For 24 years now, a group of car enthusiasts have worked together to bring classic cars to Downtown Lodi, all for a good cause.
“As always, the money that we make off it goes to local charities,” said Marty Duplichan, secretary of the American Steel Car Club of Lodi.
The club hosts their Stuck in Lodi Classic Car Show each year as a labor of love, with proceeds going to support local nonprofits like the Salvation Army, Lodi House, Animal Friends Connection and the LOEL Senior Center.
Last year, they supported those four organizations and seven others, including the Lodi Police Cadets and the department’s Gang Resistance Education And Training program, better known as GREAT. The cadets and other volunteers from the department help with traffic control during Stuck in Lodi.
That help is needed. This year, the club is expecting 350 cars, Duplichan said. As of Tuesday, nearly 200 were already signed up, with more expected over the next week. And classic car owners can sign up the day of the event, too.
“Last year, we had over a hundred come that day,” Duplichan said.
Anyone with a classic car built before 1979 is welcome to register. Some of the cars already registered for this year’s event include Ford Skyliners, various years of Chevy Chevelles, Nomads and Camaros, and even a 1943 Revell Thames Panel Truck.
“It’s a tiny little (vehicle), and they stuff big motors in them, typically,” club president John Wilbur said.
A 1948 Cadillac Series 62 has also registered.
“Not a lot of those around,” Wilbur said.
For participating car owners, the club offers a goodie bag that is plenty of bang for their $45 registration fee buck. This year’s bag includes a T-shirt, wine, bottled water, and a few other goodies like Frisbees and sunglasses.
“We pride ourselves in giving out one of the nicest goodie bags,” Duplichan said.
They can do that with the help of sponsors like Chase Chevrolet, Meehleis Modular Buildings, Inc. and Big Valley Insurance, who underwrite some of the costs, as well as local businesses who donate items for the goodie bags.
Donating their time is also the Christian Motorcyclist Association; members will be serving up pancakes to breakfasters in exchange for donations.
And, as usual, admission for spectators is free.
“Not a lot of things you can do anymore for free,” Wilbur said.
Club members hope that Lodi residents and classic car fans from all over will turn out for the event, and to explore Downtown Lodi. Maybe even do a little shopping and dining, and support the businesses that have supported the car show for 24 years.
“It’s a good time to come out and look at a lot of old cars,” Wilbur said.