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Summer cruisin' into autumn

The crowd wanders through the Hastings car show Saturday evening, Aug. 25, 2018. John Molene / Contributor 1 / 3
Fins were popular in the 1950s and 1960s, and also Saturday as seen on this car's license plate at the Aug. 25, 2018, Hastings Cruise-In Classic Car Show. John Molene / Contributor2 / 3
The interior of Jim Dunlop's 1960 Pontiac Bonneville convertible sports dice and dashboard art. John Molene / Contributor3 / 3

Fins, dangling foam dice and fancy wheels of all shapes and sizes ruled downtown Hastings in the last local classic car show of the summer.

The finale of the 2018 Historic Downtown Hastings Cruise-In Classic Car shows drew a large and enthusiastic crowd on a picture-perfect summer Saturday evening.

The show was open to vehicles 1976 and older. Most cars were vintage models from the 1950s through the early 1970s, but a few precious autos from the 1940s and 1930s made appearances.

A large and happy crowd mulled over the crowds, some munching on treats from vendors, others just gawking at the shiny objects while sometimes anxious owners watched from the sidelines.

The car show has been an annual attraction in Hastings for some 15 years, hitting Second Street every other Saturday night during the summer. Some 500 to 700 cars usually show for the non-judged event. But the lack of judging certainly didn't hold down the quality.

"They're really beautiful cars," said Mary Timmons of Rosemount. "We go to a lot of car shows but always like the Hastings show."

The cars — "they're cool"—agreed 9-year-old Matt Nelson of Hastings who summed up the street appeal of the car show. "They're all just cool."

Greg Nelson of Spring Valley, Wis., drove his award-winning 1956 red and black Ford Fairlane to the Hastings show.

"It was built in St. Paul, Minnesota, in April 1956," Nelson said. "It has factory colors. It spent 30 years in garages before I bought it three years ago."

Nelson painted and did all the restoration work on the car himself.

"Hiring it out is no fun," he said.

Yogi Cysiewski of Hasting proudly showed off his 1956 Ford glass top Crown Victoria to appreciative passersby.

"Only 600 were made and 300 were shipped overseas," said Cysiewski. "I haven't had it out in three years."

Cysiewski said he bought and restored the car for his wedding. He guessed perhaps 150 of the cars are still in existence. Because of the car's condition and rarity makes it a true collector's car, Cysiewski estimated its value somewhere north of $100,000.

Another crowd-pleaser was a 1960 purple Pontiac Bonneville convertible owned by Jim Dunlop of Austin, Minn. The car features an Elvis drawing on the dashboard, Marilyn Monroe on the spare tire cover and crossed-out names of all the girlfriends who once sat in the passenger seat. Dunlop has worked on the car for 18 years and estimated its value at around $60,000.

A 1962 Chevrolet Corvette 327 four-speed drew plenty of admirers as well. Owned by Jon Skogh of Inver Grove Heights, the car is one of three vintage models Skogh has remodeled or is in the process of restoring. The other two he owns are a 1932 Model A roadster and a 1929 Ford Town Sedan.

"When I want to have fun I take the Corvette," Skogh said. "It's fun to drive."

Fun to just look at, too, car show enthusiasts agreed.