Rubber City Classic joins Cleveland Auto Show

Cleveland, Ohio — Cleveland’s automotive roots run deep. And so does its affection for cars.

So when it comes to planning its annual early-spring auto show, the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers Association (GCADA) has for close to two decades incorporated both brand-new and not-so-new vehicles in its exhibit blueprints.

A local classic car organization organized its 17th annual competition at the 2015 Cleveland Auto Show. And this year GCADA invited Rubber City Classic, an Akron-based auction company, to hold its spring sale at the mid-March show.

>> Browse a photo gallery of the Rubber City Classic

It’s all about engaging show visitors in the event, said GCADA executive director Lou Vitantonio.

“We’ve had classics at the show for years,” he said. The Rubber City sale was a first for Cleveland — and perhaps at any of the larger auto shows.

“The auction went very well,” Vitantonio says. “Along with the classics show it was a good marriage of two different types of entertainment.”

Rubber City Classic put 47 cars and trucks on the block; 23 sold.

A 1973 DeTomaso Pantera took honors as the high seller March 14. It went for $72,000. A 1969 Dodge Charger/General Lee brought $57,505, and an elegant silver 1957 Thunderbird with removable hardtop sold for $43,000.

Rubber City says sales numbers reflect hammer price plus buyer’s premium, in accordance with Ohio statutes.

Cars for sale were an interesting mix of ’50s and ’60s cars and trucks, a few pre-World War II cars and several British sports cars.

Show visitors cruised the aisles examining the inventory. One remarked she would choose the handsome 1960 Chevrolet El Camino with its wrap-around windshield and rear window: perfect for transporting her hot tub, she said.

A delightful 1946 Mercury, heavily chromed from the past and updated with modern underpinnings including a 350 Chevy engine, aluminum radiator and a programmable speedometer and tach, had a high bid of $20,000 but did not sell at the show.

Perhaps the most unusual car for sale was a 1930 Marmon five-passenger sedan. This classic with wooden spoke wheels and a Lalique hood ornament featured a “big eight” 315-inch engine and four-speed transmission – ready for touring, according to the seller. With a full concourse restoration, the Marmon, which had its original bill of sale, had traveled to Amelia Island in Florida where it was cited by the Antique Automobile Club of America. In spite — or perhaps because of its pedigree — the Marmon failed to sell; high bid was $47,000.

Among the classics in the 17th auto show competition was a 1966 Chevy II, trailered to the I-X expo center by Mike Terzak of Austintown, Ohio. Terrazzo bought the Chevy II new some 49 years ago, yet the car, perfect from bumper to bumper, has fewer than 34,000 miles on its 327-inch engine with four-speed transmission.

“I’ll drive it up to 30 miles for a show,” said Terzak, who, judging by the trophies and cruise mementoes at his expanded stand, appeared ready for the 2015 season to get under way.

Others accepted for places in the classic show included a brilliant 1941 Willys owned by Frank Renko and a 1961 Corvette brought from Walton Hills, Ohio by its owners Lou and Regina Morganti.

Mike and Marlene Simon of Columbia Station, Ohio entered their 1932 Hupmobile in the 2015 competition. Somewhere along the Way the Hupmobile morphed into a stately street rod powered by a Chevy 350 and Edelbrock intake and performance carburetor plus a TH350 automatic transmission.