Classics and Chrome Car Show draws record-breaking crowd of 10,201

The 1951 Ferrari Testerossa, owned by Bob Shaw of Richmond, Ill., was the winner of the Special Interest Class at the April 21-22 Classics and Chrome Car Show. (Photo provided)

By Gary Kohn

A spectacular assortment of world-class vehicles was on display April 21-22 at the 12th Classics and Chrome Car Show, presented by State Farm Insurance, and a record-breaking crowd showed up to enjoy it. Show officials reported the two-day attendance totaled 10,201 patrons, the largest draw in the show’s 12-year history.

From very humble beginnings, Classics and Chrome has grown into one of the premier car shows in the entire state of Illinois,” said Alan Gibby, head of Keith Country Day School. “Our selection committee works extremely hard to bring in some of the rarest vehicles in the world, and as a result, we are attracting more than 10,000 patrons to the show on a regular basis. We’ve become a signature event for the Rockford region that drives tourism, helps the local economy and raises money for education.”

More than 125 vehicles filled up the old Menards building in Machesney Park. The show featured a range of cars and motorcycles including pre- and post-war cars, muscle cars, sports cars, hot rods and custom cars, exotic and race cars, special-interest cars and, of course, motorcycles. Although an official tally is still being totaled, event organizers expect more than $75,000 to be raised for Keith Country Day School.

Ten cars and one motorcycle were given show awards, eight by class, two co-Committee’s Choice Best of Show Awards and the People’s Choice Award.

Ron Schneider of Franklin, Wis., was honored with the People’s Choice Award for his 1936 Stout Scarab after more than 8,000 votes were cast by attendees.

The Committee’s Choice Award featured a tie for the first time in show history. Dana and Patti Mecum, Rockford, (1939 Maybach SW38 Sport Roadster) and John and Elaine Klein, Indianapolis, (1931 Duesenburg Model J) shared the award for their vehicles.

The complete list of winners is as follows:

Co-Committee’s Choice Best of Show — 1939 Maybach SW38 Sport Roadster, Dana and Patti Mecum, Rockford; and 1931 Duesenburg Model J, John and Elaine Klein, Indianapolis;

People’s Choice — 1936 Stout Scarab, Ron Schneider, Franklin, Wis.;

Pre-War Class — 1932 MG Midget, John and Patti Morris, Lake Mills, Ill.;

Post-War Class — 1947 Chrysler Town and Country, Joe Donovan, Poplar Grove, Ill.;

Muscle Class — 1966 Pontiac GTO, Dan Highland, Cherry Valley, Ill.;

Hod Rod/Custom Class — 1960 Nash Metropolitan, Chuck and Ginger Redding, St. Petersburg, Fla.;

Exotic/Race Class — 2008 Lamborghini Superleggera, Randy McBain, Rockford;

Sports Car Class — 1960 Austin Healey Coupe, Bill and Marie Naretta, Rockton, Ill.;

Special Interest Class — 1951 Ferrari Testerossa, Bob Shaw, Richmond, Ill.; and

Motorcycles — 2012 KW Custom, Troy Finner, Rockford.

Perhaps some of the biggest winners of the weekend were Cindy Ralston (Roscoe, Ill.), John Ruud (Machesney Park, Ill.) and Jeff Furst (Rockford). Ralson won the $15,000 grand prize in the Classics and Chrome raffle, while Ruud ($3,000) earned the second-place prize and Furst ($2,000) took home the third-place prize.

Key sponsors of the 2012 Classics and Chrome include State Farm Insurance, SwedishAmerican Hospital, Keith Country Day School, Pepsi, Rockford Linear Motion, Der Rathskeller, Alpine Bank, Mulford Dental, WIFR, Maverick Media and O’Reilly’s.

Proceeds from the 2012 Classics and Chrome Car Show will benefit Keith Country Day School. Keith Country Day School is an independent, nonsectarian, college-preparatory school that serves students from age 3 through grade 12 from the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin area. More about Keith School is available at

From the April 25-May 1, 2012, issue

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