An assembly line of labor, and love

Photos by GRETEL DAUGHERTY/The Daily Sentinel—Shelley Laliberte, of Lakewood, and her father, Gene, of Grand Junction, admire a 1930 Model A owned by Bobbi Carson and Mark Keep of Montrose during the Western Colorado Classic auto event Saturday at Canyon View Park. The event benefits Hilltop Community Resources and will continue from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the park.



Attendees to the Western Colorado Classic are reflected in a hubcap on a 1953 Chevrolet BelAir as they admire Dennis and Judy DeRose’s classic car. Others eye a red 1953 Hudson Hornet belonging to Rodney Snider of Grand Junction.



Easton Otte, 3, of Grand Junction, points out a stick horse emerging from the engine compartment of Bob Guy’s 1999 Mustang GT convertible to his sisters and grandfather Tom Walker, also of Grand Junction, at the car show at Canyon View Park.



When he bought the truck in 1967, it was a utilitarian green and fairly beaten up — it had been part of the then-Western State College maintenance fleet for years. And as an employee in the maintenance department, Ron Stoneburner had logged many hours behind the wheel of that 1959 Studebaker Scotsman.

So, when he heard that the truck was for sale, he made an offer and drove away with it, $55.01 poorer and one truck richer.

And over more than four decades, Stoneburner, who lives in Grand Junction, has gradually restored the old Studebaker to its original beauty. It gleams rain cloud gray now and its V-8 engine shines beneath a hood he had to special order. All the truck’s parts are stock.

“Believe it or not,” Stoneburner said, “the hardest thing to find was the floor mat.”

His Studebaker is one of hundreds of classic and modern trucks and cars on display at Canyon View Park, part of the second annual Western Colorado Classic.

The event benefits Hilltop Community Resources and will continue from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the park. Admission is $5, and children 10 and younger get in free. From 3 to 9 p.m. there will be the Classic Car Cruise between Fourth Street and 28 3/4 Road on North Avenue.

The good cause, it would seem, glides hand-in-glove with the sleek lines, the burnished details, the growl of engines — just the love of everything automotive.

It was evident Saturday afternoon when Jubal Noel pulled into his spot at Canyon View Park, the engine rumbling, his matte black Chevy the evidence of four years of work. Heads turned as he approached.

“What is that?” a woman asked as she walked past.

Technically, it was a 1948 Chevrolet Fleetline, but with a six-inch chop on top, a 1946 Nova sub-frame in front, a Z’d back and taken so low that it barely clears the ground. It looked sleek and mysterious and wicked pulling into the Western Colorado Classic.

“My buddy had it in pieces,” Noel explained, “so I thought it was something I’d like to try. It’s the first car I’ve ever built. It took me four years in my garage.”

Labors of love and works in progress were a theme Saturday. Willie Pirraglia’s 1953 Chevy truck has been his project since the 1970s, when his dad bought it for $50 at a Fort Carson surplus sale in Colorado Springs and Pirraglia drove it to high school.

After driving it pretty rough and tipping it over one day on the way to work, he said, he decided to take better care of it. He pieced it back together from several trucks, none of which he paid more than $200 for, and had it painted Porsche red at the prison in Buena Vista, back when that still was possible.

He brought it over from Pueblo and will drive it back home over Monarch Pass, taking his time, enjoying the ride.

When he bought the truck in 1967, it was a utilitarian green and fairly beaten up — it had been part of the then-Western State College maintenance fleet for years. And as an employee in the maintenance department, Ron Stoneburner had logged many hours behind the wheel of that 1959 Studebaker Scotsman.

So, when he heard that the truck was for sale, he made an offer and drove away with it, $55.01 poorer and one truck richer.

And over more than four decades, Stoneburner, who lives in Grand Junction, has gradually restored the old Studebaker to its original beauty. It gleams rain cloud grey now and its V-8 engine shines beneath a hood he had to special order. All the truck’s parts are stock.

“Believe it or not,” Stoneburner said, “the hardest thing to find was the floor mat.”

His Studebaker is one of hundreds of classic and modern trucks and cars on display at Canyon View Park today, part of the second-annual Western Colorado Classic.

The event benefits Hilltop Community Resources and will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the park. Admission is $5 and children 10 and younger are free. From 3 to 9 p.m. there will be the Classic Car Cruise between Fourth Street and 28 3/4 Road on North Avenue.

The good cause, it would seem, glides hand-in-glove with the sleek lines, the burnished details, the growl of engines — just the love of everything automotive.

It was evident Saturday afternoon when Jubal Noel pulled into his spot at Canyon View Park, the engine rumbling, his matte black Chevy the evidence of four years of work. Heads turned as he approached.

“What is that?” a woman asked as she walked past.

Technically, it was a 1948 Chevrolet Fleetline, but with a six-inch chop on top, a 1946 Nova sub-frame in front, a Z’d back and taken so low that it barely clears the ground. It looked sleek and mysterious and wicked pulling into the Western Colorado Classic.

“My buddy had it in pieces,” Noel explained, “so I thought it was something I’d like to try. It’s the first car I’ve ever built. It took me four years in my garage.”

Labors of love and works in progress were a theme Saturday. Willie Pirraglia’s 1953 Chevy truck has been his project since the 1970s, when his dad bought it for $50 at a Fort Carson surplus sale in Colorado Springs and Pirraglia drove it to high school.

After driving it pretty rough and tipping it over one day on the way to work, he said, he decided to take better care of it. He pieced it back together from several trucks, none of which he paid more than $200 for, and had it painted Porsche red at the prison in Buena Vista, back when that still was possible.

He brought it over from Pueblo and will drive it back home over Monarch Pass, taking his time, enjoying the ride.


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