NJ Region AACA Annual Car Show, May 2022

The NJ Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) held its “annual” car show on Sunday May 1, 2022, at a new location: the Lakeview Elementary School in Denville, NJ, immediately off Route 10. The word “annual” is in quotes because the last few years had proven to be a challenge to actually hold the show, either due to poor weather or due to Covid. My blog posts clearly document the lousy atmospheric conditions in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. The pandemic wiped the 2020 and 2021 shows off the calendar.

The 2016 to 2019 events were held at a new location for us, the Mennen Arena in Morristown, and I had, on multiple occasions, made it clear to those who would listen that this was not a great spot for a car show. As much as I’m not superstitious, I also began to wonder if the spot was jinked.

The queue to enter the show field

There were no weather jinxes in play for this one. The day was near perfect: sunny, warm but not hot, with a few stray clouds high overhead. Compared to the wet years, when turnout barely got above two or three dozen, there were well over one hundred vehicles at this year’s event. Most of the vehicles were in classes numbered by decade and were judged to AACA standards (25 years or older, in stock, as-new condition). There were also classes for HPOF (Historical Preservation of Original Features, a non-judged class), as well as trucks, two-seat sports cars, Mustangs, modified vehicles through 1997, and ‘modern classics’ 1998 and newer. (Some of these classes are not officially recognized by AACA and are added to bring additional vehicles to the show, making all feel welcome.)

A partial view of the show field

 

FoMoCo chrome grilles glisten in the May sun

 

I was especially pleased to see the strong turnout of pre-war and immediate post-war (WW2 in both cases) vehicles. Despite what many think, interest in vehicles from this time period continues to be strong. For example, I had a delightful conversation with the owner of a 1929 Packard, who to me looked like he was perhaps in his late 30s/early 40s. He told me that this generation Packard had been his dream car since he was seven years old!

Registration Chair Vince had plenty of help this year

My 1967 Alfa Romeo, which ran without an issue, got me safely and soundly to the show and back. This was the first AACA event for my beloved Italian stallion since the Buffalo Farm Car Show in Flemington NJ in June of 2019. (It was the following month when the brakes failed, necessitating a complete overhaul, followed by a necessary carb overhaul.) My good friend and fellow club member Ed Geller, who owns multiple Alfas, parked his HPOF ’69 Spider next to my car, and we made for an attractive 1-2 Alfa punch.

A treat for the club this year was the addition of a new member who goes by the name “Gup” (don’t ask because I don’t have a clue) who has his own DJ business. He parked his heavily modified Ford rig about center stage, and spun the tunes all day. His ability to mix styles and genres meant that there no complaints that I heard about the music! In previous years, we broadcasted SiriuxXM “Forties on 4” or “Fifties on 5” through the PA, and it got monotonous. Gup was a great addition to this year’s festivities.

The Gup and his sound system truck

Below are photos of show cars which captured my attention. Since AACA requires judged cars to have open hoods and trunks, obtaining quality images can be a challenge. When the opportunity presented itself, I also tried to snap photos of cars which by virtue of their locations in the parking lot would allow a better framed composition.

1937 Buick

 

1940 Cadillac

 

 

1931 Lincoln

 

1985 Olds 442

 

1971 Chevrolet Camaro

 

1966 Olds F-85

 

1967 Buick Riviera

 

1968 Chevrolet Corvair

 

1969 Plymouth GTX

 

A brace of pre-war Fords

 

Featured car #1: 1929 Packard Phaeton

The Packard’s owner, a man perhaps in his 40s, told me that he wanted this style Packard since he was seven years old. His car had been restored in 1951, and was an award winner at that time, but then had been put into storage. When he bought it, the car required a thorough recommissioning, but he assured me that I was looking at paint that had been applied 71 years ago.

 

 

 

1952 Hudson Hornet

 

1953 Cadillac

 

Bob Smith with his 1950 Ford

 

1956 Dodge

 

1958 Nash Metropolitan

 

1967 Chrysler Imperial

 

1964 Ford Galaxie

 

1997 Ford Mustang

 

1988 Pontiac Fiero

 

1957 Ford Thunderbird

 

1974 Dodge Challenger
Featured car #2: 1993 Lotus Esprit

One does not see Lotus Esprits at many AACA events, so the appearance of this gorgeous white one grabbed my attention. Presuming that it had a V8 mounted amidships, the owner corrected me and said that the engine was a Lotus-engineered V4, and turbocharged to boot.

