Austintown restaurant display caters to car enthusiasts
It took some persua- sion, but two 1984 Fitch High School graduates have entrusted their cars to the Austintown Quaker Steak & Lube on Interstate Boulevard.
Dave Millich and Rob Bowman allowed the themed restaurant to hoist their wheels onto 7-foot-high platforms for the enjoyment of patrons a few weeks ago. Millich’s 2010 Corvette Grand Sport and Bowman’s 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle Super Sport will be on display through April.
“I’ve got five years and thousands of dollars in that thing,” Bowman said. “I don’t want some kid throwing wing sauce up on it.”
But Bowman, 46, said he trusts the staff at Quaker Steak to take good care of the Chevelle he bought in 1988 at a Canton swap meet for $1,800. It didn’t have a motor or transmission then, and Bowman didn’t know how to fix it.
“You know what you have and what you want it to be, but it’s getting there,” he said. “I had a picture in my head, but I didn’t know how to get there.”
Bowman, of Cornersburg, met a fellow car enthusiast who taught him what he knows now. He met Keith Nelsen when he decided to have his car painted the same color: Candy Brandywine over Black and Silver Pearl.
“When you’re out in the sun, it’s really bright and brilliant,” Bowman said of the color.
He had a similar paint job done recently as part of a five-year rebuilding of the car, but the body remains the same burgundy hue. The current 2006 PPG GM color is called Bordeaux Red.
Millich and Bowman played drums together in the Fitch band but lost touch after graduation. They reconnected during the weekly car shows Quaker Steak & Lube has in the spring and summer.
“Dave was hanging out with his Corvette buddies, which makes sense, and overheard me bragging about being a 1984 product of Fitch High School,” Bowman said.
They didn’t realize each was having his car on display, after being asked by the restaurant’s managers, until they were up on the risers next to each other.
Millich, 44, of Austintown, also is the president of the Mahoning Valley Corvettes car club.
“They needed a Corvette in a pinch,” he said. “So I took a donation to the club and let him have it for a month.”
The donation the restaurant made will go toward one of several fundraisers that the group has each year. Millich said the club gives out a $500 scholarship to high school graduates going to college, raises money for a local family in need and has a benefit for Hospice of the Valley’s Hospice House annually.
Those interested in joining the club can find more information at www.mahoningvalleycorvettes.com. Meetings are at 11 a.m. on the third Sunday of each month at Davidson’s Restaurant at 3636 Canfield-Niles Road.
When he’s not driving his Torch Red Corvette, Millich is cruising around in his Chevy Impala.
“It’s quite different,” Millich said. “The Corvette moves. You can take a turn at 55 or 60 miles per hour, and it just hugs the road. And it’s real low to the ground. The transmission is in back for weight distribution. A new set of tires costs $2,000, and you only get [10,000] to 12,000 miles on them.”
Millich’s uncle, George Townsend, was an avid drag racer and always owned a Corvette that Millich would admire during visits to his garage.
Millich’s father, also Dave, belonged to a car club founded in Campbell in the 1950s called Clutchbusters. He worked full time in a mill and was a part-time mechanic at local garages.
Both Bowman and Millich said they were happy to have met again through a mutual hobby.
“I thought it was ironic that we both have our cars on display at the same time without planning it,” Millich said.