Last week I mentioned that I was going to Detroit to visit with members of the All American Oakland Club to celebrate the marque’s 100th anniversary. This event was held in conjunction with the ANNUAL Greenfield Village Old Car Festival. Now, get this, the festival is — without a doubt — the BEST OLD CAR SHOW I ever attended in 40 years of going to shows! To me, it was better than five or six other events combined. ALL CARS WERE AROUND 1932 OR EARLIER models! Advance newspaper stories said 700 vehicles were expected, along with 10,000 spectators. (My uneducated guess is that both totals were actually higher). Special vehicles on display included Peter Helck’s Old 16 Locomobile, the Buick Bug race car. a replica of the first Ford racing car, the serial No. 1 Pontiac and more. The cars and trucks tooted up and down the streets of the village, with a Keystone Kop to keep them on the straight and narrow. There was even a Model T tow truck to recover any old cars that stalled. There were many, many people in costumes, riding high-wheel bicycles and old Harleys with side cars. Spectators could catch a ride in a Model T depot hack or on an old-fashioned train that circled the village. The Old Car Festival was everything that this hobby is supposed to be about. There was no swap meet, no auction or no judging. It was just a whole lot of fun and it went all day long. I think the gates opened at 9 a.m. and a fireworks display was set for 9 p.m. What really made me smile was to see all the young kids enjoying the old cars. As I’ve said before, everyone talks about the “graying” of our hobby and ways to get kids involved in collecting old cars. If you really want to learn how to do this, go to the Old Car Festival next year, then take the same concept home to your hometown. In fact, I hope the hardworking folks who run the Iola Old Car Show are reading my blog today! Bring a little of Greenfield Village to Iola and no one will go home earely on Sunday.
Gunner’s Garage with John Gunnell
"Gunner" is one of of the most prolific authors and most visible characters in the old car hobby. He has written dozens of books about old cars for Krause Publications and is the former editor and publisher of Old Cars Weekly. His collecting pursuits range from old Pontiacs, to MGs, to retired police cruisers, to Indian motorcycles. He remains a frequent contributor to Old Cars Weekly and owns and operates Gunner’s Great Garage, a classic car restoration and gift shop in Manawa, Wis.
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