Now that the 2018 Central Ohio car show season has officially come to an end, it's time to look back over the season for those things that were Good, Bad, and Ugly.
I made it to 62 events this year -- down from the 80 events I attended in 2017. I took more than 7000 photos. For some of you, I probably have more photos of your car than you do.
The list I'm about to present reflects my opinion and my opinion only of the events I attended over the course of the season. In no way does it encompass everything that took place in Central Ohio during 2018. If you attended a show or cruise-in not on my list that you thought was exceptionally good, bad or ugly, please share it with us in the comment section. Feel free to also post a comment if you agree or disagree with any of my choices.
Okay, let's kick things off with the GOOD.
BEST REGISTRATION FEE "JUDGED" CAR SHOWS
Here's the criteria I use when judging an event:
- Was the event well advertised
- Was it well organized. Did registration go smoothly. Were awards presented at the advertised time, and was the award presentation organized.
- Was there ample parking for the size of the event. Was the parking area car friendly (i.e, no pot holes in the pavement. Grass areas properly manicured and free of holes, ruts, and roots. Was the dust level low, etc.)
- Was there ample food and refreshment choices
- If applicable, did the event adequately judge the cars.
- Were the awards unique
- Were other activities going on besides the car show, especially stuff for kids
- Did the DJ and music enhance the event (live bands get extra points in my book). Could the entire event area hear announcements
- Door prize quality
- Vehicle variety (i.e., old vs new, domestic vs exotic)
- Was the cost of registation reasonable
- Was there good spectator support
- And most important of all, was it fun!
With all that said, here are my top three Registration Fee "Judged" Car Shows in 2018:
- Vettes, Rods, and Classics Car Show at the Creekside District in Gahanna, Ohio -- Last year I ranked this the second best registration fee show. This year it moved to my number one spot. Hosted by the Capital City Corvette Club, this show, in my opinion, has the best downtown venue in the area. Except for the initial rush of cars into the show at the beginning, it's well organized and well judged. The restaurants in the Creekside district provide plenty of food choices. There's live entertainment during the last part of the show. No plastic trophies here. The awards presented each year are unique and worthy of being displayed. I really, really like how there's two sets of awards (and two best of shows) -- one for the classics and rods, and the other for the Corvettes. No one goes home with their feelings hurt.
- Cruisin' for a Cause Car & Truck Show at the Discover Church in Dublin, Ohio -- This show moved from the number three spot last year to number two on the list this year. It's a well organized show and the vehicles are thoroughly judged. Along with the car show, there's a craft show inside the church and a model car exhibition going on simultaneously. The top award winners receive unique, custom made trophies. I like how the show divides the cars into classes. Competing with other cars in your class just makes the show a little more interesting.
- Empty Pocket Cruisers Trunk or Treat Car Show at the Hilliard Presbyterian Church in Hilliard, Ohio -- If you're into Halloween, this is the show for you. The Halloween costumes and decorations make this show a lot of fun. You can't help but get a smile on your face when Ohio Zombie Guard makes their entrance and exit. Those guys are worth the price of registration. The Empty Pocket Cruisers give out some pretty nice door prizes as well. It's a fun, fun show and a great way to close out the season.
- Firecracker Car, Truck and Bike Show in Urbana, Ohio
- Colo's Classic Car Show at the Columbus Zoo in Powell, Ohio
Let me close this category by mentioning that the most expensive registration fee for the top three shows was $15. This proves that organizers don't have to charge an arm and a leg to put on a good show.
BEST NO REGISTRATION FEE "JUDGED" CAR SHOWS
- Rod Knockers Car Show at the Rural King in Marion, Ohio
- Cruisin with the King in 2018 hosted by the Mid Ohio Cruisers at the Marysville, Ohio Burger King
- Jack Maxton's Friday Night Cruisin' at Jack Maxton Chevrolet dealership in Columbus, Ohio
- Creative Towing/Advanced Auto Parts Car Show - at the Advanced Auto Parts store in Marysville, Ohio
- Jim Young Memorial Car Show at the Giant Eagle store at Grandview Yard in Grandview, Ohio
My top three picks for Best No Registration Fee "Judged" Show remain the same as last year. In 2017, I stated the Rod Knockers and Cruisin' with King could easily reverse each other for the number one and two spots. This year I think the Rod Knockers distanced themselves from the rest of the pack as the top pick. Jack Maxton's would certainly be a strong contender for the number one spot if it were open to all makes and models. Not that I'm suggesting it change from an ALL Chevy event.
