HomeBlocksFront-GridClassic, Unique, Historic Cars Converge at Road Kings Show

Classic, Unique, Historic Cars Converge at Road Kings Show

Since the dawn of time, every cave, hut, tent, shack, cabin, apartment, house or mansion has been more than just a shelter from the elements and a dwelling for its inhabitants.

The myriad of abodes humans have resided in — from Eden’s Earth to today’s technologically tricked-out smart homes — has had its own unique energy that built up a history which resulted in a bazillion unique stories.

The same is true of cars.

From the patent issued to Carl Benz for a “vehicle powered by a gas engine” in 1886, to the alternatively powered and autonomous vehicles that are rapidly emerging, every car gathers more stories with every rotation of its wheels.

While it is fascinating to see the various designs and mechanics of cars from the past, it is their stories that can be even more riveting, and no place proves that to be more true than the Road Kings of Burbank’s annual Car Show at Johnny Carson Park.

From celebrity ownership, tales of first dates, cross-country trips and being handed down from one generation to the next, every one of the 250-plus vehicles on display at this year’s show represented a unique story.

Two of the most interesting stories from this year’s show were tied to cars that, respectively, rolled off the assembly lines of the Ford Motor Company in 1959 and the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors Company in 1967.

The post-World War II era ushered in the glory days of America’s fascination with cars, and the popularity of the 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Galaxie with its rear fins made the car omnipresent on the nation’s burgeoning Interstate Highway System.

As was the case with most of those cars, by the late 1970s they had become old, weary and relegated to junkyards, and yet, one of them was saved and found a new life. Rising up like a phoenix (or, more appropriately, a bat) from the ashes, a Ford Fairlane 500 Galaxie owned by Bruce Barker that was on display at this year’s show, was transformed into a replica of one of the most iconic vehicles of all time: the Batmobile. 

While that is a BAM! POW! story, perhaps the best one of the 2023 show was told by Clancy Troutman.

In 1967, Troutman’s father bought a shiny new Chevy Nova Wagon.

“He used to pile me and all my friends into it and drag us around Burbank,” Troutman recalled. “Then, as time went by, I inherited it.”

Having meticulously cared for the car and powered it up with a new V-8 engine, Troutman was asked by a man, who saw it while visiting from Tennessee, if he would be willing to sell it.

“I told him it was not for sale and he asked me: ‘What’s the not for sale price?’ I said $40,000 thinking he would never go for that, but surprisingly he was good with it. So what could I do? It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

Fast forward 38 years.

A childhood friend of Troutman’s who had become a long-haul truck driver randomly stopped for a meal at a restaurant in Tennessee, saw a car he recognized and immediately called his old pal.

“You won’t believe this, but I’m sitting here in this Tennessee parking lot looking at your old car,” he told a stunned Troutman. “It has got to be it!”

After doing some investigating it was determined that the car he saw really was the one Troutman had sold all those years ago.

“The guy who bought it from me had died, but I was able to track down and get in touch with the current owner, told him the story of its history, ended up buying it back for $25,000 and then put $10,000 into it,” said Troutman.

Proudly showing off the storied vehicle to folks who stopped to admire it, including Burbank City Councilwoman Nikki Pérez and her father Marvin, Troutman said he will never part with the car again.

“Now, not for sale really means not for sale — ever!” he said with a laugh.

Among the thousands who came out to enjoy the day were state Sen. Anthony Portantino, the area’s most famous car enthusiast Jay Leno, racing legend Bob Muravez (a.k.a. “Floyd Lippencott Jr.”), Cleo Shelby, the widow of racing legend and automotive designer Carroll Shelby who was twice named Sports Illustrated’s driver of the year, Karen Arellano, who serves as the Road Kings first female president and Gary Arellano who coordinated this year’s show, of which the proceeds will benefit local schools and nonprofit organizations.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

Notables at this year’s cars show included comedian Jay Leno and Councilwoman Nikki Pérez who were welcomed by Road Kings member Don Baldaseroni.
Road Kings member Bruce Borst and Cleo Shelby, the widow of automotive legend Carroll Shelby, enjoyed the amazing autos on display.
Clancy Troutman was happy to show off and tell the tale of his 1967 Chevy Nova Wagon.
Among the thousands who enjoyed the Road Kings 2023 Car Show were local racing legend Bob Muravez (a.k.a. “Floyd Lippencott Jr.”) and his wife, Sharon.
Bob Greene of Burbank’s Community Chevrolet and “Road Queen” Teresa Garcia were among those who made this year’s car show a success.

First published in the June 24 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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