TOWNSEND — When it comes to sharing a love of vintage vehicles, there is nothing like a good cruise night.
You might find an original-condition tractor or maybe a fully-restored sedan. The owners gather, swapping stories and advice or just to appreciate the other vehicles.
Cruise Nights at the V have been going on for three years, said assistant manager Terri Roy. It’s small, usually around 10 to 25 cars.
“We’re hoping it catches on,” she said.
It gives car, tractor and motorcycle owners a place to meet. Roy often brings her 1952 Ford pickup, parking it in a cleared field.
The paved space in front of the West Townsend VFW Post is usually used by cars and motorcycles. A berm marks the boundary of the field, so the bigger vehicles park there, she said.
The July 24 event was a little rainy. It was just spitting during the scheduled hours, but the threat of water spots on carefully-polished paint was enough to keep most aficionados home, with their vehicles safely under cover.
Everett Smith, who will be 70 in December, did not let a little rain stop him. His tractor was the only vehicle on display.
Smith was more than willing to talk about his love of the old vehicles, an appreciation that began as a child when his father was a service manager at a garage in Leominster.
Smith followed in his footsteps, working as a service manager in Pensacola, Fla. Before returning north where he worked for the Lunenburg and Townsend Highway Departments.
When the topic of a 1939 Pontiac came up, he was quick to describe the pointy front. All the GM cars from that time had them, he said.
Smith’s encyclopedic knowledge included the output of the Ford Motor Company. The Model-A’s were better cars than the Model-T’s, he said. The A’s had superior steering and shifting. A different model proved to be the favorite of collectors, though. Everybody’s moonshine was the 1940 Coupe, he said.
The collector also showed a whimsical side. When a woman gave him an old tractor, he “repaired” it by replacing engine parts with soup cans and other trash finds. It resides on his front lawn in Townsend.
Smith will be in a good place to compete in an attendance prize the V will give at the end of the summer. He missed one week, but everyone else missed the next week, except him.
The participants who attended the most shows will be entered in a raffle, Roy said. The post will give other awards during the final Cruise Night.
The VFW sponsors regular events to keep people involved with the club, she said. The Cruise Nights are family-friendly. Food is available on a barbecue and there is usually entertainment. Beverages can be purchased inside. A 50/50 raffle adds to the fun.
Children are welcome. Until 9 p.m., they can be inside the club if accompanied by a parent.
Last year, Cruise Nights brought in about $1,400, Roy said. The money was that much extra that was used to give local veterans in need a helping hand.
The V also hosts a meat raffle the third Friday of each month, beginning again in September, and a cheeseburger lunch each Wednesday.
Cruise Nights at the Y on 491 Main St., West Townsend, will be held on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. until Aug. 30.
“If you can get it there and you want to show it, bring it in,” Roy said. There is no charge to show a vehicle.
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