The 20th annual April Action Car Show hadn’t officially begun, but the parade of noteworthy vehicles had.
Cars lined Park Drive along the south side of Swanny City Park Friday afternoon, and men had that twinkle in their eye.
A few drove slowly past the park, waving as they passed, knowing onlookers were watching.
Others revved their engines and sped up 100 West, looking for a bite to eat or attention elsewhere.
Many parked their cars and walked around the park or set up lawn chairs in the grass, enjoying the sunshine and the cool breeze.
One man pushed his sunglasses up, as he bent down to peer at the dash of an old vehicle.
More than 500 cars came to Moab from across the country last weekend for the car show.
Many participants came early, arriving Thursday or Friday, and stayed late, leaving Sunday afternoon or Monday.
Saturday’s main event began for organizer Jim Mattingly at 4 a.m. At 9 a.m., the cars filed in one at a time to find their spot on the grass.
Throughout the day, people came. Even those who aren’t interested in cars were hard-pressed not to enjoy these.
Glenn and Melinda Sterkel of Pagosa Springs,Colo., have been coming to Moab’s car show for at least 15 years. They remember when participants could pull their cars onto the grass and camp there for the weekend. The city banned that years ago.
Still, this show is fun, the couple said.
They drove a truck – nicknamed “What the…?” – that Glenn Sterkel has built from scratch over the past two years. He started with 1929 wheels that Firestone made for a Model A truck and then tore apart a 1991 Ford 150. He used the floor, the back of the cab and the firewall from that.
The rest of the parts were cobbled together. The 1929 grill on the front was rescued from the trash by his friend Wolf Brooks. The steering wheel and dash are from a 1928 Buick. The wood rails lining the bed are from the farm where Melinda grew up.
The truck is big and beautiful – and still a work in progress.
One of the best parts of the Car Show, Sterkel said, is showing off his work.
“It’s good to show them different ways to build cars,” he said. “I like to inspire other people.”
The retired high school auto mechanics teacher has rebuilt 10 to 15 cars.
Nearby, Ruth and Roger Metzger sat in lawn chairs across from their 1957 Thunderbird. It’s one of six classic cars the Helper, Utah, couple owns. (Left at home were a 1930 Model A, a 1947 Ford Coupe and a 1923 T-bucket, among others).
“They go in the garage, and the cars we drive stay outside,” Ruth Metzger said. She laughed, but she wasn’t joking.
The couple planned to spend Friday afternoon in the park, eat the sloppy joe dinner provided to participants and then cruise Main Street, a definite highlight among Car Show attendees.
Though not officially part of the show, the unofficial cruising of Highway 191 through Moab has become a big attraction.
Spectators started setting up lawn chairs along Main Street around 4 p.m. Friday and anyone trying to simply stop at City Market for a forgotten dinner condiment had a heck of a time.
“It’s just fun,” Roger Metzger said. “The cruising is the best part.”
Alan and Tahirih Doyle came from Bloomfield, N.M., in their 1969 SS Camaro convertible.
It was their first year at the Car Show, but they had high expectations.
“We’ve heard lots of really good things about it,” Alan Doyle said. “I like Moab. I’ve been here lots of times.”