Rolling history

Classic cars roll downtown Coeur d'Alene

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Classic cars cruise down Sherman Avenue during the 2012 Car d'Lane parade.

COEUR d'ALENE - Come recession or apocalypse or jacked-up gas prices, Paul Lieberman stays loyal to the Oldsmobile.

After a seven-year restoration, he holds nothing back to maintain the creamy '41 model, handed down decades ago by his father.

"Just tender love and care. And of course you have to put money into it every now and then," the Coeur d'Alene man said with a smile. "And parts. Parts are hard to find."

All worthwhile, Lieberman said, to stand by the glistening product of his endeavors at dusk on Friday in downtown Coeur d'Alene.

And to remember his father doing the same.

"It means everything to me. It's a piece of my father," Lieberman said of efforts for the car. "With me, it takes my mind off of everyday living. It's like anybody's hobby. They love to do it."

And to show it off.

Those sticking around Sherman Avenue on Friday evening saw a full legacy of consumerism and engineering roll by, a sometimes flashy, sometimes majestic, sometimes happily gaudy tribute to the aspirations of decades of drivers.

Another year of aspirations, another Car d'Lane.

As ever, crowds jammed the sidewalks of downtown Coeur d'Alene for the 22nd annual classic car parade.

Participants Herb and Kathy Zanetti, standing by their '53 Chevy Bel Air Sport so polished it hurt to look at, said they hadn't been looking for a car so much as a memory.

To them, the white-and-red vehicle with 350 engine was a time machine. It was a replica, Kathy said, of the Sports both of their families had driven when they were small.

"Just a love of days gone by," she said of why the Silver Valley couple pursues classic cars. "It was a gentler time."

In the same spirit, Pat and Bill Turner of Coeur d'Alene had secured a shaded spot on Sherman Avenue to watch behemoths bluster up the road.

"We used to do this. Drive up and down Sherman Avenue, going back and forth. Just cruisin,'" Pat said. "In these cars."

"In pretty cars," Bill added. "You could tell which cars are which. No jelly beans."

Bill was excited to check out custom models, he said, beautiful cars transformed from "something you would've spit on 20 years ago."

Otherwise, they were content simply letting so much life and noise happen around them.

"Just going to sit and watch the years go by," Bill said.

Coeur d'Alene native Butch Singer said he was on the sidelines to partake in the city ritual, drinking in sunlight, people and exhaust.

"I grew up with cars. Why not come down and watch a few cars?" Singer said, adding that he had owned several muscle cars in his day. "It's just fun to be around people."

Mark Giacoletto of Butte, Mont., had his own event planned just beside The Coeur d'Alene Resort, where there sat a long procession of his family's classic cars.

One remained shrouded under a blue tarp, until Giacoletto pulled over his brother-in-law, Dan O'Keefe.

The cover was swept off to reveal a gleaming red '44 Ford convertible coupe, fully restored to the shape when O'Keefe's uncle had given it to his father in the late '70s.

O'Keefe, also of Butte, stood gawking before releasing an obscenity.

"I don't believe it," he said as family members gathered around, snapping photos.

Giacoletto confessed he had invested about $100,000 in rebuilding the vehicle, which last ran two decades ago on O'Keefe's wedding day.

There's a legacy in classic cars, Giacoletto explained. He hopes to see the family passion for them pass down to O'Keefe's sons, he added.

"Now it's about his sons," Giacoletto said. "Me and him are the memory makers."

Dick Goldfiss' 1970 Chevy Nova waits at the head of the parade line at the 2012 Car d'Lane.

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