Hot Nights Hot Cars still going strong in its ninth year

By David Broyles

July 5, 2014

PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Mount Pilot NOW group continued its efforts to see that no dust settles on any local lawn chairs Saturday with its third “Hot Nights Hot Cars Cruise-In” of the summer. This year marks the ninth year the group has been holding the cruise-ins.

The events are held by Mount Pilot NOW along with Jeff’s Paint & Body and Bryan Marion Motorsports as part of the 2014 Hot Nights Hot Cars Cruise-In season. The events are typically held the first Saturday each month from May through October.

Spokesperson Jerry Venable explained Mount Pilot NOW began as a downtown revitalization group more than 12 years ago and held car shows at first as a good way to use old-fashioned family entertainment as a way to draw attention, and foot traffic, to the downtown area.

“I know a lot of these folks (who regularly participate),” said Venable. “We send out the flyers and the word gets out and this is what we do.” He predicted more than 700 cars would participate in the event. Venable said the group also wanted to go back to the roots of open cruise-ins, where participants can roam the main drag.

Venable said the Hot Nights Hot Cars event hearkens back to the atmosphere of cruise-ins years ago, where participants “wave at the girls and talk about the cars.” He said three main groups are usually represented at the event, those who love old cars, those who love beach music and those who love both.

The cruise-in this year featured an improved sound system and an Xbox driving simulator and cars on exhibit from The Richard Petty Museum. Venable pointed out the event benefits more than Pilot Mountain. Live beach music was supplied by the group, The Fantastic Shakers.

“We boost the economy for the surrounding area,” Venable said. “We have a lot who spend the night here and eat supper in Mount Airy. We have participants from Newport News, Statesville, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Virginia and West Virginia. We have one regular from Manteo who brings three cars. He’s really serious about it.”

The recipient of the cruise-in classic car for July was Statesville’s Flip Bost, who won the top honor on his first time showing his 1961 Chevrolet Impala Bubble Top, which features a 502 horsepower motor housed inside a car painted in Mercedes Brilliant Silver with a red Italian leather interior. Bost said the effort took him three years, during which he stopped to successfully battle off cancer. He said his wife, P.J., urged him to get back out in the shop, which proved good therapy for him.

“When I first got the car it had been painted with a brush. The more paint I stripped off the worse it got,” said Bost. “Finally it got the point it got better. I get such a response from this car and I never get tired of talking about my car. I can sit with it all day.”

Dom and Doris Holder share Bost’s devotion to cars. The two were showing off their 1955 Desoto which they frankly admitted was just a car they liked with no personal connection. The Holders had previously exhibited their 1955 Crown Victoria at a Hot Rods and Cool Cars cruise-in. Dom Holder said they have a 1953 Mercury which is identical to the car they owned when they got married.

Gary “Hog” Marshall of Alisonia, Virginia, said he had been involved with cars his entire life, so it was just a natural project to restore his 1930 Ford Chevrolet three-door coupe. He said he also owned more than one classic car. According to Venable, money raised by 50/50 drawings, sales of T-shirts, and the sponsors’ support goes to keep the cruise ins going and improving.

David Broyles may be reached at 336-325-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.