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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Friday night sights: Classic cars at the Juke Box in Annandale

1953 Chevy.

Every Friday evening during the warm months, the Juke Box Diner parking lot (at the John Marr Drive and Columbia Pike intersection in Annandale) turns into a showcase for classic cars—many with the giant fins and powerful engines of decades past.

You might find a tomato red 1967 Dodge Charger or 1966 lime green Mercury Cougar lovingly restored by Mike Cumberland of Arlington, for example, or Lawson Cook of Falls Church showing off his baby blue and white 1967 Thunderbird or black 1953 Chevy.

Mike Cumberland with his 1957 Charger.
Cumberland has been working on his Charger on weekends since he bought it in 2000 for $4,000. The engine’s been overhauled, the interior has been restored, and he just installed new breaks. “It will never be done,” he says. It gets just 15 miles per gallon, and Cumberland mainly just drives it around to car shows in Northern Virginia.

Don’t be fooled by that 1953 Chevy, though. Cook totally replaced just about everything inside. The only originally pieces left are the frame and body and he’s driven it as far as Myrtle Beach, S.C.

A Corvette Stingray.
“I’ve been fooling around with these cars for 40 years,” Cook says. There are people who restore old cars and sell them for a profit, but Cook says, “You have to really like fooling around with this. It’s a miracle if you can sell it for what you paid.”

While most of the car enthusiasts come to the Juke Box to show off their dream machines and reconnect with other car hobbyists, sometimes there is some buying and selling going on. [No one was interested in my 1995 Camry though.]

Restoring old cars has to be fun, Cook says, noting that he doesn’t get too upset when his young grandson accidentally scratches one of his cars.“You can’t let it drive you crazy. If you start worrying about everything, it isn’t fun anymore.”

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