RAY BROOK - About four years ago, Ben Kline decided it would be a good idea to start a car club in the Tri-Lakes. He thought it would be a good way to motivate people to get their classic cars on the road and would also be a good forum for people with similar interests to socialize.
Nowadays, the Tri-Lakes Cruizerz club meets every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in the Curtis Lumber parking lot in Ray Brook from the spring to the fall.
Kline is one of the club's founders. He's been interested in cars as long as he can remember; it's part of his family heritage. In fact, his father, Alan Kline, owned a gas station named Kline and Sons in Keene Valley in the early 1970s.
Tom Lincoln shows off his 1932 Ford.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
Ben Kline now owns three cars that he is especially proud of: a 1956 Lincoln Continental, a 1961 MG and a 1987 Corvette convertible. He said the club helps get vehicles like his out of the garages.
"We ended up never driving them or not having a reason to go drive them," Kline said in a phone interview with the Enterprise Thursday. "We all came up with excuses why we weren't driving them."
The club helped change that, he said.
Now, on any given Tuesday evening, one can find between 15 and 30 cars in front of Curtis Lumber in Ray Brook.
Tom Lincoln of Ray Brook was one of those who was present this past Tuesday. He brought a yellow 1932 Ford.
Lincoln said the group members are "gear heads" who love working on the vehicles. Asked why he was interested in this classic car, he said "I've had muscle cars all my life."
He later added, "It's everyone's dream to have a hot rod."
Tom Benware owns a 1979 Camaro. He said a lot of the fun in owning one of these cars is the work that's put into them.
"The fun is rebuilding from the ground up," he said.
Pudge Conway is another person who has put a lot of work into his automobile. He owns a 1971 Chevy pickup. It took him five years to get it into its current state, which is looking like it's brand new.
"It was a toy for me to keep busy with after retiring," said Conway, who worked for the village of Lake Placid until a few years ago.
Kline noted that not everyone has to have a truly classic car to participate in the club. Anyone is welcome to show up to check out the automobiles, no matter what they are driving.
"We welcome everyone, whether it's an old car or a new car or a motorcycle," he said.
For more information about the club, call Ben Kline at 572-6132.