Another Central Ohio car show season has come to an end. As we put the cars away until next spring, it's time to look back at the memories that were made during the season that just ended.
As always, I must state the usual disclaimer. The opinions expressed in the following paragraphs are mine. They are from the events I attended and the vehicles l saw. If you agree or disagree with anything I've written, please free to post in the comment section. I'd love to know your thoughts.
Okay, let's start off with some statistics about this past season.
- From January through November, there were 1108 Central Ohio car events posted to carshowtalk.com. Clearly enough to keep anyone that loves cars very, very busy.
- The month with the most events was July with 222.
- The month with the least events was November with 16. No surprise there.
- The week with the most events was August 14 -20 with 56.
- There was a new post on carshowtalk.com 36 out of 52 weeks this year. Yes, the website kept me pretty busy.
- There were reports or mentions on 274 of the 1108 events listed on carshowtalk.com.
I participated in 89 events in Ohio this year and I was a spectator at another four. This pales in comparison to the number of events these three Central Ohio cruisers participated in.
Jeff Shankle made it to 160 events breaking his personal best. Jeff Tolley did 240 car shows, cruise-ins, and swap meets. Dave O'Brien did a few more at 243 and says he still has some more to attend.
I'm pretty confident no one else attended more events this year than those three. For Dave O'Brien and Jeff Tolley, it was almost a car show or cruise-ins every day.
CAR SHOWS, CRUISE-INS, MEET-UPS
Of all the car shows, cruise-ins, and meet-ups I attended this season, One stands out far above the rest. It was the Der Dutchman Cruise-in on June 8th celebrating the life of the late Luella Nisly, wife of Wayne Nisly.
That Thursday evening 617 cars and close to 1000 people were in attendance. The support from the Central Ohio car community for Wayne, Luella, and the cruise-in was amazing. Looking back at the crowd of people during the raffle drawing gave me goosebumps. It will be a cruise-in I will never forget.
Continuing with Der Dutchman, twice this year heavy rains overnight caused either cancellation of the cruise-in or partial closer of the main field because of standing water. This is the first time in the twelve-year history of the cruise-in that happened.
The Capital City Corvette Club's annual Vettes, Rods, and Classics in Gahanna, Ohio continues to be one of my top shows in the area. The Creekside District makes a great venue for a car show. Sprinkle in some "live" entertainment from the band Reeling in the Years. Then add in lots of community support, a great cause, and beautiful Corvettes and classic cars and you've got all the ingredients for a successful car show.
The Rod Knockers Car Club out of Marion, Ohio still managed to put on the best no-registration fee monthly car show in the area. The club did this despite a change in management at the Rural King which wasn't particularly car show friendly.
Sadly, the club announced after the last show in October that it had decided to take some time off to re-evaluate its direction moving forward. This means no more monthly car shows at the Rural King in Marion for the foreseeable future. These monthly shows will definitely be missed by a lot of folks in 2024.
Organized and promoted by Glayton Noggle, the Friday evening River Pop-up meets at Griggs Reservoir in Upper Arlington, Ohio turned out to be very popular by season's end. Clayton's military background made sure everyone followed the rules and it resulted in more people feeling comfortable enough to participate in the meet-ups. Attendance at the August 25th meet-up was estimated to be between 200 - 250 cars. Very impressive for a meet-up.
It's easy to take for granted Goodguys Summit Racing Nationals since it comes to town every year (2020 being the one exception). We are truly blessed to have an event like this in our backyard every July.
For anyone who loves cars, the show and the after-hours parties at the Crown Plaza and Polaris Hilton are like a kid in a candy store.
When it came to Goodguys Awards, Central Ohio was well represented this year.
Looking back, I participated in 14 events this year for the very first time. The one that stands out from the group is the Antique Car Show and Petroliana Swap on Memorial Day in Mt Victory, Ohio.
Cars parked all over people's lawns are something you don't see at many cruise-ins. Factor in the opportunity to view the oil and gas memorabilia in the outbuildings on Don Houchin's property and you soon realize the Mt Victory event is rather unique. I plan to go back next year.
Events that were my favorites in previous years, continued to be favorites again this year.
There's just something special about the cars, the crowd, and the venue that makes Columbus Cars and Coffee Arena District Meet something special.
If you own a Corvette or are into Corvettes, The Ohio Corvette Club Alliance Corvette Gathering in downtown Lancaster, Ohio is one of those events you definitely need to attend. It's essentially a BIG Cruise-in for Corvettes. This year the Gathering registered more than 400 Corvettes.
In July, the Toy Barn in Dublin, Ohio started hosting weekly meet-ups at the dealership. Each meet-up featured a different vehicle. One week it was All American Cars and Trucks. The next week it was BMW Night. After that it was Bourbon and Exotics, then Viper Night -- you get the picture.
I attended two of the meet-ups -- the All American Cars and Trucks and Corvette Night. Corvette Night turned out to be one of the most enjoyable events I did in 2023. I hung out that evening with Arch Mayer and Greg Hopkins, enjoyed a cold beer, and saw some beautiful Corvettes. Doesn't get much better than that in my book.
