By Steve Warmowski
Car aficionados drove in droves to the Jacksonville square Saturday for the Downtown Plaza Car Show and Summer Cruise. The event was put on by the Morton Avenue Misfits, a newly-formed non-profit car club who took over the Downtown Plaza Car Show (for its 24th year) and Spring Cruise (for its sixth year). The events were delayed and then combined until this past weekend due to COVID-19 precautions.
The show had 225 cars registered plus more than 20 display-only vehicles. The club awarded three prizes for each class, and this year’s Best of Show Winner was Steve Chambers and his ‘67 Nova.
Chambers, of Jacksonville, also showed a 1972 Chevy C-20, and his 1969 Ford F-100. Although he’s a Chevy man, the Ford has been in his family since purchased new and has only 21,000 actual miles. The truck was used by his uncle Ronald “John” Poore, of Hardin and Hamburg, for hot air balloon promotions and advertising. The truck can run on propane (you’d have to start the truck with gasoline, and then flip a switch after the engine warmed up) for there was lots on hand to fuel the balloon. Chambers had the basket, two propane tanks and a fan in the back of the truck at the show but left the 800-pound balloon back in storage.
The truck still has the original paint and interior. He purchased the truck from his Aunt Leetha, who wanted him to have the truck because of his love of cars. His uncle was an ironworker and flying the Piccard hot air balloon was his “safe” hobby, after being known as “Jonny Swaypole” in the 1950s. He would climb atop a 120-foot pole, and do handstands and other tricks as he swayed back and forth in the wind.
The Morton Avenue Misfits do not have any events planned for the rest of 2020, but will be hosting at least two events again next year.