Wheel deal: Classic and antique cars on display Saturday

Brownsville Classics, a loose confederation of classic-car enthusiasts and gearheads, is doing its best to spread the gospel of gleaming chrome and tail fins while promoting various businesses and events in and around the city.

This Saturday, members of the group and their machines will converge on Johnny Rockets, 3340 Pablo Kissel Blvd., from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. for an event dubbed “Show and Shine.” It’s free and open to the public, said Fernando San Miguel, spokesman for the group.

“We’ll pipe in some oldies music and just have a good time,” he said.

The group isn’t a club in the strict sense, with dues and officers and all that, San Miguel said. To be part of Brownsville Classics all you need is an antique or classic car or truck — nothing newer than 25 years old — and a desire to hang out with like-minded individuals.

“It’s just to promote the good old days,” San Miguel said. “It’s a throwback.”

His own ride is a head-turning, mint green, 1961 Chevrolet Apache stepside pickup with the original Chevy “straight six,” 235-cubic-inch engine and one-barrel carburetor. San Miguel conceded that some vehicles, even if they’re old enough, are unlikely ever to be considered “classic” in the deeper sense.

It’s hard to imagine, for instance, anyone going to the trouble to restore and lovingly maintain, say, a Cadillac Cimarron — basically a Chevy Cavalier with a Cadillac badge slapped on.

“The classic, it’s a car that never goes out of style,” San Miguel said. “Like a 1963 Chevy Impala, a 1957 Bel Air, the GTOs, the Mustangs — all of those are considered classics.”

The group, founded over a year ago, has around 65 members so far. San Miguel said it’s an opportunity for the city’s classic car owners to show off their machines for the public’s enjoyment, as opposed to just keeping them in the garage. For his part, San Miguel likes to tool around in his Apache whenever he feels like it and the weather’s nice.

Besides promoting hamburger chains and other businesses, Brownsville Classics members have taken part in events like Brownsville Vintage Day during Charro Days, and have a Fathers Day car show at the Historic Brownsville Museum. The group’s rolling time capsules can also be found on display at shows in Harlingen, La Feria, Olmito, McAllen and elsewhere.

San Miguel said he expects 35 cars at Johnny Rockets on Saturday.

“We’re not charging,” he said. “We just want people to have fun and come and look at the vehicles. We want to do it for the community.”

Visit the Brownsville Classics Facebook page for more information.

Brownsville Classics “Show and Shine”

Saturday, March 23

Johnny Rockets, 3340 Pablo Kissel Blvd.

6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Free admission