- Der Dutchman Weekly Cruise-in at the Der Dutchman Restaurant in Plain City, Ohio
- Rally for the Ranch at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio
- Coffee and Cars at the Richwood Bank in Delaware, Ohio
- Inagural Toy Barn Car Show at the Toy Barn dealership in Dublin, Ohio
- Caffeine and Gasoline at the International Center for Creativity in Powell, Ohio
Der Dutchman, in my opinion, is hands down the number one cruise-in in Central Ohio. The weekly event grew in popularity by leaps and bounds this year. It became so popular that a second porta potty had to be added to the grounds. The restaurant's goal of 200 cars was reached on September 20 when the cruise-in registered 253 vehicles. If your into cars, there's not a better way to spend a Thursday evening.
I participated in the Rally for the Ranch for the first time this year. I've got to say I really enjoyed the event. Everyone that registered a vehicle received a complimentary breakfast at Smith & Wolkensk plus a very nice goody bag. I'm still using the Gyeon glass cleaner from the goody bag.
I only made it to two out of the four Coffee and Cars at the Richwood Bank. The cruise-in has turned out to be a great way to spend a Saturday morning. Anyone who brings a car is illegible for a complimentary refreshment from the coffee bar inside the bank. They're also entered into the raffle drawing for three door prizes at the end of the cruise-in. Can't beat that.
I didn't make it to any of the Saturday morning Cars and Coffee at Lennox Town Center this year, which is why it dropped off my list. I heard about a few Saturdays were attendance was so strong there wasn't places to park.
MY TEN FAVORITE VEHICLES OF 2018
These are the cars and trucks that made me stop and take a second or sometimes a third look.
Jay Benedict's 1957 Thunderbird. This car was an Indiana barn find that Jay acquired over the winter. It hadn't been driven since 1977 and was covered in 6 inches of dirt and bird poop when he found it. I can only imagine the amount of "elbow grease" Jay had to use to get this T-Bird ready for car shows.
The 1965 Dodge Dart convertible tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen belonging to Ernest Rosser. I only saw this car once this year at the Empty Pocket's Armed Forces Day Car Show in May. It made an impression on me that I will not forget.
Along the same patriotic/military theme is the 2015 Chevy Camaro of Kevin Jahan. All the art work on the car is airbrushed -- there are no decals. Kevin drives all the way (about 140 miles) from Portage, Ohio to participate in many Central Ohio shows.
The 1965 Ford Mustang GT convertible with original Paxton supercharger kit owned by Don Overly comes in at number 7 on the list. I first saw this car at the third Der Dutchman cruise-in and was immediately struck by the pristine quality of the entire car.
Production of Clement Thun's 1942 Pontiac Streamliner started in August of 1941 but quickly ended in February of 1942 so Pontiac could devote all its resources to producing military equipment for WWII. Only 83,555 were ever produced.
The 1963 VW Ragtop Sedan belonging to Bruce Paul is a Volkswagen done right. Lots of attention to detail. The car took the Best of Show award for the Rods and Classics at the Creekside show.
A rare 1957 Chevy Special Delivery Wagon owned by Bill and Donna Clark. This is #43 of 92 built by GM for the government. The driver side has a solid panel while the passenger side has a wagon window. It took the Best of Show award at the Firecracker Car, Truck and Bike in Urbana on the Fourth of July.
Call me weird but I really get excited when I see a modern day engine put into a "classic" car. The car that best exemplified that combination this year was J. Nutter's 1962 Chevy Bel Air with a supercharged LSA engine. J's Bel Air won Best of Show at the Hiltop Bean Dinner Cars in the Park and Jack Maxton's July show.
The first time I laid eyes on Steve Andrix's 1948 Chevy pickup was at Wholly Joe's back in May. I was extremely impressed with the cleanliness of the truck. I couldn't find an imperfection anywhere. Steve completed the truck over the winter and this was his first year showing it. The truck took Best of Show awards two weekends in a row at Cruisin' For a Cause and the Centerburg USA Days shows.
Every year I come across one vehicle that makes me shake my head and just say wow! Last year it was a pink 1959 Cadillac convertible. This year that vehicle is the 1967 Impala SS 427 owned by Ron Hoeft. Ron brought his car to the August Jack Maxton show.
He bought the car new in June of 1967 then sold it to his cousin in February of 1968 prior to entering the service. He bought the car back from his cousin in 1977. From 1976 to 1997 (21 yrs) it sat in a barn. Ron did a complete frame off restore. All glass, body panels, and interior with the exception of the drivers seat and carpet are original. It is also numbers matching. When you see it in person, it looks like Ron just drove it off the show room floor. The car is absolutely stunning in its originality!
