The Isetta Saga, Chapter 32: 2010’s Retirement Affords Lots More Time for Shows

December 23, 2009 was my final day of work at Volvo Cars of North America, where I had been employed for over 23 years. For the first time since college graduation, I was free of daily obligations. I had every intention of resuming my career, but with my wife’s encouragement, I decided to take some time off.

As 2010 dawned, I looked at the collector car calendar and could foresee upping my participation above what had already been a busy schedule. While the garage held both the ’68 Mustang and the Isetta, I decided to look for opportunities to get the Isetta out more. The additional time needed to load and unload the car would be less of an issue now.

In addition to attendance at the 2010 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, I had the time to also take part in these activities:

APRIL: RAMAPO HIGH SCHOOL CAR SHOW

My friend Larry, who lives in the vicinity of this school, made me aware of this show, which sounded like fun. It was also a chance to lend support to a bunch of teenagers who wanted to experience the makings of a car show in their own back yard.

The kids of course, enjoyed my car, and I in turn enjoyed the variety of vehicles in attendance. Two young men floored me, as they showed me around their VW bus while wearing tie-dye shirts. Flashing the peace sign was their idea, not mine!

MAY: AACA NJ REGION ANNUAL CAR SHOW

I had only recently become a member of the NJ Chapter, so none of my mates in the club had seen the Isetta yet. Entering the microcar in the same class as the American iron of the ‘50s meant that it was up against some very stiff competition (it also looked like a toy next to these ‘50s gargantuans). 

My friend Ron, whom I knew from the multiple New England 1000 rallies we’ve run together, showed up in his ’55 T-Bird and parked next to me. Lo and behold, when it was time to depart, his Bird wouldn’t start! Ron knew the car became fuel-starved because of a hot soak issue, and he said that all he needed to get going was a bit of fuel to pour into the carb. But where to get that fuel? From the Isetta’s fuel tap!

MAY: NESHANIC STATION MEMORIAL DAY PARADE

We were getting good at parade participation, and this one was close enough to my house that I could actually drive the 3 miles back and forth, and I did! My stalwart friend Richard Sweeney did not miss the chance to ride in the car, and waved to the crowd as if he were the mayor.

JULY: BREAKFAST AND ISETTA RIDES AT THE REINAS

As a changeup from the typical Sunday morning breakfast drive, I emptied my garage of cars, set up a table and chairs, brought out the electric griddle and coffee pot from the kitchen, and invited a bunch of the regulars down to breakfast. (My wife said it looked like I could move in there; perhaps that was a hint….) Even Irv Gordon made it (after receiving the invite, he called me up and asked “Rich, do you think the guys would mind if I drove the C70 instead of the 1800? I want to ride in air conditioning”.)

We had something of a mini car show on the lawn and in the driveway, and for anyone brave enough, rides up and down the road in the rolling egg were freely offered.

AUGUST: DAS AWKSCHT FESCHT, MAGUNGIE PA

This show, held in the charming town of Macungie PA since the 1960s, wins the award for “car show name with greatest ratio of consonants to vowels”. I’ve attended “Macungie” as we call it (easier to say) since the early ‘80s, as it was a known gathering spot for microcar owners.

There was no contingent of micro units this year, but I did manage to secure a shady spot on what was a typical hot and humid summer day. This show has always prided itself on an eclectic variety of display vehicles, typically arranged by year, make, and model. One particular memory is of a young woman who described herself to me as an artist. Having gone through my restoration photos, she seemed to take great delight in informing me that I too, was “an artist”. I accepted the compliment!

By the autumn of 2010, I was back to work, albeit only on a part-time basis. With the show calendar quickly coming to a close, I was already anticipating more of the same in 2011.

 

All photographs copyright © 2020 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

Das Awkscht Fescht, Macungie PA, August 2017

Memorial Park provides a wonderful setting for a car show

On the first weekend of August 2017, the town of Macungie PA hosted Das Awkscht Fescht (“The August Festival”) for the 54th consecutive year. This 3-day car show has grown into one of the largest collector car gatherings in the Northeast, and given what else is held in the area, that is quite the feat.

“Macungie” (most people call it this as it’s easier to say) is set in Memorial Park. As such, all the display vehicles are situated on grass in a park-like setting. The show further sets itself apart by featuring non-automotive attractions for family members who want to do more than hang around gramp’s 1959 Borgward all day. Arts & Crafts booths, kid’s games, and even a bandshell with live musical entertainment provide lots of distractions. Pennsylvania Dutch edibles are available, along with the usual car show fast food. Admission is a reasonable $8.

Field was crowded with both vehicles and spectators

Macungie was a quick stop for me on my way back from Mecum Harrisburg. There was just enough time to park, briskly walk the showfield, and head back to my car so I could be fashionably late for a friend’s BBQ.

The photos capture but a small slice of the wonderful display vehicles. For full effect, one really needs to attend all three days, as there are different cars on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. A big part of Macungie’s success is the support from local car clubs, which have historically provided tremendous impetus in getting members’ cars out for the public’s enjoyment.

You can learn more about Das Awkscht Fescht here.

This Packard, a true #1 car, was a standout at Saturday’s show

 

The oldest Miatas are now 27 years of age. This one was an AACA award winner.

 

Crosley Hot Shot

 

This coffin-nose FWD Cord appeared to be unrestored, or an aged older restoration

 

Trio con brio: 2 Fiats and an Alfa, all spiders

 

1958 Edsel – styling less controversial 60 years later (have you seen a Toyota lately?)

 

Fiat Multipla – some argue it’s the first minivan

 

Candy-colored Nash Metropolitans (note license plate)

 

MGB/GT

 

Pennsylvania-built VW Rabbit (square headlights give it away)

 

2nd gen Chevy Corvair coupe

 

1963 Pontiac Tempest convertible

 

Striking Mustang pony interior easier to photograph with top down

 

Chrysler wagon with 4-door hardtop styling (man’s, er, gut, was inadvertent)

 

Kaiser Darrin’s unique sliding door

 

Nice hood ornament!

 

A car show tradition: keeping it clean for the customers

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.