A car show season in review would not be complete without mentioning Dan "Boots" Longenette and The Auto Smarts Radio Cruise and Ride Tour, Shaun "Big Dawg" Sanders and the C-Town Cruisers, and Frank Russell and the Crossroads Events. Those three groups combined for almost 70 car shows in Central Ohio this season. It takes a lot of effort to put on one car show let alone 70. All three groups deserve a big round of applause and thank you.
I could go on and on about other big events that took place in Central Ohio this season. There were the two Import Face-Offs, The Mopar Nationals, The Arthritis Classic Car Show, and Cruise-in, and the two Jax Wax Street Madness just to mention a few. We have nothing to complain about when it comes to car events in Central Ohio.
This season was not without a little controversy. The feud between Auto Smarts Radio and the Purple Door Church reached a peak in early June when Boots announced a show at the Upper Deck in Grove City on the same day as the Purple Door show. Both shows were within 0.3 miles of each other. The Central Ohio car community quickly took sides and there was a lengthy discussion about Boots' show on Facebook. Both shows ended up with well over 100 cars and everyone seemed to quickly move on after the events.
I'm not sure what was in the air or water on August 19th but after that Saturday, Columbus Cars and Coffee at the City Apartments took a few weeks off because of noise complaints from the residence. I was told a Lamborghini with California plates decided to do multiple wide-open throttle pulls on Olentangy River Road in front of the apartments.
And Yabo's Taco permanently canceled its weekly car meet after its Charity Drive-In got so out of control that police were called.
Man, Motorcycle and Dog:
At the July Creative Automotive/Advanced Auto Parts show, a man on a motorcycle and his dog stopped by the show. The little dog stood guard on the handlebars of the motorcycle while his owner walked around and looked at the cars. The dog would not budge from his owner's motorcycle despite efforts to coax him off. When it was time to leave, the little dog curled up inside the windshield of the motorcycle, and off they rode. It was the craziest thing I'd ever seen.
Registration fees seemed to hold steady this year. The majority of shows were $15. There were still a few shows charging a $10 fee while some of the bigger events charged $20 to $25.
The biggest rip-off was pre-registration. Most events with pre-registration offered a $5 discount for registering early. But then you had to pay a service fee -- usually $2 -- to the 3rd party company handling the registration so the discount only amounted to $3. There were several shows that charged the same amount whether you pre-registered or registered the day of the show. Because of the service fee, those who pre-registered ended up paying $2 more. All I can say is keep an eye on the service fee whenever you pre-register next year. The convenience of using a credit card may not be the bargain you think.
The Central Ohio car community lost five cruisers in 2023. May they all Rest In Peace.
Top 10 Cars:
At the end of every season, I go through all the photos I took and pick my "Favorite" ten cars. These are cars that made me take a second, third, and sometimes a fourth look.
I'll start with this 2022 RAM TRX pickup with a supercharged Hemi engine covered from head to toe in Rhino Lining. I saw this truck at the Toy Barn All American Car and Truck Night. Just imagine how much fun it would be to pick up some lumber at the local Home Depot in a 707 HP pickup.
I admit I'm a sucker for Restomods. Dean Lampman's 1962 Corvette with the same LT4 engine out of a C7 Corvette Z06 or 6th-gen Camaro ZL1 is my top Restomod for 2023.
Dan Varner describes his 1991 Camaro Z/28 1LE as a "Hidden Gem". And that couldn't be more true. With under 5000 miles on the odometer, the car looks like it was picked up and transported right from the dealer's showroom to the car show.
Bryan Mauger's 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo is about as clean and original as a classic car can get.
He doesn't bring it out very often, but James Elsmore's 1964 Plymouth Belvedere wagon is one beautiful piece of machinery.
I saw this 1961 Chevrolet Impala at the Powell Cruize-In and Pig Out in August. The car is on loan to Joe Wood while the owner builds him a similar car.
Nothing says "Bad Ass" more than a "triple black" car. Brian Dumond's 1969 Pontiac is no exception.
Tony Oliver paid under two grand for this 2004 Mustang GT. You can imagine what kind of shape it was in when he bought it. The end result of Tony's hard work is absolutely stunning.
Scott Varney completed the restoration of his Oldsmobile Super 88 earlier this year. The Bud "Pockets" Carter Memorial Car Show was only the second or third time Scott showed the car. It paid off with a Best of Show award.
Built for SEMA, this custom 1995 Chevrolet Camaro convertible belonging to Bob Kirst has a Wow Factor 10 miles long.
That's it. My top 10 for 2023.
No one could ask for a better Central Ohio car show season than the one we just experienced in 2023. We can't even complain too much about the weather. It wasn't too bad.
I met some new people this year and I got to know a lot of people I met in previous years a little better. It's easy to interact with folks when we all share one thing in common - Cars.
I'm especially grateful to all the people who sent in photos and information about shows that I wasn't able to attend. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, there were 274 events reported this year. That number would have been cut by two-thirds without the help I received from the community. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all you did for carshowtalk.com.
It's time for my customary 2-3 month break from blogging about Central Ohio car events. Unless some breaking car news happens in the next couple of months, I'll be back in February with the first version of Save the Dates for 2024.
Before I sign off, I'm going to leave you with a photo montage I put together of the 2023 season. I went through all the photos I took and all the photos other people sent me and picked the ones I thought best represented the season. Enjoy! I'll see everyone in 2024.