Cruise-Ins Bring Back Memories
How it all started!
According to Jim LaCoy, Astronaut H.S. vocational teacher and Space Coast Antique Auto Club of America member, Cruise-Ins and car shows became a big part of his life as means to raise funds to enable some of his students to enter 'The Great Race.'
With help of other car enthusiasts, LaCoy and the students built the cars, raised the money and went off to the adventure of their lifetime. Entering the races in 1996, 1997 and bringing home first prize in 1998 was a unique experience. Most of the cars entered in the race were sponsored and built by large corporations, unlike the Titusville teams whose cars were built and financed by proud community supporters and the student team members.
Chad Nelson with his father, Robert Nelson, was a father/son team immersed in 'The Great Race' experience. Nelson is a mechanical and aerospace engineering major at University of Central Florida. He is a three-time winner the Festival of Speed in Ormond Beach, FL. He remains involved in the auto racing world consulting with NASCAR and other companies interpreting racecar performance data.
He currently owns what he describes as a "restored version of a 1930 Model A Ford Speedster," one of the "Spirit of Titusville" team cars entered in The Great Race. The people who haven't spotted him driving around town in the car will have the opportunity to see Nelson and his Model A Ford at the Cruise-In on March 5.
Another regular at TITUSNitesCruise-Ins is a beautifully restored bright red fire engine. A charming first person story, written by Lee Dodd, chronicles the fire engine's beginning (or birth) in 1925 at the American LaFrance factory. Sporting a shiny paint job and gold leaf trim, it completed the journey via train from Elmira, NY to its new home in Titusville. Officially retired in February, 1962 and relegated to various storage locations, the slow deterioration began. Finally some members of the Space Coast Antique Auto Club of America took on the daunting task of refurbishing the grand old engine to its current pristine condition.