HERSHEY, PA – The recipient of the Olympus Award for 2017 is Ralph Marano, a well-known collector from New Jersey. This achievement award is given by The Elegance to a collector who has shown a lifetime dedication to the spirit of sharing magnificent automobiles with automotive enthusiasts around the world. It’s awarded in honor of The Elegance founder, John W. Rich, Sr.
Marano’s obsession with cars began at an early age when he took auto shop classes in high school. “That’s when they offered work programs and options to students who did not want to pursue a college education,” Marano told The Elegance. He also worked for a Volkswagen Agency, through a work-study program and won the Plymouth Trouble Shooting Contest in New Jersey. Upon his high school graduation, Marano secured a job as a mechanic for Sears Roebuck Automotive Center at the rate of $2 per hour – the minimum wage was $1.35 per hour! Ralph rose to store manager, while working with his father nights and weekends selling cars.
Marano’s introduction to classic cars came when his father and he purchased a 1937 Packard, which aided with his rehabilitation. “That car will never leave my collection,” he says. He’s collected mostly Packards for 30 years. Marano’s collection consists of non-mass produced and small production vehicles. He also owns the only collection of every Packard prototype. In addition, his Darrin collection consists of a car from each year from 1937-42. Packards are his first love, but he owns other marques including: Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg, Ford Hot Rods, 50 Mercury and some unusual Cadillacs.
Marano received the Olympus Award at the annual gala dinner at the Hotel Hershey in Hershey. In combination with a vintage hill climb race, cars & coffee, seminars and galas. Dates for next year’s event are June 8-10, 2018. For more information, visit TheEleganceAtHershey.com.
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