The bugs plastered to the windshield of Maury Bunn's Ford 427 Shelby Cobra are a testament to how much the founder of the Steamboat Springs Car Club loves to drive.
"I don't believe in storing the cars and not using them," said Bunn, who also owns a restored 1972 Chevelle Supersport. "They are just too much fun to drive."
Sunday road trips to Leadville and Walden for lunch - with his wife, Candy, riding shotgun - gives Bunn the chance to open up the Cobra.
"I'm more of a station wagon kind of gal," said Candy, who drives a restored 1967 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, which was parked for more than 10 years in a neighbor's field before the Bunns resurrected it.
Bunn's Cobra, painted a sparkling silver with black racing stripes, is just one of hundreds of vintage vehicles that belong to members of the local car club. Motorcycles, muscle cars, vintage roadsters, hot rods and classic coupes all jockey for attention as club members roll out their rides at area events.
"We had more than 45 cars at the (Wild West) Air Fest last Labor Day and about another 50 last year on Yampa Avenue for Motorhead Madness," said Bunn, who said the club is an informal group of more than 130 men and women. "The one thing we have in common is a love for all things with pistons and wheels."
Club member Richard Florence's Shelby AC Cobra, a kit-car he built himself, also has the bug splatter windshield to attest that he doesn't leave his car under a tarp in the garage.
"We've done quite a few road trips in it," said Florence, who noted he and his wife have put more than 23,000 miles on the Cobra during the past two years. "It's not a trailer queen that goes to a lot of the shows just to get polished."
Bunn started the club two years ago after discovering area ranchers literally had classic cars coming out of the woodwork.
"My wife works with horses, and she'd come home and tell me these ranchers have barns full of beautiful, classic cars," he said. "I had heard rumors, but I just decided to throw a classified in the paper and see what response I'd get."
Bunn said he immediately started to receive calls from car enthusiasts throughout Routt County. There are no dues, no expenses and few meetings, but the club continues to grow.
"I love to drive them, I love to work on them and I love to b.s. about cars," he said. "One of the things about the club is that when we get together, it's a gab-fest about cars."
Florence, who also owns two classic motorcycles, including a rebuilt 1980 Norton Commando, said his interest in cars was sparked the moment he first drove a Cobra.
"Up until that point in my life, cars were utilitarian," he said. "Once I drove it, it was like riding a motorcycle. It's as much fun, as fast and as responsive."
Florence stressed that a vehicle is more than simply pistons, spark plugs, glass, steel and fiberglass.
"It makes me smile to know that I was only 15 when (the Comando) was built in the same town - Birmingham, England - where my grandfather lived and where my father was brought up," he said.
Florence added that most people in the club also love working with their hands.
"I'm an engineer, and if you are into this kind of stuff as much as me, you can't really afford to have other people work on your cars for you," he said. "It's an extension of what your interests are. I build things for a living, and I enjoy doing it for a hobby."
Bunn, a retired rocket scientist, echoed Florence's view that grease-stained knuckles and an afternoon in the garage is almost as much fun as going for a drive.
"I was raised on a farm, so when something broke, you had to fix it," he said. "I then spent 20 years in the Air Force, and when I got out, I just continued to fix things."
Bunn climbed into the black leather seat of his Cobra, cranked the ignition and the roar of the car's 351 small-block engine, which was boarded and stroked to a 427, came to life.
"That's why I do this," he shouts over the Cobra's purr. "It's like music to my ears."
For more information about the Steamboat Springs Car Club, contact Maury Bunn at 870-0835 or firstname.lastname@example.org.