Antique autos cruise in for annual car show.
No agendas, no budget reports, no formal meetings.
If you’re a member of the King of the Road Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America, you care about only one thing: the road. The chapter was formed in Leesburg and has a Villages mailing address, but its 50 or so members are more easily found at classic car destinations around the state.
This month, they’ll pop their hoods and kick the tires at the 21st anniversary Cruise In Car Show from 4-9pm June 16 at Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages. The show includes food vendors, bar kiosks, People’s Choice awards, door prize drawings for registered cars, and a 50/50 drawing to benefit the Shared Harvest Community Garden in Lady Lake.
The King of the Road Chapter, celebrating its third anniversary this month, is the featured car club of the event with a prime parking spot in front of the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center. Chapter President Jim Rentz expects 20 to 25 members to display their vehicles among the 150 to 200 cars likely to be at the show.
The club usually does something special for the Cruise In, such as handing out hoagies last year, he says. In other words, it’s like a tailgate party. That fits the theme of many of their monthly “drive your ride” excursions to destinations such as ice cream parlors, restaurants, restoration garages, car collections, sporting events, parks, and museums.
“Our members like to get in their car and go,” Jim says.
One recent standout trip took the club’s caravan to Gainesville to see Cade’s Studebaker Collection, the cars of the late Robert Cade, who was the inventor of Gatorade as well as an avid collector. Members also enjoyed some barbecue during the visit.
“It’s all about having a good time with your old car,” says Jim, adding that the road trips give members the chance to meet other enthusiasts and admire their rides as well.
The AACA accepts vehicles that are 25 years old and older. Jim owns four antique cars: a 1932 Buick Phaeton that was one of only 79 built; a 1935 Ford convertible sedan; a 1951 Morris Minor, a British car with just 27 horsepower; and a 1979 Lincoln Versailles, which at $14,000 was the most expensive Lincoln available at that time.
The Phaeton holds a special place for him because his late father owned one as a teenager and formerly owned Jim’s Phaeton. Jim restored and painted the car to make it virtually identical to his dad’s original.
One of the more iconic cars in the club is Leif Drexler’s 1914 Model T touring car, which he keeps in excellent running condition to drive around The Villages.
“The Villages offers low-speed roadways and smooth roads that Henry Ford could only have dreamed of,” Leif says.
Ford’s Model T, of course, was “the car that changed the world,” a vehicle that was affordable for the masses. It’s affordable for collectors, too, selling for the price of a compact car or used luxury car, Leif says.
Leif, who restored cars professionally, has made “extensive” alterations to modernize the Model T, which originally had a hand crank and gas headlights.
“It’s a hobby. I constantly make improvements,” he says, adding that he recently put in new upholstery and a new top.
Leif quickly discovered the King of the Road Chapter when he moved to The Villages.
“I like that The Villages has quite a car culture,” he says.
That culture extends well beyond The Villages, of course. Anyone from the surrounding counties can join the regional King of the Road Chapter and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow AACA members from around the country, Jim says.
In fact, the King of the Road, The Villages Region, and the North Central Florida Region chapters will host the AACA National Winter Meet in February 2019 in Ocala.
21st anniversary Cruise In Car Show in The Villages
3-6pm: Vehicle registration on Alverez Avenue (vehicle years 1980 and older only)
4-9pm: MPiRE (rock, pop, and R&B band)
5pm: The Villages Cheerleaders
6pm: The Villages Twirlers Show Team & Drum Corps
8pm: Trophy presentations and 50/50 drawing (don’t need to be present to win drawing)
No fee to enter. Space is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.
Villages resident staging is in the parking lot behind Spanish Springs Lanes on Alverez Avenue at 3pm with a valid Villages ID.
General public staging is in the parking lot behind the Red Caboose, adjacent to Paige Place, at 4pm.