Interview – Legend of the Cruise 2018 – Don Wood


InterView – Legend of the Cruise and Grand Marshal Don Wood
By Chris Murphy

Car Shows don’t happen all by themselves. These are put on by dedicated people that care about their cause and want to promote it and Modesto is known for great car shows. This exactly describes Don Wood, the North Modesto Kiwanis American Graffiti Festival Parade Grand Marshal. Don is truly a champion for all things classic cars and he has been there as Modesto evolved from a Concourse d’Elegance to a Hot Rod Car Show. He also is presenting his own classic car show in August at Del Rio. Don Wood and his wife Margie are the drivers in so many local activities. One of the most fun is the Mid-Valley Chevy’s week-long travelling car show that lead up the big American Graffiti Festival. These shows are a lot of work, they take fostering a great relationship with the city, the car clubs, members of all ages and bringing these shows to life. We are proud to say that our American Graffiti heritage here in Modesto USA is strong thanks to people like Don Wood. Let’s meet Don Wood.

Modesto View Where did you grow up?
Don Wood: Manteca and French Camp

MV: What was your hangout back in the day?
DW: Dragging Yosemite Blvd in Manteca

MV: Where and when did you graduate from high school?
DW: 1958 Manteca High School

MV: When did you move to Modesto?
DW: After serving in the Army, I returned to the Valley and went to work for Valley Rambler in the Service Department and then Alfred Matthews as the Body Shop Manager.

MV: When did you first get interested in cars ?
DW: When I was in High School, I bought a Ford Falcon with damage to the left fender and left door. I repaired it and sold it to my Grandmother. That launched my career into the auto industry: teaching, sales, repair and appraisals.

MV: What was your first car?
DW: 1948 Chevrolet Slantback

MV: What car club were you connected with back in the day?
DW: Modesto Street Rodders in the 1970’s and the Mid Valley Chevy Club since 2006

MV: When was the Mid Valley Chevy Club founded?
DW: 1982

MV: What was one of your best Graffiti memories?
DW: Sitting on the curb on 10th Street in Modesto with my brother Jerry and watching the Cruise with all of the smoke shows and spinning tires! We won’t talk about the “Mooning” or the Girls!

MV: What does it mean to be Grand Marshall for this legendary cruise parade?
DW: It is a great Honor to be counted among the many already inducted into the Walk of Fame. We have had a great friendship over the years working toward a united commitment to our Modesto heritage and the Classic Car Era.

MV: How do we keep the next generation interested in American Graffiti.
DW: Keeping it relevant! Each generation wants to remember THEIR first car – whatever year that may be. The Modesto’s Cars and Coffee Car Show is a great example of that with the late model foreign and domestic cars.

MV: What is your ideal Modesto day?
DW: Cruising the back roads! Watching the seasons change and enjoying family & friends.

The American Graffiti Festival Cruise Parade will be Friday June 8, 6-8 pm and the Buddy Holly Tribute in 10th St Plaza will follow right after the parade.

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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.