 

 

1961 Willys Jeep Station Wagon

 

1958 Chevrolet Corvette

 

Richard and his 1964 Buick Riviera

 

1963 Chrysler 300

 

1956 Chrysler

 

1950 Ford

 

 

1950 Buick

 

1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider and 1967 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Jr

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

 

The 2022 New York Auto Show

The 2022 edition of the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) began this year’s run with two press days, on Wednesday and Thursday, April 13 and 14. The show is open to the public from Friday April 15 through Sunday April 24. Located in the Jacob Javits Convention Center in the west 30s, the NYIAS was last held in 2019. Covid halted the proceedings in 2020 and 2021. Through my job at CARiD.com, I and two other gentlemen on our Creative Team were able to attend with press passes on Wednesday the 13th.

Walking into the Javits Center as I have done for this show since 1987, which is when it moved from the NY Coliseum at Columbus Circle, I could not help but be struck by the imagery. Everywhere I turned, the banners, posters, and signage all indicated The Main Attraction.

Can you say ‘electric vehicles’?

You would be forgiven for thinking that you had perhaps stumbled upon an All-EV show. Almost every vehicle manufacturer in attendance was touting the EVs in its lineup. Some of them, such as the Ford F-150 Lightning, have been known about for months and have been eagerly anticipated by the general public. Others, like the new brand Vinfast, have little name recognition at present.

Ford F-150 Lightning

Before we get further into the EVs (and there were plenty of very interesting ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicles on the floor too), it’s worth listing the manufacturers who were conspicuous by absence. This is nothing new, as the combination of online launches, rising costs, and new car intros scattered across the calendar have driven many manufacturers to conclude that physical auto shows are no longer worth the time and expense. Here’s who was missing: BMW, Mercedes, Honda, Acura, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Rivian, Tesla, Audi, Porsche, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC. Most puzzling was the participation of only some brands under a corporate umbrella: Chevrolet but not sister GM brands Buick, Cadillac, and GMC; and VW but not their Audi and Porsche brethren. While Chevy, Ford, Toyota, and Subaru among others consumed significant floor space, there still was lots of room for other stuff. And that other stuff was not one, not two, but three indoor test tracks, devoted to providing rides in EVs.

A Volvo C40 EV on the indoor test track

Think about it: with no concern about tailpipe pollution, EVs can be run indoors all day long (as long as charging is available). Ford had its own dedicated track, running the aforementioned Lightning and Mustang Mach-Es; Hyundai had its own track, with both Ford’s and Hyundai’s on the main floor; and downstairs, a larger track was shared among legacy and start-up EV makers including Nissan, VW, Volvo, INDI, and Vinfast. You should not be surprised to learn that attendees will be invited to ride, but not drive; for each ride there will be a professional driver behind the wheel. By the time the NYIAS wraps up, thousands of show-goers will have had an experience as a passenger in an EV. The car makers are hoping to turn those experiences into showroom foot traffic for their expanding EV offerings.

 

ELECTRICS

The two big surprises to me were the two brands I had not heard of until last week: INDI and Vinfast. INDI seems to have one model, cleverly named the INDI ONE, a large, 5-door, sloped roof hatchback reminiscent of the Tesla Model X. I had to do some online research after the show to learn that the company is based in California, although it’s sourcing parts from around the world. Their claim to fame is the under-hood computer, intended to allow a higher level of gaming for passengers. (Full disclosure: I do not see the attraction.)

(Above: the INDI ONE EV)

Vinfast was founded in 2017 in Vietnam, and plans to be the first Vietnamese car maker to expand into global markets. They had three different EV models on the floor: the VF7, VF8, and VF9, all variants on the currently popular crossover SUV. Their styling was unoffensive bordering on mildly attractive (no attempt at ‘weirdness’ to make them stand out), and I was surprised to read online that the company has had styling assistance from Pininfarina and BMW. They have also announced that they plan to open a manufacturing plant in NC.

It had not occurred to me that I might see the VW ID.Buzz at the show, and a nice surprise it was. Photos don’t do justice to the ‘cheekiness’ of it. I broke into a spontaneous smile as I rounded a corner and found this update on the classic V-Dub Bus in front of me. It’s sized right, and for EV fans, it could be a worthwhile alternative to an EV SUV.

