Tour brings out best in convertibles

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The OpenAir Classic convertible tour set to explore Wisconsin’s “Driftless Region” backroads Aug. 18-21 has “about a dozen” open grid spots now available to non-members according to Gary Knowles of Madison, Wis., co-founder and co-director. “We limit the grid to 200 cars and most years our members claim all the spots, but this year we have about a dozen still open and we invite anyone with a convertible to join our tour,” he said.

“These are the four most exciting days of summer,” is how Mike Peroutka of Green Bay, co-founder of OpenAir Tours ( sees it. “We will take more than 400 people and 200 topless cars on a nooks-and-crannies expedition into southwest Wisconsin’s spectacular “The Driftless Region." The glaciers never touched this territory. It’s millions of years old and has been carved into deep river valleys, roller coaster hills and it is absolutely stunning scenery.”

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“We welcome anyone with a convertible, any make or vintage to join us,” Knowles said. “This is our sixth annual OpenAir Classic and people come from all over the Midwest and as far away as Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas and North Carolina. Cars range from Pre-WWII beauties to the gems of the '60s and '70s and some are brand new models fresh from the dealer.”

The tour is non-competitive and requires no prior touring or cruise experience. Participants get maps, turn-by-turn instructions and drive at their own pace. OpenAir Classic is intentionally limited to about 200 convertibles to ensure everyone has the ultimate touring experience.


Knowles said the group will be based in west Madison at the Holiday Inn and Suites, the Baymont Inn & Suites and the Comfort Inn and Suites. Cars do loop tours of about 120-170 miles exploring west and southwest Wisconsin back roads Aug. 18-21, 2011. The tour will stay on paved roads and stop at dozens of specialty shops, attractions, galleries, wineries, natural wonders, cheese factories, breweries, scenic overlooks and historic sites.

On Saturday, Aug. 20, the tour visits historic Mineral Point,Wis., where the cars will be displayed for public viewing in the afternoon. Tour participants will be treated to a special performance by “The Wheatles” at the Mineral Point Opera House. (Tickets for an evening performance are available to the public.)


“People take lots of vitamins hoping to stay healthy," Peroutka said, “But nothing has such an immediate impact or is as effective long-term as our ‘Vitamin-C” - owning a convertible. Put someone in a topless cruiser, add sunshine, warm breezes, fresh air, blue skies, crickets chirping along the way and a highway twisting through the hills – and life is great. They get a big smile on their face, attitude improves, they feel younger - life is sweet. It’s a prescription for happiness!”

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“Convertibles owners simply have more fun," Knowles added. “And there’s no doubt about it, the OpenAir Classic brings out the very best in convertible touring. We love to lead our participants to discover ‘hidden gems’ that give the Great Lake States such extraordinary charm and character. The Classic is a true American Road Trip.”

Full details and registration forms are at

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