Cruisin' for the Arts is a showcase of "Downriver works of automotive art"

Terry Robertson of Allen Park and his fully-restored 1962 Corvette took the Best in Show trophy at Cruisin’ for the Arts 2010 on Saturday, August 28, at Taylor’s Heritage Park.

First place went to Nick Manescu of Taylor for his blue flamed 1949 Mercury.  John Morris of Romulus took second place for a restored 1971 Dodge Challenger.  Third place went to Anita Murphy of Taylor for a Hot Rod Bucket T.

The Fire Chief’s Trophy went to a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro belonging to Bill Philips of Taylor.  The Police Chief’s Trophy was presented to Taylor’s Kim Cowles’ 1973 Challenger. The Mayor’s Trophy went to Wayne Cline of Taylor for his restored and patriotic 1950 GMC truck. Cline still has the original equipment spare tire for the classic vehicle.

Sixteen more awards were given out for vehicles that exemplified excellence in Downriver cruising: Paul Caudill, Steve Thomas, Al Haas, Bob Notter, John Boyd, Walt Szostek, Joe Combs, Hailee Murphy and Mick Laskey, all of Taylor; Dawn Leimback of Brownstown Township; Jay and Linda Williams of Romulus; Dave Seaco of Woodhaven; Ron Thomas of Lincoln Park; Paul Pierce of Newport, Russ Urtell of Grosse Pointe; and Jim Philips.

The weather was clear and beautiful.  The event featured food, music and a great day out in Heritage Park in Taylor.

Cruisin’ for the Arts is sponsored by the City of Taylor Department of Golf, Parks and Recreation and the Taylor Cultural Arts Commission and produced by the Taylor Cultural Arts Foundation to raise funds for support of arts events and arts education in Taylor and the greater Downriver area.

Erin Dobbins is chairwoman of the show. Lisa Norris and Gerard Drazba are co-chairs.

“Some might think it odd that a Cultural Arts Commission would get involved with a car show, but if you look at the pictures it is clear that these vehicles are works of art and the owners and builders are indeed artists,” said Drazba, who serves on the commission. “The owners/builders/artists are also our main benefactors through the $10 registration fee for cars in the show. In return, our mission is to give them a nice venue to show their art. Thanks to the beauty of Heritage Park that part is easy.

Each year, all vehicles are welcome at the show, regardless of make, model, year, class or style, Drazba said.

“Some car shows favor certain classifications,” he added. “Our show is wide open. You name it: rat cars or low riders or late model mods and classics. Come one, come all.

“Each vehicle is a personal expression of the owner. That is art. As a fund-raiser, all we ask for is four wheels and $10. Cruisin’ for the Arts is a showing of Downriver works of automotive art.”

He noted that every weekend of good weather there are multiple car shows from which to choose.

“We want all of the Downriver car guys and gals to know that this humble show in beautiful Heritage Park is for them,” Drazba said. “Another tribute to our car guys and gals is that at the end of the day when the last car rumbled off of the concert field in Heritage Park, there was not a bit of trash left behind. Not one! They took care of our park the way they take care of their cars.”

Drazba said the Cultural Arts Foundation wants Cruisin for the Arts to become “an annual appointment for folks from all over to come see Downriver’s car guys and car gals and their magnificent machines.”

Classic cars glisten in the sun at Taylor's Heritage Park.

Gerard Drazba presents the Best of Show award to Terry
Robertson of Allen Park.

Terry Robertson and his fully-restored 1962 Corvette.

Nick Manescu of Taylor and his blue flamed 1949 Mercury took first place.

John Morris of Romulus took second place for his restored 1971 Dodge Challenger.

Anita Murphy of Taylor took third place for her Hot Rod Bucket T. Next to her are Kristin
Hollenbeck and Hailee Murphy, who earned an Award of Excellence for her mini Bucket T.

The Mayor's Trophy went to Wayne Cline of Taylor for his restored and patriotic 1950
GMC truck.

Chief of Police Dale Tamsen presents the Police Chief's
Trophy to Kim Cowles of Taylor for her 1973 Challenger.

Bill Phillips II and Bill Phillips I of Taylor won the Fire Chief's Trophy for their 1969 Camaro.

Paul Caudill of Taylor was an Award of Excellence winner for his 1957 Chevy.

Linda Williams of Romulus was an Award of Excellence winner for her 1964 Ford
Galaxy 500 XL.

Eugenia and Steven Thomas of Taylor took home an Award of Excellence for their 1960 Ford
Thunderbird Hardtop.

Joe Combs of Taylor earned an Award of Excellence with his 1969 SS Camaro.

A dozen of the winners of the Award of Excellence gather under the tent.