The Subaru Solterra, which shares its EV platform with the Toyota bZ4X, was featured within the vast Subaru exhibit. Let’s see if the Subaru faithful, whose passion is wed to that flat-4, will embrace a product without it. Volvo, despite a full lineup of sedans, station wagons, and SUVs, had only 2 cars at the show: an XC40 Recharge (hybrid), and a C40 EV. Rides in the C40 were available.

 

 

The Mustang Mach-E, which has been on the market for a year or so, was also visible at other displays. Here are four examples of the Mach-E EV done up in different liveries:

 

STELLANTIS

This automotive giant, created in 2021 from the merger of FCA (Fiat-Chrysler Automotive) and PSA (Peugeot-Citroen), sells the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo brands here. Roaming their large footprint on the main level, Jeep and Ram dominated, which is not surprising given the profits generated by those products. As examples, the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer was there, with one floor model priced at $103,000; the Ram TRX, which has been out for a while, was also present, with an MSRP of $97,000. The sole Chrysler vehicle on the floor was a Pacifica, although an updated version of the Chrysler Airflow EV concept was unveiled. Stuck in the poorly-lit back corner were Dodge (a single Challenger), Fiat (including two 500e EVs) and Alfa Romeo. The NYIAS marked the U.S. debut of the smaller Tonale SUV from Alfa, and it was quite the looker. Those attending the show specifically to see it might have a difficult time finding it.

 

Chrysler Airflow EV Concept

 

This is where you stick Alfa?

 

The new Alfa Romeo Tonale

 

ELVIS PRESLEY’S CONTINENTAL MARK II:

 

 

PERFORMANCE

Petrol power still has its advocates. Corvettes, Camaros, and Mustangs were on hand to entice those not ready to join the plug-in revolution. Toyota debuted its new GR Corolla, with a 3-cylinder gas engine pushing 300 horsepower to its front tires. Several copies of the new Nissan Z were there to be gawked at. And if you truly long for the good ol’ days, a small display of classic European and Asian performance vehicles, including a BMW M3, Acura NS-X, Porsche 911 Turbo, and Renault 5 Turbo, were clustered together in the rear of the main floor.

 

(Above: the Nissan Z)

 

(Above: old-school Euro sports cars)

 

CHOOSE THE LEXUS GRILLE WHICH LEAST OFFENDS YOU:

 

 

BOTTOM LINE

Despite making up fewer than 50% of the cars and trucks inside the Javits Center, EVs were clearly the stars of this year’s show. I wasn’t surprised by Tesla’s absence; I was by Hummer’s and Rivian’s. The other EV makers had no problem filling in the space they would have taken. As I was leaving, I realized there is a battle which has begun between the legacy automakers and the start-ups.

The legacy manufacturers are affronted by the new kids on the block. Many of the old timers have been at it for over a century and feel that they own the R&D process, whether ICE or EV. Yet Tesla, itself old enough to be considered a legacy car maker, went its own route, and did it successfully. Today’s start-ups, observing that success, are raising the cash, rushing to market, and trying to distinguish themselves in a field getting more crowded by the week.

Even the experienced ones are still trying to figure it out. Ford has 100,000+ orders for its F-150 Lightning, and after surveying existing truck owners, Ford paid attention when the survey results said “don’t make it weird”. On the other hand, Chevrolet’s new Silverado EV doesn’t resemble the existing truck, and the company is still about two yeas away from building deliverable units. Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia are deciding how different to make their EVs look compared to their ICE counterparts.

And here are INDI and Vinfast, expecting to ride the swelling EV wave. There is an understandable expectation that as the EV segment grows, there’s still room for new companies to capture their own slice of the pie. If history is any guide, and it should be, many of the companies entering the EV road race won’t make it to the finish line.

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

Das Awkscht Fescht, Macungie PA, August 2013

Das Awkscht Fescht, better known as “Macungie” (the name of the Pennsylvania town which hosts it) is an annual car show held on the first weekend in August. Their website claims that this year’s show is its 59th annual, and my Sharp calculator computes that to mean the event began in 1963. I first attended this show in the early 1980s, when there was a large turnout of BMW Isettas and I was in search of basically anything I could find out about mine. I’ve also written about this show previously: my Isetta was on display there in 2010, and I added posts after my visits in 2017 and 2021.

