|Hot Rod Crazy|
|Wednesday, October 17, 2012|
Car enthusiast loves showing off his wheels
By KEN BECK
The letters on the license plate to Rod Reprogle’s 2003 Chevy Silverado SS spell out RODSTOY.
But the truck is more than his toy, it’s his pride and joy. Over the past four years, the Lebanon car enthusiast has entered 18 car shows with the truck and won 16.
Sunday’s Oktoberfest Antique Car Show on the grounds of the main branch of Wilson Bank & Trust will make car show No. 143 for Reprogle, 67, who will be aiming for hunk of shiny metal No. 148.
“If you win at Oktoberfest, you deserve a trophy. It’s a tough show with close to 500 vehicles,” said Reprogle, who shared a few tips on how to increase your chances of snaring a loving cup. “Park close to the front of the line, roll your windows down and clean out your trunk. The cleaner you look, the better you’re gonna get judged.”
The native of Lakewood, Calif., who worked 26 years for McDonnell Douglas (now merged with Boeing) as an aircraft supervisor, knows the do’s and the don’ts. He has been entering his vehicles in car shows for 16 years and has a garage spilling over with trophies to prove it.
Along the way, he’s taken six best-in-show titles, and his cars have made the covers of five national magazines.
“A car show is a chance for you to express your love for classic cars and show it off a little bit,” said Reprogle, who will enter his current toy and joy in the late model class for trucks from 2001 to present.
Previously he owned and showed such cool wheels as a 1929 Ford street rod, a 1930 Ford street rod, a 1934 Ford three-window coupe street rod, a 1953 Ford F-100 custom truck, a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air two-door hardtop and a 1970 Chevy Chevelle.
The author of The Mother of All Car Books: How To Get More Fun & Profit Buying, Showing and Selling Vintage & Classic Cars (the book sells for $10 at Snow White Drive-In) said his passion began in 1986 when he bought a car for his son, who was then a high school student.
“I told him to get good grades, help us out around home, and I would get him a car. I went out hunting and found him a ’58 Chevy Impala,” said Reprogle, who parked the car in the driveway and asked his son to come outside.
“He saw it, and said, ‘Dad, please not that car. This is too big and heavy. I can’t drive that car.’ So I told him OK, I’d get something else. After that we got him a sports car, and I kept the ’58.”
He drove the Impala for a time and then sold it, making a thousand-dollar profit. He then sunk his money into a ’57 Chevy for $2,500.
“I brought it home, put it together, painted it red, had the interior done, hung on to it for a while, then sold it and bought another car and then another car,” said the car show addict, who’s enamored by the color red. “I was hooked. I went through eight street rods and trucks.”
After winning shows with a super swell red 1953 Ford F1 pickup, he put the truck up for sale on the Internet with a reserve price of $24,000. A Texan called him and made an offer of $35,000, and Reprogle parted with his truck.
The Lebanon resident of five years keeps his garage in spick-and-span shape. Trophies, framed photos, car magazines, personalized license tags and other car memorabilia adorn three walls. And there are boxes of unopened quarts of motor oil dating back to 2005 when he won the platinum prize, and Pennzoil, sponsor of the show, awarded him three cases of Pennzoil a year for life.
He bought his current show truck in 2008 from neighbor Marsha Price and has made 16 changes on it. He does the detail work himself but has mechanics and body shops perform the trickier tasks.
Back on the West Coast, Reprogle bought one of his classic cars from a mutual car show enthusiast, but he quickly grew tired of hearing people say, “Hey, that’s Bob’s old car.”
“I asked myself how can I make changes so it’s me and not him (Bob)? So now I always make changes to show it’s mine. I gotta be me,” he said.
Sunday’s Oktoberfest car show will make his third time to enter the contest.
“Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. It’s based on what the judges think,” said Reprogle, who sooner or later will sell his latest show truck and search for an older model.
Last year’s Oktoberfest Antique Car Show drew 484 vehicles.
Larry Squires, coordinating the Lebanon event for his 23rd year, describes it saying, “You’re going to see cars from every generation. They are going to range in quality from those that have not had a lot of work done to them to those that have been trailered in (translation: too nice to drive).
“When you get a show this large with this many cars you’re going to be amazed at the diversity and quality of some of these cars. A lot of these folks take a lot of pride in these cars and take them to national shows, and we have national winners entered in the show. There will be cars from the 1920s on up to newer cars. The nostalgic environment of these older cars will bring back memories of when you were younger.
“There will be what we call the modified classes where you will see things like street rods or performance cars. Those are very interesting as well. It will seem like a sea of antique cars and hot rods of every description. We also will have motorcycles and rat rods,” Squires said.
A smaller but similarly nostalgic car show will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Lebanon’s Snow White Drive-In as a Christmas for All benefit.
Snow White owner Billy Wyatt said last year’s show raised about $1,000 and attracted 30 vehicles. Entry fee will be a new toy or $15, and the top 25 cars will receive trophies. There will be door prizes, games and a live band to help re-create the atmosphere of the 1950s. Be there or be square.
Oktoberfest Antique Car Show
Snow White Cruise-in and car show
Snow White Drive-In at 1714 W. Main hosts cruise-ins 4-9 p.m. Fridays through the second weekend of November. The iconic diner will hold a car show on Saturday, Oct. 27. Registration is 10 a.m.-noon, and awards will be presented at 3 p.m. Entry fee will be a toy or $15 as the event benefit’s the Lebanon Fire Department's Christmas for All toy drive. Top 25 vehicles will receive trophies.