You may not be ready to put on a full-fledged, 1000-mile classic car road rally like the Copperstate 1000 held each spring here in Arizona, but you can borrow an idea from the event's organizers that could spark some new interest in your local cruise-in or car show.
For the past few years, the Copperstate vintage rally has started its 1000-mile drive route not from a typical car show venue like the parking lot of a drive-thru restaurant or the parking lot of a local business or school, but from the warning track around the baseball diamond at Tempe Diablo Stadium, spring training home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim team.
"The Field of Dreams: A Celebration of the Automobile" is the theme for the launch party/car show, and much more than the Copperstate cars are featured, though they get center stage and are arrayed around the baseball diamond - parked on the outfield grass and along both foul lines.
And while the Copperstate departure is the featured event, with the cars doing a lap around the field before heading out the gate and up the road, there's also a big cruise-in style car show for all sorts of vintage, classic, tuners, low riders, muscle, sports and racing cars.
Each year, a specific group is selected for featured parking places on the stadium's mezzanine. This year, those places were reserved for a "hot rod showcase" presented by the Arizona outlet of the famed So-Cal Speed Shop.
I think the idea could work in any community: an annual Field of Dreams car show held on a local ball diamond, whether it's a high school or Little League field in a small town or a minor or even major league stadium in a big city.
We tend to focus on the big car auctions, but the truth is that 80 percent of classic car transactions are done in private, away from the limelight of the big auction blocks. With that in mind, we note two new "private services" opportunities:
Like old Indy cars?
- Auction house Russo and Steele is opening a Private Client Services division that will offer vehicle appraisals, private sales, collection management, restoration, detailing, transportation, and more.
- BMW has opened a BMW Classics workshop in Munich to repair and restore not only its own car collection but classic BMWs owned by its customers. No word yet on whether BMW might follow Mercedes' lead and open a similar workshop here in the United States.
If you do, you'll want to be in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis on July 9-10 for the 16th annual Millers at Milwaukee Vintage Indy Car event on the Milwaukee Mile track. The event features cars by the famed Harry Miller but includes all sorts of historic Indy racers.
"Millers at Milwaukee offers its participants exponentially more track time than other events," said Dana Mecum, classic car auction house head and president of the Harry A. Miller Club. "Car owners typically drive 50 to 100 laps on the famous Milwaukee Mile's oval race track, which is where Millers were originally designed to run in the first place. So if you really want to exercise your vehicle, this is your can't-miss event of the year!"
Speaking of Mecum, his 23rd annual Original Spring Classic auction will feature some 1,750 vehicles May 19-25 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, where the features will include Harley Earl's personal and very customized 1963 Chevrolet Corvette.
Speaking of old-time racing…
I can't help it - I have to share this from The Tailpipe, the newsletter of the Relics & Rods car club from Lake Havasu, Arizona:
"Back in the day in Seattle… during those occasional Friday or Saturday nights in the mid-1950s that the old Merc was running… it was down to Dick's Drive-In on the cheap for eleven cent burgers and fries, then a cruise to the Triple XXX Drive-In, not for the pricier food, but for the cruise and chick action that went non-stop till early morning hours.
"The Triple XXX was near a 1466 foot long, two lane tunnel to the Lake Washington Floating Bridge. Races began with casual banter, till one car owner would challenge another, 'Come on, man, let's do the tubes!'
"Cars would slowly ease out of the drive-in to avoid tipping off the police drinking their free coffee that a race was going down. Since there was an access ramp at the far end of the tunnel for traffic to get onto the bridge, several cars would head there to block that ramp and to see the end of the race. And then the race was on!
"Two cars staged, then burned rubber as they went through the gears, engines screaming with wide open headers echoing through the tunnel till they exited at terminal velocity onto the bridge marking the Seattle City Limits, and an escape to Mercer Island."
Got your own story from back in the day? If so, please send it along (see email address below).
Vehicles from the collections of R.E. Monical and John O'Quinn will be featured at the sixth annual Houston Classic Auction the last weekend of April/first weekend of May, at the Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, Texas. In addition to some amazing classics, the catalog includes the Batmobile, Batskiboat and Batduck from the movie Batman Returns.
Pate Museum auction
RM Auctions has been retained to hold an auction to sell, without reserve, 43 vehicles from the Texas Pate Museum of Transportation. The collection and museum were assembled by Aggie Pate, former owner of the Texas Refinery Company, and his brother Sebert. The museum was in operation from 1969 until 2009.
"While it will be bittersweet to say goodbye to the collection, we look forward to sharing my father's legacy with other passionate enthusiasts," said Aggie Pate's daughter, Sharon.
Dana Point adds classic motorcycles
Organizers of the 28th annual Dana Point concours d'elegance will add classic motorcycles to their event, scheduled for June 27 at the St. Regis Resort in the California beach community. The motorcycles - 65 of them - will not be judged, but will be shown in categories ranging from American Production 1901-1929 to Competition 1950-1977.
Mark your calendar
23-25 - VCRA Ruffneck Rally, Ponca City, Oklahoma
23-25 - Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, Lake Como, Italy
24-25 - RM auction at Novi, Michigan
30-May 1 - Houston Classic Auction, Lakewood Yacht Club, Seabrook, Texas
1 - RM auction at Monaco
14-16 - Kruse Spring at Auburn, Indiana
15-16 - Goodguys Orange County Get-Together, Costa Mesa, California
16-21 - New England 1000, Stowe, Vermont
19-23 - Dana Mecum's 23rd annual Original Spring Classic auction, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis
21-23 - Goodguys Nashville Nationals, Nashville, Tennessee
4-6 - Goodguys Colorado Nationals. Loveland, Colorado
4-6 - VCRA Sugar Valley rally, Scottsbluff, Nebraska
5 - RM Pate Museum auction, Cresson, Texas
5-6 - Goodguys Summer Get-Together. Pleasanton, California
5-6 - Funfest for air-cooled Volkswagens, Mid America Motorworks, Effingham, Illinois
11-13 - Kruse/Leake at Tulsa, Oklahoma
11-13 - Goodguys Hot Rod Nationals, Indianapolis
12 - Fountain Valley Car and Truck Show, Fountain Valley, California (www.fvcarshow.com)
Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.