‘Pride and joy’ on display

An onlooker gets a closer look at a vintage car Sunday at the UW-Eau Claire Car Club’s inaugural show. © 2016 Lauren French

An onlooker gets a closer look at a vintage car Sunday at the UW-Eau Claire Car Club’s inaugural show. © 2016 Lauren French

By Lauren French

This story originally ran in the May 9 issue of the Leader-Telegram.

UW-Eau Claire junior Eric Bauer’s love for cars doesn’t have a start date.

For as long as the operations management major can remember, he’s been collecting colorful Hot Wheels cars, romping around at car shows with his dad and testing the limits of the family dirt bike in the backyard.

“I’m a little bit addicted to speed,” Bauer said Sunday afternoon. “I like going fast.”

A couple of decades after Bauer got his first Hot Wheels, the 20-year-old spearheaded the UW-Eau Claire Car Club and organized the group’s first car show. The show, which made its debut Sunday morning in a university parking lot at First Avenue and Water Street, included about 125 vehicles.

The car club is only in its first semester of operation, so Bauer said the group of 15 meets every other week to discuss the latest in car technology and current events. This car show was the group’s latest project.

“It’s just a collection of cars, and that’s the easiest way to get a bunch of like-minded people together,” Bauer said.

Bauer said the campus group chose to allow any vehicle to register no matter the make and model.

“We didn’t really want to discriminate or say someone’s pride and joy isn’t worth it,” Bauer said. “If you’re proud of something, come show it off.”

Ready to roll

Among those pride and joys was a cherry red 1967 Ford Mustang.

“It was a little old junk pile when I bought it,” said Mark Lund, of Eleva, appraising the car he spent 2½ years fixing up. “ … It started out as a basket case.”

And by “basket case,” Lund means it was completely disassembled — a project the previous owner failed to complete. Now, the restored car boasts features such as four-link rear suspension, four-wheel disk brakes and vented fenders.

Zelda — Lund’s fond nickname for his Mustang — sat in a garage for the better part of a decade before he took it out for his first ride.

That first ride happened to be the same day as the UW-Eau Claire Car Club’s Sunday show.

“I felt like I was 18 years old when I first got going in it,” said Lund’s wife, Candy Lund.

Not all of the car show attendees were there to show off their cars.

Stephen and Lorena Marris, of Colfax and parents of a UW-Eau Claire Car Club member, said this is their first car show of the year.

“(The show) looks good. I want to see that red pickup especially,” Stephen Marris said before walking off toward the pickup.

Those who missed the show this year might be in luck — Bauer said he’s considering the possibility of organizing another show this September, where he hopes to gather and display between 200 and 300 cars.

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