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Toolin’ along in Ghent

Ghent car show enthusiasts enjoy naming that oldies song, naming that vehicle

Photo by Mike Lamb Vehicles of different makes and from different eras were parked along McQuestion Street in Ghent during Belgian American Days on Aug. 3.

GHENT

Wearing a black cap with “The Beach Boys” written on it, Mylan Ray looked down at his computer and spoke into a mic in front of him.

“I played this song earlier today, Maybe you remember. I’m looking for that song title and the artist’s name and the lyrics. The song is ‘Toolin’ along in my Chevrolet.’ The first person who comes up to me, gives me the answer …,” suddenly the next song he plays over takes the sound of his voice.

“… Come on, baby, baby, let’s get out of here right away

We’re gonna rock this town

Rock it inside out

We’re gonna rock this town …

Ray’s DJ equipment was set up on the curb in front of a residence along McQuestion Street in Ghent. Car enthusiasts and people of all ages attending Belgian American Days roamed along dozens of cars lined up and down both sides of the street.

Actually, according to one of the organizers, Joette Remme of the Ghent Cruisers, the annual car show in Ghent attracted 114 vehicles on Aug. 3.

As another car related song blared out of the speakers on McQuestion Street, three car enthusiasts were admiring Lee Kirkpatrick’s brownish, rustic Ford pickup truck.

“I built it all by hand,” Kirkpatrick said. “I put everything on myself. It’s got a 1984 Ranger frame. The motor came out of a 1978 Ford pickup that I got from a fire department after they used the jaws of life on it. So the motor was good. We took it out and put it in here. It’s a 1941 Ford pickup. We found it in a grove.”

He then bent down and pointed to just above the bottom of the truck.

“It was buried up to there in mud. It was pretty rusty,” he said.

When asked about how he came up with all the different unique features on the truck, the Taunton resident smiled and bragged a little.

“You just think about it and, ‘hey, that might be cool.’ Then you do it and it’s cool. I drive this car everywhere. I have driven it to church, I drive it fishing, I haul furniture. I put more miles on this than I do on my work car.

“It’s like riding in a parade every day. Everybody turns their heads to look.

Meanwhile, Ray kept playing his car songs. And soon his voice blares out of the speakers.

“Song and the group, and here’s the lyric, ‘Well I saved my pennies and I saved my dimes,'” Ray announces.

And then plays another song.

“Just let me hear some of that rock ‘n’ roll music

Any old way you choose it

It’s got a backbeat, you can’t lose it

Any old time you use it

It’s gotta be rock ‘n’ roll music

If you wanna dance with me

If you wanna dance with me

“They have me as their DJ and play all the car tunes and make all the endorsements, all the door prizes for the last six or seven years. It’s a pleasure to be here,” Ray said during an interview between playing songs.

Ray’s regular job is with Christensen Broadcasting in Pipestone where he plays oldies songs for KISD, KLOH and K-Joe. He provides music to nine or 10 car shows a year.

“This fits perfect with what I do — playing oldies,” Ray said. “I have been collecting car songs for the last 25, 30 years. I have been doing car shows that long. Every time I run across a new car song, I have to add it.”

Outside of the Pipestone car show, Ray said Ghent is his favorite show.

“This is a great location because we are in a residential area which you don’t see very often. Usually it’s in a park or something like that. And the breeze is coming through. And they got this down to a science. They do it beautifully,” Ray said.

Remme already has Ray booked for next year’s show.

“This is one of the best shows you are going to find,” Remme said. She recalled that the first show 13 years ago attracted 33 cars and it rained all day. She believes the food helps make the show.

“When we decided to have a car show, we decided we got to have good food. We have people come for the food.”

Another song is playing, and Arlen Kvanli is showing off one of the more unusual vehicles of the show — a 1957 Isetta.

“This is a rare car,” Kvanli said. “This car came in from Canada. It’s got one wiper on it. If it came in from San Diego, it had two wipers,” Kvanli said, drawing laughs.

“See the shifting pattern?” Kvanli said while pointing to the diagram inside the car. “You shift left handed. Turn signals are on the right and the dimmer is on the left. Lower your headlights and raise it. I keep coming to a corner and turn the headlights on.”

Kvanli explained he found the car a half mile from his Montevideo farm.

“I knew it was standing there. It stood there 20, 30 years before I talked him (owner) into it (selling). I trace it back about four owners. That is far as I can get.”

When asked if he gets any looks while driving it down a road, he laughed at first.

“A lot of looks,” he said.

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