When Deb Desjardins was growing up in Auburn, she lived about half a mile from Roy’s All Steak Burgers on Route 4, an institution in Lewiston-Auburn known for its Tuesday evening cruise nights where antique and collectible car owners from throughout Maine gather to show off their vehicles and share stories.

“I always had an interest in cars,” said Desjardins. “I would have been an auto mechanic if it weren’t for the fact that I don’t like to get my hands dirty.”

Today, Desjardins and boyfriend, Dave Barrett, own a shiny, black 1978 Chevy Corvette that they regularly take to cruise nights or auto shows where they share the fun and camaraderie of car owners and car spectators alike.

“You can go to a cruise night just about every night of the week,” said Desjardins. “On Tuesday nights, you can hit a big one in Cumberland at Copp Motors and end up at Roy’s in Auburn.”

They purchased the Corvette 16 years ago with the goal of having a diversion to occupy their time.

“You know, just take it out to go for an ice cream,” said Barrett.

But what started as a visit to a cruise night and occasional car show, turned into a passion for the couple where they are now members of an Auburn-based group called the Knucklebusters Motor Club that hosts events and promotes classic car collecting.

At a recent car show in Oxford, Maine, Desjardins was busy registering and assisting participants while Barrett had a spray bottle and wipe cloth in hand to gently shine their car which was entered in the competition. He couldn’t stop finding spots to wipe clean.

Barrett admitted that it helps to have basic car maintenance skills when owning a classic car.

Desjardins added that if you don’t, then “you’d better have some money” to maintain the vehicle.

Barrett has done some of the work on the Corvette including filter changes and brakes.

“I replaced the heater core in it,” he said, shaking his head and rolling his eyes at the memory. “I won’t ever do that again.”

According to Barrett, replacement parts for the Corvette are rather easy to come by. It is a standard vehicle and parts are readily available at most auto supply stores.

“When you have something like that, it gets more difficult,” said Barrett, pointing to a nearby hot rod vehicle. “You may have a basic frame but the engine and other parts can be a mix from many different vehicles.”

“The one thing about owning a classic car is that you are not into it for the money,” said Barrett. “For all the money that you put into the vehicle, you will probably never get it back.”

“It is really about enjoying the car and coming to shows like this one,” added Desjardins. “It is really nice to talk with so many people who share your interest in classic cars.”


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