June 2018 Somernites — Main Street

The rain held off until the very end for cruisers Saturday as June’s Somernites Cruise celebrated two of Chevrolet’s hottest makes — the Camaro and the Corvette.

“They’re still rolling in,” Mark Hansford, “voice of Somernites Cruise” heard in downtown Somerset every fourth Saturday through October, said of the more than 650 vehicles that had been counted as of 4:30 p.m. “I think everyone was waiting on the weather. We’ve been playing this game for two months when rain has been forecast…So far, not a drop.”

A few drops did fall in late afternoon, but most of crowd stayed until the very end.

At press time, the cruiser traveling the farthest distance was a 2017 Corvette from Estero, Florida (931 miles from Somerset).

Drawing a crowd in front of the Pulaski County Courthouse was the prototype 1967 Camaro — completed in May 1966 and lovingly restored by Logan Lawson and his father Corey of Kansas.

According to Somernites director Keith Floyd, its just one of several Camaro prototypes the family owns including the earliest convertible and Z-28.

Logan was just 13 in 2009 when he found the car through an online message board. The then-owner was trying to verify its special VIN — N100001.

“It’s the first of 49 hand-built Camaros built at Norwood (General Motors’ Norwood, Ohio, plant),” he said. “The car had gone…the last part of it’s life under the radar. It was kind of lost with its historical significance…

“It was the VIN number that was special,” Logan continued, “but we didn’t have any factory documentation to back it up.”

The Lawsons, along with family friend Jamie Schwartz, would spend six years researching the prototype — piecing together its history through each of its prior owners. That led to the recovery of its original powertrain.

“It was a full restoration that took four years,” Logan added. “Repaint, restoring any parts that we could save or…replacing with only stock parts. Everything on the car is original. What you’re looking at is exactly the way it would have looked in 1967.”

The hard work paid off. The show car was added to the National Historic Vehicle Register two years ago in conjunction with Camaro’s 50th anniversary and creates a stir wherever the Lawsons take it.

Benny Ramsey gets the attraction. The Richmond, Kentucky, man bought a 1968 Camaro RS (RallySport) nearly 25 years ago when he got out of the service.

“It was ’68…Vietnam,” Ramsey said of his fondness for that particular model. “I just loved the car, and still do.”

But not every vehicle on display in downtown Somerset was a version of Chevy’s signature muscle car. Bill and Kathey Dwyer of Richmond, Indiana, were set up on Fountain Square with the 1939 LaSalle they’ve owned for 18 years.

Returning to Somerset after five years, this weekend marked the Dwyers’ third Somernites Cruise.

“We love it,” Mrs. Dwyer said. “It’s big, but not too big.”

The weather was just right too.