Terry Thompson drove his 1964 Corvette Stingray from Albany to Cottage Grove last Saturday with the full moon still in the sky as the sun rose over the mountains. The cherry red car has all the trademarks of the ’64 model; the hood indentations that carried over from earlier years, the real pillar vent and a window lacking a split down the middle. It’s not unusual for Thompson to be stopped—a few months ago, as he sat at a stoplight, an SUV with tinted windows pulled alongside him. The driver’s window rolled down and a woman popped out to admire the paint job and interior, visible with the convertible top. “People do that,” he said. “You end up talking to a lot of people about your car.” And Thompson has earned every conversation centered around his Stingray since he bought it as a retirement gift for himself after a bit of luck lined up in a long list of circumstance last year.
“I found it in Santa Rosa, CA.,” he explained. “My nephew lives down there and he was getting married. My wife does wedding cakes and I was ordained online so we went down to California for the wedding and got to talking about how I wanted an old Corvette,” he said. “My nephew said he knew where one was.”
But Thompson’s wife didn’t like the car and after months of looking for another one, she granted him permission to drive down to California.
“I went down, picked it up and drove it back here to Oregon,” he said.
Thompson’s story was one of dozens at Saturday’s Rock Roll ’n’ Rumble, a car show that rolls into Main Street once a year, inviting the community to come out and admire classic cars before rolling back out for a cruise and block party.
Joe and Twylla Tatum made the drive from Junction City with Cottage Grove being one of seven shows they had lined up this year. Their blue 1952 Chevy Pickup and red 1963 Chevy Nova (they bought hers and built his) sat side-by-side on Saturday as passersby peaked into open windows and admired the work Joe put into the vehicles.
“Hers is like a new car,” Joe said. “It has power disc brakes, power windows, power steering, power seats, cruise control…” Twylla drives it to Brownsville and around town.
“When we bought the truck he said it had to be mostly done,” Twylla said, noting her husband’s agreement to fix-up a classic car for her in his retirement. And while the truck was mostly done, Joe did a bit more to it, including installing a new 350 engine under the hood that looks more like a parked car than a daily driver.
The rumble has been a part of Cottage Grove’s list of summer events since 2016 and has been hosted ever since by local radio station KNND and South Lane Cruise.
“We appreciate everyone who participated in the event despite the heat,” Cameron Reiten, owner of KNND said of the event. “The Rock Roll and Rumble is one of our most enjoyable events of the summer.” Reiten also noted that KNND expects to award $1,000 of the admission profit to the local Kiwanis Club who provided volunteers for the event.