What a great weekend! We arrived at noon Friday and were surprised at how many Opels were already at the hotel. After lunch Kerri wanted to visit a shop, so we drove downtown as things were getting set up. It was cool driving around on almost empty streets. Here's my car parked against traffic in the Old State Capitol Plaza. You can see the famous Penis of the Prairie in the background.
We went to registration and then back to the hotel to relax a while, choosing to skip the cruise this time. Once that drizzly mess passed over Friday the weather was just about perfect for the rest of the weekend! By my count we had 14 GTs, two 1900 Wagons, two Asconas, two Mantas, two Rekords, one Kadett, and one Calibra for a total of 24 Opels. They are all nice in their own way, but here are a few highlights for me:
Rodney's '81 Ascona B all the way from Texas...
Oliver's '75 Manta GTE with matching guitar (not pictured unfortunately)...
The '68 Kadett Rallye that was just finished by Keith...
Mel's '72 Ascona we've heard so much about...
and Pete's '59 Rekord that proved Opels can still be chick magnets.
There were many fine cars besides Opels of course. Mostly I like the oddball stuff, and we like to take in as much as possible in the limited time we have. This must bring back memories for a few:
How can you resist a green elephant?
I wanted to see if I could fit in this thing. It would be uncomfortable for me to drive.
As far as Opel's competitors back in the day, very few were represented. For example, this is the only Celica I saw:
There was a stock Pinto and a couple of Gremlins, but I've reached my limit of attachments. If you like muscle cars, pony cars, hot rods, '50s classics, etc. there was a lot to see here, plus some of the downtown shops were open if that's your or your significant other's thing, so I would encourage anyone to consider attending this event in the future. Thanks to John and Connie for hosting the event again; I know we all had a great time and look forward to next time!
John always does a great job making arrangements for the show...Thank you, John.
I had a good time doing not much of anything for a change. Spent some quality time with Gil (not sure if he sees it that way!). Showing the pics to my wife she decided Pete's Rekord is the one she wants.
Thanks to Dieter for bringing some parts up with him and helping get them to fit into the trunk of the Mustang.
Now I have to get the Manta going and sorted for a drive up next year...just need to move a few tons of stuff around in the garage...anyone need a lawnmower?...or some siding?...or a cast iron and oak warehouse cart?...or 8' foam robots?... or...
Huge thanks to John and Connie for organizing the 20th Anniversary of Opels in Springfield. They do such a fabulous job, and have allowed so many of us in the Opel community to connect in person. Their contributions simply cannot be overstated! Thank you!!!
Big thanks also to Gil, who has supported Opelers and this event each year through his generous donations that help make the event happen. He’s a real class act!
Here are photos of the winning Opelers and their cars as voted on by the Opel folks gathered at the event. These are well deserved accolades for their quality Opels amongst close voting! Congrats to you all.
Best Opel GT David Eyles
Best Manta/Ascona - Oliver Muessig
Best Kadett - Keith Lundholm
Best Pre-‘65 or Modified - Pete Anastopolous
Tom Cavataio Long Distance in an Opel - Charles Goin in his Opel Calibra
The weather on Saturday for the main event was fabulous, but rain rolled in to Springfield Friday evening for the Cruise part of the weekend. Most Opel folks opted to meet for dinner, but six Opels took part in the parade as John made arrangements for the Opel group to be one of the lead units. Despite the rain, Springfield residents and visitors still came out in droves along the cruise route, huddling under pop-up tents, tarps, SUV lift gates, umbrellas, and what have you to watch the parade of fabulous cars.
Dieter lead off our contingent in his Rekord Polizei, complete with working light bar and Euro siren. Opel GTs of Scott & Mindy Mood (silver), Chad Howell (white), and Wayne & Diane Petersburg (orange) followed. At the end, Mel & LuAnn Check drove their green Ascona, and I drove their newly acquired silver Manta Luxus. The Cruise is a unique part of the Rt. 66 Mother Road Festival, and good to see so many participate even in the rain. Abe Lincoln made an appearance!
