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Car show packs Portales square

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Today, $4,600 for a vehicle may not seem too pricey, but for J.D. Cole of Clovis, that amount of money bought him the vehicle that would last four generations.

It was a 1967 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser Station Wagon that took him, his wife, and four children to Missouri each summer, 11 hours there and back, children bouncing in the back without seat belts for decades.

link Joshua Lucero: staff photo

Graham King of Clovis talks to onlookers about his 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Friday evening. Graham said he restored the car with all stock parts.

“I bought that brand new,” Cole, 76, said. “I made my wife drive it for 15 years because I wasn’t going to buy another car.”

After Cole retiring in 1993 from working on railroads, Cole says his great-granddaughter is the one now bouncing around in the back seat.

Cole was one of nearly 60 car owners at the National Collector Car Appreciation Day show Friday night at the Roosevelt County Courthouse.

Attendees gazed at the bright neons and classic engines in a row of vehicles made anywhere from the 1930s to more modern cars made this millennium.

Dawna Baca, a physical therapist technician at Roosevelt General Hospital, said of all the vehicles on display, her favorite happened to be a 1968 Chevy Camero, never mind it was her son-in-law’s.

Baca walked the row of cars with Kim Conte, a bank employee from Clovis, who said the weather for the event was perfect.

“It’s just laid-back, easy going and cool,” said Conte when asked why they attended.

Graham King of Clovis said he always pulls out his 1970 Dodge Challenger to put on a show. Of all the wild colors that were produced by Dodge in the 1970s, “Plum Crazy Purple” had a ring to it.

King, an Air Force veteran, said he drove trains for 38 years, but retired back to eastern New Mexico and has two loves — his family and his classic cars.

link Joshua Lucero: staff photo

Josh Rodriguez, center left, and his girlfriend Pamella Chavez look under the hood of a Corvette during the National Car Collector Appreciation Day at the Roosevelt County Courthouse. Rodriguez said he has an old car of his own that he wants to fix up for showing at car shows.

“I ran trains through Portales about once a week,” King said.

Christina Wampler, 33, said her husband’s 1972 El Camino is a work in progress, but it’s an investment he was excited for. Wampler said he traded eight vehicles to get the orange El Camino.

She said the idea of the vehicle being “half car, half truck” sold her because they can picnic in the back.

“We watched the fireworks back there and just chilled out in the El Camino,” Wampler. “It’s very comfortable.

Wampler’s 9-year-old daughter Aurora looks forward to driving the El Camino one day and was telling people it was her car.

Despite putting in a bid for a vehicle that was being raffled away, Aurora said her odds looked good either way.

“If I don’t win the car, I’ll still have this car,” Aurora said. “When my dad passes, I’ll be proud of him because he worked on this car.”

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