65-year-old Marion resident Dennis Waller it was a chance to look back to a time in his life when the living was easy and a big part of being a teenage boy in southern Illinois often centered around cars.
Car shows can often provoke pleasant memories to many retirees like Waller, and a traveling auto show featuring classics from his youth that included a midday stop at Marion’s Black Diamond Harley Davidson Saturday, offered the retired businessman a great way to spend an hour or so.
“I used to rebuild 1966 Ford Mustangs, but I don’t have one right now,” Waller said. “There are sure some beautiful cars out here today.”
Asked if that happened to be the first car he drove as a youth, Waller smiled, saying “No. My first car was a 1965 Biscayne Chevrolet with a six-cylinder engine. It was a big old land barge. Honestly, if I could find one of those to restore, I would probably try and do that, but those are like extinct now.”
Saturday’s traveling auto show was sponsored by the Sesser Road Devils and Mount Vernon Kingsmen car clubs.
According to Road Devils charter member Keith Ward of Sesser, it was club member Gary Wangler who came up with the idea of a traveling car show.
“At first, we said maybe, maybe not. But Gary took it upon himself to make it happen and had us believing we could actually do it and the response was great. We had over a hundred entries,” Ward said.
The show started at 9 a.m. in Mount Vernon, then club members made their way to Benton for a stop, then on to Johnston City for a bit, and from there the short drive to Marion, where they were treated to a free lunch. Afterward, it was on to Herrin and then finally Sesser, the last stop on the tour.
Kingsmen Car Club member Jeff Osborn of Mount Vernon was among the participants, driving his 1953 Chevrolet copper-colored pickup truck with a 5.3-liter V-8 engine capable of generating 300 horsepower.
He called the Marion stop his favorite.
“The Christian Motorcyclists from Carterville fed us lunch and I’ve always loved motorcycles. They even had live music for us,” he said.