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Cars power friendship

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Jack Keef shows off his 1940 Ford Coupe.


POSTED January 14, 2012 2:24 a.m.

When Warren White, Tom Osborne and Billy Olsen set out to start what would become the Nuts and Bolts Car Club, they were only looking for like-minded individuals to share their love for restored classic street machines.

Little did they know it would blossom into a group where dozens of car enthusiasts would gather every single week to talk about motors, paint jobs and custom fabrication work that turn rusted out and long forgotten heaps of metal into gleaming, envy-producing hot rods.

And the transformation happened almost overnight.

When Tom Osborne took a three-week vacation back in 1998 – when only a few guys met at the old Lyon’s Restaurant on Highway 120 – he came back to discover that nearly 10 guys had started showing up and the group quickly shifted over to Perko’s Diner.

Within a few years the group grew to nearly 40 members. The loose affiliation and structure – each member has a T-shirt signifying them as the “President” of the club – helped foster an atmosphere that attracted car owners that might have been discouraged by some of the traditional and more rigidly structured clubs in the region.

“There are no rules here – it’s just a bunch of guys getting together every week to talk about cars and what they’re doing to theirs or what they want to do to theirs,” said Osborne – who has a 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible. “It’s the camaraderie that makes this what it is – the guys getting together and working on cars together and helping one another out.

“It’s a good bunch of people.”

For some in the group – like Gary Phillips – the fascination with classic cars stems from a desire to recapture the period in his early life that he associates with the vehicles when they were just plain cars.

They were the cars, Phillips said, that people used to drive to the grocery store and the cars that some in the group drove when they were high school students – trading them in for more family-friendly vehicles when that time came.

“If you think about it, a lot of these cars are the cars from our teens and our early 20s,” Phillips said. “It’s now older guys building these old cars that weren’t old to us at one time. It’s something that we can remember from our youth and get back again.”

The group meets every Wednesday at 6 a.m. at Perko’s, East Yosemite & Button avenues, to discuss their cars and catch up on happenings.

Jason Campbell
staff reporter

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