Oxford Car Show attracts thousands of spectators
By Steven Hoffman
The cars rolled into town one by one: powerful Corvette Stingrays and Mustangs and gleaming Plymouth Road Runners and Chevrolet Bel Airs from the 1950s. There was a vintage pickup truck from the 1920s and a black gangster car similar to the one driven by Bonnie and Clyde, the notorious criminal couple. A sparkling Ford Fairlane attracted a lot of attention, as did a Herr Foods 1937 Dodge panel truck, a replica of the one that James. S. and Mim Herr would use during the company’s early days when they would deliver their products door-to-door. There were shiny Cadillacs and sporty convertibles.
The third annual Oxford Car Show on Sept. 2 was bolder and bigger than ever, featuring a record number of classic cars and trucks and attracting thousands of visitors.
Heidi Kern, the events coordinator for Oxford Mainstreet, Inc., said that there were about 250 cars on display this year. The estimate on the crowd size was 4,800 people. Everyone had a good time.
“I think it’s a very good show,” said Ken DuBree, a resident of Port Deposit, Maryland who was showcasing his 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 XL. His Ford Galaxie is largely original, and he makes good use of it.
“I drive it every weekend I can,” DuBree explained. “I might take it out a few times a week.”
He also attends car shows regularly, along with several members of his family who also have classic cars. DuBree acquired his Ford Galaxie from Steven Day, the uncle of a childhood friend.
“I knew the family, and I knew that he was the original owner,” DuBree said, explaining that he is proud to take care of the car the way that the original owner would have wanted.
Many of the car owners had interesting stories about how they came to own their prized possessions. Oxford resident Mark Brown is an example. He was showcasing his 1959 Cadillac, a beautiful car that he calls “Scarlet” because of its bright red color.
Fifteen years ago, Brown was in North East, Maryland when he saw a young man drive by in the car. The Cadillac was in poor shape, but Brown drove five miles out of his way to let the owner know that he was interested in buying it. He completed the purchase very quickly, and started the long process of restoring the automobile. He loves the character of the car.
“This car has so much chrome,” Brown explained. “There’s no other car with this much chrome. It has big tail fins. It’s a huge car. I can barely get it in my garage.”
Brown did an extensive renovation on the Cadillac to restore it to its proper condition, and he loves talking about it with others. That’s just one of the reasons why he is a fan of the car show.
“This is my first car show,” Brown explained. “I think this event is one of the best things to get people into Oxford and to enjoy the town. I think it’s fabulous.”
Jerry Devine, a resident of West Bradford Township, proudly displayed his restored 1964 Studebaker Super Lark at the car show. Devine explained that his car is extremely rare, with only six produced exactly like it. The only known place to see another one is the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, he said.
“I have one, they have one, and they don’t know where the other four are,” Devine explained.
He purchased the vehicle for about $4,000 four years ago and started a complete off-frame restoration that took three-and-a-half years to complete. His son, Chris, helped with the restoration work. The car was painted by John Dillenger of Nottingham.
As an obvious car enthusiast himself, Devine said that the Oxford Car Show is a great event.
“I think it’s a real nice show,” he said.
Devine and several other car show participants commented about how they liked that the judging format for the car show was changed this year so that it was truly a people's choice event. Attendees had the opportunity to vote for their favorite cars, and that determined the winners.
Car enthusiasts loved seeing the vintage automobiles. When Tony Logan was asked what his favorite car was, he said, “I like them all.” That’s a sentiment that a lot of people at the show could understand.
Logan, a resident of Nottingham, said that the car show was a good way to bring people to town.
“This is good for the town of Oxford,” he said.
While the cars were obviously the stars of the show, there was plenty of food and fun, too. Some people enjoyed dining outside the SawMill Grill. Others liked the live music offered at two different stages throughout the evening. A remote-control race track was set up in the Broad Street parking lot, and children lined up to compete in the races. Each remote-control car featured a decal of local businesses like Oxford Feed and Lumber, Jennings Auto Repair & Exhaust, the Oxford Sunoco, and other sponsors of the event.
Dozens of organizations used the event to promote their causes. For example, the Oxford Golden Bears held a raffle, offered face-painting, and ran a duck pond to raise funds to support the football players and cheerleaders during the upcoming season. A group of youngsters with their faces painted like zombies promoted the upcoming Zombies at the Zoo nights that take place at the Plumpton Park Zoo on Friday and Saturday nights through October.
Kern said that Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. has received a lot of positive comments about the car show since last Friday.
“I think it went great,” Kern said. “Everyone liked the cars, everyone liked the live music. It was great.”
Jim Jones of North East, Maryland won first place in the car show with his 1967 Ford Fairlane. Bill Page of Cochranville earned second place with his 1934 Ford 3 Window Coupe.
Butch Beatty, a resident of Oxford, took home third place with his 1950 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe Convertible.
To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email firstname.lastname@example.org.