MORRIS – In 1985, William Biros of Mazon traded a wagonload of oats for a rusty 1947 GMC pickup truck, which he spent the next 14 years restoring.
On Saturday, he brought the truck to Morris Cruise Night, where he showed it off alongside the other 209 cars present.
“His mom and dad were after him to get rid of it, and he needed some oats,” Biros said. “I thought it was a nice looking truck and there aren’t too many GMC pickups so I traded.”
He got the truck running but took his time restoring it until 1999, when his youngest son was getting married and wanted the truck for the wedding.
Biros customized the truck with his name, as well as painting the empty weight of the truck and the words “not for hire,” which would have been on the truck at the time it was new.
“The law said they had to put not for hire on it, so I thought that would be a nice touch,” Biros said.
His wife, Eileen, jokingly said her favorite part is the wood block that keeps the air conditioning going – the air being the windshield that gets propped out at the bottom of the windshield to allow air flow while still keeping glass between the passengers and the outside.
The first cruise night, held in June, saw 872 cars fill the streets of downtown Morris, numbers that organizers were hoping they would see again this month.
Morris Cruise Night organizer Herb Wyeth said he thinks the combination of a forecast of rain and high humidity levels made many car owners decide to skip this month’s cruise night.
“Whenever it rains or there is a threat of rain, the numbers go down like this,” Wyeth said Saturday night. “The rain ended up holding off, thank goodness.”
The streets still were filled with car enthusiasts of all sizes picking out their favorite cars.
Seven-year-old Molly Brown of Joliet said while there weren’t any of her favorite car, a hearse, she did find a black and green rat rod she liked.
Bob Blahous and Marc Berger of Bolingbrook decided to get out of the house and roam the streets of Morris just to take in the sights and sounds of the vehicles of different eras.
“I’m a car guy, I come down for cruise night all the time,” Blahous said. “It beats watching TV.”
Berger said the Mustangs were among of his favorite entries, which also coincided with the thoughts of the Morris Rotary Club, which chose Gary O’Connor’s 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible as the Beneficiaries Choice Award winner.
Lorenzo Carmona of Morris and Xavier Rader of Dwight could be found under the hood of a 1957 Chevy.
“I was telling him that there is much more to a car than the engine,” Carmona said. “It’s a work of art, it may not be an oil painting, or an abstract, but it’s still a work of art.”
In addition to the Beneficiaries Choice Award, a Celebrity Choice Award is chosen by a “celebrity” of the community. This month’s was Ken Buck, superintendent of the Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission, who chose a 1929 Model A Truck owned by Jim Chronister of Channahon.
Morris Cruise Night stats
• Beneficiary: Morris Rotary Club
• Total number of entries 210
• Number of cities represented: 49
• Beneficiaries Choice Award Gary O’Connor of Bolingbrook with his 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible
• Celebrity Choice Award chosen by Ken Buck Director of the Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission: Jim Chronister of Channahon with his 1929 Model A Truck
• 50/50 winner: Dave Matteson of Mazon