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In 2009 Kristi and Bob Olson were on the hunt for a classic car. After looking at 400-500 vehicles at a Hot August Nights auction, they found the winner — a'55 Chevy Bel Air.

"We saw this in the distance, and I think it was the paint job that really drew us to that," Bob Olson said. "It was a nice looking car. It was pretty much restored. Since then, we've done quite a bit to it. We've done new wiring, new wiring harness, put air conditioning in it, so we kind of updated a few things."

"Seatbelts," Kristi Olson interjects.

To celebrate Hot August Night's 29th year, will feature eight classic cars in preparation of the Aug. 2-7 event.

Kristi and Bob Olson talk more about their Bel Air and Hot August Nights in the interview below:

RENO.COM: Were you always car people?

Bob: You know what, I was always a car person. When I was a kid I used to ride my bike and go down and look at the new cars that came out and everything. My first car was a '57 Chevy two-door, hardtop Bel Air. My buddy's though, that we rode around when we were 16, his was a two-door Bel Air post, like we have now. So it means something to me, he's gone now. For years we went down (to Hot August Nights) and just looked at the cars.

Kristi: I wasn't into cars; he used to drag me there. It was OK for a couple hours but after a couple hours I was done.

RENO.COM: How is Hot August Nights different now that you own a car?

Kristi: And Hot August Nights is a lot more fun when you have your own car. Now I like it!

Bob: When you have your own vehicle HAN is more fun; we try to hit all the venues.

Kristi: Yeah we go to the different ones, we hit a different one each day in HAN, but our favorite is Sparks because I was born in Elko but I was raised in Sparks.

RENO.COM: Do you do anything special when you show the car?

Kristi: My mother graduated from high school, in Elko, in 1955. So she gave me her yearbook and her high school sweater.

Bob: So we show the car with those two items, which is priceless to me. It says '55 on the sweater and her name.

Kristi: "Betty"

RENO.COM: Seeing the '55 at auction, did you have a little bit of "I remember that car back in the day"?

Bob: I did, I did. It's not a stocker, its got a 350 engine in it, 350 transmission, so it's a real nice cruiser. That's what we wanted, something we could drive and enjoy. Not just for show.

Kristi: We didn't want that because we wanted to take it out and drive it, and really appreciate Hot August Nights.

Bob: I love looking at cars, but to drive them is just unbelievable—the experience.

RENO.COM: When was the first time you guys ended up going to Hot August Nights?

Bob: It was probably '88 that we first went together.

Kristi: '88 or '90, somewhere around there.

RENO.COM: How would you describe the community that participates in Hot August Nights?

Kristi: I think everyone's proud to have the event here.

Bob: It's a great way to meet people too, with the same experiences and the same love of cars.

Kristi: Everybody is your friend there.

Bob: We know a lot of people who come in from other states like Washington and Oregon to participate in this. It's a big deal.

Kristi: There's a sense of pride that we have that here, something that has really grown, it's really nice to have.

RENO.COM: What's it like driving a classic car in the area during Hot August Nights?

Kristi: People are pretty respectful for the most part. Probably around the three weeks before and after Hot August Nights, there are so many cars in town that I think people just really give a lot more respect. And I have to say its pretty fun when you're out on the road and you see another classic car; you always wave to them. You have this bond because you have a classic car.

Bob: It's a real camaraderie, though, when you start driving. It doesn't matter if you drive a Studebaker, Ford, Chevy, Buick — it doesn't matter.

Kristi: And that's one of the things I love about Hot August Nights and I say it every year, I just love that there is such a variety of cars at Hot August Nights, and you appreciate it. Even if you don't really like their car, you appreciate that that's the car they chose and they restored it and they love it. I find it really neat; it'd be boring to go a car show where all the cars are the same.

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