SUNNYSIDE — The red and orange brilliance of his clean 1964 Chevy Impala Super Sport, reflecting the late Friday evening sun, reminded Elias Fernandez of when he was 21 and growing up a few blocks away from the car wash, located on the corner of Washington and Sixth Street.
The long shadows held rich details as Fernandez wiped clear the nostalgic droplets of water from the show car and recalled how influential his first car – a ‘64 Impala SS with eight cylinders of open road horsepower and the freedom to move life forward.
“I had one as a kid, and when I had a kid, I had to sell it,” the car owner stated.
“I had to sell it to move out… I told myself when I got to a place in life where I could get a car, this was what I was going to do.”
Having spent a year searching for the one that would catch his eye, the Covington resident found the car in Woodburn, Ore. and purchased it in January.
He immediately rebuilt the 283 cubic inch small block motor and added new rims and tires.
Fernandez would like to do a complete restoration someday, but for now, is enjoying polishing and getting the car ready for making the local car show rounds.
Like for the all-day, Fourth annual Pacific Northwest Tejano Music Association (PNTMA) Impala Car Show and Concert at Country Park in Grandview on Saturday.
The non-profit, Sunnyside group seeks to promote Tejano Music and preserve its unique and rich culture through music, cuisine and dance.
“I’m having fun driving it. The best part about driving it is you get all sorts of ages stopping me. Whether, it’s 10-year-old’s yelling with their dad, ‘hey cool car,’ or old men in their eight-eight-eights.”
Almost 100 cars were on display at the free family event which included kids from the Factory Dance School in Grandview, food vendors, along with a beer garden and live music, featuring Baraja De Oro.
“The day was all about our youth and to give back to the kids,” PNTMA Board Member Martin Villa explained.
“We raffled away super soakers, an assortment of prizes and two girls and boys bicycles for younger and older kids.”
Fernandez had the hood raised for all to admire the engine work and matching compartment equipment.
His uncle Samuel Garcia, along with cousin Eddie, and his daughters Aysia and Alexis were on hand to appreciate the vehicle taking part in the juried show.
His ‘64 Impala SS received a Best Engine award in capturing the Chevy qualities, which empowered the heartbeat of the past with a colorful lifestyle achievement for today — to be 21 in spirit and cruising Sunnyside again, is a road worth driving.