Mitch Damian, of Tinley Park, says his 1976 Stingray, purchased new by his father, is now worth $40,000 to $45,000. (Photos by Steve Metsch) 

Mitch Damian, of Tinley Park, says his 1976 Stingray, purchased new by his father, is now worth $40,000 to $45,000. (Photos by Steve Metsch) 

Big turnout at Father’s Day Car Show in Lyons

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Kissi, James and Angela Strano make the car show in Lyons a Father’s Day tradition.

By Steve Metsch 

If it’s Father’s Day, James Stano is going to be in Lyons.

Stano, 58, of Berwyn, said it’s an annual tradition for he and his family to visit the Father’s Day Car Show held in Lyons’ Smith Park each June.

Stano was overheard quizzing Kissi, his 13-year-old daughter, about cars.

“She knows what the V-8 is, straight 8, V-6,” he said proudly. “We come every year. Something to do on Father’s Day with your children.”

Another daughter, Angela Stano, 38, said “it’s nice to get out and walk around.”

They had plenty to see as a record 250 vehicles were registered in this year’s show, Lyons Parks & Recreation Director Tala said at the show.

One of those car owners, Mitch Damian, 52, of Tinley Park, had the smarts to park his gleaming white 1976 Chevy Corvette Stingray beside a shady tree, under which he sat to beat the heat.

“My dad bought it brand new and it was delivered Sept. 16, 1975. No. 2,058 off the assembly line. Right now, it has 29,617 miles (on the odometer),” Damian said.

Keeping the car clean requires “hard work,” said Damian, who cleans it after every time he drives it.

“As long as you’re not driving it in the rain, it’s better,” he said of the car which has 95 percent of its original parts.

“The interior is all original,” he said.

Damian, who attends five to seven car shows every year, enjoys making new friends.

“It’s fun going out, meeting people, taking photos, admiring it,” he said.

Damian said the car was valued at $35,000 in a 2017 appraisal, and is now worth an estimated $40,000 to $45,000.

He has no plans to sell it, but will give it to his daughter in the future. “Father to son to granddaughter,” he said.

If his Stingray looks fast, rest assured it is.

“I’ve gotten it up to 110. I was on the Dan Ryan going onto I-57 one time. The other time was on the Tri-State Tollway. It was wide open. I didn’t go 110 the whole time,” Damian said with smile.

No speed records were set when a now 77-year-old man from Chicago’s Garfield Ridge neighborhood — who requested anonymity — drove his uncle’s 1953 Ford back in the day.

He was happy to relive some automotive memories at the show while he admired a ’53 Ford.

“It’s great. All kinds of cars. Some restored. Some not. Some original. It’s got me looking back,” the man said.

Tala was happy to see a big turnout of car owners and admirers.

“It’s huge for us. We’re big on tradition here. This has been around for many years. It’s one of our tried-and-true along with Fourth of July and Lyons Fest,” he said.

“We have more vendors that we’ve had before. We have more kids’ activities than we’ve had before. And, we have more cars than we’ve ever had before” Tala added.

dvn lyons car show2 2023

A record turnout filled Smith Park in Lyons for this year’s annual car show.

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