Carquest hunts for award-winning vehicles

Eddie Dilworth

CLEVELAND — Cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, limos, Hummers, monster trucks, speedboats, classic cars and celebrities were all on display at the 2005 Carquest Cleveland Auto-Rama for car lovers over the weekend.

The event was held at the Cleveland Convention Center and displayed more than 350 custom cars from across the country, said John Frato, one of the show owners.

The event was sponsored by Carquest Auto Parts.

Frato said almost all of the cars compete at various shows around the country to become champion of their class.

“Very few cars are on display for looks — these cars are here to compete,” Frato said.

According to the Auto-Rama fact sheet, awards that were given include the Roy “Duck” Schabel Memorial Award. The award winner received $3,500 for best motorcycle being displayed for the first time.

Automotive restyling company Roman Chariot displayed a 2002 Cadillac Escalade that was remodeled upon purchase by the company, said Robert Olds, general manager for Roman Chariot.

The event has taken place for 39 years and has drawn crowds up to as many as 100,000 people, depending on weather, Frato said.

Among the attractions at the event were contests sponsored by local radio stations. These contests included “Win a Pimped-Out Ride,” sponsored by WNCX and WXTM, and “Win a Restyled Pick-up,” sponsored by WMMS.

Cars on display included a 1961 Corvette Convertible, a 1968 Ford Torino GT Fastback and a 1956 Mercury named “Cotton Candy” for its all-pink frame.

According to the Auto-Rama fact sheet, other entertainment included celebrities Stacey David, host of “Trucks” on the Spike TV network, James Denton of “Desperate Housewives” and Al Snow of “WWE Smackdown.” All were available to sign autographs.

Contact off-campus entertainment reporter Eddie Dilworth at [email protected].