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  • Medford Cruise: Wheels of the imagination

    Whether it's a trip into the past or one to honor a favorite song, entrants and participants alike find inspiration in the event
  • For Cliff Toney of Klamath Falls, the Medford Cruise is a chance to revert back to his favorite decades: the '50s and '60s.
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  • For Cliff Toney of Klamath Falls, the Medford Cruise is a chance to revert back to his favorite decades: the '50s and '60s.
    "My saying is, 'Turn on the Elvis, shift on that four-speed and return to my youth,' " Toney said.
    Toney's 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air reminds him of his high school days, when he drove a remarkably similar 1956 model.
    While he displays his car at shows frequently, including more than 10 times at Hot August Nights in Reno, Nev., Toney's car is not just for show.
    "I drive it everywhere," Toney said. "I enjoy every time I drive it."
    Toney's car, named Double Nickel, was one of more than 500 on display Saturday at the 29th annual Medford Cruise.
    One of those cars was a custom Ford built by car enthusiast Herb Waud.
    When Waud, 67, was in the process of building his car, he asked his wife, Kitty, what she wanted for the rear window. She replied that she wanted a heart, and the Love Potion 9 was born.
    "Once we had a heart for the back window, we had to stick with the love theme," said Waud.
    The car is named after one of Waud's favorite songs, "Love Potion No. 9" by The Clovers.
    Waud, of Cave Junction, has wanted to build a "street tease" since 1964, when he was a junior in high school. Last summer, he debuted his Ford, which he built from the ground up with the help of friends and co-workers.
    Saturday, it was a 2014 trophy winner at the Medford Cruise.
    While Waud said he enjoys sharing his hard work and was pleased to win some shiny hardware, his favorite part of the cruise is meeting "other hot-rodders."
    "Meeting the people, trading tips and advice, that's what it's all about," Waud said.
    Even for those not showing a car, the cruise can be a family affair.
    Kathy and Mike enjoyed the Cruise with their daughter, Joanna, and grandson, Micah, in tow.
    "He likes it already," Mike McDonald said of Micah.
    At 15 months old, Micah is already car show regular. His first car show was at Pismo Beach, Calif., and he has been to several since.
    Kathy McDonald said it's fun to share a bit of her childhood era with her daughter and grandson.
    "It takes you back to your youth," Kathy said.
    All proceeds from the Father's Day weekend cruise benefited Boys & Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley, Kids Unlimited, the Wings Program and the Medford Parks Foundation.
    Over the past 19 years, the Medford Cruise has raised more than $300,000 for Southern Oregon youth organizations and created a community for car enthusiasts in Southern Oregon.
    Sitting in the shade, sipping on a cold drink and talking about his '64 Corvette with a 327 engine with his neighbor, Toney said he was in his element.
    "I just love cars," Toney said. "This is my heyday."
    Reach Mail Tribune reporting intern Kelsey Thomas at 541-776-4368 or kthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her on Twitter @kelseyethomas.
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