A cruise-in at a cemetery? Well, yes, as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what was happening about a week before Halloween at the Dayton Memorial Park Cemetery on North Dixie Drive.
“It was actually the cemetery’s idea. They contacted us about wanting to put something together to raise some funds for our restoration project, and we kicked a few ideas around and then we decided on a cruise-in,” explained Pat Stephens, the president of the Wayne Twp./Huber Heights Historical Society. “We’ve got lots of great car people in the area, and we do a show in the summer, so we thought it was a nice way to wind down the cruising season.
“Dayton Memorial Park Cemetery is helping us with the restoration of the Shearer Cemetery, and they are not charging us anything to use this space. It’s a neat area right along North Dixie. And we’re being respectful of the cemetery, but we’re also hoping for a good turnout. You know, Agnes Moorehead, who starred in the TV show Bewitched is buried here, so instead of a haunted cruise-in, we’re calling it Bewitched. We’ve already got
30 cars so we’re off to a good start,” she added.
There was a nice mix of hot rods, muscle cars, classic big American cars and even a little Isetta. “It’s unique, and it’s a really nice setting with the trees changing colors,” Dick Graham said. Graham, from Huber Heights, was showing his 1957 Isetta, a microcar built by BMW that holds two people, and the front of the car is also the door.
“It always attracts a crowd,” Graham added.
A beautiful orange 1940 Ford two door was cruising onto the show field, the color of the car matching many of the trees in the cemetery.
“No, I can’t say as I’ve ever been to a cruise-in or car show at a cemetery,” said Jim Lykins, the owner, driver and builder of the Ford. “This is pretty neat, and I’m from Huber Heights, so I’m supporting their cause.”
Lykins has owned the Ford for 25 years. “I built it years ago and we drag-raced it, and then I redid the car as a driver, and it really is. I like cruises and all that, but I really like the long drives, the cross-country shows. I figure I’ve put over 75,000 miles on this car over the years,” he said.
The Ford has a nice raked stance, and has no bumpers. The louvered hood doesn’t give away what lurks underneath, and Lykins is not lacking for power.
“It’s got a 350 Chevy in it with a four barrel. I’ve got it mated to a 400 Turbo Chevy automatic transmission so it’ll cruise along the road all day long,” Lykins said.
Pat Stephens hopes to continue the fall cruise in at the cemetery next year. “We called it the first annual on the dash plaques, and they look like tombstones, so we’re planning on doing it again.”
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