Vintage Car Show Gives Glimpse of History

Vintage Car Show Gives Glimpse of History

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Marcel Manhim, of Egg Harbor Township, shows off his 1930 Ford Model A.

By DONALD WITTKOWSKI

Marcel Manhim’s iconic 1930 Ford Model A has air-conditioning. Not the air-conditioning we think of today, though, with our modern cars.

The Model A’s windshield tilts outward to allow fresh air to flow into the car while it is on the road, keeping the driver nice and cool in the process.

Other quaint features include a rumble seat, a pull-down shade for the back window to keep out sun glare and a storage box strapped onto the rear of the car that doubles as the trunk.

These oddities – in those days, they were innovations – gave car buffs a glimpse of the past during the 65th annual Antique Auto Show presented by the Jersey Cape Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America.

Altogether, spectators were able to savor about 160 vintage American and foreign cars displayed on the grounds of the Ocean City Tabernacle on Saturday and later during a parade on the Boardwalk.

Among them, there were classic Fords and Packards from the 1920s and 1930s, big-finned Cadillacs from the 1950s, exotic European sports cars from the 1960s and American muscle cars from the 1960s and ’70s.

“It’s just a nice mix of cars,” said Dave Blyler, the car show organizer and president of the Jersey Cape Region of the AACA. “The car owners get to share stories with everybody who comes here. Every car has a story.”

A parade of classic cars rolls down the Boardwalk.

The aforementioned Marcel Manhim bought his 1930 Ford Model A in 2019 for $19,000. Asked if he plans to keep the car for years to come, he quickly answered, “Absolutely.”

Painted in a stately moss green color scheme, the Model A is accented by a silver hood ornament depicting a goose in flight, old-timey round headlights, an elegant metal front grille and white wall tires.

It has only 70,000 miles on the odometer.

“That’s not bad for a 91-year-old car,” Manhim said, smiling.

All eras of vintage American and foreign cars are on display on the Ocean City Tabernacle grounds.

Manhim, 74, who lives in Egg Harbor Township and owns a warehousing and shipping business, calls the Model A the “elegant lady.”

“Me and my wife, we get in the car on the weekends and drive around the neighborhood. We get a lot of smiles,” Manhim said of the public’s reaction. “She reminds us of a bygone era. We shouldn’t lose sight of our history.”

Indeed, there was enough history on display at the auto show to fill volumes. For instance, one of the oldest cars – if not the oldest – at the show was a 1907 Morse Model B roadster, an automobile that dates back to when Teddy Roosevelt was president.

“It’s just a classic car. I like the old technology, like the friction shocks and old headlights,” said Tony Lardani, an antique auto enthusiast who was taking a close look at the Morse, the first one he had seen in person.

Lardani, 69, of Philadelphia, had his own vintage car on display at the show, a 1965 Renault Dauphine, a rear-engine economy car from the French auto manufacturer.

Car buffs admire a 1907 Morse Model B roadster, one of the oldest autos in the show.

Nancy and Jerry Hnizdo, who lived in Richboro, Pa., and have a summer home in Ocean City, were strolling on the Tabernacle grounds when a black 1951 Chevrolet Fleetline caught their attention. Nancy Hnizdo also liked an old Packard.

“There are a lot of cars here that you can see,” she said. “There’s a lot of variety. Every era is represented. The cars are beautiful.”

The car show, free to the public, was canceled last year because of the pandemic, but attracted big crowds on Saturday for its return.

“That was the first show that we didn’t have,” Blyler said of last year.

Nancy and Jerry Hnizdo, who have a summer home in Ocean City, check out a 1951 Chevrolet Fleetline.