Downtown Mineola to host 20th Iron Horse Cruise car show

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Downtown Mineola will offer plenty of eye candy for automobile aficionados Saturday when the 20th annual Iron Horse Cruise car show is thrown into gear.

The show starts at 8 a.m. along Commerce and Johnson streets.

Bob Smith, who along with Billy Pool originated the Mineola show in 1998, said he hopes to see between 150 and 200 cars at this year’s event. The show is open to anyone who wants to exhibit a pre-1983 vehicle.

Smith, owner of Bob Smith Auto Sales in Mineola, said he and Pool had their own restored autos and knew of the car shows that all the little towns in East Texas seem to have.

“We just decided, let’s have our own.” So they hit the ignition for the Iron Horse Cruise.

The first show drew only about 20-25 cars, but the Iron Horse Cruise grew through the years. “We’ve had as many as 200 here before,” Smith said.

Folks who visit can expect a wide variety of makes and models. Some will be nearly all original; some will be beautiful works of restoration, others will be modified into hotrods. Cars are expected to arrive from many points in East Texas as well as from Arkansas and Louisiana, according to Smith.

The top automobiles at this year’s event are expected to be selected by participant judging as well as through sponsor picks. Generally, people vote for their favorite cars based on whatever tickles their fancy. People may be struck by how rare a model is, by the quality of restoration, how the car is modified or how much the vehicle stays true to its original condition.

“Sometimes I’ll just see something and say ‘Man, I’ve never seen that car before. I love it.’ Maybe it’s something we had when we were a kid,” Smith said.

Smith will have much in common with those coming to Mineola to enter the car show. Last year, he sold five of his vintage machines, but he still has three that were converted into hotrods: a 1948 Cadillac, a 1936 Ford and a 1967 Chevrolet pickup.

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