A legion of hot rods, vintage compacts, and iconic cruisers roared through the shade of Ottawa Park on Sunday afternoon as hundreds of classic car enthusiasts flocked to the area for the first Cops and Rodders Car Show, sponsored by the Toledo Police Museum.
Bringing together 204 four-wheeled beauties spanning the eras, the car exhibition turned Ottawa Park into an ageless parking lot.
PHOTO GALLERY: Cops and Rodders Car Show
From a restored Model A Ford to a reproduction of the 1967 Chevy II Nova, all the vehicles on display flashed their shiny bodywork during a free-admission, one-day event designed to publicize the nearby Toledo Police Museum.
Opened in June, 2011, the museum preserves in its octagonal walls a collection of artifacts and equipment used by previous generations of Toledo police officers, said Shay Carlson, a retired police officer who now directs the museum at 2201 Kenwood Blvd. at the park.
“The museum is still being discovered. There is still a large portion of Toledo residents that don’t know about it,” Ms. Carlson said.
In an attempt to gain greater exposure, members of the Toledo Police Museum board worked for over eight months with local sponsors to organize a car exhibition that would draw more visitors to the museum.
“Car shows are pretty popular, especially throughout the summer — it seemed a good idea to bring more attention to the museum,” said Lou Hebert, the museum’s publicity chairman. “Initially, we were hoping for less than 100 cars, but the turnout has been far greater.”
Hundreds of car collectors from across Ohio and out of state paid an $8 registration fee to exhibit their automotive gems at the museum’s car show.
Some of the vehicles had been restored from windshield to engine, like Bob Poiry’s 1930 Ford Deluxe Coupe, a vehicle that was built during the Great Depression and sold for about $495 at the time.
“It took me about two years to renovate the car,” said Mr. Poiry, a retired Toledo police detective who purchased the iconic vehicle from his son in 2010.
Other car show veterans took pride in their all-original automobiles. For instance, Mick Kelly’s 1954 Chrysler New Yorker Newport Deluxe has successfully withstood the test of time.
“This is going to be my grandchildren’s car,” said Mr. Kelly, a Swanton resident who bought the vehicle 30 years ago for $1,831.
Today his Chrysler is valued at more than $28,000, he said.
The roster of classic cars on display featured three vintage police cruisers transported from the Cleveland Police Museum, including a flamboyant lime green-colored 1978 Ford patrol car.
Exceeding the organizers’ expectation, the vintage beauties worked their magic and brought more visitors than ever to the museum.
“Today’s been our biggest day since the museum’s opening,” Ms. Carlson noted. “The turnout has been four times what we had expected.”
Only in the first hour of the exhibition, she said, over 200 visitors stepped inside the museum to marvel at the array of historic uniforms, early polygraph machines, antique firearms, and even a classic Harley-Davidson police motorcycle.
“I knew about the museum, but I never had a chance to come,” said Darla Schuldt, a Toledo resident who took advantage of the car exhibition to pay a visit to the police museum.
The event also featured food carts, oldies-style music, and a raffle to collect donations for the Toledo chapter of A Special Wish Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Columbus dedicated to granting wishes to critically ill children.
After the positive turnout of Sunday’s exhibition, organizers are planning to host a car show next year, Ms. Carlson said.
“We hope we can get twice as many visitors next year,” she said.
The Toledo Police Museum is normally open to the public Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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