The sun arose to greet the loyal enthusiasts early Saturday in Pure Michigan. A day had come for car lovers all over the midwest to show their wares, drool over their hopes, and appreciate the one and only Concours d’Elegance of America.
A bevy of volunteers shine every year and for the past 40 in Plymouth to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. Park here, eat there, show there, you get my drift. Over three hundred beloved beauties would be showing up shortly to be judged on their merits and loved by their fans…but that would happen on Sunday.
Today is Saturday. No fanfare, no judging, some polishing (diapers included) and just plain showing off. Buy your “Shift Happens” and “Three Pedals No Problem” t-shirts at the Hagerty booth.
The venue, The Inn at St. John’s. Today is no wedding but for many of those present, they’re married to their cars.
The stage set, I start my cruise around the asphalt…wondering what treasures I’ll find…that’s the fun.
Cars, check. Coffee (sponsored by Biggby Coffee), check. Donuts, check. Here are just a few of the well-loved autos on display…Hagerty played a big part as a major sponsor as well as Car and Driver and M1Concourse.
Hagerty’s Classic Car Ride and Drive was a chance to drive/ride in a classic. 15 minutes in one of these and I’m hooked. Hagerty is happy to help me insure it, it’s their specialty.
“The Judge” – can you find the diaper in the picture above? lol
Green car guys were ecstatic…Mustangs galore…Bullitts anyone?
I’ve never seen so much Highland Green in my life!
Every show brings a few unique looks…a shoe salesman from Arizona used this truck for his business before a local Detroiter got his hands on it.
My stroll through the maze begins to slow as the sun rises high in the sky. The witching hour approaches. “The One That Got Away” seminar is being hosted by Hagerty. Their featured panelist, none other than Wayne Carini himself from Velocity Channel’s Chasing Classic Cars, will be in attendance.
A chance to meet Wayne highlights my trip to automobile Mecca.
Hagerty’s Brad Philips did a great job of moderating the gathering of over 300 in the Judea Room of The Inn. Slides were shown of cars that each of the guests had owned.
Their happiness/regret was highlighted by showing what they paid for the car and then what it would be worth now if they had kept it. Sounds simple right…boring…NO WAY!
Responsible for valuations was Vice President of Valuation Services Brian Rabold from Hagerty. His comedic anecdotes meant to stir conversation from the panel, worked like a charm. The all-too-familiar PowerPoint format came to life.
Stories, it’s always the stories, that win the day. Hearing each account of purchase, circumstance, and thought process was fascinating. Most of us have an epiphany of some sort as we recall our past choices. These accounts were laden with them. First cars, mid-life crisis cars, sentimental cars, the list goes on. Some are still owned to this day and bring pleasure to families and friends. Some tax the owner so, they are happy to see them leave the garage.
The oohs, the ahhhs. All expressed sincerely, by both crowd and panel.
Wrapping up the almost one hour presentation was a Q & A session. One guest wanted to know what to buy. The comment was made by the panel, “are you a polisher or a driver”? Chuckles radiated through the room like spectators doing the wave at a baseball game.
Polisher? Buy a car that runs well. The latter…get your on-board toolkit ready and snatch up one of those hard to fix, but really awesome to drive, barn finds.
After meeting Wayne in person, I can understand why he’s so successful. Those piercing blue eyes, that moustache and every hair in place, but as personable as you could ask for. He exudes kindness and never refuses a fan photo-op.
As you can see above…I took my opportunity.
I walk away from this Saturday in July realizing again that cars bring us together.
I’m glad to be part of this culture…It makes me happy.
So did Wayne.