Behind the Scenes
of the Restored Rusty Relics’ North Jersey Auto Show
For four decades, the Restored Rusty Relics have put on a classic and antique car show, with hundreds of show cars from the brass era to “25 years old,” with as many as a hundred vendors. How do they do it?
Planning essentially starts during the show, as people note what is working well and where more attention will be needed in the next year. A volunteer to lead the show effort is needed just about nine months before the show itself. In 2016 and 2017, that was Art Zimmerman; this year, it was Dick Naumann.
The first decisions cover the date and location, and as soon as possible, and the basic form of the show — usually reaffirming the “25 years and older” rule and the basic format. A group of volunteers tends to coalesce and get cracking on other decisions, such as specific placement of vendors and cars, whether to group cars by era, how to award trophies, and such.
By the end of December, Dave Czirr has the dash plaque design ready, and Laura Kibala has started working on the flier; while Mary Weinheimer starts to work with vendors and determine where they will go, using an oversized map from Ed Garfield. This year, we added online registration as well; David Zatz sent the first mailing out in mid-January to let hundreds of eager show-goers (and possibly hundreds of merely interested show-goers) know that registration was open, on-line and via mail. As early as February, early birds start registering by paper and Web.
In February, the Restored Rusty Relics hold a special meeting, well-attended, whose main feature is pumping out thousands of show fliers — stamping and labeling (which is what you see in these photos). From then on, Dave Czirr starts checking the postal box for new fliers and change-of-address notices.
By this time, people have been signing up for the many show tasks — manning the entrance for vendors, show cars, and spectators, making announcements, setting up signs, cleaning up. Before the show, the group will meet numerous times to iron out details, and figure out where to create lanes of traffic and where to place signs.
The morning of the show, two crews start putting up signs at 5:30 am; a third crew puts down cones and more signs at the venue, sets up tents, and then waits at the gates for the first vendors to appear. From that time on, some people will remain on their feet and on duty until the show closes down in the afternoon; and then more crews take down the signs, stow the cones and tents, and clean any rubbish that might be present.
The show runs from 8 am to 3 pm. It takes nearly a year of preparation for over a dozen unpaid volunteers. Visitors pay $15 to register their classic or antique car, and spectators pay $5 each; and in the end, the Restored Rusty Relics usually donate thousands of dollars to charity.
The mailing list
If you sign up for the mailing list using this form, we will let you know when pre-registration opens each year. (We send around four or five messages per year and don’t share the list with anyone else, so you won’t get deluged by our emails). We’ll see you there!