There are many car shows during the summertime. Car lovers flock to these lineups of colorful, expensive autos, reviving memories of the days when car color identified the owners, when cars were lovingly waxed and cleaned just about every other day.
It was a time when convertibles were popular and dual exhausts were trademarks of a powerful engine. It was a time when car owners drove up and down streets often to see the reflections in downtown windows. The hood opened and the owner would reel off why his car was unique and powerful. Glass-packed mufflers gave the car a tone of identity and speed.
On Saturday, June 24, a special group of volunteers from the Barnes Museum will unveil the third annual “Wheels of the Past” classic car show on the museum grounds and also next door in the municipal lot. Wayne Carini, host of the cable show “Chasing Classic Cars” and operator of a Connecticut business, will be the featured guest from 10 a.m. to noon. The show continues to 2 p.m. The volunteer group, Friends of the Barnes Museum, has been organizing the classic car show since its first year.
Also attending this year will be Jim McPhearson of AAA, who serves as an auto consultant. He was the lead writer for AAA New Cars and Trucks from 2003 to 2016.
Forty-three years ago, the town acquired the rights to the ageless 17-room former home of the wealthy Bradley Barnes through his last will and testament. The man was a successful entrepreneur, whose coveted home stands amid modern structures in downtown Southington. Barnes’ home, built in 1836 by his grandparents, reflects the enormous success of the Bradley Barnes family. With rich history of generosity, the late Bradley Barnes’ family donated money to insure that the town would have a hometown hospital and later donated his home, which would display the artifacts of an era of a gentle, peaceful and simpler life.
The volunteers are committed to insuring that the museum continue to be a public destination and to date, visitors have come from every state and from numerous countries. Many agree that the Barnes Museum is a respected destination history lesson for people of all ages.
The car show is intended not only to highlight the museum, but also to raise funds for retaining the natural beauty of the home and grounds, which, years ago, were the most gorgeous in the area. Bradley lived a somewhat quiet life and loved to collect things that would be revered far beyond his lifetime.
The volunteers are inviting classic car owners to bring their cars for display at no fee. Admission to the grounds is $5 per person, with children under 10 admitted free. Entertainment will be provided from the large verandah and patrons can tour the home free of charge.
Carini, an enormously popular classic car collector and educator of those who seek information about the thrill of ownership of these cars, is sure to be a popular man for those two hours.
In the event of rain, the show will be on Sunday, June 25. Public parking will be available next door at the municipal lot, where show cars will be on display.
For more information, call the museum at 860-628-5426.