Plenty of classic car events this summer
If speed, style and beauty sets your blood racing, you might find your blood pressure soaring when you calculate the cost of weekends at the track or owning a classic car.
Fortunately, there are plenty of budget-friendly opportunities to get up close and personal with rare, exotic and classic vehicles in the coming days and weeks around Metro Detroit.
From casual meet-up-and-mingle events to highly organized annual shows, June offers a banquet of choices and at admission prices that are easy on the purse.
On Sunday, $5 gets you into the revved-up Cars R Stars at the old Packard Proving Grounds in Shelby Township. This year’s expo will showcase the seldom-seen Stout Scarab, the 1930s cruiser with futuristic yet Art Deco styling. Some call it “the original minivan.”
Only nine Scarabs, designed by inventor William Bushnell Stout, were ever produced, said Cars R Stars organizer Tom Mitchell.
“And we are quite certain that this is the first time three of them have been shown together since the ’30s when Bill Stout lined them up to take pictures of,” said Mitchell.
The Scarabs are part of a 30-car theme display of “hoods in the rear” rear-engine autos that also will feature the Fiat Jolly, a DeLorean and the Tatra T87 as well as Porches, Volkswagens and more, said Mitchell.
In addition to the curated exhibits, the event which runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. will showcase hundreds of other privately owned classic cars, bicycles and military vehicles. Car owners still can enter for $15 (non-judged) or $20 (judged).
“Weather depending, we expect more than 300 vehicles,” Mitchell said. “This event is growing every year.”
For the general public, the $5 admission fee also covers a swap meet and other activities. Children under 12 attend free; for directions and more information visit CarsRStars.com.
The annual fundraiser Eyes on Design takes place Father’s Day weekend, June 16-19, to support ophthalmology research at the Henry Ford Health System. Several in the series of events (see the listing at EyesOnDesign.org) feature posh price tags — the better to support the science — but some of the events are wallet-friendly.
Notably, a $15 donation will gain you admittance to the famed Lingenfelter Collection in Brighton. Owned by Ken and Kristen Lingenfelter, who open the facility to the public several times a year to raise funds for charity, the array includes exotics, muscle cars and Corvettes. This tour opportunity takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 17, at 7819 Lochlin Drive in Brighton. For more information about the cars, visit TheLingenfelterCollection.com.
If “free” is more in line with your budget, don’t despair: Lingenfelter also hosts a weekly meet-up from 8-10 a.m. on summer Saturdays at his Lingenfelter Performance Engineering premises in Wixom. Rain or shine, dozens of car owners and others gather at the Cars & Coffee events, where attendees might get a glimpse of the company’s hottest customized vehicles as well as the opportunity to admire one another’s rides.
Donations of non-perishable food items, or cash, are requested, to benefit the Gleaners Community Food Bank. Also this year, each Saturday will be themed — Saturday is Corvette Day, June 17 will celebrate the Camaro, Trans Am and Firebird, and so on through series end on Aug. 26. Check out the listing on the event’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/LingenfelterCarsandCoffee/.
Across town, another venerable vehicular coffee klatsch takes place in the parking lot of Pasteiner’s Auto Zone Hobbies at 33202 Woodward in Birmingham.
The retailer of automotive books, magazines and collectibles welcomes auto aficionados from 8-10 a.m. on Saturdays year-round, said proprietor Steve Pasteiner.
“We get a lot of people from the industry, and some really unusual vehicles — preproduction cars, or evaluation cars from Europe,” said Pasteiner, who has been hosting the events for about 10 years He and wife Jan supply the coffee and Jan’s home-baked treats like chocolate pomegranate scones.
Pasteiner says 70 people show up in warmer months but that even when winter comes, about 30 diehards attend.
“Hot rods, tuners, classics — it doesn’t matter,” he said. “There are no cliques here — if you’re a car person, you are welcome.”
If you’re traveling this summer, check out the online database CarsAndCoffeeFinder.com. While it seems be in a beginning stage, it may help point you to similar meetings in cities nationwide.
Melissa Preddy is a Michigan-based freelance writer. Reach her via Melissa@MelissaPreddy.com.