THE UNIQUE AND UNUSAL
Over the course of a season, you're bound to run into some unique and unusual vehicles participating in various events.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS
- Presenting Wayne and Luella Nisly with a plaque of appreciation for all the work they do each week to make the Der Dutchman cruise-ins great.
2. Jeff Shankle giving his trophy from the Cruisin' West Jefferson Ox Roast Labor Day show to a young man who entered his wheel chair in the show but didn't receive an award.
3. Burnouts at the end of the Mario Knapp show.
4. Dan "Boots" Longenette from Auto Smarts Radio bringing his "BADD 57" to Der Dutchman
5. Any show when you and your friends all go home with some hardware.
Okay, now it's time to talk about the bad.
- The Weather
Let's begin with the weather. In the seven years I've been participating in car shows, I have never seen so many events either canceled or postponed due to weather. Jack Maxton postponed three out of four of their shows. Two shows hosted by the Empty Pocket Cruisers had to be moved to their rain dates. The Centerburg and Johnstown events were rescheduled two weeks later because of rain. The On the Rocks spring show and Vanity Gentlemans Club shows were also rescheduled to the following weekend because of weather. The number of events that were cancelled are too numerous to list.
These photos sum up the weather this year:
If it wasn't raining, it was stifling hot. Two shows that stood out because of the heat and humidity were the Firecracker show in Urbana and the Creekside show in Gahanna. It was so hot at Creekside that EMS were called to assist some of the participants. Temperatures were still in the upper 80s for Colo's Classic on October 7.
2. People's Choice Judging
I've expressed my dislike for people's choice judging many times on this website so I won't elaborate my reasons again. It seems more shows chose to use this form of judging this year. The worst example was the All About Autism show where the ballots were placed in a stack at the registration table. Anyone could grab a handful of ballots and vote multiple times for their own car. How fair was that! If you're going use people's choice judging, at least do it like it was done at the Mario Knapp Memorial Car Show.
3. Award presentations delayed by silent auctions
I participated in two shows this year (both at Quaker Steak 'n Lube) that held silent auctions immediately prior to the award presentation. In both cases the silent auction went longer than planned and delayed the start of the award presentation by more than 30 minutes. It was so bad at the All About Autism show that more than a third of the cars left before the start of the awards presentation. Include me in that third. It's the one and only time I've left a show before the awards were given out.
My advice to show organizers is start your silent auction well ahead of the designated award time. Show participants expect the awards to start on time. We've planned our day around the show times, sat in the hot sun for hours, and are ready to go home!
I could only come up with a few ugly things this year.
- Closing of Wholly Joe's restaurant and loss of their weekly cruise-in. It's always ugly and sad to see an event go away.
- The physical wounds my wife and I received during the season. At least my wife's shoulder replacement surgery was planned. Cutting off the tip of my finger trying to diagnose an engine noise turned out to be one of those "What the Hell were you thinking" moments.
3. Event organizers that only advertise their event on Facebook.
I can't tell you how many shows I found out about after the fact because they were only on Facebook.
Word of advice to organizers. If you want your show to reach the largest target audience, post it to other web sites besides Facebook. Good examples are Old Ride, Cruisin' Times Online, Auto Smarts Radio and this site. Half of the classic car owners don't have Facebook accounts and will never know about your event if that's your sole method of advertising.
Despite the weather, people's choice judging and finger tip loss, the 2018 Central Ohio car show season turned out to be another great one. I made lots of new friends and saw a lot of fantastic vehicles. There was only one show I went to this year that I didn't know a least one other person.
A BIG, BIG Thanks goes out to Jeff and Pam Shankle for being my eyes and ears at events I didn't attend. The two of them drove all over the state of Ohio to participate in 88 events this season! I could count on Jeff "blowing up" my phone with photos most Saturdays and Sundays. It forced me to add unlimited text messaging to my cell phone plan.
I'd also like to thank Russ Annis, Frank Sanborn and Tim Inscho who also provided reports and photos from shows I was absent.
2019 should be another big year for Central Ohio car enthusiasts. First show of the season will be the Mid Ohio Cruisers Snowball Cruise on January 19 at the Burger King in Marysville, Ohio. Let's hope for a "balmy" January.
I'd like to close by wishing everyone a safe and happy Holiday season. I look forward to seeing all of you next year...