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Classic car owners weave memories, elbow grease and a whole lot of love into their vehicles

It's not just an occasional chance to show off their classic cars at a show-and-shine event; it's an everyday passion for these aficionados.

When the garage door opens at Alex Gavinchuk's St. Albert home, a big grin quickly appears.

The same holds true for Alvin McColman and Gary Warren.

All three men - members of the St. Albert Cruisers auto club – keep their regular vehicles parked in the driveway or on the street.

So, when the garage door opens it almost always means they are preparing to go for a drive in their cherished set of wheels.

"It is so special. I just love the way it sounds," said Gavinchuk, president of the Cruisers club and the proud owner of a gold 1976 Dodge Dart.

The auto aficionado bought the three-speed automatic in 2004 with little fanfare.

"Back when I first drove it nobody really noticed. Now people are interested when they see me go by," said Gavinchuk.

Due to a busy schedule, the married father of two young boys often goes up to a month between rides.

“When I do fire it up, it sounds so strong," said Gavinchuk, referring to the eight-cylinder 318 engine under the hood.

He bought the vehicle with 11,000 miles 17 years ago and has now pushed the odometer up to 27,000 miles. Outside of a white vinyl roof and new tires and rims, everything else is original on his Dart.

Thankfully, the busy dad was able to recently install car seat anchors for the back seat of the four-door classic.

“Now my boys can come for rides with me,” said Gavinchuk.

McColman's vintage vehicle has a remarkable family connection - his father, Russel, bought the 1965 Chevrolet Half Ton new at a Mayerthorpe dealership 56 years ago.

Russel, passed away in 1976 and willed the vehicle to his son. Over the next three decades, McColman upgraded the truck with new wood, a paint job, new interior, mag wheels and eventually dubbed it ‘Dad’s Old Truck.’

"I can't do anything more to the old girl," said McColman, who also installed an eight-track player to play country music while driving. "It is a great conversation piece. People just love to talk about it." Now retired, McColman takes 'Dad's Old Truck' out once or twice a week.

Gary Warren has been enjoying his 1958 Buick Special for 32 years.

"It became available to me after years of admiring it," said Warren, now retired from the Edmonton Fire Department.

His wife, Susan, said the vehicle "did help during the dating stage" when she first met her future husband in the early 1990s.

Gary said, "I just love the sound of this vehicle. It has a nice rumble. It makes you feel so good." The vehicle has 33,000 original miles on it.

The couple goes for a drive once or twice a week and they have also used the Buick as the centre piece car for family weddings.

"It is nice when people ask you about your car. I love to talk about it,” said Gary.

While most Cruisers club members own an eye-catching vehicle, it is not a requirement to join, said Gavinchuk.

"You don't need to have a vintage vehicle. You just need to enjoy them," he said. The club can be reached via the St. Albert Cruisers page on Facebook.