Show & Shine Car Show delights visitors Saturday

There were some familiar vehicles on display in downtown Vermillion during the Show & Shine Classic Car Show, held as part of the Ribs, Rods & Rock 'n Roll celebration last weekend.

Featured car was Fred Savoie's 1930 Ford Coupe, a familiar sight on Vermillion's streets.

Also present was Junior Brunick's legendary #16 race car.

One of the "newer" entries in Saturday's car show was Kevin Hauger's Lotus Elise.

The car, with its unique, sporty look, got plenty of attention from people of all ages.

Classic cars of all shapes and sizes began gathering in downtown Vermillion Friday evening, a barbecue vendors and musicians began attracting people downtown.

On Saturday, it was time for the vintage machines to shine, literally, as the Show & Shine Car Show was held. There were so many entries this year that Main Street in the heart of downtown couldn't contain them all; cars also were parked on portions of Center and Court Streets.

"I purchased this car at the beginning of the summer in Denver," Kevin, from Irene, said. "And I did quite a bit of customizing."

The company that manufactures the Lotus automobile makes approximately nine different models. Hauger's sleek red machine is an Elise model.

The Lotus Elise is a two seat, rear-wheel drive, mid-engined roadster designed in early 1994 and released in September 1996 by the English manufacturer Lotus Cars. The car has a hand-finished fiberglass body shell atop its extruded aluminium and bonded chassis that provides a rigid platform for the suspension, while keeping weight and production costs to a minimum.

The roadster is capable of speeds up to 150 mph. The Elise was named after Elisa, the granddaughter of Romano Artiolio who was chairman of Lotus at the time of the car's launch.

"Lotus is a British-made car; they are actually direct-imported over to the United States from England. The Lotus has a Toyota drive train in them, but pretty much everything else on them is hand-made in Britain, and they ship them over in shipping containers," Kevin said.

The Lotus isn't built with day-to-day motorists in mind, although the car could make a daily commute to and from work a bit quicker, and more fun.

"This is a race track sports car; they are actually made for tracking; most people use them for racing only," Kevin said. "A lot of guys that own them – they don't even drive them on the street; all they use them for is to race with.

"My car has a 1.8 liter engine with about 190 horsepower and it weighs 1,900 pounds with a full tank of fuel," he said. "So it's a very light car, with low horsepower, and it handles really well."

Some of the cars at the Show and Shine had been nothing but rusting hulks sitting in a windbreak at one time, and the owners who restored them had photos on display to show how the cars had been brought back to life.

Kevin's car wasn't in quite that bad of shape when he purchased it earlier this year, but he admits it did need a bit of attention.

"The gentleman who had owned it didn't really do much with keeping the paint up or anything like that, so we had to do a lot of waxing," he said. "A few things needed to be fixed and repainted. We basically had to take all of the lights out of it and fix all of the lenses. It needed a little bit of work."

Kevin has been a big car fan for years. "I've owned a few," he said, "but this is the first exotic that I've owned. Not many people have this model of car around here. Not too many people own them, and I wanted something different.

"I believe, from what I've read, there are only 12 Lotus cars in the state now counting mine," he said. "There are four in the Sioux Falls area, and the rest are in Rapid City. I'm sure there are a few more that I don't know about, but there aren't a lot of them around."

Kevin's Lotus was a show stopper at Saturday's event in Vermillion. In the span of just a few minutes, dozens of people had stopped as they walked up Main Street to take a close look at the fine lines and sporty design of the car. Children, especially, seemed attracted to the automobile. Its small size made it possible for kids to more easily peer inside the interior of the sporty convertible.

"We've had more people stop by than I thought we would," he said. "People really enjoy looking at it, which is good – that's what we want. We want to get a lot of people out here to enjoy the day."

Kevin has taken his Lotus to six car shows so far this summer. Unlike some classic car owners, he's decided to not pamper his special vehicle too much.

"We take it out every weekend," he said. "Everywhere we go – it's a driver. We don't trailer it, and even coming here today, I got in it in Irene and we drove up here. It's for driving, and we've put somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 miles on it this summer.

"Pretty much every weekend, it's out going somewhere," Kevin explained, adding that the car is just too much fun to leave at home. "It is a blast. It's a toy car; it's not practical. It's for fun."

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