If you’ve driven down East 20th Street past the Chico Mall on a Saturday night, chances are you’ve seen some souped-up Camaros from the 1970s, tricked-out ’20s Fords, and even some sexy Corvettes. Those and other kinds of cool, customized cars can be found near the sidewalk in the Toys ‘R’ Us parking lot, from 6 to 9 p.m., along with their owners sitting or standing nearby, during the weekly Stroll and Shine gathering. Afterward, these car aficionados drive to Big Al’s Drive In on The Esplanade and chat it up from 9 to 10:30 p.m. One of them is retired Chicoan and Air Force veteran Don Pustejovsky, 67, who organizes the informal car gathering. Pustejovsky is owner of an immaculate, 1929 Model A Ford Coupe. For more info about the gathering, contact Pustejovsky at 228-8432.
Why did you start the gatherings?
My wife, Donnie Davis, and I have loved cars since we were teenagers, so we wanted a place to hang out with other car lovers to talk about our rides, and life in general. We started four years ago at the In-N-Out burger parking lot, then moved to the Toys ‘R’ Us lot when Krispy Kreme Doughnuts reopened there at the beginning of the year. This lot has great exposure. We end the night with a loop through town and sit outside Big Al’s, just like we did in high school. It helps bring in customers.
What got you into cars?
I’ve loved cars since my teenage years, but couldn’t afford one until after high school, so I just rode with others until then. I’ve always loved anything with a gas motor. As a kid I used to watch mechanics tear down engines, so I started taking apart lawnmower engines but couldn’t put them back together!
What type of people and cars show up?
We get young and old, with no limits on car makes or models. Members of local car clubs like The Strollers also show up. In good weather we have 20 to 30 cars show up. We bring chairs, and the tall trees give lots of shade. We talk about upcoming car shows, fixing our cars, and even help each other rebuild them. A few years ago, I spent a year helping a friend rebuild his 1930 Model A and five months helping another friend rebuild his ’54 Chevy.
Is this 1929 Ford Coupe your only car?
No, I also have a ’53 Buick Special two-door, a ’51 Chevy Deluxe four-door, and a 1929 Ford Model A pickup.