2 Beach Boys, Governor Judge 'Best Cruiser' In Mississippi

BILOXI, MS (AP) — Beach Boys vocalist Bruce Johnston says memories of owning a Ford Ranchero when he learned to surf just might have influenced his vote in a Mississippi vintage car contest.

         Johnston, Beach Boys co-founder Mike Love, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Biloxi Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich were among judges for "Best Cruiser on the Beach."

         A 1957 Ranchero owned by Dan Crossley of Lafayette, Louisiana, won Saturday's contest, The Sun Herald’s Wesley Muller reported.

         "Out of 20, I gave it a 30, but I'm not biased," Johnston joked.

         It was part of the eight-day "Cruisin' the Coast" festival along U.S. 90 in Mississippi.

         The Mississippi Press’s Warren Kulo reports that 7,639 people had registered by Saturday, almost 350 above last year's record.

         Next year's festival will be the 20th.

         Notable standouts among the cruisers in Saturday's contest were a 1968 Chevy Camaro SS in pristine condition, a 1931 Ford Model-A and a 1960s Chevy Impala SS 409 — a car the Beach Boys immortalized in their hit song "409."

         Gilich said he really liked the 409 and the "sweet little old lady" who owned it.

         "She really was 'The Little Old Lady from Pasadena,'" Gilich said, referring to the 1964 Jan and Dean hit song, which was also performed by the Beach Boys.

         Johnston also spotted a contest imposter, labeled as a Chevrolet Bel Air.

         "There's something about the window that seems off," he said, trying to whisper to a few bystanders.

         The owner confessed that her car was actually a Chevrolet 210, the nearly identical but less expensive alternative to the Bel Air when it was sold in the 1950s.

         "You see. I knew it," Johnston said with huge grin on his face. "That's the result of being old. We know about these cars."

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