The CCCA Museum Experience

Each year during the first weekend in June, the Classic Car Club of America Museum hosts The Experience on the Gilmore Car Museum campus. Many Full Classics® are displayed along with automobiles of a specific marque from the history of fine automobile manufacturing. The theme for 2015 was all Packards and all CCCA Full Classics®.

Scroll down to see the 2015 Experience Recap and Photo Galleries.

2015 Experience Recap

The event-filled weekend was a huge success! From beginning to end attendees enjoyed the best Experience ever.

The all-Packards theme always guarantees a big turnout and this year did not disappoint. On Sunday morning June 8, more than one hundred Packards were displayed on the field along with an array of Full Classics®. Although the Concours was the main attraction, the many events began two days earlier.

On Friday afternoon famed automotive designer Art Fitzpatrick spoke about his career at Packard, Briggs, LeBaron, and Darrin, his work in the pre-war era, and his experience with other designers and coachbuilders of the late Classic period. Fitzpatrick recently donated his life’s work and artistic endeavors to the Gilmore Car Museum.

Friday evening, attendees were treated to a sumptuous barbecue on the Gilmore campus across the lawn from the CCCA Museum. Over the course of the meal diners received a warm welcome and tour instructions from Howard Freedman, Jay Quail, and Al Kroemer.

A large group of classic car enthusiasts attended the Saturday morning tour driving to Grand Rapids and then Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Founded in 1990 by the West Michigan Horticultural Society, and supported by Fred and Lena Meijer, the garden has become a top cultural destination in the Midwest region. It is known internationally for the quality of its more than 200 sculpture works along with its 158-acre campus, including a Tropical Conservatory, an English Perennial and Bulb Garden, and a Woodland Shade Garden.

On Saturday afternoon Dave Chapple hosted an “Introduction to Automotive Art” exhibit where the various artists displayed their fabulous works, and were available for questions and conversation.

Following the art exhibition was Dr. Glenn Hamilton’s presentation of his “Richard A. Teague Packard Literature Collection.” Dr. Hamilton brought a number of samples from the collection including brilliantly colored advertisement originals. The presentation was fascinating, especially for the many Packard enthusiasts at this year’s Experience.

Saturday evening saw attendees arrive at the Radisson Plaza Hotel for cocktail hour, which included a silent auction of art and memorabilia. Immediately following was a high point of the weekend: the Dinner Gala featuring Leigh and Leslie Keno (well-known appraisers seen on Public Broadcasting’s Antiques Roadshow). Entertainment by magician, author, and historian Dave Charvet rounded out the event. The Kenos and Charvet kept the evening lively and hosting the art auction benefitting the Museum.

Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. the classic cars began to roll onto the field adjacent to the CCCA Museum. Along with Full Classics® were Packards ranging in years from 1900 to 1957. The 1900, owned by Terry Martin, is believed to be the second oldest Packard in existence. Other prewar Packards included many top-of-the-line Full Classics®, along with an excellent assortment of junior models. Postwar examples were equally striking, with all body styles represented: sedans, convertibles, station wagons, and even an Air Force ambulance. And how often do you see not a prewar or postwar, but a 1942 wartime Army staff car? Extraordinary!

With a storm anticipated in Hickory Corners, the show’s winners were announced at noon. Instead of the usual afternoon drive-by, Bob Joynt made his way around the field with a wireless public address microphone, announcing each class and Museum award winner.

Following the complimentary luncheon catered by the Radisson, the Keno brothers presented “Hidden Treasures: Searching for Masterpieces,” focusing on art, antiques, and classic cars. Located in the Gilmore Car Museum conference room, the brothers treated viewers to a slide show. Attendees learned of their love of automobiles, dating back to their youth, and that just as with antique furniture, restoring a collector car may significantly decrease its value.

Although the afternoon weather had looked threatening, the 4:30 p.m. farewell dinner was very pleasant, despite the open-air-tent setting. Attendees had a chance to exchange goodbyes with fellow club members and all were encouraged to attend the CCCA Museum’s Experience weekend next year, happening June 3 through June 5, 2016. See you then!