Muscle cars rumble during Hot August NightsMon, 13 Aug 2012 00:00:00 -0700
The ground was shaking, but it wasn't from an earthquake.
More than 6,000 classic cars, all pre-1972, descended upon Reno, Nev., for the 26th edition of Hot August Nights.
This year's event was Aug. 7-11 in Reno and Sparks, and, for the third year, Hot August Nights kicked off Aug. 3-5 at South Lake Tahoe.
American muscle cars from the 1950s and '60s dominate the event and rumble down city streets most hours of the day, but there is always a sprinkling of older vehicles, as well as European cars.
There was an effort this year to draw a younger crowd as General Motors and Ford brought several new Corvettes and Mustangs for free Ride and Drives.
People could drive the high-horsepower vehicles around a closed parking lot course, then ride along with a professional driver at tire-squealing speeds. The one-minute ride was videotaped, showing the passenger's reaction.
There were also drag races and demolition derbies throughout the event. But the big attraction is the nightly cruises, as crowds pack sidewalks to see the classic cars drive by.
Cars range from mint condition, all original, to highly modified. Sometimes, what's under the hood is from something completely different than the body, such as the white 1937 Jaguar with a Ford drivetrain.
The majority of cars have been beautifully restored, and some owners detail restoration efforts in photo albums displayed with the cars.
Organizers estimated the event brought nearly 800,000 visitors to downtown Reno and the surrounding areas and generated an economic impact of about $250 million.
Car owners say Hot August Nights reminds them of simpler times, when cars were more distinctive and easy to tell apart, not to mention easier to work on.
Vintage-car auctions are also a big part of Hot August Nights, and swap meets are another big attraction. The music is also a draw. Acts this year, all at no cost and all performed outdoors, included the Village People, Steppenwolf and Paul Revere and the Raiders.
By Jim Krajewski