2019 St. Louis Auto Show

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HCCM Exhibit at St. Louis Auto Show was a Huge Success
by Gerald Perschbacher, LL.D.

After months of preparation, the 25th year of having a vintage auto
display by the HCCM at the St. Louis Auto Show became reality from
January 24-27, 2019, to the delight of numerous visitors.  The exhibit
theme centered on cars made in St. Louis.  Among participants
providing and delivering the cars were HCCM members Wayne and Melba
Nolan, Dave Nolan, Pat Kuehner, Clark Deeken, Guy Randall, Larry
Hassel, and new member-applicant Walt Winters. Support crews
delivering the vehicles included various helpful souls and two-tripper
Jim Gormley who made a double-run.

Represented from the golden past were the automotive names of Moon,
Gardner, Success, Ford, Chevrolet, and Star (which showed the likes of
a competitor against Moon).  All were made between 1907 and 1927. Due
to the potential of natural leakage of gasoline and oil, the Success
was positioned by hand to the pleasure of show officials.

Eldest of the display cars was the 1907 Success which sold new at the
first St. Louis Auto Show that year.  The vehicle went to Virginia
where it spent most years of its original existence until recently
when it returned to the greater St. Louis area.  Fast-forward 112
years to 2019 and the car made its appearance as a true relic and
automotive survivor.  The entire show complex, from convention center
to dome, heard this trumpeted over the entire public address system!

The display also included a 1913 Ford Model T recently acquired by
HCCM President Larry Hassel plus a 1924 Moon sedan courtesy of Pat
Kuehner and tracing its past to being a display car at Poco Loco (an
amusement and touring destination near St. Louis).  Wayne Nolan’s
magnificently bold 1923 Moon touring car along with Melba Nolan’s
catchy “powder-blue-with-black-fenders” 1925 Gardner were there. Dave
Nolan delivered the family’s interesting 1916 Chevrolet “490”
reflecting early versions made originally by the Gardner family
(previously of Banner Buggy fame). Dr. Walt Winters joined the bunch
after being a many-years holdout for membership.  He fielded his 1916
Chevrolet “service delivery” which had been constructed at the first
St. Louis Chevy plant south of the Gateway Arch.  Brother Art Winters,
in the HCCM for a good number of years, joined in the welcome.  He
owns the matching survivor, which both brothers assert were, in
effect, the matching prototype effort that resulted in Chevrolet
entering pickup truck production in 1918.  Thus, the root of Chevy’s
entry into truck production of all types may be linked to that effort.

Signage at the show came from several sources, notably graphic artist
Terry McBee who masterfully concentrated on the fine points of local
car-production history of these makers plus others such as Dorris and
Dyke.  Also involved in preparing special visuals was Larry Hassel who
enhanced, printed, and mounted a series of vintage pictures dating to
the burgeoning early year of local motoring.  Rounding off the signage
in grand fashion was Clark Deeken who not only proudly brought his
marvelous 1927 Star touring car but also the large 75th anniversary
rolling display sign that has been shown prominently at large public
events of the HCCM for more than a year as it foreshadowed this big
year.

Dozens of HCCM members gave time and effort to manning the exhibit
during every hour of all four days during which the show was open.
BRAVO, that!  Mark Goldfeder recruited and scheduled that substantial
list which then was verified and submitted to show officials.  We have
a high standing in the eyes of show officials, two of them acclaiming,
“The HCCM is…ONE of one” when it comes to wonderful cooperation and
“you stick to your word.”  In effect, we stand in a prime category
fondly appreciated by show organizers.

Braving the predictions of uncertain weather, the club came through
with flying colors for the 2019 St. Louis Auto Show exhibit, a fitting
way in which to kick off its first large, public activity of the
anniversary year.

Tens of thousands among the estimated 80,000-plus visitors in 2019 saw
the HCCM display and spent time taking pictures of the cars plus
signage, then chatting with the knowledgeable club members.  The
exhibit attracted young children, dazzled youth, mystified young
adults, wowed the singles and married, and brought wistful memories to
the seasoned and elderly. It was an example for all ages and for
various backgrounds and walks in life.

Over 25 years the HCCM Auto Show exhibit accumulatively can boast of
attracting the attention of more than 1.2 million onlookers (an
average of 50,000 people per year).  It is the largest single-most
impactful public exposure to visitors and serves as a perfect
introduction to the widest face-to-face audience in anticipation of
the annual Easter Concours d’Elegance at the Upper Muny facility in
Forest Park.

Over the past quarter-century, the HCCM has exhibited more than 100
different collector cars at the Auto Show, ranging from 1902 and well
into the 1980s, as prime examples of HCCM’s efforts to educate the
public and preserve the heritage of motoring.