As this month’s issue of Cincinnati Profile goes to press, we have recently finished the annual January event that keeps many classic and custom car fans sane during the cold Cincinnati winter: the Cavalcade of Customs. This year was the 55th installment of this weekend long event, making it nearly as old as I am.

The Cavalcade is a great way for us to start each year. It is filled with a massive collection of custom cars that fills two floors of the Duke Energy Center (Photo 1). But it isn’t just about great custom rides, there are also a large number of condition one classics that gleam under the lights (Photo 2). When you add in a liberal helping of imports (Photo 3) you are sure to find something that will press the throttle of every car enthusiast.

But after the Cavalcade it’s a long cold winter before the classic car fan has to start marking days on their calendar. Oh, sure, there is the Cincinnati Auto Expo in the Duke Energy Center from Feb. 18 through the 22nd but that is for cars that folks hope one day to become classics.

There are a handful of drive-ins for those who want to brave the weather but they don’t really start until April. Fuel Coffee down on Riverside Dr. will host their Coffee and Cars events on Saturday mornings, weather permitting (Photo 4).

For the past six years the Roberts Center in Wilmington has hosted the Chizazz Valentine’s Day Car Show in February (Photo 5) but so far I haven’t been able to confirm if they’ll be one this year. Last year saw a drastic dip in attendance for some reason. Hopefully the show gets held to give us gear heads a brief winter respite.

If you can brave it through until the end of March you can take a drive up to Dayton and check out the Dayton World of Wheels. Similar to the Cavalcade, this event is held in the Dayton Expo Center from March 27 through the 29. Here’s a helpful hint, if you plan to go you can find a $2.00 off coupon on the web site.

All of this still leaves us waiting for the official opening of our car show season which happens on Sunday, April 26. That is when the Loop in Sharonville will be filled with great classics once again as the 38th Annual Sharonville Classic Car Show returns (Photo 6). Sponsored by the Sharonville Chamber of Commerce this is one of the oldest shows in the region. Not only is this the chance for folks to stretch their legs and show off their cars after a long winter but it’s also the first opportunity to buy the Show and Shine Calendar which is a necessity for any classic car fan.

With any luck, this coming year will share a lot of great car events with what I was able to attend last year. But I don’t want it to be exactly the same. We had a great deal of rain throughout this past year and with my spotty schedule to being with I ended up missing out on a lot of shows I wanted to attend.
I did managed to attend four different concours events this past year, though. Obviously our local event, the Ault Park Concours d’Elegance is a must (Photo 7). Held, obviously, in Ault Park, the show itself is Sunday, June 14 but there are events all weekend long. Mercedes Benz is the featured marque this year. They are also celebrating 60 Years of the Thunderbird, the 70th Anniversary of the VW Beetle, and something I can’t wait to see, Future Cars from the Past.

Unfortunately the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has officially announced that there will not be a Celebration of Automobiles event for 2015. They made the announcement on their Facebook page for the concours quality program. Last year’s event was spectacular (Photo 8) as it not only featured a vast array of great cars but was also held in conjunction with the Indianapolis Grand Prix. Here’s a little bit of video I posted from one of the races from this past year. Pardon the shaky camera at times, I was shooting without a tri-pod and using a very long lens. But I think you get the idea of how quick these guys move around the track.

A short drive south down I-75 in July will take you to the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance. Similar to Ault Park, there is a long weekend schedule but the actual show takes place on Saturday, July 18 (Photo 9). In addition to this year’s featured marque, Maserati, Keeneland has a very unique Car Club Paddock which allows owners to park their classic cars closer to the action. It also allows people in the audience to wander through this area and enjoy some non-concours cars. Last year there were 425 cars parked there (Photo 10).

Something else the folks at Keeneland are offering this year is the Lane Motor Museum Special Display. The Lane Motor Museum is premier museum in Nashville that boasts 350 cars and over 50 classic motorcycles. Lane regularly presents cars from its collection in concours events all over the country, including the antique seen here (Photo 11) that was part of the 2013 Ault Park Concours. I can’t wait to see what they’ll be showing at Keeneland.

