DEARBORN, Mich. —The 66th annual Old Car Festival rolled into the Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford this weekend. It is considered America’s longest running antique car show. Rev up your engines and let’s celebrate vehicles made from the 1890’s throughout 1932.
“When I came the first time, one of the fellas gave me a ride in his car and it made my day,” said attendee Dennis McMichael from south Atlanta, Ga. “This has been the third time I’ve been to the Old Car Festival since I’ve moved away. I love the show. I don’t have a favorite car, I just like old cars.” Do you own one of these cars? No, says McMichael.
My favorite car was the blue 1913 Ford T owned by Brent Mize from Reynodsburg, Ohio. He’s owned this car since 2007 and bought it for $22,500. His vehicle was not customized in any way. “It’s four cylinders and has no water pump, gas pump or fuel pump,” says Mize.
“It has solid brass headlights and runs on internal magneto. The ignition coils tick when you start it,” added Mize. The vehicle goes to 45 mph with 20 horsepower and runs on regular gas. He has displayed his car at the Old Car Festival since 2005. By the way, 1913 was the first year Henry Ford experimented with the assembly line in Highland Park. By 1914, he had perfected it.
What is your favorite part of owning this car? “Sharing it with others,” says Mize. Then he offered to take us for a ride. What a thrill that was for me. I was surprised how smooth it rode.
The 1918 Detroit Electric was Jason’s favorite car at the Old Car Festival. It is owned by Robin Heller from Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. She owned it for three and a half years. I purchased it in Evanston, Calif. which is in the Los Angeles area. She says it is unique and fun to drive. It gets 50-80 miles on a charge and takes eight to twelve hours to charge it on empty.
“I drive it to non-profit organization meetings in the area. The top speed is 22 mph and get to 25 mph going downhill,” says Heller. “The interior is updated as well as the roof. The outside is original. There is no steering wheel; there is a throttle stick and a steering stick. Also a pedal to press. It can go just as fast in reverse as it can straight ahead.” We noticed there are batteries in the rear of the vehicle, along with a plug-in outlet. She also said her husband owns a Hupmobile. “He’s not allowed to drive my car because I can’t drive his,” chuckled Heller.
Meanwhile, My husband liked the 1929 Auburn Roadster owned by Gerald Daugherty of Plymouth, Mich. “I bought it in 1983 near Toledo, Ohio. It has not been run since before 1950,” says Daugherty. This vehicle is a boattail speedster, which means it comes to a point in the back. “In 1929, the company only made 100 speedsters; small and large. This one is the big one. This was the Corvette of the day,” added Daugherty.
“It is a two-seater, stick shift with a high speed of 108 mph. The car is the original color, has no trunk, but you can lean the seat forward and there is storage space behind. On the running board, there is a shoe scraper with a kick board. It uses regular gas with eight cylinders. The vehicle weighs about 4300 pounds. I also own a Cord. I have been coming to this festival since I was a young man.”
This year’s Old Car Festival also celebrated the centennial of the National Park Service. By the late 1910’s and ’20’s, Americans were adapting to the new automobile technology to their need to explore the great outdoors. “Car camping” was on the rise and the birth of the travel trailer industry began right here in Detroit. Several campers were also on display here.
There was also live music from that golden age and a music, comedy and dance revue called “Simply Gershwin” at the Town Hall. The weather was cloudy the day we went and sprinkled a bit and some car owners started covering their antique cars. However, after a short stint of raindrops, it became sunny and beautiful the rest of the day. It definitely was an enjoyable day at the Old Car Festival.