09/06/09 01:47PM Car Shows, classic, hot rods, Muscle Cars, vintage

Oak Forest car show revs up

Car enthusiasts speak their own language.

While the average driver speaks only of make, model and mileage, car aficionados talk of torque, tie rods and turbo chargers.

And so it was on a recent Sunday evening in Oak Forest as dozens of car lovers came together for a new weekly cruise night.

The hoods were up, the lawn chairs were out and people with a passion for cars spent the evening admiring each other's rides and swapping stories.

"We pull in and talk about cars," said Bob Cowgill, the man primarily responsible for resurrecting an Oak Forest cruise night.

Cowgill's56 Chevy was on display as was the bright yellow Corvette belonging to his friend, Art Erickson.

"I bought it off a little old lady in '95," said Erickson, who estimates he's spent $12,000 on the car.

Oak Forest had a weekly cruise night, but it ended two years ago. Cowgill, an Oak Forest resident and self-professed car junkie, thought the parking lot of the new commercial development at 159th Street and Cicero Avenue would be ideal place for a classic car show.

"This is a life-long passion. I love cars," said Cowgill, who owns 40 vehicles, including two that are set aside for his children.

Many teens start out with the family car - not Cowgill's son and daughter. His 14-year-old boy will cruise the streets in a 1969 Firebird, while his daughter, 10, has a 1969 Corvette convertible waiting for her.

Cowgill has an auto shop in Markham. His passion is restoring older cars and hot rod muscle cars from the '60s and '70s. When he decided to get behind an Oak Forest cruise night, it didn't take long for the word to spread.

"In car circles, word travels pretty fast," Cowgill said.

"Every week it's gotten bigger," said Rich Cowgill, Bob's brother.

The show attracts cars of all kinds. Some are popular models from the '50s and '60s that have been painstakingly restored to perfection. Others are late model vehicles that have been modified in one way or another. Either way, everyone is welcome.

"We're all here to have a good time," said Cowgill, who encouraged newcomers to the hobby to attend the show for advice and camaraderie.

"You're welcome if you have a late-model car or a diamond in the rough," said Cowgill.

"We all share the same interest: cars."

The show is held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sundays. It will continue into fall and be held when weather permits, Cowgill said.