A complete rack of 1936 Fords in most but not all body styles | Jim McCraw photos
The first of what will be 16 events organized by the Antique Automobile Club of America took place late last month when the Winter Meet was held on the campus of the College of Central Florida in Ocala, Florida, the horse capital of the world. Around 250 vehicles were on display, ranging in birthday from 1912 to 1992, hosted by the AACA’s Sunshine State region and chapters of the Central Florida Region.
The weekend started with a Friday-evening ice cream social at Jimmy Schmidt’s National Parts Depot (NPD) car collection, which includes about 125 perfectly restored cars and is located just across Interstate 75 from the college campus.
Saturday morning, under a dark, heavy sky, the judges conducted education seminars on every conceivable aspect of AACA judging systems. Skies were clearing when the show field opened for judging at 11 a.m. sharp. By noon, the Florida sun was out in full glory and the cars were nothing short of wonderful in their variety and the incredible detail these owners go to on their machines.
With AACA, you don’t necessarily expect to see a lot of one-of-ones or last survivors, but there were a few here and there to spice up the mix, and a couple of never-seen-befores for punctuation, like the 1914 Marr cyclecar, created by Buick chief engineer Walter L. Marr with a host of modern features. A one of one, the Marr/Buick prototype was given the honored position next to the entrance of the spacious campus.
Throw in a Thomas Flyer, a couple of 409 Chevys, a screaming yellow LaSalle coupe, and some very cool trucks, and you have a show worth paying to see. Fortunately, the AACA put on this show free of charge.
Jim McCraw has been writing about cars, motorcycles, design, technology, car people and racing for 50 years, in such publications as Hot Rod Deluxe, Super Chevy, Muscle Mustangs, Road & Track, Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Penthouse, Winding Road, The Mercedes-Benz Star, AutoWeek, The New York Times, and a number of European publications. He was executive editor of Motor Trend, editor of Hot Rod and Super Stock. He co-holds the record for the drive from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Key West, Florida, 96:22, and has run in major events such as the Mille Miglia Storica in Italy, Goodwood, the California Mille, the Colorado Grand, the New England 1000, Forza Mille, and four One Lap Of America competitions He owns a pristine Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan.