When I was growing up in San Francisco, my grandparents and I watched the ’49ers play in Kezar Stadium. Or, more correctly, we drove to our weekend farm in nearby Novato, which was just outside the 30-mile blackout range of the broadcasts, to watch the games on television.

I remember the sometimes-heated discussions that occurred when the picture would dissolve into a snowy mess at a critical time in the game, and the frantic fiddling with the rabbit ears, accompanied by strategically placing bits of folded aluminum foil.

Players like Y. A. Tittle (that’s Yelberton Abraham to those who know this kind of stuff), Hugh McElhenny and Joe “The Jet” Perry were my heroes. And in those pre-Internet days, heroes were few and far between, and they stood tall in a young man’s mind.

So when the invitation came to be the Honorary Chairman of the Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles arrived, and I found out that it was located in Canton, Ohio—very near the Pro Football Hall of Fame—my yes was a quick one.

Glenmoor co-founder Myron Vernis sweetened the pot by offering his Ghia 450SS for Wendie and I to drive on the tour that preceded the event. The final decider was an email from the president of Classic Motorcar Auctions, which was having its first on-site auction at Glenmoor. Bob Lichty is a longtime friend, and he promised me that if I found a car I liked at his auction, he “wouldn’t let me pay too much.”

The Concours Weekend Trifecta

The weekend was, in a word, glorious. The Midwest weather kept Wendie and I enjoying the tattered United Airlines concourse at O’Hare much longer than we would have liked, but out of sheer boredom I created a “Name this concourse and win a free book on car collecting” contest on my Facebook account. The responses were immediate, my favorite being from a fan who named it “Shirley.”

(I repeated the contest on the four-airport trip home, and I was surprised by just how much alike all airports are when pictures of them are shrunk down to smartphone size.)

The host hotel is the Glenmoor Country Club, which was once the home to the historic Brunnerdale Seminary. Occupying 167,000 square feet, the Gothic-style building has been completely renovated and also contains restaurants and a golf clubhouse.

Best of all, from a gearhead’s perspective, the view from our room was of the show field, with the auction tent just beyond that. We have come to appreciate events where everything happens in one place, so the only time you are on the road is when you are taking part in a vintage tour (or, in this case, scooting over to the Hall of Fame for a few minutes).

Our weekend was full but not frenzied, unlike Monterey or Scottsdale—where half our time seems to be spent in transit from one event to another. The Friday morning tour, behind the wheel of Vernis’ Ghia, was a leisurely automotive stroll through the rolling Ohio countryside that ended at Stan Hywet, the mansion built by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company co-founder Frank Seiberling.

Resembling a 300-year-old English castle (thank goodness for Frank Lloyd Wright and his American style of design, or we’d probably all be living in homes that imitated European ones), its 65 rooms are set on 70 acres and include an English walled garden, a rose garden and a Japanese garden. This estate proves once again that it was good to be rich.

The Brain Trust Convenes

The seminar on collecting took place that same afternoon. My panel consisted of enthusiastic, knowledgeable and highly opinionated?of course?collectors, who all also happened to be longtime SCMers. It included Scott Boses, who operated the Boses Collection and Hollywood Picture Cars from 1983 to 2007; Joe Cantore Jr., whose interests include brass era, pre-war French custom coachwork and pre-war Italian and German supercharged cars; Bob Lichty, the CEO of Motorcar Portfolio and Classic Motorcar Auctions; Paul Sable, an automotive historian and writer; and Bill Warner, the founder and director of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

The room was packed with over 200 enthusiasts, and the discussion was friendly, yet intense and, at times, heated. “Where are early 911s headed?” “Will muscle cars ever recover?” “Are Daytonas overpriced or still going up?” “What’s the best buy under $50,000 / $100,000 / $250,000 / $1m?”

At the end of the discussion, Warner gave the best answer to the question of what car would you buy for $5m. He replied, “I’d buy a 1963 Buick Riviera for $25,000, and a house on the French Rivera with the rest!”

The consensus was that in today’s market, projects make no sense, and solid, no-questions cars that have established market appeal are your best bets.

Auctions and Awards

Saturday was spent kicking tires at the Classic Motorcar Auction, where the irrepressible Chip Lamb was helping describe the cars that crossed the block. The car that caught my attention was a 1967 Camaro RS convertible, with a base 327 engine, no power steering or brakes but redeemed by a four-speed manual. I was about to raise my hand when my wife reminded me that we have a 1964 Nova Wagon that is now six months into a full restoration (I don’t know why either, and have stopped trying to figure it out), and that really, one Chevy at a time is enough.

Sunday was spent whiling away the hours on the concours field. As Honorary Chairman, I was responsible for making two awards. The Honorary Chairman’s award went to an imposing 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K cabriolet by Sindelfingen from the Off Brothers collection, and the Sports Car Market Spirit of the Road went to the handsome 1969 Chevrolet Corvette ZL1 convertible owned by SCMer Bruce Perrone.

Best of Show was awarded to a brilliantly restored 1933 Duesenberg SJ Beverly Berline by Murphy owned by Judge Joseph and Margie Cassini of West Orange, NJ. RM co-founder and co-chairman Mike Fairbairn was one of the judges, and was rightfully proud that the Duesenberg, restored by RM Restorations, took the first prize. Complete results and information about next year’s event may be found at www.glenmoorgathering.com, and coverage of the concours and of the auction will be in next month’s issue.

Would I recommend Glenmoor? Of course. The location is ideal, the cars are good, and the auction is entertaining. Most important, the overall atmosphere is a relaxed celebration of classic cars and the people that love them.

Somewhere in this weekend we visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where we spent time enjoying the great athletes and great moments from America’s favorite pastime. I found the busts of Tittle, McElhenny and Perry, and for a brief moment found myself reliving favorite moments from a long-ago time, when the giants of my childhood came to life on a tiny screen once a week. And they even managed to defeat the dreaded Los Angeles Rams once in a while.

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