For car lovers, "Race City USA" is getting ready to break from its cold winter's nap.
Many car owners are working on the cars that are "never quite done." Others are starting new projects.
Starting next month, two streets in Mooresville will glitter with chrome and sparkling paint on the first Saturday of every month through November. Once again, car owners will awaken their prized rides at the Downtown Mooresville Cruise In. Upwards of 600 cars line both sides of Main Street and one side of Broad Street.
2011 marks the Cruise In's fifth year, which attracts more than 5,000 people.
It's not a guy's only domain.
Tabitha Weber rolls in her 1964 "Tweety Bird Yellow" Ford Galaxie 500. It was a gift from her father.
The two-door hardtop draws crowds and comments every time she hits the road or parks it.
She says it's much more than "another old car."
"On the road everybody smiles and waves," said Weber. When she parks, "they like to tell me how many memories it brings back."
Cruise In event director Hugh Sykes has been hooked on cars for more than two decades. His "addiction" started in Germany where he raced Porsches. He brought his passion home, where he raced in Porsche Club of America events as far away as Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota.
He has a 1931 Ford two-door coupe. "I still love Porsches, but street rods stick."
The Cruise In is sponsored by the Mooresville Downtown Commission, a group of downtown business and building owners.
"Our goal," said Sykes, "is to provide a really nice environment for people to come, enjoy Mooresville, enjoy their cars and each other."
The event has street rods, Camaros, Firebirds, Mustangs, GTO's and the highly prized Mopar Hemi Cudas, Challengers and Chargers. The Cruise In also has a smattering of Porsches and California-style Volkswagen Beetles.
Ken Kotowicz and his wife, Chris, spent four years and more than $60,000 on their 1933 Ford three-window coupe.
Chris thought her husband had lost his mind when he showed her the lime green panel swatch. She immediately changed her mind when she saw the finished car. She especially likes the gold highlights when the sun hits the car "just so."
Other features of their crowd-stopper include rear-hinged suicide doors, a color-coordinated North Carolina license plate, a tan leather interior and air-ride suspension. The car drops to within an inch or two off the pavement when parked and rises when the Kotowicz's hit the road.
They avoid rain whenever possible because the undercarriage is as spotless as the topside of the car.
During a Cruise In, Orrin and Pat Hanke sit behind their red '39 Ford "Coast to Coast" coupe. The eight-year project was started in Connecticut and finished in North Carolina. The removable top has been chopped 5 inches, giving the car a sleek look.
Street rodders add little details that make their cars different. Hanke added three portholes on the side of the hood, reminiscent of '50's Buick sedans.
The King of Main Street has to be Angelo Andaloro's 1947 Chevy.
"It was the ugliest car I ever saw when I bought it. I paid $25 bucks for it."
A quarter-of-a-million dollars in parts and labor later the car has been transformed. The car is painted in a beautiful gold metallic called "Fran's Inspiration," named after his wife.
Andaloro says the car can be called a street rod or a "lead sled." The term comes from the lead used as body filler instead of the commonly use plastic Bondo. It takes a strong man to lift the 65-pound hood that has been radically reshaped. Andaloro liked the spine on '63 Corvettes so he added it to the entire length of the car. There are no mirrors on this Chevy two-door. They have been replaced by tiny TV cameras.
Inside, the seats, Camaro dash, headliner and door panels are swathed in glove-soft Italian leather.
So, mark March 5 as a red- letter day. That's when the streets will glitter in chrome again.