Continuing my look back through old photos, I found these from the 2013 show. Visiting Macungie is delightful.  It’s set on grass in a park, there’s huge car club support, and for the most part, vehicles are arranged by make and model. For significant others and young ones whose interest in old cars wanes after a few minutes, there are plenty of non-automotive attractions too, including craft booths, petting zoos, live music in an outdoor bandshell, and even a pool. It’s certainly small enough to cover in one day, but if your time is limited, or if it’s too hot to trudge into all 4 corners, you can always seek out the brands of your preference.

This year, my camera seemed to be trained more on cars of the 1950s. Perhaps it was the colors, or the ornate details one finds on the chrome behemoths of this decade.  Of all the included photos below, my favorite is the unrestored Cord. I can become jaded when looking at one over-restored car after another. The very idea that someone would keep such a valuable and rare car in this condition is wonderful and refreshing.

Unrestored 1930s Cord Roadster

 

1957 Ford Thunderbird

 

Nomad tails

 

Go-go-Goggomobil!

 

 

 

1957 DeSoto – note quad headlights which just started to be legal that year

 

Chrysler Imperial

 

1962 Chrysler 300H

 

Firebird nose progression – the ’69 has a poorly executed nose job

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

The 2013 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance

Richard’s Car Blog’s first post was February 13, 2015. My Alfa Romeo had already been in my possession for almost two years, and I wasted no time in creating posts about my adventures with the car, including my participation in that’s year’s New England 1000. (The Alfa was also driven in the 2013, 2014, and 2018 versions of that classic car rally).

Perusing photos taken before this blog’s launch, I’ve come to realize that many of the events I’ve attended or participated in prior to 2015 have never been covered here. So I am dutifully making amends, and enjoying the glances in the rear-view mirror.

In June of 2013, having owned the Alfa for a grand total of 3 months, I entered it in that year’s Greenwich (CT) Concours D’Elegance. Bruce Wennerstrom, founder and chairperson of the show, knew me well, as my Isetta had been at this same event in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010. For 2013, I was grouped with a variety of other beautiful Italian machinery. The weather was gorgeous, and so were all the other show cars. While no trophy came my way that day, my wife and I enjoyed the drive to and from CT, and also enjoyed taking in the sights within Roger Sherman Park, the verdant location of the Greenwich show each year.

My 1967 Alfa GT 1300 Jr

 

Rolls-Royce

 

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

 

Aston Martin

 

Ferrari 330 GTC (my ATF)

 

Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale

 

Jaguar XK-150

 

The other Italians in my circle (with one French interloper)

 

Bugatti

 

Fiat Dino Spider

 

Isetta police car (to catch jaywalkers)

 

Lancia

 

Lancia interior

 

Bruce Wennerstrom (right, white hat) prepares to present another award

 

On our way out (photo courtesy Dennis Nash)

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

My Alfa’s 1st Judged Event: NJ AACA Car Show, May 2013

My musk green 1967 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior had barely been in my possession for two months in 2013 when I entered it in its first judged show. This was the annual event conducted by the NJ Region of the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America), held by tradition on the first Sunday in May. In 2013, the actual show date was May 5, and also following tradition, it was held in the parking lot of the Automatic Switch Manufacturing Company in Florham Park NJ. (Long-time club members simply referred to the location as “Automatic Switch”.)

The drive from our home in Neshanic Station was only 30 minutes, but it was a good test for the much longer 2013 New England 1000 classic car rally, coming up two weeks after this outing. When I had purchased the Alfa from my good friend Pete, it had already earned its HPOF (Historical Preservation of Original Features) award, and by AACA Judging Rules you cannot switch classes back and forth willy-nilly, so it was dutifully entered into HPOF. As the photos attest, there’s always an eclectic assortment of vehicles on either side of you in this class.

Arriving and parking early gave me the chance to grab my camera and walk the field, looking for other interesting cars to photograph.  I was not disappointed by the fine mix of pre-war and post-war, dometic and import, all glistening under the bright spring sun.

