Tom Alberts was the first person to park in the Mercer Island City Hall parking lot at around 6:30 a.m. on the morning of July 24th. Judging by the smile on his face, he was undoubtedly thrilled to be there at this early hour.
About half an hour later, the roar of the engines could be heard as the drivers got into their cars to line up to attend the Cruise the Loop event at the Mercer Island Classic Car Show. The 12 mile hike started around the corner on East Mercer Way and the drivers finished their drive at 25 mph by turning into the parking lot by the old Farmers Building for the show.
Alberts has been organizing the cruise and show on the island for the past 18 years, including a cruise and informal meeting during the height of the pandemic last year. The event, which is partnered with Avants, was free of charge for attendees and car enthusiasts who were there to view the vehicles.
This year’s event included 185 cars – 170 at the cruise and 15 at the show only. Last year, 200 vehicles came to the event.
Alberts said drivers were delighted with the event, which featured a wide range of cars from a 1931 Model A to a pair of brand new exotic cars.
“As soon as they appear, they come in droves. It’s very hectic getting them in, organizing and getting them out and getting a pace car up front. It’s a nice rush, ”said Alberts, who owns a 1964 Corvair and a 1979 Corvette. “I wonder why I wear this. I have (cars) but there are so many cars that I like. So since I can’t own it, I can see it when I’m doing a show.
Kingston’s Mike Grocott built both his red 1953 MG TD and the green 1980 MG B, which were parked in the parking lot that morning. When his son pulled up in the red car, Grocott realized he had owned this drive for 52 years. He has owned the other vehicle for 20 years.
“I’ve always liked cars. It goes so fast, that’s why I like it, ”he said.
Opposite was Scott Chytil from Sammamish with his 1975 Safari Gold Datsun 280Z with an LS6 swap that he has owned for two years. He fixed the car on Tuesday and was ready to put it on display on Saturday and check out the other cars at the show.
Chytil remembered its origins story with cars.
“It started when I was 16 and my buddy bought a ’67 Camaro. It was half built and we worked on it during high school. Something about the roar of the engine and the acceleration … really gets the adrenaline pumping, ”he said.
He drove the loop at 25 mph but said his car doesn’t want to go that slow. Chytil heard from a previous owner that his 280Z can crank up to 140 mph, but he didn’t step the gas on the metal as hard, he said with a laugh.
A thumbs up from a driver on the road trip. Andy Nystrom / employee photo
Tom Alberts, the organizer of the Mercer Island Classic Car Show. Andy Nystrom / employee photo
Cars at the Mercer Island Classic Car Show. Andy Nystrom / employee photo
Attendees watch the rides at the Mercer Island Classic Car Show. Andy Nystrom / employee photo
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