"People love this stuff," said Valley Home's Bill Babcock, 66, who owns 13 classic cars, including a 1932 Austin Bantam coupe worth about $55,000. "I drive 'em to get the reaction from other people. When you pull into a gas station with this, everybody has to find out what it is."

The cars on show include a stout 1917 Model T and a gleaming blue 1953 Cadillac with silver-chromed bumper.

The shows take place every Friday from May to September, running up to the year's nearby Hot Rod show. They date back to 2003, Jim Beavis and Clive Hoogan started a show with just 8 cars. Now 50 cars turn up every week, 52 this time with a recent top showing of 71, outside Hula's Restaurant, a burger joint filled with sports memorabilia.

There are no limits on the display: just anything people are proud of earns them a raffle ticket in the September show.

There's only one rule: Don't touch the cars.

Escalon's Frank Bryan, another of the Lions coordinators, presents his version of a yellow 1965 Volkswagen Beetle. The front is normal, but the rear is a flatbed. "Eighteen months of retired labor" as Bryan put it.

"I sold two Harleys to get this," says Junior Solorio of his 1949 Mercury, "I bought this when I had my daughter four years ago. My dad had a Mercury in his 20s, so I always wanted one".

Some relationships with individual cars represent a lifelong obsession.

Robert Bumgardner Sr. of Modesto always liked his father's 1950 Ford F-1 pickup. "He bought it in 1957 when I was a high school senior. I told him, 'Don't ever sell it,' " Bumgardner said. "On my 50th birthday, he said, 'Happy birthday,' and gave me the keys."

Cars lose value from their newly made price for about 15 years at which time some start picking up value as a classic cars, provided they can be maintained in good condition.

But for many, including most at Hula's restaurant, the motivation is the pride of owning, and driving, something beautiful.

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