The setting was as familiar as Pebble Beach, Meadow Brook, or St. John’s. A car show on a beautiful golf course on a sunny Sunday afternoon. But this wasn’t one of the big ones. Instead, this was a local annual car show held at the beautiful Mission Inn & Resort in the tiny community of Howey-In-The-Hills, Florida, the American town with more hyphens in its name than any other.
On the gently rolling hills of the golf course were about 150 show cars, surrounded on all sides by new car displays from local dealerships.
We were impressed within the first few minutes with the quality and variety that this relatively unknown show was able to pull from all over Florida, and with the quality of the show trophies and special awards. Nothing second-class here.
We saw not a single Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg, or Packard on the field, but that was perfectly okay with us, because we’d already been to Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Amelia Island during the winter car show season.
This one was more of a show for regular folks. There were plenty of regular folks on hand to enjoy the machinery, and a wandering announcer with a portable microphone brought the crowd closer to the machinery with a series of owner and celebrity interviews, and the weather was Florida perfect.
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.