Every color in the rainbow

After a morning of heavy rain and thunderstorms, a rainbow of vehicles appeared in downtown Seymour on Saturday afternoon.

From red corvettes and green Challengers to a blue Impala and a purple Volkswagen bug, every color was represented in the 15th annual Cars and Guitars.

The car show attracted hundreds of vehicles, some old, some new and some that were old but looked new.

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It also brought out a big crowd of all ages interested in seeing and talking about their favorite makes and models. Car owners were happy to oblige, sharing their stories of restoration and drag racing.

Steve Langlais of Seymour admits he’s not much of a car guy, but he didn’t mind strolling around with his wife, Connie, and admiring the work put into each vehicle on display.

“For me a car has always been about getting me from Point A to Point B, but I sure do respect these guys,” he said. “They put a lot into getting them to look this good.”

As a musician, Langlais said he had even more appreciation for the classic tunes being played over the loudspeaker.

“I couldn’t tell ya the first thing about these cars, but I can play every one of these songs,” he said.

One car that did catch Langlais’ eye was an Artesian turquoise 1966 Chevy Nova owned by Royce Clouse of Seymour.

“It’s just so clean,” Langlais said.

He was surprised so many of the entries were from Seymour.

Clouse said he purchased the Nova back in 2012 from a guy in Indianapolis. He didn’t have to do much work to it and has enjoyed entering it in shows, he said.

“It’s won a lot of trophies,” he said.

But it’s not about the recognition as much as it is fellowship with other car owners and people who appreciate vehicles.

With its 355 engine and 4-speed, the Nova is more than just something pretty to look at though, he added.

“It gets a lot of horsepower,” Clouse said. “It’s fun to go out and gun it up and smoke the tires like we did back then.”

Clouse said the Cars and Guitars show is always a good one because the crowd is so friendly.

“It’s always a good time when you can come out and talk about cars all day,” he said. The show is also a great way to get ideas for your next big project.

“Everyone here has something they’re working on,” he said.

Over the years, Cars and Guitars has raised around $100,000 which has been used to purchase playground equipment for Seymour parks to accommodate special needs children. The next purchase will be rubber matting that will be installed at Gaiser Park to allow wheelchairs to access the equipment.

Sandy Bolte of Seymour said she was having a great time Saturday, walking around, looking at cars.

She stopped to take a closer look at a particular car.

Bolte said seeing old cars and listening to the old music puts a smile on her face because it reminds her of so many memories.

“My husband had a 69 Chevelle with a 356 engine just like this one,” she said. “We’d go drag racing back in the day. It just blew you away.”

This year, the Seymour Museum Center opened up during the show, allowing the public to tour the old Federal building at the corner of Third and Chestnut streets. People were able to see the progress that has been made inside the building and to learn about some of the automotive history of the city.

Museum director Lenny Hauersperger said thanks to the car show, the museum experienced a record number of visitors Saturday and people showed a lot of interest in seeing it succeed.

The museum also was able to bring the Indiana Historical Society’s Auto Indiana History on Wheels trailer to the event, which gave people an opportunity to walk through an interactive display to learn about the role Indiana has played in the history of automobiles.

Cars and Guitars ended with a free concert by the Indianapolis band Tastes Like Chicken. Playing modern and classic hits, the band got people up on their feet and dancing in the streets.

Jon Stahl of Seymour tries to bring something different to Cars and Guitars and this year he had fun explaining how he built a 1929 Ford Model A pickup using an engine and transmission from a Mazda Miata.

After buying back an old Miata for parts, he decided to do something original.

“I always loved Model A pickups and I wanted to build one, so I did,” he said. “I call it a salvage model. There’s probably 20 Model A’s represented here with all the parts I’ve used.”

Stahl has been building cars all of his life, he said, but this one stands out.

“It’s the most fun project I’ve done,” he said. “It’s a Model A that drives like a modern car.”