Since its debut 18 years ago, one aspect of the Glenmoor Gathering hasn’t changed: The cars are the stars.
Year after year, they range from regal to bizarre, from ultra-modern to nearly prehistoric.
Almost all of them are uncommon and expensive, which is why the event is generally considered to be among the top five classic-car shows in the country.
What keeps things fresh is that you never know what you’re going to get.
The headliners at the public portion of this year’s bash — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Glenmoor Country Club in Jackson Township — are early supercharged automobiles, micro cars and steam-powered cars. Not to mention a 1935 Duesenberg SJ and six rare Tuckers.
(For more info: www. glenmoorgathering.com or 330-966-3600.)
But as far as your favorite columnist is concerned, the best thing about the annual Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles is that he gets to drive one.
Or, in this case, two.
I figured my choice of wheels this year would create a fun contrast.
The 1950 Crosley is not exactly regarded as the finest moment in the history of automotive engineering. Let’s put it this way: When I told my 88-year-old father I was going to drive one, he referred to it as “a piece of junk.”
He apparently was basing that assessment on a reputation Crosley established in the 1940s for engine problems. By 1950, car historians say, those problems had been ironed out, but the revamped Crosleys had horrible brake problems, and the public had seen enough.
Ironically, Crosley introduced some significant engineering breakthroughs, including the use of caliper disc brakes, in this case manufactured by Goodyear Aerospace. But those adapted airplane brakes did not play nicely with road salt.
If the name sounds familiar, this is the same Crosley as the former home of the Cincinnati Reds, Crosley Field. The Ohio industrialist and broadcast pioneer wanted to create a small, inexpensive car with some zip.
He didn’t envision it spending most of its time in the repair shop.
Age has its benefits, though, and these days a Crosley is viewed as a prized possession — at least by people like Mike Petros of Perry Township, the owner of a cute, cream-colored 1950 model.
Petros, 81, a retired homebuilder, has 40 rare cars in his collection. This is among the quirkier ones.
“When I was in high school, one of the fellows had a Crosley,” he said. “I was fascinated by it.”
Petros’ car was a mess when he bought it nine years ago. After paying for a complete restoration, he has put all of 22.5 miles on it.
“That’s the problem,” he said. “It should be driven more often because the seals dry out.”
Well, I’m nothing if not a team player. So I crawled behind the wheel — not an easy feat for a guy 6-foot-1 — and added a little mileage.
Gut reaction? A glorified golf cart.
The three-speed manual transmission isn’t synchronized, so you have to double-clutch to shift gears without grinding them up. For some reason, the name Fred Flintstone kept coming to mind.
After parking the Crosley, I felt a need for speed.
Unfortunately, that urge was only partially fulfilled by a sleek, sexy, hot-off-the-presses Fisker Karma.
No issues with shifting this one — it’s a one-speed automatic.
If you’ve never heard of the car, you’re excused, because it has been on the market for only 10 months and there still aren’t many on the road, largely because the MSRP ranges from $96,000 to $112,000.
When you think speed, normally you think of the throaty roar of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis or Porsches — all of which, by the way, will be on display Sunday. (Twenty-two Lamborghinis!) But the speedy car I drove barely makes a peep.
Unlike the faster Tesla, which is fully electric, this car is a hybrid. Depending on the weight of your right foot, it will go 32 to 50 miles on electric power before the gasoline engine kicks in, which will take it about 250 miles farther.
Up to 15 mph, the car is designed to give off an artificial hum to warn pedestrians in parking lots. The sound comes from speakers positioned in the rear, where you’d normally find mufflers.
At highway speed, all you hear is road noise.
Using only the battery, the Fisker can go from zero to 60 in 7.9 seconds. But in “Sport Mode,” with both the battery and engine working together, it will crank out 403 horsepower and cut about 2 seconds off that time.
Like some athletes, its forte is quickness rather than speed. It’s incredible torque gets you going immediately. But the car’s weight — north of 5,000 pounds, thanks mainly to the enormous battery — prevents it from being a real rocket.
Recharging can be a pain. Plug it into a standard outlet and you’ll need up to 14 hours to recharge. If you hook up a 220-volt line, you can cut that to about six, according to car magazines.
Dan Ricci, a salesman with Fisker of Cleveland, the only dealer in our region, says what surprised him the most the first time he drove it was how quiet it is and how well it handles for its massive weight.
He’s right on both counts.
Still, the next time I pay more than $100,000 for a car, I’ll probably go with something more traditional. Say, a Ferrari 458 Italia — zero to 60 in 3.4 seconds.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or email@example.com.