If you are fortunate to have a classic collector car, now is the time to get out and enjoy it. The economy isn't the only thing that has sprung. So has Spring, and while your 401k and other investments may be down, you don't have to be, because you have tangible investments that can provide a lot of fun, and a diversion from all the talk about derivatives.
One way to enjoy your classic car is by not taking it too seriously. A few years ago, a new event was added to that most serious of all classic car weekends, the annual August gathering on the Monterey Peninsula.
But this new Carmel-by-the Sea-Concours on the Avenue celebrated the automobile with a much lighter approach than that taken by ancient and heralded Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The Carmel concours wasn't held on an exclusive and oh-so-manicured golf course within what may be the country's largest gated community, but on the streets of the nearby village. And instead of categories such as Most Fastidiously Over-Restored Depression Era Duesey, awards were given for such things as cars owned the longest by a single family or for those maintained the best while retaining their original patina.
I recently attended the annual "March Madness" gathering of the Arizona chapter of the Studebaker Driver's Club, where they picnicked in the park and where the conversation wasn't about the awards but such things as one couple who took their honeymoon in a 1951 Studebaker, then 50 years later celebrated their golden anniversary with a road trip in a restored Studebaker.
I've already marked my calendar to include trips to two events this summer which celebrate the spirit of the collector car hobby.
First, on June 7, comes the 13th annual Orphan Car Show in Riverside Park in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Except for Chevrolet Corvairs (which were built nearby and thus get a special exemption), this show is open only to vehicles from brands no longer are in business, or from foreign automakers who not longer import vehicles to the United States.
A few weeks later, on June 28, it's the second annual Survivor collector car show staged at St. Charles, Illinois, by the folks from the big annual Bloomington Gold Corvette gathering. The Survivor show is open to cars at least 20 years in age that have not been restored, only preserved.
Fun in motion: The Copperstate 1000
From April 5-8, more than 60 classic car owners will participate in the 19th Copperstate 1000, which earns its name by sending cars and drivers on a 1000-mile tour of the state of Arizona. Participants believe that cars are, indeed, rolling sculpture, and pay for the privilege and to support the Phoenix Art Museum, which is the main beneficiary of an event that also raises money every year for a fund that supports the families of fallen Arizona state police officers.
Those participants are coming from as far away as Florida, New York, Washington State and various points in the Midwest, though the award for the longest journey goes to the owners of a 1959 Aston Martin DB3S who are coming from Nottinghamshire, England and to a 1966 Alfa Romeo GTA coming from Farnam, England.
The oldest car entered is a 1929 Bentley 4 ½-litre drophead coupe. The newest are from model year 1973 – an Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 and a Maserati Bora. I'm tagging along in a 2010 Honda Insight to see how a modern hybrid handles the challenge of such distinguished automotive company.
Barrett-Jackson at Palm Beach
The Copperstate 1000 ends just in time for those seeking additional classic cars to hustle off to the 7th annual Barrett-Jackson auction in Palm Beach, Florida. More than 400 vehicles have been consigned to an auction that will be covered live on Speed TV.
The auction will feature the first sale to the public of a 2010 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang, with proceeds in excess of the MSRP going to the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation.
Though the auction runs April 9-11, the fun begins on April 5 with the second annual Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Cruise-In, a free event open to all south Florida folks and their classic cars. The cruise-in runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Al Packer Ford West.
While on the subject of fun and Barrett-Jackson, here are some vehicles being offered at the auction that I think might be a lot of fun to own:
- 1920 Oldsmobile Series 37B sedan
- 1941 Cadillac Series 61 sedan (unrestored and with only 22,000 miles)
- 1941 Packard 120 convertible
- 1947 Studebaker Champion 2-door business coupe
- 1954 Kaiser Darrin
- 1957 Chevrolet Nomad custom station wagon
- 1971 Volvo P1800
Hey, if I owned that '47 Studebaker, I could show it next year at "March Madness."
Mark your calendars
3-5 – RM at Toronto
4 – Kruse at Chicago
9-11 – Barrett-Jackson at Palm Beach, Florida
17-19 – Kruse at Palm Beach, Florida
25 – Kruse at Amarillo, Texas
25-26 – RM at Novi, Michigan
3 – Kruse at Huntsville, Alabama
9 – Bonhams Motorcycles at Quail Lodge, Carmel, California
13-17 – Mecum Original Spring Classic at Indianapolis
15-16 – Kruse at Charleston, South Carolina
17- RM Ferraris at Fiorano
22-23 – Kruse at Paso Robles, California
28-31 – Kruse at Auburn, Indiana
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