Mike Caruso called it his “dream car.”
He found it while scrolling through eBay earlier this week: a shining 1935 Ford Slantback with a freshly painted coat of maroon and an impeccable interior.
Caruso instantly knew he had to have it. He drove to the car’s location the next morning — a 16-hour round trip that brought him about 100 miles south of Dallas — and was back at home with his prized car around 9:30 p.m Tuesday night.
It was one of the most memorable rides of his life.
“It’s my dream car,” Caruso said. “I don’t think I’ll ever need to get another one.”
He soon got to show off his new wheels.
The Denham Springs chapter of the Knights of Columbus hosted its third annual car show at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Saturday, giving members and guests a chance to show off their cars while admiring those belonging to others.
Randy Blanchard’s 1953 Pontiac Chieftan was the day’s big winner, taking home first place for best exterior and top overall car. Caruso’s Ford Slantback finished second in the overall voting but won for best interior. Wayne Smith’s 2014 Z-51 Corvette was voted third best overall car.
Mark Bourgeois of Denham Springs was the first contestant to arrive, pulling up in his 1969 black Camaro SS/RS around 9 a.m. Bourgeois is a member of the Southern Muscle Car Club and had recently gone to a car show with that group, but he couldn’t resist the urge to go to another.
“As my wife would say, that’s my mistress,” Bourgeois said, nodding to the classic car.
Smith parked his black Corvette next to Bourgeois’ Camaro minutes before Justin McChristian drove up in his turquoise 1955 Chevy Belair with a white top. Once contestants got out of their cars, they gave them one final wipe-down to get that extra shine for the judges.
But Blanchard’s Pontiac Chieftan — still with the original stainless steel, hood and white rims from 1953 — stole the show.
Blanchard said he bought the car three years ago and immediately began restoring it. He recovered the seats and door panels, re-chromed the bumpers, sprayed on a fresh coat of black paint and dropped the top down 4 inches — all in his backyard. He even has the original Indian Head key.
Though the Knights of Columbus didn’t draw the crowd they hoped for — only 11 of the expected 50 or so cars showed up — they still had enough of a showing and sold enough jambalaya to help in their continued recovery from the Great Flood of 2016.
Their meeting hall at the end of Hatchell Lane in Denham Springs took in 3 feet of water during the historic flood last August, costing Immaculate Conception Council No. 6326 all of the $25,000 it had in savings.
Normally, the proceeds of the car show go toward helping out a local charity, but Grand Knight Jamie Ordoyne said this year’s earnings are going to help his group get back on its feet.
“Just trying to get back to where we were so we can start doing charities again,” Ordoyne said.