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Lake Area Rods and Classics club fuels nostalgia, funds programs

Carlton Smith’s Ford Fairlane

One of the joys of owning a classic car, like Lake Area Rods and Classic member Carlton Smith’s Ford Fairlane, is cruising the roads. Classic cars, classic trucks, hot rods, and more take center stage Saturday, Oct. 2, during the Marble Falls Main Street Car Show. Courtesy photo by West Pearson

Check under the hood of the Lake Area Rods and Classics club and you’ll find a membership sparked by their love of the automobiles, their fellowship with each other, and their support of the Highland Lakes community. 

Lake Area Rods and Classics formed in 2004 as a way for local car and truck enthusiasts to parade their vehicles. The club especially favors rides from the 1950s to the early 1970s. They also love their hot rods. 

Member West Pearson of Highland Haven favors pickup trucks, a love he connects to his grandfather and a Dodge pickup that Grandpa drove hauling groceries for the store he owned in Marble Falls, well before the days of H-E-B.  Pearson now owns a 1953 Ford F100 pickup. 

“I think what interests people are the cars they grew up with,” he said. “It brings back memories.”

Also from Highland Haven, member Mark Kidd’s interests in vehicles began with a friend’s Jeep. Kidd bought a vintage Toyota Land Cruiser to work on.

“Back in the ’70s, you were around ’60s cars a lot, so you kind of were drawn to them,” Kidd said. “I think that’s part of it, the cars you’re around.”

Listening to Kidd rattle off some of the cars he’s owned and worked on is like a trip through the highlights of automative history. The lineup includes a ’55 Chevy, a ’66 GTO, a ’72 Chevy step side pickup, an Italian-built De Tomaso Pantera, and a ’66 Fairlane. And that’s not all. One of his favorite cars was a hot rod he and a friend built together. 

While Kidd doesn’t often pine after the vehicles he’s sold over the years, he admits missing that hot rod.

“Because I built it,” he said.

West Pearson’s 1953 Ford F100
West Pearson’s 1953 Ford F100 definitely turns heads when out on the road. Pearson is a member of the Lake Area Rods and Classics club in the Highland Lakes. Courtesy photo by West Pearson

Pearson’s list is just as impressive. One of his most unique cars was a 1957 English Ford Squire.

“It looked like a station wagon you threw in the washing machine that shrunk,” he said. 

Owning, maintaining, and showing vintage vehicles is not the only fuel that drives car club members. The joy it brings others gets them revved up as well. Plus, they raise money for a variety of community programs. 

Proceeds from last year’s Bluebonnet car show, the club’s biggest fundraiser of the year, benefited the Hill Country Children’s Advocacy Center for children who have been victims of a crime or witnessed one. 

The club also supports children’s programs at local public libraries. 

“Reading is so important,” Kidd said. “It’s fun, but you need to be able to read if you want to learn or get a job. Anything we can do to support reading programs, we’ll do.”

The club is also quick to hit the road to lift someone’s spirits. Several times a year, members hold a drive-up show at a local longterm care or nursing facility. Cars are lined up outside the facility for residents to come out and have a look. Without fail, Kidd said, at least one of the residents will point out a car and recall a memory connected to the model or year. 

Members caravanned to Llano one year to celebrate a man’s 100th birthday. The gentleman rode in one of the cars in a parade around town.

“Those are the things I probably enjoy the most, more than the shows,” Kidd said. 

Pearson agreed.

“It just makes somebody’s day when they see some of these cars, especially one that might take them back to a time and place in their life that was special or just a time that was maybe simpler,” he said. 

It’s as much about the people as the cars, both continued, including the members who meet once a month for about an hour of fellowship at a local restaurant. 

“The cars are a connection that brings us together,” Pearson said.  

To see many of the classic cars and hot rods cruising Highland Lakes roads, visit the Marble Falls Main Street Car Show on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free for spectators.

Lake Area Rods and Classics is open to anyone with an interest in cars and trucks — owning a classic or vintage vehicle or a hot rod isn’t a requirement for membership. For more information on the club and club activities, visit lakearearodsandclassics.com

daniel@thepicayune.com