EVERETT — Bumper-to-bumper traffic clogged downtown Everett streets Sunday afternoon, slowing cars to a crawl.
And that was just fine with Kevin Echols and the hundreds of car owners who came to show off their vehicles at Cruzin’ to Colby. The annual car show almost was cancelled this year — its 18th since starting in 1999 — but dozens of volunteers jumped in to pull it off.
“It’s just like Friday and Saturday nights when I was in high school,” said Echols, who drove his 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 SC replica.
Like many car owners, he has put hundreds of hours into the sleek, light blue car with classic curves and a powerful engine. Driving the car is “like having a dream and catching it,” he said.
As a student at Bothell High School, he and friends would cruise downtown Everett’s streets on weekend nights in his 1967 Pontiac GTO. “We’d tune up at the Shell gas station, where my friend worked. Then, when he was off, we’d cruise around town,” said Echols, who lives in Snohomish.
Just like then, Cruzin’ to Colby, which continues Monday, is about friends and family, he said. “My son’s in that red and white Camaro. My friend from high school is in that blue truck. And my wife is riding with me,” he said.
More than 600 car owners had registered by the time the cruise started Sunday, said Dale Newman, one of the event’s organizers. “We’ll easily be over 800 cars” by Monday.
Newman and Joel Starr started Cruzin’ to Colby. It ran along two blocks of the street between businesses they owned separately at the time. Once the event was established, a car collectors’ club, Seattle Rod-Tiques, took over organizing the annual cruise. In December, the club announced it would not sponsor the show this year.
Rather than let it fall by the wayside, Newman and Starr took up the task. Thanks in part to a weekend of warm, sunny weather, they expect a record-high number of spectators this year.
There were plenty of jaw-dropping cars rolling through Everett, including an original Shelby Mustang Mach 1, a high performance version of the classic muscle car. Carroll Shelby, the designer, helped define the era of American cars.
Two cars especially impressed Kirk Munn, who helped pull together the tech support for the event: a 1929 Studebaker sedan and a bright orange 1969 Chrysler Road Runner.
The Studebaker “is one of those cars that’s not fancy,” he said, “but it looks really nice sitting at the curb” — and cruising on Colby, too.
Cruzin’ events conclude Monday with a Show ’N Shine from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Colby.
Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dcatchpole.