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Shiny cars, enthusiasts pack Olympic Avenue
ARLINGTON After its absence last year, the Downtown Arlington Merchants Association's Show 'N Shine returned to Olympic Avenue June 14.
Event co-chair Marilyn Bullock reported that 180 cars were parked on the closed-off street this year, which she estimates is up from previous years. She attributed this increased participation to the car show's cancellation last year.
"I think they missed it," said Bullock, who noted that the "break" last year means that this year was the ninth annual event, even though it was started 10 years ago. "It's nice to have it back. It has a hometown feel and lets merchants put their best feet forward, which has paid off for them."
Among the downtown businesses participating was Brooster's, which managed to offer discount meals of burgers, hot dogs and fries for the event, in spite of the recent passing of owner Bruce Bruch.
Event chair Ken Johnson started tallying up votes for the award categories as early as 10:30 a.m. this year, but so many categories were so close that he and Bullock weren't able to start announcing winners until nearly 3:30 p.m., almost half an hour after they'd scheduled the announcement.
Arlington's Grant Jensen drove away with the Best in Show trophy, in his 1942 Lincoln convertible. Jensen acquired it four years ago and spent three years restoring it, for a cost that he declined to give to the press.
"Only 136 were ever made, and there's only 22 left in the world," Jensen said. "Of those, only five have ever been fixed up. I'd been looking for this one for 20 years."
The model was discontinued when auto manufacturing focused more on military vehicles during World War II, but Jensen has added plenty of modern touches to his car, including heated seats, a rear-view navigation camera and a stereo system in the trunk. At the same time, it still boasts its original Corvette suspension and spring-loaded, push-button doors.
"I don't take it out much," Jensen said. "I never saw this model in the shows. You meet nice, friendly people at shows like this."
Chuck and Joyce Togstead walked away with a trio of plaques of their own, Joyce for Mayor's Choice, Chuck for First Place '50s Mod, and Chuck and Joyce both for Second Place '50s Stock.
Joyce and Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson both loved Joyce's 1956 Ford Thunderbird for being a "girly car." Aside from a few upgrades, such as radial tires, to make it more drivable on modern roads, the Thunderbird was restored to its original condition by Chuck, in his shop over the course of a year and a half.
"I just wanted one as long as I could remember," Joyce said.
Chuck spent two years in his shop restoring his 1955 Mercury Montclair, which took the First Place '50 Mod this year. He's restored a total of seven cars to date.
"It's just satisfying to take something old and make it nice, new and desirable again," Chuck said. "I had a Montclair as a kid, but it wasn't a convertible. I always liked Mercury. I liked the way they handled and looked."