Text by Carol Vogt - Photography by Walt Herip
The 30th Anniversary Experience featuring Senior Classics opened June 3rd, a gorgeous Friday morning for a country driving tour to Battle Creek, Bellevue, and Nashville, Michigan. The tour visited Classic Restorations, LLC. owned by Club members Brad and Kellie Janousek where our Museum’s 1939 Delahaye is being restored, followed by a stop at a private collection of Model T’s. The excursion stopped for lunch at Southern Exposure Herb Farm, a charming site in the peaceful, rolling countryside. From there, the drive continued through scenic back country roads to Moo-Ville Creamery for ice cream before returning to the CCCA Museum.
Friday evening, attendees reunited with friends during a relaxing barbecue held this year inside the Gilmore Car Museum’s Heritage Center. All were welcomed by Museum President, Howard Freedman followed by a fascinating presentation by Grand Marshal, Bill Warner. Bill shared a preview of his new book (complete with photos) titled “The Cuban Car Culture”, the result of in-depth trips to Cuba probing hidden garages and backyards of Cuban automobile enthusiasts. It was a great reminder of the freedoms we Americans enjoy and often forget that others in the world are not as fortunate.
Saturday was a beautiful day for the Grand Classic, art show, and gala banquet. At 1:00pm, David Chapple, Art Show Chairperson, hosted an “Introduction to Automotive Art” where attendees met the artists, toured the remarkable art on display, and also got a sneak peek at the items to be auctioned later that evening. We were fortunate to have eleven artists displaying their art, five of which contributed magnificent pieces to our live auction. Original paintings including a watercolor and a bronze sculpture of “The Great Race” were included. The artists were Sue Steele Thomas, Alex Buchan, Dan Brown, David Chapple, Gerald Freeman, Tom Hale, Branden Hochstetler, Dan McCrary, Chris Osborne, Steve Macy, and Tony Sikorski.
That evening, the Experience Dinner Gala was held at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo. Guests spent the social hour visiting, vying for items in the silent auction, and enjoying the automotive art to be auctioned. Throughout the evening, attendees were captivated by the hocus-pocuses of magician, author, and historian Dave Charvet. Anxiously awaited awards for the Grand Classic were announced and distributed and lastly, everyone was enthralled by auctioneer of the evening, Bill Parfet. Bill did a fabulous job of entertaining while luring competitiveness in the sale of the art, VIP packages to Amelia Island, Boca Raton, Pebble Beach, and St. Johns, as well as fantastic getaways to Tuscany, Italy donated by Bill and Chris Snyder and a deluxe weekend package at the quaint 19th century townhouse, The Spread Eagle Tavern & Inn, which included tours of nearby private car collections donated by David Johnson. A huge thank you to our generous donors!
Sunday morning brought cooler temperatures and rain just in time to begin the show. Although the weather kept a few cars away, the prestigious Senior Classics, as well as other beautiful Full Classics® ranging from a 1920 Packard 12 335 Phaeton owned by Ed Schoenthaler to a 1948 Jaguar 6 3½ Liter Saloon owned by Carl & Carrol Jensen, rolled onto the field. Other marks including Auburn, Bentley, Buick, Cadillac, Cord, Isotta-Fraschini, Kissel, Lincoln, Marmon, Nash, and Pierce Arrow were represented. The show’s winners were revealed by Bob Joynt and David Schultz with the customary afternoon drive-by.
Although the day began with rain, it was short lived. The sun came out for a pleasant farewell dinner where Club members exchanged goodbyes and all were encouraged to attend next year’s CCCA Museum Experience to be held the weekend of June 3rd and 4th, 2017. Until then, safe and happy motoring.