‘70s Show’ and Scooby-Doo vehicles highlight Rolling into Roanoke rides

A van resembling the Mystery Machine from “Scooby-Doo” will be one of the many vehicles at this year’s Rolling into Roanoke on Saturday, July 27, in downtown Roanoke and Roanoke Park. The Mystery Machine will be accompanied by several other famous cars from TV and film in the 1970s and beyond.
A van resembling the Mystery Machine from “Scooby-Doo” will be one of the many vehicles at this year’s Rolling into Roanoke on Saturday, July 27, in downtown Roanoke and Roanoke Park. The Mystery Machine will be accompanied by several other famous cars from TV and film in the 1970s and beyond. Photo provided.

The Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser from “That ‘70s Show” and the Mystery Machine from “Scooby-Doo” were both sites of socializing for the characters on those TV shows.

They were, simply put, vehicles that brought people together.
And Rick Fischer believes they’ll continue to do just that when they appear at the latest Rolling into Roanoke on Saturday, July 27.

Rolling into Roanoke is an annual celebration of cars held in the titular Huntington County town. Between the downtown area and the park in Roanoke, the town will play host to over 500 vehicles of all makes and models. This year’s show is set to run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free to attend.

The presence of a Vista Cruiser like the one that appeared in “That ‘70s Show” and a van resembling the Mystery Machine from “Scooby-Doo” help give this year’s Rolling into Roanoke its identity.

“We’re just trying to relive the ’70s vibe,” says Fischer, Rolling into Roanoke’s chairman. “The disco era, the bell-bottom jeans, the crazy colors, crazy hairstyles, polyester – all that funny stuff.”

The Vista Cruiser and Mystery Machine will be joined by other famous cars from the 1970s. Attendees can look forward to seeing replicas of the Ford Gran Torino from “Starsky and Hutch,” the Volkswagen Beetle from the Herbie the Love Bug film series and the Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams from “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Hooper.”

Those ’70s-era cars will appear alongside other memorable vehicles from TV and film. The event will feature a replica of the Batmobile from the 1960s “Batman” TV series, a Firebird Trans Am resembling KITT from “Knight Rider,” a Plymouth Fury like the one from the Stephen King novel “Christine,” a replica of the Ford Coupe from “American Graffiti” and a DeLorean, the car made famous in the “Back to the Future” trilogy.

All the famous cars will appear on Main Street, between 1st and 2nd streets.

The event’s ’70s theme will also be evident in the Rolling into Roanoke “Blue Zone,” which will encompass the 1st Street area. This section will feature ’70s vehicles exclusively.

One-owner cars will share the spotlight with the aforementioned famous cars as the “Tribute Cars” at this year’s event. Fischer’s ownership minimum was 30 years.

“I don’t want a brand-new Camaro that you just bought two years ago,” he says with a laugh. “Kind of defeats the whole point!”

There will at least a dozen one-owner cars, says Fischer. That collection of vehicles, which will be situated on 1st Street and Main Street, will include a 1973 Pontiac Trans Am Super Duty, plus a Triumph TR6 that’s been owned by the same person for nearly 50 years, Fischer shares.

The rest of the event’s cars, located in the remainder of the downtown area, as well as in Roanoke Park, will be all makes and models. The park will be for cars that show up the day of the event. There will be a registration fee.

Pre-registration for Rolling into Roanoke is open until Thursday, July 25. The registration process can be completed online at www.RollingIntoRoanoke.com.

In addition to cars, there will be car-related attractions at the event. One of these attractions is the Indiana Historical Society’s “History on Wheels” semi-trailer, which will be in the park.

“You can walk through the semi-trailer and educate yourself on all things Indiana automotive history,” says Fischer.

Also, the “Buy American Made” trailer by General Motors and the United Automobile Workers will be at the event. This attraction will give attendees the opportunity to do a little racing, says Fischer.

“They assemble this huge slot-car race track,” he explains. “It’s free to the public.

“It’s old-school, slot-car racing.”

The day before Rolling into Roanoke, on Friday, July 26, a new lead-in event will be held. Called “Rock ‘N’ Cars,” the event will take place at the Sweetwater Pavilion on the Sweetwater Sound campus, 5501 U.S.-30, Fort Wayne.

The event will feature cars from Rolling into Roanoke accompanied by live tunes from the Sweetwater All Stars band. There will be food trucks, as well as wine and beer vendors.

There is an admission fee for attendees with and without show cars. Pre-registration is currently open and concludes July 25.

Fischer is excited about how the event expands the Rolling into Roanoke experience.

“I’ve always wanted to grow this event into a two-day, but it’s very hard to shut down a park and the downtown two days in a row,” he states.

Fischer shared his idea for the event with Sweetwater’s founder and chief executive officer, Chuck Surack, who took a liking to the idea and donated the use of the company’s spacious pavilion.

Fischer’s ultimate goal for the event is that it recreates the old-time feeling of cruising into a drive-in diner and socializing.

“Back before cell phones and social media, that was the social media, how you connected and met friends, created friends and dates and future wives,” he says.

All proceeds from Rolling into Roanoke, which is run by Rolling into Roanoke Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, will be donated. The main beneficiaries of the event are the Roanoke Beautification Foundation, along with the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum and the National Automotive and Truck Museum.

In the end, while the cars may be the main attraction of Rolling into Roanoke, Fischer says chatting with the owners of those cars is equally as fun and encourages attendees to do just that.

“Everyone has a story,” he says. “And it’s so interesting to hear the story, why that car is special to them.”