Just north up I-75 is the place to be on Sunday, Sept. 20 for the Dayton Concours d’Elegance. Held in beautiful Carrilon Park just south of downtown, the Dayton Concours is a newer event but is proving to be very popular. This will be its ninth annual event. They seem to open up beyond some of the more traditional classes and actually include hot rods and street rods (Photo 12). So far I haven’t been able to find out what some of their featured classes will be but if it is anything like the last few years it is definitely worth checking out.

Competing with Dayton on Sept. 20 is the Concours d’Elegance at Stan Hywet Hall near Akron. On Oct. 4 is the Concours d’Elegance at French Lick Resort in Indiana (formerly the Louisville Concours). Information on these and any other concours in the country can be found at Concours Dates a great web site for learning more about what’s going on with these types of events.

As I’ve gone back through some of the events I was able to attend this past year I’ve noticed more and more cars from the 1980s making their way onto the lawns and parking lots. That isn’t surprising as by technical standards, these cars are now considered classics.

The Antique Automobile Club of America was founded back in 1935 with the intention of promoting the restoration of old cars. The group, founded near Philadelphia, started with 14 members whose cars ranged from a 1901 Winton to a 1912 Overland. One member even had a then, 30 year old AutoCar, similar to the one seen here (Photo 13).

AACA dealt with all things relating to antique automobiles. This included publishing a member magazine, acquiring materials and parts for cars and, of course, hosting an annual event where members could showcase their prized possessions. It was the event which prompted the need for certain rules to be put into place.

By 1954 over 300 participants attended the showcase. The organization decided to not be sticklers for which cars would be allowed to attend. The one rule that came out of this was the 25 year rule; meaning that any car 25 years old was eligible for inclusion.

What does that mean today? Think about it. This year 1990 model cars are officially considered classics. Will we be seeing a 1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera on the show grounds at events? Will a Plymouth Laser be parked next to a Cadillac Allante? Could a Dodge Omni and a Ford Taurus SHO share the same field as a 1955 Chevy Bel Air? Yes.

Is this a good thing? Well there are the old school purists who do not. Some “classic” car owners whose cars were born in the 1950s and 1960s don’t want to share the stage with such “modern” metal. Keep in mind, though, that there was a time when the owner of a 1942 Packard Victoria (Photo 14) probably thought the same thing about that 1965 Mustang that pulled in next to him (Photo 15).

Cars from 1990, whether you agree or not, are now considered classics. That brings with it a generation of folks who grew up with those cars, who rode in them to their Little League baseball games or their elementary school play, who learned to drive in them or who one day dreamed of owning one. With the average age of people in this hobby growing older, itself become an antique, it needs this new group to step up and step in if it is going to drive not only into 2015 but beyond.

Photo 1

The Cavalcade at the Duke Energy Center (Photo 1)

Photo 2

The Cavalcade features a large number of condition one classics (Photo 2)

Photo 3

There’s also a liberal helping of imports at The Cavalcade (Photo 3)

Photo 4

Fuel Coffee hosts Coffee and Cars events on Saturday mornings, weather permitting (Photo 4)

Photo 5

The Roberts Center in Wilmington hosts the Chizazz Valentine’s Day Car Show in February (Photo 5)

Photo 6

The 38th Annual Sharonville Classic Car Show returns Sunday, April 26 (Photo 6)

Photo 7

The annual Ault Park Concours d’Elegance is a must (Photo 7).

Photo 8

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Celebration of Automobiles  (Photo 8)

Photo 9

The Keeneland Concours d’Elegance takes place on Saturday, July 18 (Photo 9)

Photo 10

The Keeneland Concours d’Elegance (Photo 10).

Photo 11

Keeneland is offering the Lane Motor Museum Special Display, which presents cars such as this antique (Photo 11)

Photo 12

Dayton Concours d’Elegance  (Photo 12)

Photo 13

The Antique Automobile Club of America (Photo 13).

Photo 14

1942 Packard Victoria (Photo 14)

Photo 15

1965 Mustang (Photo 15)