NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> A century’s worth of automotive history will be on display when the Newtown Antique & Classic Auto Show steers into town on Sunday, July 21.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., between 150 and 175 antique and classic automobile, trucks, Corvettes and special interest cars - in all makes and models from 1920 to 1994 and up to 2019 with its specialty car category - will be on display on State Street between Jefferson Street and Centre Avenue.
With 13 classes of cars, show Chairman Gerry Couch said people can expect a variety of vehicles from a 1928 Ford Model A to a 1961 Lincoln convertible with suicide doors, a powerful ZR1 Corvette and a sleek, modern Bugatti sports car.
“People are going to enjoy looking at these cars,” said Couch. “There is something for everybody. We have the really old cars. We have the muscle cars, where all of us baby boomers grew up around. Then we have the foreign cars. We have a Rolls Royce coming. We have a number of British Austin-Healeys, Triumphs, Jaguars, Mercedes.
“Anybody will be able to appreciate the craftsmanship, the workmanship,” he said. “It’s like walking through an art gallery of automotive history. It truly is beautiful.”
This year’s marque car is the Lincoln, which has a long and storied history dating back to the early part of the 20th century.
“We had the Cadillac last year. And it seemed like we should give equal time to the Ford product,” said Couch. “If you go back into the 40s and 50s, these cars - the Cadillacs and the Lincolns - they were the best of the best. They were America’s answer to Europe’s high end cars. And they were proud of these cars. If you were head of industry, this was your status.
“The Lincoln is a very luxurious car,” said Couch, recalling that his own parents enjoyed riding around in their Town Car.
Couch said when his father had to move to a nursing home, one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do was to take away his dad’s Lincoln.
“It was very hard telling him he couldn’t have a Lincoln anymore,” said Couch.
Unfortunately he didn’t think about taking away his credit card.
“He went and bought a Lincoln on his credit card. He found a car - an ‘87 red Lincoln Town Car,” said Couch. “He couldn’t drive it. He couldn’t have it. We had to take it away from him again. But the point was he just felt like he wasn’t complete unless people knew he had a Lincoln Town Car.
“That’s the kind of status symbol they were,” said Couch. “If you were a prosperous, upright citizen you had a Lincoln Town Car. So he felt like he should have one.”
While Lincolns are still around today, Couch said they have lost their outside elegance, becoming more mundane in appearance, although continuing to be very plush inside.
Lincoln, formally the Lincoln Motor Company, was the Ford Motor Company’s answer to the Cadillac. Marketed among the top luxury brands in the United States, Lincoln has competed closely against Cadillac for nearly its entire existence. Lincoln has the distinction of establishing the personal luxury car segment, with the entry of the Lincoln Continental into mass production in 1940.
Typically the show draws one or two Lincolns. With it being the marque car, Couch is expecting at least a half dozen or more.
According to Couch, 16 experienced volunteers will be judging the show looking for the condition - dents, dings, dust - and originality of the vehicles.
“If you have a 50 year old car that’s all original that’s a special car,” said Couch. “If there have been changes and modifications and the wheels and headlights are different, it’s a nice car but it’s not an original. The original is always going to win,” he said.
In addition to showcasing the cars, the event, presented by the Newtown Business Association, is all about spotlighting Newtown as a great place to live, work, shop and play.
“This show is all about the setting,” said Couch. “Even on a hot day, we have shade trees. We have bars and restaurants. We have places you can get out of the sun and have a sandwich or a meal. We have lots of shops you can explore. Or you can just walk up and down the street under the shade trees. This isn’t the norm for a car show. You’re usually out in a parking lot somewhere. This is a really nice setting.”
Throughout the show, members of the Newtown Business Association will be selling auto show t-shirts and posters, both featuring the Lincoln theme. Look for the booth near the Newtown Borough Hall.
The Newtown show typically draws thousands of spectators, with trophies being awarded in special marque categories and 12 additional classes.
Adding to the atmosphere of the show will be appearances by members of the cast of “Damn Yankees,” to be presented in August by the Newtown Arts Company.
The annual Newtown Business Association’s Antique & Classic Auto Show has been a long running tradition since the mid 1970s when Dave Krewson (former NBA President) and fellow car buffs in the Association held the first auto show. Having no nucleus of cars to exhibit, they paid “The Trenton Horseless Carriage Club” to bring their cars to State Street on a Saturday in June and gave them each a $5 chit for lunch.
Vehicle registrations at $25 will be accepted at the door the day of the event, space allowing. Details and online car registration can be found by visiting www.NewtownBA.org.