FULTON, NY – Cars lined the grass in front of Sweet Inspirations in Fulton on Wednesday night and the tradition of Drive-in night lives on.
People come from all over Oswego County and even outside the county to share stories and take a look at one another’s cars.
Drive-In night at Sweets hosts all different makes, models, and years of cars. Many owners were getting ready to show cars at the Syracuse Nationals this weekend, but Nationals only shows cars from 1980 or earlier.
“There’s all kinds of cars from Model Ts to brand new ones,” said Carl Malone.
Malone and his wife have been refurbishing cars since about 1996, and currently are showing a 1966 Ford Mustang which they’ve owned for about three years.
“I’ve always worked on cars, played with cars,” said Malone. “I was a mechanic for a long time.”
Young Jason Purdy was excited to talk about his dad’s 1962 Chevy Nova. “I like riding it in,” said Purdy, “because I like when it goes fast – and it goes fast.”
Darlene Taylor has been coming to Drive-In night for years, and used to play in The C Cruisers oldies band during sock hops that accompanied the evening.
“We started bringing our car down here,” said Taylor. “We started having sock hops, our band started playing and it just grew.”
Taylor is currently driving a 1964 Chevy Corvair.
“I’ve been looking for a convertible,” said Taylor. And, three months ago she found the Corvair in Pulaski.
Her favorite part about continuing to attend the Drive-in nights is the childhood memories brought about by the cars.
“The stories (people) tell when they see your car,” said Taylor.
The sentiment was echoed by Malone and his wife, who come to the events for the good company.
“You meet a lot of people, look at the cars, and have a good time,” said Malone. “They help you out. If your car’s broken, everybody tries to help you.”
Dan Draper, whose current car is a 1979 Chevy Camaro, called refurbishing old cars a “labor of love.”
This is especially true in Upstate New York where special considerations need to be taken to make sure the cars winter well.
“You’ve got to keep it in a dry location, off a damp floor. I put tarps under it to keep dampness out so it doesn’t rust underneath,” said Draper.
Other tips include putting dryer sheets in the car to keep mice away, and waxing the car and then covering it to keep dust off all winter.
“I’ve had a lot of cars,” said Draper. “You get them going, get them where you want them and then go looking for something else and sell the one you’ve got.”
What he likes about coming to events now is sharing his knowledge with future enthusiasts.
“There’s a lot of young kids now getting into the older cars which is nice to see,” Draper noted.
Drive-in nights are about spending time with friends, meeting new ones, and sharing a common love for the cars.
“There’s people in Fulton that have such great talent when it comes to redoing these cars,” said Jay Foster, Fifth Ward Councilor, and owner of a 1970 Chevy pickup. “I’m not sure anybody really realizes – there’s many, many customizers here in town that do some awesome stuff.”