The 419 cars entered in Classics on Main Saturday in downtown Bowling Green represented several
generations of automotive technology.
In Electric Avenue in the Huntington parking lot off Clough Street, the future was on display.
The electric car enthusiasts were there to share their vision.
In a place of pride, Geoffrey Rich’s sleek, iridescent blue Tesla Roadster. Rich said part of the reason
he got the car was because of its eye-catching qualities.
The sports car sparks a conversation and gives Rich a chance to advocate for electric cars.
His interest is in part occupational – he’s an electrical engineer who works for First Solar. "I’m
kind of geeky in that way."
But his interest goes deeper than that. "Mostly I don’t see the need to burn fossil fuels to get
around," he said.
This is his second electric car. In 2004 he bought a Honda Insight.
The cost of operating drive for about 3 cents a mile, the equivalent of about 120 miles per gallon
expensive to buy it up front. The cost of the battery is what drives the price up, Rich said. "We
have to get the batteries cheaper."
Increased production of electric cars should help moderate battery prices.
The federal government demanding better fuel efficiency from vehicles should help, said Michael Hall, who
like Rich is a member of Electric Auto Association of Northwest Ohio.
Most manufacturers have hybrids, which use electric and gas, in the works, he said.
The association pushes to increase the number of charging stations like those dotting downtown Bowling
Green, he said.
As more people buy electric cars, they may eventually find a place among the classic cars, Hall said.
The strictly electric car still has some limitations – how far it can go before having to be charged, and
how long it then takes to charge, Rich said.
Hall said some families are buying an electric vehicle as a second, around town car, and using a hybrid
or gas powered vehicle for longer trips.
Rich has a 1994 truck that he uses for his regular ride, keeping the Tesla for show.
That’s a similar approach to the one taken by Kenny Wallister, of Fostoria, with the car he was showing,
a 1965 Comet Cyclone.
Wallister used his earnings as a plumber to buy the car brand new for $2,675 when he was 20. Most of his
friends were buying Chevelles and Mustangs (plenty of those were on view at Classics on Main), but he
wanted something different.
Wallister, then of Attica, drove the car a few years; he thought that he’d like to have "an antique
car" someday but didn’t think he would ever be able to afford one.
"I wondered if anyone could keep a car" until it was considered vintage.
So Wallister decided to take the Cyclone off the road in 1972, and store it.
When it hit its 25th birthday, he pulled it out and with help of friends including Tom Guyer of Bowling
Green, they buffed it up and started showing it.
But they didn’t fix it up too much. Wallister says it has a few dings in it. He wants to maintain it as
it is. All the equipment, except tires and belts, are original.
Wallister used to do a dozen or so shows a summer, but in the past several years has backed off. Now that
the Cyclone is 50, he plans to make a celebratory round of shows.
Next weekend it’ll have its homecoming at the Oak Ridge Festival in Attica.
Representing the presenting sponsor, Thayer BG Family Dealerships, Joe McGee had a personal connection to
some of the vehicles at the show.
Looking down the rows of hundreds of vehicles, McGee, who has been selling cars for 58 years, can
identify at least four that he sold – a Ford Thunderbird, a 1967 Ford Fairlane, and a couple Mustangs.
McGee love car shows and is impressed by how Classics on Main "has grown and grown" under the
leadership of Barbara Ruland, executive director of Downtown Bowling Green, and the organizing
Having good weather, McGee said, was a major boost. "People won’t take their cars out if they’re
going to get wet."
He’s impressed that the field keeps attracting new collectors and their vehicles. "What slays me is
where they come from," McGee said. "It’s just amazing. … Where do they hide them?"
This year’s field had 34 cars more than last year’s.
Judging the cars is difficult, said Jeff Snook. "It is very hard because the cars are so nice. How
do you pick the nicest one?"
He heads a team of 12 judges who decide on the event’s 51 awards.
This year best of show went to Marion Newman, who operated Newman’s Marathon just a few blocks north on
Main Street before he retired and turned the business over to his son Scott.
His winning entry was a 1956 Corvette. He also showed a 1934 Ford two-door.
He’d exhibited at the show before, but this was the first time he’d come away with the top prize.
That win, he said, was especially sweet coming as it did on his home turf.