Goldston Cruz-N spotlight shines on antique vehicles

Jul. 20, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

This evening, the town of Goldston in Chatham County will swell by a significant size as car buffs and curious observers descend on downtown for the July edition of the Goldston Cruz-N.

The town — which had a population of just 268 as of the 2010 census — will see maybe a third of that number trek in from out of town on the third Saturday of every month through October, after which the car show shuts down to hibernate until April. Today's event starts at 4 p.m. and will last until everyone leaves, which is generally around 8 p.m.

The Cruz-N was the brainchild of Bruce Denkins, who said he started it about five years ago because he thought the town, despite its small size, would be great for shining a spotlight on any vehicle more than 25 years old — muscle cars, pre-World War II models, hotrods and antique trucks and motorcycles.

"Many of us old boys around here got old cars, and usually we'd go somewhere around here," Denkins said. "Siler City got one on the first Saturday of the month, and Sanford got one on the second Saturday of the month. I thought we should have something here, too."

Word of mouth spread quickly, which Denkins said is because the Cruz-N is really just a relaxing way to spend a weekend night. The prime time to see the dozens of antique vehicles that come out, he said, is from 5-6 p.m.

"We park and sort of reminisce," he said. "Everybody talks about the good old days, and I play some old beach music."

His wife Lisa was also integral in the success of the event, Bruce said, although she only grudgingly accepts the credit, saying she has only grown to love cars, whereas he and many others seem to have been born obsessed. She admitted that the high turnout was surprising at first and said that growing up in Goldston, she never imagined there would be anything like that in town.

Lisa's favorites are the old antiques, she said; Bruce said he has seen several from the '30s and '40s and one which he said was built in the 1910s. He personally shows off a silver 1961 Buick LeSabre Bubbletop — a car which was only made in that year, he said. But he said his car is far from the most unique or sought-after car that's shown up at the events.

"There's a few high dollar cars that come in," Denkins said. "I have had some down here that were over $100,000."

In addition to the nearly century-old cars that some people in the area own — he said most visitors are from Chatham or Lee counties, but he does get a few from as far away as Southern Pines, Raleigh and Fayetteville — he said the Cruz-N has also hosted a rare Plymouth Road Runner Superbird, a racecar the company reportedly built in 1970 specifically to try to lure Richard Petty back to racing with Dodge, a sister company of Plymouth. Less than 2,000 were made, and one auto dealer website has several listed for anywhere from $120,000 to $385,000.

But no matter how nice the cars there tonight might be, Denkins said, he's just glad to see his small town getting attention and visitors.