Photos by Bob Golfen
Phoenix police cracked down on cruising Central Avenue in the 1980s, breaking a tradition going back to the ’50s when young people meandered up and down the main drag in everything from custom hot rods to daddy’s station wagon.
But the practice was brought back to life in 2002 when the city-sanctioned Cruise on Central was organized by car-show promoter Nancy Perry, who also used the broad parking lot of a Central Avenue shopping mall for a car show that has come to attract thousands of entrants and onlookers.
And, of course, folks still take their vintage rides for a cruise up and down Central, with crowds gathered on the sidewalk to watch them go by.
The Cruise on Central, which happens twice a year in the spring and fall, took place on a recent Saturday under Arizona’s typical cloudless blue sky, with more than 2,000 vehicles that ranged from classic ’50s cruisers, lead sleds and bucket T hot rods to a contingent of custom Volkswagens.
The next Cruise on Central is scheduled for October.
Nancy Perry, who had petitioned Phoenix to allow the Cruise on Central to re-ignite 12 years ago, heads up a production company that also organizes a number of other cars shows, rallies and cruises in the Phoenix area.