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The Milwaukee Masterpiece


Photos by Larry Nutson

My early arrival well before the 10 a.m. opening offered a field of more than 200 unique cars, trucks and motorcycles blanketed by a hazy sky and cooled by the Lake Michigan breeze. With mother nature’s big silk flying overhead, this delightful scenario allowed for photography from nearly any angle with little or no wait for spectators to finish their viewing and give me a clear shot.

The Milwaukee Masterpiece takes place on the shores of Lake Michigan at Veteran’s Park, a spectacular venue situated between the Milwaukee Yacht Club and the stunningly modern Milwaukee Art Museum. Inaugurated in August 2005, the Milwaukee Masterpiece has accomplished a good deal in just nine short years, making itself a destination for local residents as well as regional travelers. The show has grown to be counted among the most respected events of its kind in the nation.

2014 marks the 10th edition of The Masterpiece, which headlined “Our Favorite Automobiles, Motorcycles and Trucks.” Festivities ran throughout the weekend of August 23–24, 2014, culminating in the concours d’elegance.

Three 50th anniversaries were celebrated – the Pontiac GTO, Milwaukee’s own Excaliber, and the Ford Mustang. Special guest Jim Wangers, the godfather of the GTO and the marketing guru behind the introduction of the GTO and the muscle car concept, was on hand to chat with show visitors and provide autographs.

There were 224 motorcars and motorcycles in 29 judged classes selected from all over the world and invited to celebrate automotive art and history.

Related events included the Style & Speed Social traditionally held in an historic Milwaukee landmark and the Seminar Series, which spotlighted various entries, their owners and their histories in a moderated discussion.

In 2006, Club Day was established as a companion event, held in the same venue prior to the concours. “Club Day At The M” has grown to nearly 400 entries – a completely separate roster of fine vehicles than those seen on Sunday.

Proceeds raised by The Masterpiece benefit social and medical service programs.
The Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and Meta House have been designated as the 2014 beneficiaries of The Masterpiece Ltd., the non-profit organization that operates The Milwaukee Masterpiece.

Attendees saw award-winning vehicles that placed in other major shows such as Pebble Beach and Amelia Island, with owners from countries as far flung as Italy, Switzerland and Canada, as well as U.S. states from Florida and South Carolina to Utah and California.

Larry Nutson
Larry Nutson
Larry Nutson is an auto industry veteran, a mechanical engineer by education and an automobile enthusiast at heart. His diverse automotive career includes a youthful stint in semi-pro drag racing, twenty-five years working for Volkswagen of America, three years of Chevrolet strategy planning at Campbell-Ewald Advertising, and a position as founding member of the Detroit-based Individual Communicators Network (ICN). He is a past chairperson of the SAE International Public Affairs Committee, has provided public relations services for SAE Congress and Formula SAE and was a consultant and sponsorship representative for the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit. Larry is the Chicago Bureau Chief for The Auto Channel and resides in Chicago.

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