Sep 17, 2012

Glenmoor Gathering Trip

The Beautiful Glenmoor Country Club
For the past seventeen years, there has been an event in northeast Ohio called the "Glenmoor Gathering."  It is an invitational car show of extremely high quality.  I have known about it for several years and had thought about going, but the stars never quite aligned.  Then a few months ago I ran across an advanced notice of this year's show -- the 18th annual.  The featured marques included steam cars, micro cars, supercharged cars, Tuckers, and Allards.  That last one caught my eye.  Mary Ann's maiden name was Allard.  What could be more perfect?  I suggested that we go.  Mary Ann agreed, and we bought our tickets in advance.  We even made motel reservations several weeks early!

The event is held at the Glenmoor Country Club outside of Canton, Ohio.  The main clubhouse, built in the early 1930s, served for many years as a Catholic seminary, at one time housing 400 seminarians.  The land on which it was built was donated by two bachelor farmers, who later donated a total of over 400 acres to the seminary.  After it was closed, the entire property was purchased by investors who developed an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course to complement the fabulous building.  The original building also houses dining and hotel facilities.  It's a perfect setting for an exceptional car show.

The festivities started for us when we attended the Saturday afternoon  Grande Salon Antique and Classic Car Auction put on by Classic Motorcar Auctions, a local firm.  Mary Ann had never been to a classic car auction, so this was a thrilling thing to see.  There were some very nice cars, but bidding was tepid at best.  Some good buys were evident.  Examples from the auction results:

After the auction ended, we drove around to the front of the clubhouse, where we saw several dozen exotic cars parked on the lawn.  We found a parking place and began wandering among the Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Maseratis, Tuckers, and Allards.  Some of the owners were cleaning up their cars for the next day's show.  Others were simply chatting with infrequently-seen friends.  We were especially impressed with the Allards.

According to Wikipedia,
"Allard Motor Company Limited was an English car manufacturer founded in 1945 by Sydney Allard which operated from small premises in south London. Car manufacture almost ceased within a decade. It produced approximately 1900 cars before his death in 1966.  Allards generally featured a large American V8 engine in a small, light British sports car body, giving a high power-to-weight ratio and foreshadowing the Sunbeam Tiger and AC Cobra of the early 1960s. Cobra designer Carroll Shelby and father of the Corvette Zora Arkus Duntov both drove Allards in the early 1950s."

No two of the cars we saw were identical.  It was apparent that each of these cars was custom built.  Here are a few of the Allards, Tuckers, and other cars that we saw on the lawn:

At one point, as we were looking at an unrestored, but exceptional, 1936 Lincoln Model K Touring Cabriolet, I asked a nearby spectator if he knew whose car it was.  He informed us that he was the owner.  The gentleman's name was Myron Vernis, and he is the Food and Beverage Manager at the Glenmoor Country Club.  He was one of the original group that started the Gathering 18 years ago!

The car was most interesting.  After Henry Ford bought the financially strapped Lincoln Motorcar Company in 1922, he essentially "gave" the company to Edsel, his oldest son.  Edsel recognized the importance of style in selling cars, so he commissioned several major custom body manufacturers to build Lincoln bodies.  The Brunn Corporation of Buffalo, New York, became the favored provider of town cars and convertibles: soft-top broughams, cabriolets, victorias and dual-cowl phaetons.   Mr. Vernis' car was the personal car of Herman Brunn.  It was exquisite.

After we left the club, we went for coffee at a nearby Starbucks and used the Internet to find a dinner restaurant.  We luckily selected Papa Bear's Italian Restaurant and had an outstanding dinner.

The "modest" Dining Room of the Glenmoor

After a good night's rest, we arose Sunday and checked out of our motel to proceed to the Glenmoor.  We encountered heavy traffic waiting to get into the grounds but eventually arrived and got a parking location fairly close to the clubhouse.  They were serving a buffet lunch in the dining room, which was originally the chapel for the seminary.  The lunch was really exceptional -- every choice was prepared and served beautifully.  Then we proceeded to the "Gathering."  Words can't describe it.

There are tents with artists showing their works, tents with automotive model builders of every kind.  One tent housed the work of Louis Chenot of Carl Junction, Missouri, director of mechanical engineering for Leggett & Platt, which supplies automotive interior systems.  Lou is the most serious kind of car modeler imaginable.  This Duesenberg took six years and an estimated 15,000 hours to build.
The 1/6 Scale Louis Chenot Deusenberg Model -- It Runs!
There were hundreds of cars on display.  The earliest I saw was a 1901 Packard, restored to perfection.  There were cars of every decade and every interest group, including modern hot rods.  These pictures may give you some idea:

We enjoyed the cars until about two in the afternoon.  The weather couldn't have been more beautiful.  Then we headed back home.  We had decided to try and drive the entire distance so I'd have a day at home before I had to leave for Texas on a business trip.  We made it home around 1:00 AM, tired but with great memories.  We'll be going back.

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