MANCHESTER >> Next weekend marks three decades of hundreds of old and new classic cars on display for the public.
The Manchester Antique and Classic Car Show celebrates turning 30 on June 11 and 12 at the Dorr Farm Field, hosted by Don Dorr of Dorr Oil Company. This year, admission is free. All models, makes and years of manufacture are welcome.
George Ohlweiler is no stranger to the event and has shown several different cars over 17 years, including a 1972 Mercedes-Benz 450SL, 1991 Lotus Esprit, and a 1965 Mini Cooper. He's also the president of the Green Mountain chapter BMW Car Club of America.
"I started working on cars in the 1970's when I began racing sports cars in SCCA (Sports Car Club of America)," he said.
The car veteran prefers the BMW brand because of its "superb handling and performance." He advises car collectors to upkeep them with regular maintenance according to factory guidelines.
When the show started in 1986 by Oscar Johnson, a local businessman at the time, an upwards of 800 people attended, according to Berta Maginniss, former Manchester Chamber of Commerce director. It used to be held at Hildene meadow home until the estate's mission changed. It was moved in 2003 to the Dorr farm under Manchester and the Mountains sponsorship.
"This is the first year we have not charged. We made the decision for a number of reasons," Maginniss said. "It's a thank you to all the people who have supported us for so long and to those who come as spectators. Most of that has been made possible by Don Dorr stepping up to underride the show."
In the past, rent was paid to use Dorr field, but that is not the case this year. Other costs include field infrastructure setup and supplies, outdoor restrooms, and marketing.
According to The Hagerty Group LLC, the value trend among classic cars in North America is up 69.35 points for May due to an auction increase in the past year driven by cars sold from the 1980's and newer. Affordable classic and muscle cars have increased in value the most since September 2013 out of German collectibles, Ferrari's, British cars, blue chip and 1950's American.
"The car collecting sport, if you will, has declined from 30 years ago. Collector cars are expensive to maintain and [some people] don't have much interest in cars [anymore]," she said. "Vintage cars is the grandfather thing. The growth in car collecting is in muscle cars and that kind of a car as opposed to a model-T or A or other older cars."
There will also be food sold, a flea market, wagon rides, live music, car trivia, a 50/50 raffle and other family fun. An annual car parade will travel through town on Saturday afternoon and a barn dance will be held on Saturday night.
"Bring your car, make or model, no matter the year, fully restored or not," Maginniss said. "We want a lot of folks to come out and be spectators. Last year we had around 400 cars on the field and over the weekend, just 2,000 spectators."
Register a car online at www.manchestercarshow.com or call 802-362-2100.
—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.