By May 27, 2018 Read More →

Legends of the Cruise 2018 – Paul Corgiat

Paul Corgiat
By Steve Corgiat

Paul Corgiat is a life long resident of Modesto. Growing up on the family orchard he attended St. Stanislaus School and graduated from Modesto High School class of 1958. While in high school Paul played football, was on the swim team and was a member of the “Regs”. His love of fast cars and pushing the boundaries was legendary.

Paul’s first car was a 1934 Ford that he acquired in pieces. He was able to reassemble the car and get it running in order to make the scene cruising 10th Street, going to Burge’s Drive-In and hanging out in the Lucky’s parking lot on “L” Street. Back in the day there was little else young men and women to do except cruising, the midnight movie at the State Theater and the occasional trip to the Tuesday night “grudge racing” at Kingdon Drag Strip up in Lodi or some other local street. Many of these streets are now well within Modesto’s city limits.

Back then, it was “Dragging 10th” and an engine rev match at a streetlight could quickly turn into a drag race on Blue Gum by the old State Hospital (now MJC West) or Paradise road, easily accessible from 9th and 10th Streets downtown and before the freeway was built, you could just cross the tracks to race. Paul would hang out at Burge’s, with cars parked 4-5 deep and one night, Paul and his friend backed out and lit it up when they went back to cruise and ended up in a chase with the MPD through the orchards, ultimately escaping. Downside was everyone knew everybody and the car was ID’d and the police where there the next day. This escapade landed them in the Modesto Bee for a 100 MPH chase.

Paul married his sweetheart Vicky Brown in 1960 and went to work for the railroad in ’61. Throughout his life Paul has been an avid motor sports fan and has been an active street rodder for more than 30 years. As a hometown boy Paul has been able to maintain many old friendships and make many new friends through the years. American Graffiti isn’t just about cars, it’s also about the people you meet along the way.

Paul says” It is so cool that so many people from those days are still here in town. We just had our 60th Modesto High Reunion and there where so many people there”. Paul still enjoys these friendships today, takes tours with his 41 Cadillac. “It really was just like George Lucas captured in the movie. No TV or video games, one radio station and we all went downtown to hang out. It was a special time”

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