AKRON, Ohio — The lawns are being trimmed, tents are being put together and the finishing touches are being put in place for the 64th annual Classic, Antique & Collector Car Show at Stan Hywet on Father's Day Sunday. As the historical Akron home prepares for the big event, car aficionados are doing just the same.
"It's kind of interesting because it's like getting ready for any big date," said car collector Tom Hutchison. "Well-polished, clean, making sure it's running well because you don't want to drive it on the show field and have it not run."
Hutchison owns two dozen classic cars. It isn't just a hobby for him, it's a passion that began on the grounds of Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens.
“It started right here on this property. When I was 12 years old I attended my first Stan Hywet car show. Neighbor of mine growing up brought me here, told me 'I’m going to introduce you to a classic car fanatic hobby,'" Hutchison said. “Here I was, 12 years old attending the car show and from that time forward I had fallen in love with cars.”
From that day on, cars became a major part of his life. While his collection is broad, Hutchison has a special fondness for Cadillacs.
“I love Cadillacs, I’ve grown up riding in the backseat of my parents’ Cadillac, sitting on the armrest, thought it was a personal seat for myself," he said. “I’ve always had the admiration for style, the classic ride of the Cadillac and just always continue to appreciate that. And as I have grown older, as these classic cars have, decided I’d like to expand more, of my knowledge of Cadillacs and enjoying them and what it was like in the eras of the 40s or the 50s to drive a piece of machinery, a piece of art.”
A piece of art is a perfect way to describe Hutchison's 1955 Cadillac Coupé deVille. It's an azure blue with white wall tires and a shiny chrome finish. An original spare rests in the trunk, which is surrounded by two high tail fins. Everything about it takes you back in time.
“So the car is a gem, it’s actually a gem. It’s a 1955 Cadillac Coupé deVille. I am the fourth owner," Hutchison said. "Therefore what you're seeing is all original, never been touched up. Never been repainted. It's an original preservation survivor."
Hutchison likes to think it wasn't he who found the car, but just the opposite.
"People say 'well, where do you find them?' They find you and I think a true car gentleman or lady, that seems [to be] what happens," Hutchison said. "I mean, this car found me and as most of mine have."
The car is special, and Hutchison treats it so, especially before a big car show.
"Just fine-tuning the opportunity to display your car so everybody can enjoy it and visualize what it must have been like in 1955 when this thing was getting behind this automobile. So making sure that it is there for everybody else to enjoy and that she is standing tall," Hutchison said.
In addition to the Coupé deVille, Hutchison will be bringing along two other classic vehicles to the Father's Day car show at Stan Hywet Sunday—an AMC Javelin Big Bad Orange Super Sport and a 1979 Lincoln Continental with less than 100 miles on it.
The Lincoln will be one of many others of its brand at the car show as Stan Hywet celebrates the 100th birthday of the Lincoln Automobile Company.
"There will be 400 cars, classic, antique and collector cars, there’s a bunch of motorcycles on display, antique motorcycles and since it's the 100 years celebrating the Lincoln, we'll have a display of Lincolns right in front of the house including one of the oldest that's still in existence," said Donna Spiegler of Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens.
The Classic, Antique & Collector Car Show runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but there's what the grounds call the "Parade of Cars" that many car enthusiasts like to arrive early for, watching as all of the classic cars pull in and drive down the driveway of Stan Hywet before parking in their designated space on The Great Meadow, the mansion's front lawn.
"Where else can you see incredible vehicles in the setting of a historic estate?" Spiegler said. "If you want to take a break from the cars you can walk the historic gardens or you can take a self-guided tour of the manor house. So there's lots to do, and I think it's the setting that differentiates it from any other car show."
Hutchison isn't the novice 12-year-old he was at his first car show, but he hasn't lost any of the passion or wonder as he's grown into an avid car collector. The joy of seeing a classic car shine in the sunlight or hearing its engine rumble as spectators walk around and admire the vehicle still brings a smile to his face—something he hopes he can do for the next generation of car lovers.
"It's great to have them. It's great to share them. It's the big reward and adding smiles because there's nothing more exciting. Even if you're a show and somebody has a memory of grandma having this car and they're telling their child about it," Hutchison said. “You just have fun with it. It’s about creating miles. Smiles and miles of smiles for everybody who gets to see and experience the cars, either riding in it or seeing it at a car show."
The 64th annual Classic, Antique & Collector Car Show at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens will welcome guests with tickets for the event on Sunday. There will be off-site parking with a shuttle at Firestone CLC at 470 Castle Blvd. and Todaro’s at 1820 Akron-Peninsula Road. Limited handicapped parking is available at Stan Hywet.
In addition to the car collections, live music will be performed and food and beverages from Molly's Cafe, Winking Lizard, Wholly Frijoles Mexican Street Food and Kona Ice will be available.
Stan Hywet Members can purchase tickets that are $12 for adults and $6 for guests ages 3-17. Non-members can purchase tickets at $16 for adults and $8 for guests ages 3-17. Children 2 and under are free. Tickets must be purchased online. To learn more click here.
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