Classic cars delight at Wilmette’s Summerfest
Bill Ernstein of Wilmetter replaces the "Do Not touch" sign on his rare 1964 Thunderbird at Wilmette Summerfest on Saturday in Wilmette. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 20, 2012 10:50AM
WILMETTE — A major attraction at the Wilmette Summerfest Saturday, the first annual classic car show drew hundreds of onlookers who walked through to check out the 10 classic cars on display.
Car owners proudly showed off their shiny dream machines while visitors stopped by to chat and ask questions about the classic autos.
And although an afternoon rain shower sent the convertibles home early, there was still plenty of time for car lovers to vote for their favorite classic autos before the day ended.
Ten cars competed for first prize in three categories—“most complete renovation,” “fan favorite,” and “best in show” took home a shiny trophy to show off to their friends and family.
Paul Plotnick’s 1978 Chevy Corvette won the prize for most complete renovation. Tim Olson won fan favorite for his 1950 Morris Minor Tourer (convertible) edition, and his wife Carole Olson took home the trophy for best in show for her Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.
“Instead of having new cars that look like they’re just out of the lot, we encouraged owners of the old, classic cars to participate instead,” said Greg Alvarado, coordinator of the car show. “Every guy here has put a ton of work into these cars.”
Wilmette resident Bill Ernstein stood proudly next to his bright red 1964 Thunderbird convertible as onlookers admired the engine and leather interior.
Ernstein has owned the car for 14 years, and said it has spent the last seven winters in restoration, when mechanics completely restored the car’s mechanical workings, interior and trunk. Paint specialists also put 40 hours of work into restoring the car’s finish, Ernstein said.
With a car that eye-catching and unusual, one can only expect to be pulled over more frequently than other drivers, and Ernstein admits to being caught driving too fast on a few occasions over the years.
“I’ve had a ticket or two, but usually cops just pull me over because they want to look at the car,” Ernstein said.
By the end of the day, hundreds of visitors had streamed through the car show and enjoyed the vintage autos that brought back memories of the past.
“This is the first year for us doing the classic car show, and I think it really turned out to be a success,” Alvarado said.