All cars are judged (unless an owner expressly requests to be excluded), and NJ Region judging loosely follows National’s rules. By the end of the show (around 3pm), the parade of vehicles driving up to the ‘viewing stand’ to receive their trophies from the Region’s President arrived three abreast. My Alfa received a special award, considered only for cars owned by club members: it won the “Best Unrestored Vehicle” in its age group. I was pleasantly surprised at the recognition, not expecting much of anything for the car at its first outing! Aside from a battery and a set of tires, I had also not done anything to it yet. The Alfa got me home without incident, and back into the garage it went as I patiently waited for this year’s NE1000 to begin.

 

1963 Split-Window Corvette Sting Ray

 

Lotus Elan

 

1968 Ford Mustang

 

Alfa Romeo Coupe

 

Alfa Romeo Spider

 

AMC Spirit

 

Kaiser Darrin

 

Sting Ray convertible

 

Lancia Zagato

 

Porsche 928

 

Dual Ghia concept car

 

Big, green, and Eldorado

 

Pre-war show winners

 

’30s Ford show winner

 

Two Packards astride Ford

 

Avanti

 

A trio of Mustang winners

 

The winning Alfa and its proud owner

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

AACA Hershey Car Show, 2012

In Chapter 34 of the Isetta Saga, it’s October 2012, and my restored bubble car is making its one and only appearance at the AACA Eastern Fall Nationals, a name that no one uses; everyone refers to it as “Hershey”, named after its host town. Obviously, I had a lot going on that week, what with trailering the car out there, unloading it the morning of the show, driving it onto the show field, finding my spot, and prepping the car for judging. Of course, my car was just one of hundreds of other cars on the field vying for trophies that day, and somehow, I found time to stroll the aisles and take a few snaps (and my car buddy Larry took a few of these shots too).

Based on these images, the weather was flawless, and so was the condition of the cars on display, which always makes it a challenge to decide which ones to photograph. Below is a selection of cars which were standouts to me. As a final comment, I may have said this before but it’s worth repeating: if you have not been to Hershey in October, it is not to be missed.

 

ENTERING THE SHOWFIELD
BRASS ERA
‘50s EXCESS
AMERICAN MUSCLE
IMPORTS
PERSONAL LUXURY

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

Lime Rock Sunday in the Park Classic Car Show, 2012

Every Labor Day weekend, Lime Rock Park, a racetrack set in the western Berkshires of Connecticut, hosts The Vintage Fall Festival (the name has gone through some permutations over the decades). Classic race cars of old battle it out on the tarmac on Friday, Saturday, and Monday, while on Sunday (when racing is prohibited by local ordinance), the track is repurposed to feature some of the finest classics in the Northeast.

I’ve been attending the Sunday event for years and have posted stories about my previous adventures: finding my 1967 Dodge Dart convertible here in 1991, displaying the Isetta in 2020, and attending in 2007, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. The 2012 event featured “The Race Cars of Stirling Moss” and also featured Sir Stirling himself. I managed to shake the great man’s hand and watch him present awards in the afternoon. Other than that, it was just another day at Lime Rock….

 

Sometimes the parking lot is as interesting as the show field

 

Red Italian cars are a sign that you’re in the right place:

 

Piloted by some Nuvolari guy

 

’63 Split Windows look good in any color

This little Honda drew lots of attention: make note of that redline!

More Italians, this time, some colors other than red:

 

Jaguars proudly line up

 

A gorgeous face which has inspired many

 

Sir Stirling Moss spent most of the afternoon presenting trophies and awards to deserving recipients:

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

The 2012 Philadelphia Auto Show

In January 2012, I was a little less than a year into my new job as Product Training Director for the company which operated the www.CARiD.com website. At that time, our company only sold accessories (exterior, interior, performance, lighting, audio, and wheels) for cars and trucks. The repair parts side of the business was still a few years away. When training our sales staff, my responsibilities included teaching them what was new in the industry. Rather than wait until April for the NY Auto Show, I decided to head to Philadelphia for their show, always held in the January/February timeframe.

The location was familiar to me; I had been to this show in the past as part of my work with Volvo. This time, I cajoled my wife into joining me (under the guise of “we should look for a new car for you, honey!”) and she semi-reluctantly agreed. The drive into Center City Philly was only an hour, and parking in a nearby garage was easy enough. I should not have been surprised, but I was, that the place was jammed with attendees on a Sunday afternoon.