Thanks go out to John and Connie for hosting such a fun event. I drove the Ascona down (with LuAnn and Maggie Mae) and Jeff Widder drove my new-to-me Manta. No issues on the ride down and during the show, other than a flat tire from a glass shard probably picked up during the Friday night cruise. However, that can't be said for the return trip. Around Rochelle, IL, Jeff radioed to tell me that the battery light was on and temp was rising to the red zone. We ducked into a Pilot Travel Center and found a shredded fan belt. After a quick replacement of the belt (Thanks, Gil!!) we fueled up and headed back onto I-39. A mile down the road, the Ascona abruptly shut down. I found no sign of fuel in the clear fuel filter by the carbs. Even the electric pump couldn't seem to push fuel through the mechanical pump. After some "discussions" with Hagerty Insurance, a tow truck was arranged to take The Beast to Rockford, where it spent the night while we all crammed into the Manta for the trip home. I left the next morning at 5:20 a.m. with my truck, drove to Rockford, rented a Uhaul tow dolly, went to the tow yard and managed to get the car loaded and returned home. The next morning in working to get the car started to get it off the dolly I noticed that the fuel filter was full! I got it started, off the dolly and driven into the garage without bothering to lower the hood - didn't want to chance it dying while I closed it. Once I shut it down in the garage I noted that the filter was again empty. Long story short long, I still have no idea what's going on with the fuel supply, but at least we and both cars are now home. All's well that ends (sort of ) well. Thanks go out to Jeff for putting up with it all, and to Craig for stopping to offer assistance and to Jerry for his offer too.
It is probably time to put this all to bed. Connie and I want to thank everyone for their kind words on our efforts to make things run smooth. Since this event is now 20 years along its kind of now set up. It has been changed a bit lately due to National issues and some local problems. Covid wiped out the 2020 event and put the future of the show in doubt. The old show promotion people dropped the event, and a new guy took over. Our old club Hotel became less than desirable, and a new location needed to be found. On the plus side of all this, our new Hotel and the area around it much better serves our needs. Also, the new show promoter has been very good about working with us.
Bottom line, all this means nothing without you guys making the effort to be here. These types of events are what they are because it gives us Opeliers a chance to face time with like-minded folks. On that note we had a very good turnout for the event. I was told by staff we booked the majority of the rooms at the Hotel for that weekend. I think we had 25 Opels show up on Saturday and Gil and I counted about 60 folks at the dinner that evening.
Friday was a drizzly day and affected our activities. Saturday was a beautiful Midwest fall day. Once we got downtown and got set up there was a lot of folks admiring our Opels. I think Dieter was the star of the show. As you can tell from the photos, we had some nice Opels on display and the group was having a good time. Later it was time to regroup and do the Participant Voting on Awards. Then it was time to do our parts and memorabilia Auction, door prizes, and Awards. I need to first thank all who donated to the Auction. Also, I need to thank those who helped put it on. I drafted Mel Check to be our Auctioneer, I then Volunteered Vickie Gage to be our cashier. Somehow Connie conned Kerri Hoffmann into helping her tally the votes for the Awards. We were lucky to have Gil Wesson and some other knowledgeable folks to tell us what we were bidding on. Things went pretty smooth right up until it was time to give the Tom Cavataio Award for Longest Drive in an Opel. We have done this for years, but for some reason this year I was almost too emotional to get it out. I believe it was because it hit me how many good Opeliers we have lost over the years. It was later posted on this site that it was the 1 year anniversary of the death P.J. Romano. It still Amazes me that P.J. contacted me by e-mail a few days before his passing to apologize for not sending something for our Auction.
Sunday as usual was lightly attended, but about a half dozen of us showed up to see who took the event Awards.
So, another year is in the books. I will take a couple of months off to chill out, but around the first of the year I hope to start on next year's event and hope to see many of you here again.