Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cars and More Cars

As promised, here are some pictures from the two shows I went to this weekend.  The first group is from the Antique Automobile Club of America national winter meet in Lakeland, Florida, held on Saturday, February 23, 2013, at the Lakeland Convention Center.  There were about 200 cars in classes ranging from the Brass era (1900-1914) to as recently as 1988, plus classes for high-performance, muscle, foreign, Corvettes, specialty, and everything in between — as long as it was original, restored, and at least 25 years old, it was eligible to enter.  Most of the the cars were judged on a point system, 400 being perfect, and deducting from there.

A lot of cars, though, were in two non-judged categories: Historical Preservation of Original Features (HPOF), which means the vehicle has been largely unrestored since the day it was built; and Driver Participation Class (DPC), which means the vehicle has been used as a daily driver for much of its life and has had only minor restoration done to it.  The cars in these classes are evaluated by a judging team to see that they are in compliance with the class, and are awarded recognition for their participation and adherence to the spirit of maintaining a vehicle in good running condition.  In the HPOF class, vehicles represent a historical reference for cars that are being restored — what did it look like when it came from the factory?  They may look like clunkers with faded paint, rusted panels, pitted chrome, and rump-sprung seats, but they are the basis of what the next shining restoration will become.

My 1988 Pontiac 6000 LE Safari station wagon was entered in the DPC class.  There is no getting around the fact that it was a daily driver as recently as 2009, and the over 250,000 miles on it prove it.  But it looked as good as a lot of cars in the judged classes, and while it may never be awarded a Senior or Grand National medallion, it is a fine example of a car that has been well-maintained and has an appeal to a lot of people.  I had a number of people who stopped by to compliment it, smile, and remember what it was like when their family had one just like it.

On the field

The Pontiac on the show field at Lakeland.

And here’s a look at some of the other beauties that were there as well.

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1949 Mercury woodie wagon

A Packard from the 1930's

A Packard from the 1930′s

1929 Ford Model A

1929 Ford Model A

1963 Ford Thunderbird

1963 Ford Thunderbird

A Lincoln with a V-12 engine

A Cadillac with a V-12 engine

1964 Ford Country Squire

1964 Ford Country Squire

A pair of ospreys nesting on a streetlight kept watch over the field.

A pair of ospreys nesting on a streetlight kept watch over the field.

On Sunday, February 24, 2013, we went over to Boca Raton for the 7th annual Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance. This is a show with some of the finest cars in the country on display, including the certified first 1957 Cadillac Eldorado. This show also had cars and motorcycles from every era, and a good representation of cars that could be described as exotic and unique; some of them are the sole survivors of their make or model.

Judging of these cars was different than the AACA rules.  We used what’s called the modified French rules.  (No, that does not mean that when the German cars showed up, everyone else ran away.)  Points are considered for exterior, interior, engine and presentation, but also for what can only be called the “Wow!” factor.  Does the car impress you with its elan, its panache?  If so, then it gets extra points.

A lot of cars had that “Wow!” factor, including the ones I judged.  Choosing the Best of Show was a monumental task.

Here are just a few of the ones I saw and said “Wow!” to.

1930 Chrysler

1930 Chrysler

1947 Talbot Lago

1947 Talbot Lago

1947 Panhard

1947 Panhard

An Isotta-Fraschini from the 1930's

An Isotta-Fraschini from the 1930′s

Steyr 220 from the 1930's; one of only three known to exist.

Steyr 220 from the 1930′s; one of only three known to exist.

1931 Alfa-Romeo

1931 Alfa-Romeo

Stutz radiator cap

Stutz radiator cap

I have no delusion that any car I will ever own will measure up to the rarity and the wow of some of these cars, but it was fun to be around them and admire the mechanical grace and loving care that goes into making such fine machines.

2 barks and woofs on “Cars and More Cars

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