Tri County Sentry

Classic Cars Highlight Antique Adventures


Ventura– Classic car lovers and hot rodders kept up their tradition Sunday, April 3, as the group came out to Antique Adventures to enjoy some camaraderie and talk classic cars.

The weather slowed the event at first, but before too long, the parking lot was full of classic rides from 1975 or earlier.

Tom Berger unofficially led the event and said the group does not have a name and is just a bunch of guys who like hot rods.

“We show them off, have coffee and donuts and hang out,” he said. “It’s mainly just local guys. Every once and a while, we get people from Thousand Oaks or wherever to show up. Everybody here knows everybody.”

Tom brought his 1937 Ford Slant Back to the gathering and said he’s owned it for about 8.5 years. “I bought it because I liked it,” he said.

Replacing parts, he said, can be hit and miss as some classic parts are not available at the local auto parts chain store.


“Most of it, you can order stuff online,” he said. “We don’t have a speed shop in town anymore, so we can get it from Summit Racing or Jegs or one of those places.”

He loves hanging out with all the guys.

“I really don’t care so much about the cars anymore,” Tom said. “I like coming out and hanging out with my friends.”

He said the car was mostly complete when he bought it, but he did fix things that “were messed up.” “I was a mechanic for 44 years,” he said.

The Ford gets about nine miles a gallon, he said, so gas prices in 2022 are a challenge.

“It has a 502 Chevy motor in it and has a little over 600 horses,” he said. “It’s plenty fast.”

Jim Data said he grew up in Ventura County and has been into cars since he was 12 years old.

“I grew up in Filmore and went to school there and in Santa Paula,” he said. “My dad was in the automotive business and was a parts manager for 33 years.”

He said his first car was a 1955 Chevy, and he wanted to reproduce that car. He currently drives a 1955 Chevy Del Ray Two Door Sedan.

“I have a lot of other cars, and they are all from 1955 or 1957,” he said. “I have one from 1961, but that’s about it. I also have a drag race car that I drag race.”

He said his Del Ray is similar to a Chevy Bel Air, but they had a little more trim.

“Most of them were hardtops,” he said. “The station wagon version was the Nomad, and the first year of the Nomad was 1955, and that’s a real high dollar car. They’re really hard to find, and when you find them, they’re pretty expensive.”

He paid $22,000 for his Del Ray but said it was good to go and has all the original parts.

The guy and his dad that I bought the car from put a floor in it when it was rusted out, and they switched some other things around,” he said. “They bought the car to restore and redo, but then they found a better one and took all the good Gingerbread off this car and all the chrome pieces and put it on the other car they’re fixing up, which is a much nicer car with a nicer interior.”

He said anyone who wants to check out the group is welcome, and the rivalry between car owners and being brand-friendly is over.

“We have to appreciate the cars now and remember our heritage through the automobiles,” he said. “If you are a car person, you’ll understand this, and if you’re not, if you’ve got an old car, whether it’s a 1954 Nash Ambassador or a 1969 Ford Mach 1 Mustang, you’ll enjoy coming and meeting all the people and reliving the old times. You’ll meet everybody from 18 to 80 years old. It’s a family.”

Dave Dana brought his 1937 Buick Special Coupe that looked a little bit purple to the event.

“It’s a custom paint color with a little bit of that until it came out the way I liked,” he said. “I’ve refurbished it from the ground up.”

He brought a pictorial display of the car as it went through its transformation.

“I probably have over 3,000 hours of my labor and probably spent over $40,000,” he said. “The car was complete with all the parts it needed, except for the mechanical part. All the mechanicals and the drive train are all new.”

He gets a lot of looks when he’s cruising in his 37.

“I hear from a lot of attorneys who say their clients have broken necks from turning around too quick,” he joked.

Dana loves getting out of the house and interacting with the group.

“It’s a little break in the action,” he said. “I get bored pretty quick, so I’m the first to show up and the first to go. I love showing up and watching everybody lie a little bit.”

Bill Glass brought his 1956 Chevy.

“We had some other spots a few years ago before the virus,” he said.

Antique Adventures Owner Chuck Ackerman said having the guys with their cars at his store is almost like a dream come true.

“It’s an absolute blast,” he said. “We’ve been in business for almost seven years now, and about 1.5 years ago, we started having all the cars come out. It’s slowly grown, and it’s a hoot.”

He said the guys are working on his classic car, a 1973 Dodge Dart Sport. “It takes a little while for everything to get done,” he said. “All the guys tease me about not having a car, so I went out and got one.”

Chuck said the cars draw plenty of interest in his business.

“Especially with the proximity to the 101 Freeway, there are a tremendous amount of first-timers that come between L.A. and San Francisco,” he said.

Wife Nerriel Ackerman said she doesn’t need to spend much time taking care of the budget.

“I told him he needs to have a car,” she said. “He has a car show, but he doesn’t have a classic car. He deserves it because he’s worked for so long; he deserves to have his car too.”

She said people who stop by for the car show and walk inside Antique Adventures would not be disappointed.

“We have a lot of antiques and vintage collectibles and furniture,” Nerriel said. “We have a line of paint, Dixie Belle Paint; it’s famous, and we resale Dixie Belle Paint.”

Chuck noted that customers would find vintage items, antiques, and collectibles, from 70 different dealers in 100 different booths.

He said the store’s logo originates from a picture of his great-great-grandfather, and he proudly displays his wedding picture at the store.

“That was something I cropped down and used for the logo and went from there,” he said.

Berger said guys who want to hang out are welcome each Sunday, and there are no fees to join.

“These are American Classic Cars from 1975 or older,” he said. “We don’t want to see a bunch of new Hondas and Toyotas, but they are welcome to come and park on the side.”

Antique Adventures is located at 6587 Ventura Boulevard, Ventura.

Leave a Reply