Lowellville has 11th annual Cruisin’ the River event

By Sean Barron



It may be true that all Sally wants to do is ride around, according to lyrics in the popular 1967 Wilson Pickett hit, “Mustang Sally,” but Jeff and Beth Norman of Struthers were happy to have Sally sit around for a while and be admired.

“My wife calls it ‘Mustang Sally,’ Jeff said, referring to his 1969 Mustang Coupe, which has a black-jade metallic color that when exposed to light, highlights the dark-green tint.

The couple’s vintage vehicle was one of many of all sizes, ages and colors that graced Monday’s 11th annual Cruisin’ the River Car and Bike Cruise along East Water Street.

The three-hour show continues from 5 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Oct. 10, weather permitting.

An estimated 300 to 350 vintage cars, pickup trucks and motorcycles were the show’s main attractions. Much of the money raised is donated to the Lowellville K-12 School and goes toward three or four $500 scholarships, noted Al Smith, event coordinator.

Some registrants came from as far as Pittsburgh, Cleveland and up to 100 miles away, said Smith, adding the show will end with a Halloween bash and cruise along East Water Street.

Jeff Norman recalled having bought his Mustang 25 or 30 years ago before selling it to his son, Kevin McCauley, who served four years in the Marines. After that, McCauley sold it back to him, Norman said.

The vehicle has about 53,000 miles, along with an automatic dual-exhaust system and a 351-Windsor engine, which is not the original, he continued.

The Normans take the car to shows only, but have a lot of fun with it, they said.

“If you don’t respect a car, it won’t respect you,” Beth said with a chuckle.

Suffice it to say that Greg Boland of Struthers highly respects his emerald-green 1953 Buick Special, with a series of pinstripes that sports a 265-cubic-inch, Straight-8 engine, which is an eight-cylinder, internal-combustion engine with the cylinders mounted in a straight line.

“The car’s originally from Georgia,” Boland said. “It [then] went to Kirtland, Ohio, and was in a heated garage for over 20 years.”

Another salient feature of the 4,000-pound vintage vehicle, which has most of the original parts, is what Boland calls “the Buick smile” in the front. It is a grill panel consisting of a series of vertical stainless-steel columns with angled chrome bumpers above and beneath it, giving the panel a look that resembles a large smile.

Boland added he bought his Buick about three years ago and estimated that it gets about 12 mpg.

A sample of other vehicles at the show included a rebuilt purple 1929 Ford two-seater, a bright-red two-door 1933 Ford Sedan, a four-seat light-green 1960 Studebaker Lark, an orange 1957 Corvette with white trim, a 1939 turquoise two-door Chevrolet Master Deluxe and a series of Harley Davidson motorcycles and trucks such as a 1955 Chevrolet pickup truck.

“I bought it used about 20 years ago,” said Cyril Kovach of Youngstown, referring to his 1949 Mercury four-door car. “I did a few things, but it has most of the original parts.”

The vehicle, which has a pine-green roof and a Vermont-green body, has the original flathead engine and push-button AM radio, among other things, he noted.

Car shows certainly are nothing new to Kovach, who has taken his car to many. Used classic vehicles always have had a place in his heart, Kovach continued, adding that a 1949 Mercury also was the first car he drove.

In addition, those who came to the car show enjoyed ideal weather and the sounds of oldies music.