More than 100 years ago, a vehicle built in Starved Rock Country held the title of “America’s smartest car”. This Saturday, you have a rare opportunity to see two of these vehicles in person, along with many other classic cars, in beautiful downtown Streator.
One of the earliest sport touring cars, known as the Roamer, was produced in Streator by the Barley Motor Car Company, formerly known as the Streator Motor Company.
A little more than a decade after the turn of the century, the Barley Motor Car Company was exploring the possibilities of taking the luxury features and safety ammenties of European cars and bringing them to the American market for a low purchase price. The result was “The Roamer”, which boasted ornate Rolls-Royce style grills, famously stable chassis, luxury engines like the Rutenber six cylinder and even an electric clock!
New, these cars would range from $1,850.00 to $2,950.00 in 1917, or about $37,000 and $58,00 today’s money.
By the early 1920′s, Roamers had set several world speed records, including an impressive 109mph in a measured mile. Production of Roamers peaked in 1923, with 2000 cars being produced that year, long after they moved production from Streator to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Despite this brief production period, the city of Streator is incredibly proud to be responsible for this early piece of automotive history. A Roamer is even featured on one of city’s 17 beautiful Walldogs Murals.
This Saturday, Streator’s Roamer Cruise Night and Car Show will feature two of these rare, Streator-made, automobiles on display, in addition to numerous other restored and classic cars.
With over 70 awards up for grabs, Streator’s event is one of Starved Rock Country’s premiere car shows and organized cruise routes.
Streator’s City Park will host the car show from noon - 3 p.m. this Saturday, allowing spectators to take a close look at the hundreds of painstakingly restored cars that line the streets, including a special exhibition of the previously mentioned Roamer.
Following the awards ceremony, cars will queue up for one of Illinois’s biggest group cruises. This parade of beautiful hot rods and supercharged vehicles will follow a pre-planned route around Streator, showing off the hundreds of man hours put into restoring these classic cars. Best cruiser awards will handed out at the conclusion of the ride.
50′s and 60′s music, live entertainment and food vendors will be available in Streator’s City Park throughout the event. Cruise sign-up runs from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m, with the cruise it’s self lasting from 5 p.m. -10 p.m.
For more information on the car show or cruise night, call 815-992-3723 or 815-822-7883.