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A cross-section of cars

Bodine’s Olds just one of 700 put on display in Morris

Dan Bodine bought his 1970 W31 Oldsmobile the year it came out, and he’s had it ever since.

It’s a fast-looking car: Rally Red with a sleek frame and a big, powerful engine.

Bodine, who lives in Coal City, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the car — from the horsepower (350) to the reason the model was produced only from 1968-70 (timed to beat rising insurance premiums).

And he’s kept it up remarkably well — with original paneling, engine and frame, his Olds has been on the cover of pamphlets, featured in special shows and won first place in several of them.

“I’m a car guy,” Bodine said. “I take care of things.”

“I get a lot of thumbs up when I drive this car.”

On Saturday night, Bodine showed off his ride at the first Cruise Night of the year in Morris.

It was a beautiful evening, with a sunny afternoon yielding to a warm night.

Throughout downtown, more than 700 cars lined the main streets, each a well-manicured work of art, and many blasts from the past.

There were Chevy Bel-Airs that looked like something James Dean would have driven, a Dodge Charger that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Steve McQueen flick. Then there were more contemporary hot rods — Camaros and Corvettes that could have been in Fast and Furious.

Plus, a big rig, vintage trucks, sleek motorcycles and rides dating from before 1950.

Herb Wyeth, founder of Cruise Night, said it had been his dream to create the event in Morris. Now, after 12 years, he said the event has become something special.

“I have a passion for the car show,” Wyeth said. “It’s really turned into a great event.”

That’s partially due to a staff of volunteers, who Wyeth said are dedicated to the event. But it’s also due to a great turnout from car owners and attendees alike.

“We pride ourselves on getting a lot of different people to show up,” Wyeth said. “It’s such a quaint downtown and people enjoy coming down here.”

That Saturday was a near-perfect early summer evening helped, too.

“The weather is everything for an event like this,” Wyeth said. “We always hope for a good [Cruise Night] right off the bat.”

Dan and Chris Sherry, whose family member just moved to Morris, were in attendance, enjoying the night.

Dan Sherry regularly attends car shows and said the Morris Cruise Night had the right amount of cars and a good variety.

“This is nice,” he said. “You really enjoy a show like this.”

His wife, Chris, said the event was great because the cars fueled some nostalgia.

“It just brings back memories,” she said. “You go, ‘Oh, So-and-So had that car.

“It’s just nice.”

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