When Don Harmon hopped in his 1955 red and white Plymouth for the very first time, it was love at first drive. His passion for domestic cars has transcended well over six decades through collecting, remodeling and assembling the classic wheels.
“I grew up in Merced and wasn’t able to get a car until I got out of high school,” said Harmon. “My infatuation with cars led to a hobby where I was fixing up cars on the side and selling them. Over the years I had to put the hobby on hold because of my kids. Once they got older I got back to it again and haven’t looked back since.”
Harmon then became involved in Kool Kars for Charity, a hot rod show benefiting Turlock’s Hospice of Emanuel and Parent Resource Center. Over its 11-syear span, Kool Kars for Charity has collected over $170,000.
“It’s great to know that we’ve been able to help so many people through our efforts,” said Harmon. “Although we put the KKFC to rest, I am still finding ways to put my love for cars into a good use.”
Harmon is currently a member of the Modesto Area Street Rod Association, Mid Valley Chevy Club and serves on the Graffiti planning committee. Both clubs are made up of a group of individuals who share a common interest in owning and rebuilding pre-1949 domestic vehicles.
“By being a member in these car clubs, I have become very active in our community,” said Harmon. “Every year the MASRA hosts the National Street Rod Association in Lathrop. We also host the annual Graffiti Classic Car Show in June. Our club donates thousands of dollars each year to local organizations and families in need.”
Harmon also enjoys the camaraderie with his fellow car aficionados. Once a month he and his fellow car club members go to public outings as a group and bring their entire families to join in the fun.
“We also have our cars drive up someplace to have lunch and dinner,” said Harmon. “Any excuse getting the engines running.”
With three classic cars taking up space in his driveway, Harmon plans to cruise the streets of Modesto and Central Valley for the foreseeable future.
“Cruising with the hot rod engines and the graffiti music in the background takes me back in time,” said Harmon. “There’s a lot of guys older than me that have been in the hobby for years. As long as I’m still having a good time I’ll still be riding.”
— NANCY ANGEL /