Antique Automobile Club of America to host car show
Southwest Floridians are crazy for classic automobiles. There have been a plethora of car shows over the last two months, from specialized events in strip mall parking lots to mad collections of the rare autos at Sun Splash Family Waterpark.
Part of the allure is the region’s often blissful weather, despite the pending cold snap, which offers year-round top down conditions to display classic, long dormant body styles.
“I’d say it has to do with cabin fever,” classic auto enthusiast Bob Nelson said. “People, particularly snowbirds, come down here to get away from the cold. They simply want to get on the road.”
Nelson is the incoming president of the Edison Region Antique Automobile Club of America, a national organization dedicated to preserving and furthering interest in antique autos.
The chapter’s 18th annual car show hits Jaycee Park this weekend, adding to the long list of recent car displays.
Despite the numerous shows that have come before, Nelson insists the AACA show offers something different, something everyone can enjoy.
“Our club is not a specific car model or style, we’re a mix of everything,” Nelson said. “We’re not the Corvette or Jag club … we’re the mutts of the car clubs around here.”
The AACA draws an eclectic mix of autos, ranging in era and styles from the 1930s to the muscle cars of the 1960s and ’70s.
Nelson described the cars as “works of art.”
“The same attraction that draws someone who insists on having a Picasso, draws someone to a Vette or Jag. Except, of course, they don’t sit motionless on a wall,” Nelson said.
Admittedly, Nelson is a “snowbird” from Chicago who drove his 1996 Jaguar out of town just in time to avoid the first big winter strike.
In the grander scheme of car collecting, Nelson labels himself a “poor” collector. Aside from the Jaguar, which has a mere 21,000 miles, he also owns a 1938 Cadillac LaSalle and 1984 diesel engine Volvo that draws the ire of his wife for being “noisy and stinky.”
Most collectors are much more rabid than Nelson, often letting their passion take control.
“Once people get one car, it’s like children, they say the car needs a companion,” Nelson joked. “Most collectors are men, but wives like them to. But I think wives like them because in keeps the husbands in the garage.”
A “show fee” of $15 is required per car that is going to be entered into competition, and $5 parking fee for each spectator. Awards are given for 13 different classes.
The AACA will donate proceeds from the show to several local charities. Nelson said food banks like Harry Chapin and the Soup Kitchen benefit from the show as does the classic cars at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.
Even with the threat of 40 degree, and maybe lower, temperatures looming, it does not deter Nelson’s passion for his classic autos.
“Florida is a great place for antique cars,” he said. “There’s none of that antique color down here, which is rust.”
For more information, contact Nelson via cell phone at 773-316-2666.