The Journal Gazette
Sunday, October 03, 2021 1:00 am

90 years of auto history at car show

City hopes event becomes yearly

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

The row of Corvettes was impressive, shiny and looking brand-new, even if they had a few years on them. 

Anthony Payne brought his 2018 Corvette Grand Sport that looked a bit like the one Batman wheeled around in. 

“I get that a lot,” Payne said. 

His friend, Donald Wyatt, had his 2014 knife-gray Stingray Corvette with chrome wheels parked in the same row at the Renaissance Cruise-In, a first-ever car show the city hopes will continue for years to come. 

Dawn Ritchie, the city's greenway and trails manager, said around 60 cars were at the cruise-in, parked on the grass outside the Renaissance Pointe YMCA. 

Shan Gunawardena, director of public works, said the city had looked to host a car show on the southeast side. 

“There's a lot of automobile DNA in this city,” Gunawardena said. 

The show was supported by 26 sponsors and gave away awards. DJ Krazy K, also known as Kenneth Williams, spun music at a nearby tent. 

Best of Show went to Al and Pat Martin for their 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS (Super Sport). The Mayor's Choice Award was awarded to Travis Troyer for his 1935 Chevrolet Standard. 

There was a wide range of American cars including a 1966 International Harvester Scout shown by Bill Brown, former Downtown Improvement District director. 

“It lived its life on a ranch in Montana,” said Brown, who has had it for 16 years after buying it on an impulse. It may not be his main ride, but when he found out about the Fort Wayne car show, his decision was made quickly. 

“That was made in Fort Wayne,” he said. “I've got to be in it.”

Brown was chatting with Marcus Marquart, of Marquart's Custom Creations in Fort Wayne, a sponsor. The cruise-ins or car shows aren't as much for the selling as they are the showing, he said. 

“And it gets the guys out of the house for the day,” Marquart added. 

Creager Smith with the city's historic preservation department combines his passion for preservation with a love for cars reeled off some of the makes at the show. He saw an Oldsmobile Cutlass, a Chevy Impala and a Chevy Nova “full boat drag race car” that was drivable, he said, as well as a “really neat” 1959 Oldsmobile he paired with a '59 Pontiac. 

“It's really neat these two guys are here together,” Smith said. A Model A Ford truck from 1930 or 1931 – he wasn't sure – made it the oldest entry. Most of the cars appeared to be American made, but there was a Jaguar, a Maserati and a Toyota, he noticed. 

“There's 90 years of cars here,” Smith said.

Payne and Wyatt are members of the Reflections N Glass Corvette Club. Its dual purpose is to meet with other Corvette owners and do some good around the community. 

The club held a car show at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne that will become an annual event and a community cookout at McMillen Park. The club awards three $500 scholarships to college-bound students, Wyatt said. 

The members also participate in the Caring and Sharing bookbag giveaway at American Legion Post 148 on Lewis Street, combining that effort with a car show and giving away turkeys to needy families during the holidays.

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