What the Pennsylvania Convention Center lacked in glitz compared to Manhattan’s Javits Center was made up in substance. Floorspace was not consumed by rotating tables, cutaways, never-to-be concept cars, and artificial landscapes. Instead, the vehicles were neatly arrayed, close to each other but not so close that one couldn’t open and close doors and get good three-quarter views. A huge additional benefit (for me anyway) was the side show consisting of “classic cars” with no particular rhyme or reason to the collection.

Pickup trucks, normally not my main interest, were a focus because much of the accessorization sold on CARiD is for pickups. I rarely photograph Monroney labels, however, the 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 pickup grabbed all my attention. I was shocked, SHOCKED, to see an MSRP, after options, of $62,000! Little did I realize that ten years ago, I was witnessing the start of the trend whereby overloaded luxury-laden 4×4 pickup trucks would displace luxo-barge American and imported four-door sedans as Americans’ choice for ultimate comfort and convenience. (Visiting the build-and-price function on Chevy’s website allowed me to recreate this truck as a 2022 model, and today’s price is $75,000, if you can find one.)

Returning from the show armed with photos, I created a slide presentation for my internal training class to bring our young and inexperienced sales staff up to speed. (I didn’t bother showing them the DeSoto.) The Philadelphia Auto Show, this year in March, continues to be a viable alternative for New Jerseyans who would rather avoid the trek into the Big Apple.

 

 

What’s that wire coming out of the fuel filler? Customers in 2012 were not yet used to seeing charging ports like on this Fisker Karma, which was beautiful but ahead of its time.

The 2012 Fiat 500 was in its 3rd year of U.S. sales after returning to this market in 2010. This is the zippy Abarth version.

 

And to remind us how far it’s come, here is the previous 500

 

Subaru showed its new BRZ, which had just been introduced a month prior
The BRZ’s grandfather, the XT, was also on display

 

Here is the 2012 Lexus LFA, with an MSRP of $375,000 (take that, Silverado!). According to Wikipedia, a total of 52 units were sold in the U.S. in 2012.

 

Many of the classics on display were on loan from the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles. From the top: A Nash-Healey roadster; a 1969 Camaro Yenko; a 1956 DeSoto; and a Series III Jaguar E-Type (note the flared fenders and long doors indicating a Series III, but with retro-fitted covered headlamps).

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

AACA Hershey Meet, 2011

My photos tell the tale: the weather during Hershey week 2011 was as pleasant as October in Pennsylvania can be, as borne out by the abundant sunshine and the swarms of car enthusiasts dressed in light outerwear. By this point in time, I had been a regular attendee at what is formally known as the Antique Automobile Club of America’s Eastern Fall Nationals. My first visit to Hershey was around 1980, and I returned only sporadically over the next 20 years, as Carlisle was more to my interest. Starting around 2001, when I joined the National AACA club, Hershey became a mandatory entry on my calendar except for the one year when an out-of-town business trip forced me to miss it. The five-day event, culminating with the Saturday judged show, consists of three segments: in addition to the show are the vast flea market and the Car Corral. (The RM auction at the Hershey Lodge, while not an AACA-sanctioned event, is always timed to occur during Hershey week and is supported by AACA.)

 

 

THE CAR CORRAL

I tend to focus on the rare or unusual cars in the Car Corral, along with any which strike me as potentially good deals. This year, the most unusual of the lot was this 1953 Fiat Topolino (the owner can be forgiven for his misspelling of it as ‘Topolina’), obviously a #5 condition car, and offered at $5,500 OBO. Wikipedia reveals this to be a Model C, produced from 1949-1955, perhaps not as cute as the Models A and B, but still with enough il fascino (charm) to make it an attractive project. The “Fiat-Heuler, Frankfurt a. M.” is the German Fiat dealership in Frankfurt. Check out this beautiful restoration which sold last year on Bring a Trailer for $19,870.

 

 

I’ve said this before: if someone had bet me money in 2011 that VW Beetles would see a steady rise in values and collector interest over the next 10 years, I would have lost that bet. So with 10 years hindsight, does this look like a deal? Here’s a 1963 Bug convertible, claimed to be ‘all original’ (whatever that means for a collector car), offered at $4,300. It’s difficult to gauge condition from my two photos, but as long as there wasn’t terminal rot underneath, this one could have been cheap fun. (The closest comp I could find on Bring a Trailer was this ’60 convertible, obviously in better condition, which sold for $20,000 in Dec. 2021.)

