Car show brings classics to Marion

MARION — It was undoubtedly the most unusual vehicle in the show and a crowd favorite, a colorful replica of the magical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car from the musical film of the same name.

Following the sounds of the catchy Chitty Chitty Bang Bang theme song, visitors to the seventh annual Car, Truck and Bike Show held Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Park in Marion, found a beautifully handcrafted version of the famous flying car.

Owners Eugene and Kathy Weide of Sterling were dressed in costumes reminiscent of the movie. “We are in lots of parades and car shows all over Michigan,” said Kathy. “I alway loved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and convinced my husband to build one for me.”

“The car is built on a 1928 Graham-Paige chassis and is all handmade from African mahogany, steel and other special materials and parts,” said Eugene. “It’s the only one in the United States. All the original versions used in the movie are in England.”

There was much more to see throughout the afternoon as car enthusiasts and collectors admired an intriguing and varied array of more than 120 vehicles, including sleek convertibles, classic muscle cars, roadsters, vintage trucks and motorcycles ranging from a 1937 Ford Cabriolet, 1957 Chevrolet station wagon, 1958 Chevrolet Cameo pickup, 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle SS convertible, 2004 Harley-Davidson Scream’ Eagle Deuce to a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro.

Bud Taylor from Harrison exhibited a 1931 Ford Model AA dump truck. “I have owned it for more than 25 years,” he said, “but have just had it restored during the last two years and that’s when I started entering it in shows. I won best of show in Leota and Farwell and won best Ford in the Houghton Lake show. It’s great to see how interested people are in our historic cars and I enjoy sharing the truck with them.”

Held each year during the annual Marion Old Fashion Days in August, the Car, Truck and Bike show is organized by a committee headed by Gary Brackett of Marion. The event was founded to honor the memory of Brackett’s uncle and aunt, Orris and Nancy Brackett.

“They always loved cars,” Brackett said, “and we thought this would be a good way to pay tribute to them. We have special trophies in their honor as well as a memorial trophy for Rob Fordyce, another car lover we have lost from Marion.”

The event is sponsored by the Marion Fraternal Order of Eagles, aerie 4087.

Eagles member Chris Zink explained that the organization was searching for a way to become involved in Marion Old Fashion Days and felt the car show would be a popular way to participate and draw visitors to the community.

“We have sponsored the car show for seven years, since the show began,” said Zink. “It has been a big success and we plan to go on sponsoring it.”

The dramatic moment of the day was the highly anticipated award ceremony as Zink, Brackett and committee members announced the winners. Many of the trophies were contributed by area businesses who support both the show and Old Fashion Days through their donations.

Perry Tacey of Bay City won Best of Show car trophy with his 1968 Ford Mustang.

The Nancy Brackett memorial trophy went to Jack Vrooman of Crystal for his 1963 Chevrolet Impala SS.

Dave Ley of Farwell took the Rob Fordyce memorial trophy for the second year in a row for his lime green 1973 Plymouth Duster. Last year he won with a 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury.

“I come to this event and other car shows,” Ley said, “because I think it’s important to remember the old cars, especially muscle cars. I also come to make new friends and see old friends. It’s nice to win, but the main reason is really the camaraderie of a bunch of people who all love cars.”

If you missed the show, keep in mind that it is an annual event and will be held again next year on the first Saturday in August. For further information about the show, how to enter a vehicle or sponsor a trophy, contact Gary Brackett, (231) 679-1265.