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Wheels of Woodbridge rolling along

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Wheels of Woodbridge rolling along

Three “Lugnuts” with the Del Webb “Wheels of Woodbridge” car club show pride in their vehicles on Maple Valley Street. Bill Barnhart, club president at left with his 1970 Stingray; center is Earl ...

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED January 14, 2012 2:22 a.m.

The “Wheels of Woodbridge” four-year-old car club has added a unique brilliance to the Del Webb community on North Union Road with some 20 personally owned and restored vehicles.

The featured cars range from a 1970 Corvette Stingray and a 1957 Ford Thunderbird to a 1964 Chevrolet Nova that owner Rick Nelson bought new for $2,800 with payments of $65.27 a month for 36 months. It’s worth much more now.  He has owned the car for 47 years, and his three sons and daughter drove it as teens.  There are many older cars, too, in the neighborhood collection.

Club president and “Chief Lugnut” of the organization Bill Barnhart said the esprit de corps of his group has serviced the Manteca community’s non-profits and has produced an annual ‘high end, top notch” car show and hosted a 100-foot-sprint between members’ golf carts on the athletic field in the last several years.

The penchant of the group is to share their love for rebuilding cars and to make a difference by volunteering throughout the region – especially in the Second Harvest Food Bank’s mission to feed the hungry.

Barnhart had a newer Corvette sitting in his driveway Wednesday with a personalized license plate “RETRVET” indicating his military service, shared by many at Del Webb.  In his garage is a 1970 dune buggy that he built himself in 1979.

Neighbor and fellow club member Earl Reedy has a bright red T-Bird that has been the pride of his life for the past 36 years.  In a side note, Reedy’s parents operated Reedy’s Variety Store on Yosemite Avenue in downtown Manteca over 50 years ago.

The annual car show is presented on the Saturday after the July 4th holiday.  This year it is set for July 7, in front of the home sales offices and across from the lake on the Del Webb grounds – a beautiful background for their wheels. The entry fee is $20 and there are prizes up to $100 in cash.

During the last two years all the proceeds were turned over to the food bank for a total of $6,200. 

“It is at no cost to us,” the club president said.  “Second Harvest provides the hot dogs and buns for the participants and guests with Del Webb also being a major sponsor with PMZ Real Estate.”

There were some 80 entries last year and 90 cars are expected to be on display this year in July.  There have been a small number of entrants that became so entranced with the Del Webb at Woodbridge community while at the show that they bought a home and became a part of the large residential family.

“With the car show we’re trying to make as much as we can so we can give it away,” Barnhart said.  The Lugnut wives have continually put out baked goods in the clubhouse during the show and they sell out every year.  The baked specialties netted $556 last year.

The Memorial Day weekend is the annual date for the group’s Woodbridge 100 Golf Cart Race.  This year it’s set for May 26 when members and their families compete in a 100-foot sprint, a slalom “Twist and Turn” along with the “Survivor’s Race,” a blindfolded driver’s event where ride-along spouses verbally give directions to their visually handicapped husbands when and where to turn and when to stop on the course with families crowded around to watch.

Barnhart said entire families turn out for the fun-filled events.

The group has a very strong link with Second Harvest with 12 of their members volunteering on a weekly basis at the food bank in Manteca’s industrial park to sort foodstuffs.  Another eight residents of the Del Webb community are at the food bank once each month.

The Lugnuts are planning a potluck at the club house on March 7 and joined together for a breakfast at the Waffle Shop on North Main Street Friday morning.  The club members who volunteer their time putting up American flags on Manteca’s streets on holidays make a habit of enjoying each other’s company in what has become a traditional breakfast chat session over a waffle or two before going home.

The club meets the first Tuesday of every month at the clubhouse. 

Glenn Kahl
staff reporter

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