Hundreds of car enthusiasts pack downtown Farmington on Saturday, July 20, 2013, for the annual Rod Run block party, along Main Street in Farmington.
Hundreds of car enthusiasts pack downtown Farmington on Saturday, July 20, 2013, for the annual Rod Run block party, along Main Street in Farmington. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

Farmington — Vehicles of all shapes and sizes filled downtown Farmington on Saturday evening for the 31st annual Land of Enchantment Rod Run.

The Rod Run is an opportunity for car collectors, as well as local businesses, to show off. The event was preceded by a car show Saturday, during which the winning vehicles in each car category were announced.

Alex Hutton displayed his second-place trophy for lowrider vehicles on the engine of his golden 1965 Chevrolet Impala.

"My dad used to have a lowrider," said Hutton, who lives in Farmington.

Now, he fixes up lowriders as a way to carry on the family tradition.

Hutton said winning second place helped him realize that "people appreciate all the work I've done on my car."

Hutton has installed a new engine and transmission, as well as a new coat of paint and a stereo, among other things. The paint job itself took six months to get right, and, when the sun is shining, it looks like a golden mirror.

Hutton wasn't the only one to show off a '65 Impala.

Jody Gonzales, the founder of Farmington's Lowrider Car Club, also showed off a '65 Impala. He found the Impala in Espanola and bought it because of his desire to own a convertible. Gonzales painted it light blue to make it look like it did when it was new.

Gonzales formed the car club 20 years ago.

"I just wanted to hang around with like-minded people," he said.

Lowriders were among many other types of vehicles at the rod run.

The San Juan Radio Control Club had three miniature airplanes displayed as they worked to raise money for improvements to Radio Control Park. A few motorcycles were also parked along Main Street, as well as trucks, an old taxi and even an ice cream van.

Shawn Rants of Aztec showed off a 1962 Ford van he bought about three months ago at a scrap yard.

"Nobody drives old vans around," Rants said.

His two sons and dog sat in the back, which is covered in shag carpet. Rants said he plans to rip that out and replace it with new carpet.

Some of the car enthusiasts even showed off rare collectors cars.

Lyle Merilatt and his wife, Wilma, both of Farmington, parked their white 1942 Lincoln Continental in a parking lot by the Farmington Civic Center.

Lyle Merilatt said the hardest part of fixing up the Continental was finding the parts. It took him more than 15 years to build, and he is still working on it.

Amanda Bidtah walks with Markailen Taylor while admiring a 1974 Monte Carlo during the annual Rod Run on Saturday, July 20, 2013 on Behrend Street in
Amanda Bidtah walks with Markailen Taylor while admiring a 1974 Monte Carlo during the annual Rod Run on Saturday, July 20, 2013 on Behrend Street in Farmington. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

He said the Continental is special because only 126 of them were built in 1942. Soon after the car was built, World War II broke out, and manufacturers turned their focus to creating tanks, rather than cars.

The rod run drew crowds from outside of San Juan County, as well.

Jim Cirks and his family headed up from Albuquerque with their red 1934 Ford two-door deluxe sedan. Cirks built the car in the mid-1980s, he said,

He explained that he always thought 1934 Fords were cool, and he spent years looking for one to fix up. Then he went on a vacation to see his parents in Minnesota, and his brother found the car. Jim Cirks pointed out that his father also tinkered with cars.

"It's in my blood," he said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.