What’s the most iconic automobile of all time? You’d have a hard time getting car enthusiasts to agree on that, but there is one thing collectors and restorers of vintage autos do have in common: they like to talk about their four-wheel treasures.
That’s what makes the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show so special. Scores of beautifully restored and maintained classic cars from the early 1900s through the 1980s will be on display in downtown Lake Bluff on Saturday, June 26, from 3 to 6 p.m. Visitors can see the cars up close and talk with their owners about every detail large and small. Vehicles typically featured include the Museum’s restored 1931 Lake Bluff Ice Truck plus Corvettes, Mustangs, Cobras and Birds, Packards, Woodies, Jaguars, Rolls . . . GTOs, Chevys, Buicks … a monster truck or two, hot rods, Lincolns, the occasional Ferrari . . . and more!
“When you walk down Scranton Avenue you’ll be transported back in time,” promises Ray Kracik, co-founder of the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show. “You’ll see beautiful, old cars that bring memories to the surface of your father’s or grandfather’s car, or your own first family car.”
You’ll also see original stock cars that look just as they did when they came off the assembly line, as well as resto-mods that are the shells of original cars with the power train of modern vehicles. A ’55 Chevy Nomad restomod won Best in Show at Lake Bluff’s 2019 Auto Show.
The Nomad was in decent shape when John Gutt purchased it on Ebay several years ago. “It was a fun drive,” he remembers, but it had some issues. “Things leaked and made noise, and once in a while it would just stop running.” He decided to undertake a restomod, restoring the car while also making improvements such as better brakes, a more reliable engine, and better-fitting body panels. The Nomad’s color was beautifully restored in Regal Turquoise/ India Ivory.
“We ended up with a late-model car with the classic looks of an older car,” Gutt says.
The Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show made its debut in 2013 when Kracik, John Tiffany, Steve Willard, Denny Hermann, and other car enthusiasts helped the Museum restore the 1931 Lake Bluff Ice Truck to its original glory. While planning an event to unveil the Ice Truck, the team decided to include vehicles from their own collections as well.
That small gathering grew in 2019 to include more than 100 vintage and antique classic cars from collectors in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Highland Park, Winnetka, Glenview, and beyond.
The show was cancelled in 2020 as everyone was sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes the 2021 event even more exciting. “We all have so much pent-up energy to exhibit our classic cars,” says Kracik. “We’re expecting a great turnout!”
Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show supporters include lead sponsor The Silo Restaurant, plus Kinnucan, The Last Detail, Hill & Stone, Knauz Auto Group, and many volunteers including those from Lake County Veterans & Family Services.
The fun includes:
• Best in Show 2021 award
• The ever-popular Lake Bluff Ice Truck
• Food and beverages available for purchase from area merchants
• Local businesses open for guests to explore before, during and after the show
The 8th Lake Bluff History Museum Auto
Show will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday,
June 26, on Scranton and Center Avenues
near Lake Bluff ’s beautiful Village Green. Parking
is free at the Lake Bluff train station parking lot.