16 June 2009

The CCCA Experience Returns to the Gilmore Museum

The Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) held its Senior Car Experience show at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, on June 7, 2009. As always, the array of restored cars from the Classic era (1925-48) was impressive, with some very fine Packards, Duesenbergs and Cadillacs on display at the judged show. But equally impressive were the unrestored cars that were interspersed among the shiny, freshly restored ones.

The trend of recognizing unrestored "preservation class" automobiles as special continues to gain momentum. While it's always refreshing and surprising to see a well-preserved car from the post-war era, it's truly rare to see a largely original car from the Classic era. The unrestored 1929 Murphy-bodied Duesenberg that was displayed at the show may be the only of its kind in the world.

Another unrestored car - a 1932 Packard 8 903 owned by Lyall Trenholm - was awarded top honors by the young judges who participated in Hagerty's Youth Judging Program at the event, a somewhat surprising choice considering the totally original car might be underappreciated even by some experienced collectors. This is the second year the CCCA teamed up with Hagerty for the youth judging program in an effort to increase interest in pre-war cars among the younger generation.

Other youth-judged winners were a 1931 Chrysler LeBaron 8 CG owned by Jim Aldrich and a 1929 Packard 8 645 owned by Nick Crea. This particular group of youth judges obviously had a very discriminating eye. Best of Show went to a 1930 Duesenberg Convertible Victoria and the CCCA award was taken home by a very beautiful all black (down to the unusual black wall tires) 1935 Auburn 851 Speedster.

According to Shawn Dougan, of St. Louis, Missouri dealer Hyman, Ltd., (a co-sponsor with Hagerty)"the market for good pre-war cars (particularly Full Classics) remains very strong." Dougan also notes that younger buyers in their 40s and 50s are starting to get interested in pre-war cars. Pre-war American cars also have a good following in Europe - something Dougan says is not necessarily true of post-war American cars.

The event kicked off with a live auction and a silent auction to benefit the CCCA Museum with Bill Parfet taking a turn as auctioneer. Parfet's auctioneering skills rival those of the lead auctioneers at the big-name auction houses.

All in all, it was another great event for the CCCA.

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