By Ron Giofu
The downtown streets of Amherstburg as well as Toddy Jones Park were packed Sunday for the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show.
A total of 515 cars filled portions of Dalhousie St., Richmond St., North St and Rankin Ave. for the annual show with the park also being filled with vehicles, which came as far as Kitchener, Milton and southeast Michigan to take part.
Eleanor Renaud, who chairs the show’s organizing committee, said this year’s show came off “without a hitch” and avoided many issues.
“It’s been really smooth,” she said.
Weather forecasters had been calling for rain on Sunday but the raindrops stayed out of the area during the show with storms not blowing into town until the time the show was wrapping up.
“Paul knows what he’s doing up there,” Renaud said with a smile, in reference to her late husband who helped found the show with her.
“We are thrilled with the turnout,” she added. “People have been calling all week.”
Renaud said she and Paul started the show with the goal of bringing people into the downtown section of Amherstburg and to the front door of many of the town’s merchants. She said they believed that some tourists might miss the more historic part of Amherstburg and bypass it on their way out of town.
“I’ve talked to so many merchants that are thrilled,” said Renaud, adding that many are reporting to her they are having trouble keeping up with food and merchandise orders.
Many car shows in the area are in open, grassy areas, she said, but Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy is on the streets, surrounded by historic homes and are near parks such as Navy Yard Park and have shade for the car owners. Renaud said the ambiance of this show makes it stand out from other shows in the area.
Gary Caba of Amherstburg won the “Paulie Award” as his 1936 Ford Roadster was judged best in show. Caba said he bought the car last year after finding it on the Internet. He had it shipped from California to Amherstburg.
“I just fell in love with it,” said Caba.
Caba said he didn’t have to put much work into it, adding he was gratified that it won the “Paulie Award” Sunday afternoon. Being the best in show winner means his car will be used on promotional material for next year’s tenth anniversary Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy Show. He joked that he hopes that means the value of the car will go up.
Dan Poisson of Essex brought a 1975 Buick Skyhawk to the show and bought the car just three days earlier for the purpose of bringing it to Amherstburg.
“I bought it so I could bring it here,” he said. “It was three days of hard work to get it ready.”
His father Eugene brought his 1972 Olds Cutlass Supreme. Eugene, a Windsor resident, said he goes to approximately 20 car shows per year and it was his second at the “Car Crazy” event.
“It’s definitely one of the biggest ones so far,” he said.
“It’s well organized,” added his wife Mary.
Dan added there is a larger range of cars at the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show than at other shows.
Bonnie Soucie of Tecumseh had her 1976 Corvette Stingray entered into this year’s show. Soucie said she does a lot of car shows in the area and tries to get to one at least every weekend in the summer.
“It’s beautiful,” Soucie said of the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show. “It’s a great show. A lot of people go to it. It’s a great turnout.”
Soucie has owned her car for eight years and has even become best friends with the former owners. The car was found in Courtright, Ontario and while the motor was in good shape, it needed a paint job and some new tires.
“She sat for 12 years in a barn,” said Soucie.
Larry Wendt of Amherstburg said his 1953 Ford F100 pickup was no stranger to local streets.
“I’ve had it about 12 years,” said Wendt. “I drive it around here all the time. It’s well known in this town.”
Wendt said he does about six shows per year and “this is the best bar none of all the car shows. There’s none better.”
The location and crowds at the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show have helped make it the best show around, he believed.
“Every year, it keeps getting bigger and bigger,” he said.
Winners from the day included:
Classic Cruiser — Ken Geauvreau – Belle River, 1939 Mercury
Special Interest — John & Betty Leetres – Milton, Ont, 1960 BMW Isetta
Best Restoration — Bill & Janis Ball – Amherstburg, 1934 Plymouth Business Coupe
Nifty Fifty — Dennis Ford – Windsor, 1956 Ford Fairlane
Sexy Sixty — Jim & Angie Regnier – Tilbury, 1964 Dodge Convertible
Sweet Seventies — Joe & Betty Beaulieu – Cottam, 1971 Z28 Camaro
Best Original — Jamie Oldridge – Belle River, 1926 Ford Model T
Favorite Engine — Paul Whitehead – Windsor, 1929 Ford Model A – Rat Rod
Favorite Pickup — Darrel Lafaive – Windsor, Chevy Pickup
Favorite GM — Jesse Henke – McGregor, 1969 GM Beaumont
Favorite Mopar —Dan Kelly – Macomb, Michigan, 1964 Plymouth Fury
Favorite Ford —Joan Caba – Amherstburg, 1957 Ford Convertible
Favorite Corvette — Nunzio Scaglione – LaSalle, 1998 Corvette
Coolest Rag Top — Al Dixon – Amherstburg, 1957 Oldsmobile Conv. Super 88
Favorite Interior — Todd Johnston – Amherstburg, 1956 Mercury
Participant’s Choice — Claude & Irene Dube – Harrow, 1949 Ford Prefect
BEST OF SHOW “Paulie Award” — Gary Caba – Amherstburg, 1936 Ford Roadster
The Royal Canadian Legion Br.157 organized the 50/50 Draw. The winner was Jim Coursen of Oxford, Michigan His share was $867.