Somerville Cruise Night, July 17, 2015

Main St., Somerville NJ, on a hot summer night.
Main St., Somerville NJ, on a hot summer night.

The town of Somerville (NJ, not MA) has been hosting a Friday-night cruise night for many years. Several websites maintain that 2015 is the 26th consecutive year of this event. Having lived in this area since 2001, my recollection is that the town at first was aghast at the idea of “hot rodders” invading their space. (This cruise night uses Main St., not a parking lot, as its gathering place.)

Quite the variety of cars line up in front of storefronts
Quite the variety of cars line up in front of storefronts

Then a funny thing happened: the local restaurants, antique stores, and other small businesses began to notice a significant uptick in their business on Fridays, as “spectators” swarmed into downtown to partake of the cars AND the food…. The next thing you know, the township is so in favor of the cruise night that they take over hosting duties from the local car club which had been performing that function.

Three different generation Corvettes line up on Main St.
Three different generation Corvettes line up on Main St.

We took advantage of a warm and dry summer evening this past Friday to enjoy the always-eclectic car collection, as well as Alfonso’s Italian food (some of the best in the area). Photos are below, in no particular order. If you’re ever in the mood for a great Friday night cruise night which includes a hometown atmosphere, cruise on over!

A modern-day supercar you can drive to work: the Ford GT
A modern-day supercar you can drive to work: the Ford GT

The 1958 Edsel wasn’t a bad car; it was no better and no worse than most any other full-size American car of its time. Its timing was bad, introduced during a recession, and priced to compete in an already-crowded mid-priced field. Its styling only added to the sale challenge. It barely made it into its 3rd model year before the plug was pulled. To this day, “Edsel” is synonymous with major corporate marketing blunders. Meanwhile, the car’s looks have mellowed, and it’s become a collectible.

A trio of tremendous Pontiacs: two Firebirds and a GTO:

The man responsible for much of Pontiac’s success, John Z. DeLorean, went on to start his own ill-fated car company. The DeLorean DMC-12 was produced for only two model years, 1981 & 1982 (the 1983 models were cobbled together from leftover parts by court order). This particular example was cosmetically perfect, and a stick-shift car to boot:

The DeLorean DMC-12
The DeLorean DMC-12

“Stan” proudly shows off his 1962 Studebaker Hawk GT. He claims he pulled it from a field about 10 years ago, after cutting down the tree which had grown up through the floor next to the steering wheel. A father-son project, Stan was rightfully proud of his car’s condition, and his trunk is full of memorabilia obtained from the Studebaker museum.

Stan and his Hawk
Stan and his Hawk
A C1 Corvette in front of a pizzeria of the same vintage
A C1 Corvette in front of a pizzeria of the same vintage

 

All photographs copyright © 2015 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

5 thoughts on “Somerville Cruise Night, July 17, 2015

  1. H Richard,
    I have a picture from 1982 of about 100 brand new Delorean cars parked in a field on the left as you went north on 202 and at the intersection of 202 and 22. (Bridgewater/Sommerville) I assume they were stored there for a local dealer. I think there is an office building on that spot now and I think it was also a state police station.
    Do you know of any local old timers who would remember those cars and who owned them?
    I can send you a picture as it is on a slide now and I have to make a positive. I thought it might be of interest to the local historical society or the local newspaper.

    Like

    • Hi Walter,

      First, thanks for your comment! Although not at all related to the cruise nights, I happen to know about that site, only because a former colleague of mine worked there. In the 1981-1983 time frame, when new DeLoreans were being sold, the DeLorean Motor Company established a “Quality Assurance Center” (QAC) in Bridgewater. Essentially, the QAC took cars directly from the factory in Northern Ireland, and before they were retailed, updated them with the latest quality improvements. In Detroit parlance, this was the “re-work” line, albeit on a very large scale. There were two other QACs in the U.S. in addition to the one in Bridgewater.

      You can read a little bit about the QACs here: http://www.deloreanmuseum.org/company.html
      Also, someone has posted a comment about his time employed at the QAC. You can read that comment here: http://www.automotiveforums.com/t496273-a_red_delorean_from_the_factory_.html

      Your photo would most likely be of particular interest to either the current management of the DeLorean Motor Company in Texas, or perhaps the DeLorean Owners Association.

      Thanks again,
      Richard

      Like

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