 

I have spilled considerable digital ink extolling my exploits in my rally buddy’s Sunbeam Tiger. The Tiger’s concept was similar to the better-known Cobra: take a British sports car, toss the smaller engine, and install an American lump of a V8. In the Tiger’s case, the ‘donor’ car was the Sunbeam Alpine, factory-powered by an inline four. The Car Corral had this 1964 version, with its asking price already lowered from $3,700 to $3,400. To me, that’s an instant indication that the owner is getting anxious and is ready to listen to offers. The red paint is oxidized, and the bumpers lack luster, but I bet it was driven into and out of the Corral under its own power. Bring a Trailer has had plenty on offer. Most appear to be fully restored, and many don’t reach their reserves. They did sell this ’64 project car in 2019 for $5,300.

 

The original AMC AMX, which debuted in 1968 when I was a young teen, was a car I always found attractive. Its shortened wheelbase and deleted rear seat put it in a class above the typical pony cars of the day; I saw it as a more affordable version of that other 2-seat sports car, the Corvette. I photographed this one because I like silver over red. The price caught my eye too, compared to what you’d pay for a similar Camaro or Mustang. As it sat in the Car Corral, the price was dropping, so a deal could have been made. This one had the small 290 V8, and almost every first gen AMX on BaT is listed with the 390. My CPI value guide lists the ’68-’70 AMX as worth between $16,000 and $35,000 for a good to excellent one, so in this case, let’s hope it was bought to enjoy rather than to profit from.

 

Sometimes the more interesting cars for sale are not in the Car Corral, but are rather found scattered within the flea market. This 1940 Continental convertible was tucked among the tents and tables, with an asking price of $75,000. The 1940 model year was a stylistic high-water mark for the Ford Motor Company, and first gen Continentals had the further advantage of a 12-cylinder version of Ford’s famous flathead engine. The 1939-1948 Continentals are on the official list of Approved Full Classics from the CCCA (Classic Car Club of America), a distinction not to be taken lightly.

 

 

THE SATURDAY PARADE AND CAR SHOW

Ever since accidentally discovering that Saturday’s earliest attendees gain the additional enjoyment of watching show cars arrive under their own power, it’s been a highlight of Hershey week to set the alarm for 6, grab a bagel and coffee to go, and hunt down the best vantage point.

 

With vehicles arranged by class (typically year/make/model) it’s best to wander to where your interests lie, as the vast show field is almost impossible to completely cover in one day. Many years ago, I read this advice in a photo magazine: move closer to your subject, and when you think you’ve moved close enough, move even closer. With cars, it can sometimes be more interesting to focus on only a portion (the crowds sometimes thwart all effort to snap the entire vehicle anyway). I’ve tried that effect for several of these shots.

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

AACA Hershey Meet, October 2010

Continuing with my coverage of Hershey visits which preceded the birth of the blog, below are a few shots from AACA Hershey 2010. The photos show that the weather was beautiful and the turnout was significant. As I stated in the blog post for the 2009 event, my photographic coverage was not as all-encompassing yet.

Photos of cars with lot numbers on the windshields were there to be auctioned by RM at the Hershey Lodge. While I was not yet in the habit of notating auction sales results, my access to the RM Sotheby’s website has allowed me to search for and find the sale prices, which are indicated below. Since the website shows numbers “all in” with commission, I have calculated the actual hammer price by backing out the 10% buyer’s premium. It would be three more years before the Isetta was trailered to RM Hershey to be sold, which occurred in 2013.

The remainder of the shots cover the big Saturday judged event. My friend Pete showed up with “his” Alfa GT 1300 Junior, which he placed in the HPOF category. The expression on my face as I stood next to the car says it all: “Pete, someday, this will be mine!” It took him a while to come around, but the day did come, in March 2013.

 

THE RM HERSHEY AUCTION

1962 Fiat 1200 Cabriolet, sold for $33,000 (hammer price $30,000)

 

1970 Fiat 500L, sold for $15,400 (hammer price $14,000)

 

1955 Studebaker Speedster, sold for $55,000 (hammer price $50,000)

 

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado, sold for $45,100 (hammer price $41,000)

 

THE SATURDAY CAR SHOW

The morning parade of cars on their way to the show field:

 

Show highlights:

C2 Corvettes

 

Jaguar XK-120

 

A British sports car lineup

 

Additional sports machines

 

Not mine yet….

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.