HARLINGEN — Valent Moton gazed in wonder at the 1930 Dodge truck parked on Jackson Street.
“Tell me about the lights,” said Moton, 34. “I’ve never seen lights like that before.”
Moton, who was visiting from Louisiana, was one of many car enthusiasts yesterday at the 9th Annual Jackson Street Car Show. The event was organized by the Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America.
About 200 cars were parked along Jackson Street between Commerce and 4th streets, a significant increase from last year when about 150 cars were entered.
Moton appeared fascinated by everything on the truck. In the 1930s, a Dodge truck was simply a Dodge truck. He was intrigued by the tail light mounted on a curved bracket, an eye catching feature so different from anything found on cars today — unless they come from yesterday.
Jerry Sprague, 62, and his friend Vern Trent, 74, seemed to gravitate toward cars from the 1930s.
“They are beautiful,” Sprague said. “I just like this style of hot rod cars, no fenders.”
He was referring to the 1932 Ford Roadster presented by Leo Gonzalez and his wife Tita. Yellow flame rushed from the grill and turned dark orange, a powerful contrast against the black background. The Gonzalezes purchased the car about a month ago for $35,000. The previous owner had installed new cream-colored upholstery. Shiny reddish brown wood covered the steering wheel.
“Oh, that’s cool,” said a young boy as he stopped to take a second look before moving on to the next car. For just a moment, the so-called “generation gap” between children and adults had closed.
It’s not surprising that so many people were stopping to look over the Roadster.
“They are rare here in Texas,” said Leo Gonzalez, who owns LGs Paint and Body Shop in Harlingen
Gonzalez said the previous owner, who lives near Edcouch-Elsa, invests in cars and then resells them. The owner had a particular vision for the car which he then made a reality and sold to Leo and his wife, Tita.
“I feel like a teenager when I get in that car,” Tita Gonzalez said with a playful laugh.
They also had a 1932 Ford Coupe, also a shiny black. The car, with its top and other features, was markedly different from the Roadster.
“I feel it’s one of a kind,” said Leo Gonzalez.
Across the street, Ken Harrison was admiring the 2006 Corvette on display by Kjell Lovdal.
“It’s cleaner,” said Harrison, 73. He was referring to what he felt was excessive detailing on the back of the Corvette next to Lovdal’s.
“I really love Corvettes,” said Lovdal, 68, a Winter Texan who spends part of the year in his native Norway. The rest of the time he’s in South Texas.
“I love South Texas and I love the U.S.,” he said with a laugh.
He’s a member of the South Texas Corvette Club and keeps his cars in storage while he’s gone.
“It’s a really special car,” Lovdal said. “All my cars are GMs.”
Moton thought the red Dodge truck was pretty special.
“I love Dodge anything,” he said.
“We do, too,” said Diane Decker, 62.
She and her husband Bill purchased the truck about four years ago and refurbished it.
Bill Decker said most of these particular trucks were exported oversees after their manufacture. Only a small number remained in the U.S., and most of those apparently fell into disrepair. Decker has searched diligently on the Internet for another truck like this one and he couldn’t find any.
Moton continued looking over the truck in awe.
“They put a lot of work into it but it looks pretty original,” he said. “Check out the bumper. They don’t make bumpers like that. Check out the suspension.”