Classic Auto Wash & Detail Center, Cromwell

September, 2009 by Ray Bendici

carwash1The Damned Story: Sure, you can go to any number of fine establishments to have your automobile professionally washed and detailed, but how many of them have a dinosaur ripping through the roof?

Harkening back to the days when kitschy roadside attractions dotted the highways and byways of this country, Classic Auto Wash embraces that spirit. The business was originally opened by Anacleto "Nicky" Vento, and is still run by his family who adheres to the idea that, "Give 'em something to see and they'll stop the car (and hopefully get it washed)!"

Part tourist attraction and all car wash, the facility in Cromwell is surrounded by an eclectic bunch of figures ranging from Elvis Presley and the Blues Brothers to saucy pirate wenches and blue oxen to John Wayne on horseback and Clark Kent in a phone booth! Around the property there's also other sundry eccentricities, including small lighthouses, some vintage gas pumps and even a 20-foot-tall Santa (who you can talk to during the holiday season). Music blares from speakers all throughout the place, helping to keep the fun mood going.

Suds and sights -- what more could you want?

Our Damned Experience: We stopped by Classic on a bright spring day in April 2009, and of course, the first thing we did was start taking pictures!

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"One of these things is not like the others ..."

As you can see from the gallery below, there's quite a collection of figures, and we tried to take pictures of many of them -- that's Steve making friends (as usual) to the right.

Beyond the many whimsical figures, this place is ... well, a car wash! Go figure. Obviously, getting our vehicle scrubbed clean and detailed should've been on the agenda, but then again, we were in the Damned Mobile, a.k.a. an early '90s station wagon, so we didn't bother -- you know, the clean hot water might cause the dirt and rust holding everything together to come apart!

But if you have an actual nice car, we couldn't recommend a more interesting place to take it to make it all shiny.

If You Go: Classic Auto Wash is located at 14 Berlin Road and 23 Shunpike Road in Cromwell. It is open daily year round, and the various and sundry statues are always on display.

If you have some time, check out Classic's website -- probably the most lively and active site we've ever seen for a car wash. Then again, this place is clearly all about making a big splash, literally and figuratively!

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