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Q - Barnett Car Wallace   iwork in building his own car

Tom Wallace chats with colleagues impressed with his handiwork in building his own car. (Today photo/RAINA BARNETT)  

ALACHUA – Gentle country music lilted through the cool October air, pristine hot rods lined the street and blue lips slurped away on snow cones on Main Street in Alachua on Saturday, Oct. 22.

The Alachua Chamber of Commerce First Annual Car Show brought proud car owners from all over Florida to showcase and share their knowledge and passion for cars.

Andy Hamilton, an Alachua County resident, relaxed in a fold-out lawn chair in the shade as he discussed cars with his friend, Tom Wallace.

“This is just a great group of people who come together enjoying a common interest,” he said. “I have a 2016 Mercedes AMG GTS I traded in for another one of my cars a while ago.”

Wallace, who built his own replica 1965 Cobra Roadster by hand from a kit from Factory Five, said he remembers loving cars since he was a kid.

“When I was about five years old my neighbor had a 1963 Corvette,” he said. “He took me for a ride in it. In the 60s, there was nothing faster.”

Wallace broke out a scrapbook from the trunk he made that documented him buying the parts, transporting them, building the car itself, and finally driving it.

Couples, friends and families strolled down Main Street admiring the cars on display, which ranged from BMWs to cars from the 60s to Keith Perry’s 1958 Buick Special.

With a toddler clung to his back, Marty Kurtz stopped in front of a classic yellow Dodge from the 60s.

“I just happened upon this,” he said. “My wife and I went to Conestogas to eat and now we’re just looking for something to do.”

Next year, a bigger selection of cars will be displayed, and food trucks and even a bounce house for kids will be added.

For the adults who attended, however, they were happy to get out, enjoy the weather, and appreciate these makes and models from the “good old days.”

“These cars are like women,” Wallace said. “They’ve just got beautiful curves and you have to take great of them.”

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